When Violence Seems Distant

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It is now normal to turn on the TV on any given day and see news about a violent act in our world, country or community. As our media becomes saturated with dramatic and horrific news, it is easy to become desensitized to violence. Just because it’s easy, does not mean it’s okay. Our country just suffered the deadliest mass-shooting in its modern history. A gunman on the 32nd floor of a Las Vegas hotel shot what are believed to be automatic weapons 300 feet below into a crowd at an outdoor country music festival. Over 50 people have died, and over 500 were left injured.

This disconnect can, and has, resulted in a lack of change regarding gun violence in our country. Our society is complacent in the face of violence. I believe in the power of prayer, however, sending “thoughts and prayers,” without following up with any action, will not ensure that this mass-shooting is the last.

So what can we do?

We can donate blood. Lines are wrapping around blocks at Las Vegas blood donation centers. For those of us not in Las Vegas, we can still donate to benefit our local communities. Use this online tool to find a donation center in your area. In Fairfax, VA, there are three centers within ten miles of George Mason University: American Red Cross Blood Services and Inova Blood Donor Services.

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We can volunteer in our local communities. Hospitals are always accepting volunteers, as are local non-profits and social services who help victims of trauma. In Fairfax, the county conducts a number of support groups, which are in need of volunteer facilitators. Additionally on our own campus, Student Support and Advocacy is seeking volunteers to directly assist students what have experienced trauma.

 

Related: I Don't Understand The Love For Guns

 

We can call our representatives (you can find yours here) and petition for stricter gun control laws. Tell your Congress people to vote NO on the Hearing Protection Act of 2017 and the SHARE Act, both of which would make it easier to purchase silencers, and the Constitutional Concealed Carry Reciprocity Act of 2017, which would enhance the transport and carry of guns between states. We called for change after Virginia Tech, Aurora, Sandy Hook, San Bernardino… the list goes on. This time can be different, but only if we act together.  

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Finally, we can remember that the victims in Las Vegas were also the family and friends of so many people. Because I knew children who were at Sandy Hook Elementary School during the 2012 shooting, every time I hear about a mass-shooting event, my mind starts racing, thinking it could be someone I know. My friends or I could have been at the movie theater in Aurora, Colorado, at Pulse nightclub in Orlando, Florida, or at the country music festival in Las Vegas, Nevada—all normal, social events that take place daily across the country. As our tolerance for violence grows and we become numb, it is easy to dehumanize a massacre. The victims are people, and they deserve our action, not our complacency.

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Hug your loved ones a little tighter today. Lead with kindness. Make an effort to really hear and understand those around you. A little human connection goes a long way in making our communities more peaceful. I have hope for our country, but the uphill battle has only just begun.

 

About The Author

Rebecca is a junior at George Mason University studying Government & International Politics, Public Policy, and Spanish. She is involved with the Roosevelt Institute and the Student Health Advisory Board at GMU, working on health policy. When not writing for Her Campus, she is probably getting her next cup of coffee, talking about feminism, or listening to Sara Bareilles (or all 3 at the same time).

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