Editorial: Mass shootings are preventable

In the wake of the shooting in Buffalo last weekend, it’s time that the United States take steps toward preventing mass shooting — for real this time

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Scott Olson / Getty Images / TNS

A woman chalks a message at a makeshift memorial outside of Tops market on May 15, 2022 in Buffalo, New York. A gunman opened fire at the store yesterday killing ten people and wounding another three.

Editorial Board

Generation Z has been hearing about mass shootings on a daily basis their whole lives. Whether they grew up in a large city like New York or in the suburbs like McHenry, it is a fear that many people have to live with. Not only has generation z had to deal with an increase in shootings, but everyone in America has. 

On Saturday May 14 there was a mass shooting in Buffalo, New York. The shooting claimed the lives of 10 people and injured three at a supermarket, 11 of which were black. The gunman live streamed the violence on Twitch for just under two minutes before the stream was shut down.

This event follows decades of mass shootings across the U.S. From attacks on schools to supermarkets, the news featuring graphic images of violent behavior is ingrained into our minds as children. 

19 weeks into the year and America has already experienced 198 mass shootings. Shootings, although devastating, are a common recurrence in the U.S. With 10 killed in the most recent shooting in Buffalo, New York has brought our tally to 198 shootings in 2022 alone. That averages to about 10 shootings a week.

The cause of these massacres is overall unknown, but hate-fueled ideologies and mental illness can be seen at the root of most. In the United States, our gun homicide rate is 25 times higher than in other high-income countries, and it appears that most states with weaker restrictions and laws on gun ownership seem to have higher mass shooting rates. 

Democratic state lawmakers plan to respond to the Buffalo shooting in Albany. They condemned the proliferation of hate and racism on the internet such as Twitch with governors throughout New York calling for more scrutiny for social media companies and other streaming platforms. along with the availability of firearms in the United States even as a state with strictly controlled gun laws.

“This country’s insane obsession with guns and assault weapons needs to be talked about. You want to have a gun to protect your house or your family or your property, fine. But what the hell do we have military weapons in the hands of civilians?” says New York State Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie.

These New York lawmakers brought the Buffalo shooting to a national level and are vowing to have President Biden to speak on the matter, yet which direction the legislative response to the mass shooting in Buffalo would go but they do want to pass laws to close the loophole with the current gun laws in New York for the access of firearms. 

With firearms being one of the leading causes of death among youth specifically in the U.S., guns are too easily accessible as well as glorified in the current media. Every year, 3 million US children are exposed to gun violence; experiencing that at such a young and mendable age can negatively impact these kids and cause more problems down the road. With no thanks to the internet and the media, these violent acts almost encourage the youth to partake in these situations. There are 4.6 million kids in the United States who have access to a loaded gun at their own home, and with this will come more accidents or intentional crimes. 58% of youth gun deaths were due to homicides

How can we talk about fixing this problem and not actually take even the simplest steps to help prevent these shootings? Environmental factors can contribute to one’s actions, so having parents lock their unloaded firearms away from children and ammo can help steer their mental growth in the right direction.

With a little more effort, the U.S. could reduce the amount of mass shootings we see. Steps need to be taken to create stricter laws and guidelines in order to work towards preventing mass shootings. In addition, parents and gun owners need to ensure that their weapons are secure. With these small steps, we can work towards the U.S. being a much more safe and calming place to live.