Editorial: A culture of accepted violence
Short-lived reactions send the wrong message
Published: Friday, October 4, 2013
Updated: Friday, October 4, 2013 03:10
Less than two weeks after Washington, D.C. was rocked by the Navy Yard shootings that left 12 dead, the city was once again under attack Thursday afternoon. In the timespan of about an hour, the capital was put into lockdown, brief panic ensued while a chase across the city took place, and then all returned to normal once the woman was apprehended and shot – or at least returned to as “normal” as possible for a city in which shootings have recently been common place.
While the citizens of our nation’s capital are surely uneasy right now, the rest of the nation does not seem to be. As the number and frequency of shootings and violent threats increase, the nation’s shock seems to decrease.
Although the media and citizens react at the time of these attacks, the shock and impact seems short-lived. As we witness more and more acts of extreme violence – the Aurora, Colo. movie theater shooting, the Newtown shooting, the Boston Marathon, and the recent Navy Yard shooting and the lockdown, just to name a few – we as a nation seem to be becoming desensitized to the horror that is routinely unfolding right in front of us.
Already – just two weeks later – the Navy Yard shooting media coverage has quickly lessened, even though 12 lives were unnecessarily lost. By Thursday night, the same day as the lockdown, the article about the events of the day was already listed far down on The New York Times’ homepage, buried below other stories that decidedly deserved more attention.
But as our to attention and outrage with these incidents dwindle quickly with time, we are implying that these events do not have lasting implications for us, when that couldn’t be further from the truth. As a nation, we can begin acknowledging the seriousness of these incidents and this ongoing trend of violence just by prompting discussions.
While these two events of the past two weeks involved very different circumstances, they both reflect a trend of violence that steadily seems to be becoming the norm in our country and society. This is not something that can be changed in a short period of time, but essentially ignoring these events is certainly not going to bring about any form of change.
Temporary attention, shock and outrage are not enough of a reaction to violence. Without continued attention and coverage, these violent incidents could all too easily become the accepted state of our society for the future. As a nation, we should not send a message of apathy in regards to frequent violence.