In the past two weeks, 12 people were shot in bar in California, 11 people were shot in a synagogue in Pittsburgh and a boy shot his bully in North Carolina. There has been minimal media coverage on any of these events.

Mass shootings used to be a tragedy, and now they’re a common occurrence we quickly forget. There is less concern with the lives of American citizens and more concern with the policy linked to this issue. Instead of wanting to help these people, some have suggested putting metal plates in children’s backpacks, arming more civilians and installing heavy duty security systems. Schools, movie theaters and places of worship shouldn’t have to be treated like an airport. People should be able to live their lives without being scared they’re going to be shot.

Mass shootings are due to lack of gun control and poor mental health care in the U.S. Instead of dealing with these two things, Republicans and Democrats argue back and forth about taking away guns. No one wants to take away everyone’s guns — they just don’t want mentally ill people or serial killers to have them. If you are not mentally ill or a serial killer, you should also want gun control.

Mental health in America has a very bad stigma, even though about 18 percent of the U.S. population has anxiety and about 7 percent have depression. This is a substantial percentage of the population who are often seen as if something is wrong with them when mental illness is treatable and should be normalized.

It is no coincidence almost every single mass shooting has been committed by a man. Violence is taught and normalized to boys at a young age. Girls are given Barbie dolls and toy babies when they are young. They are taught to be calm and take care of others. Boys are given toy guns and trucks and taught to be “manly.” This type of behavior can become dangerous. Proving you are a man using violence can turn into fist fights, domestic violence or even a mass shooting.

We are desensitized to violence because it happens so often and nothing happens to prevent it. When I heard about the mass shooting at the synagogue, I wasn’t even surprised. I was upset, but it didn’t shock me like Sandy Hook did. There wasn’t the same reaction from people like there has been in the past. People are giving up.

Politics aside, the facts are that we’re letting American citizens die. Republicans are more concerned with protecting their precious Second Amendment than protecting the hundreds of people who are killed each year because of gun violence. A mass shooting is described as four or more people being shot or killed in the same time and location. In 2017, there were 346 mass shootings. There have been 308 mass shootings in 2018. 

Ashlon Lusk is a 19-year-old mass communication sophomore from Houston, Texas. 

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