Apparent normalcy of shootings causes apathy


Brett Stover

Last Friday, Jaylen Fryberg shot five students at his high school in Marysville, Washington and then turned the gun on himself.
Fryberg, a freshman, texted his victims to come to his lunch table, according to CNN. Zoe Galasso died shortly after, as did Fryberg. Gia Soriano died on Sunday due to her severe injuries. The three other victims are currently hospitalized.
The news of the shooting trended on Twitter for a few hours Friday afternoon. Likewise, there were a few stories on news sites like Fox News and NBC. But, besides local media networks, relatively few articles have been written about the tragedy. President Obama issued a short statement.
Really, there hasn’t been much reported.
What one can find on essentially every media network and on the tongue of every politician, however, is talk of Ebola. People are quarantined on suspicion of being infected. Those returning from Ebola hotspots overseas, specifically in sub-Saharan Africa, are also automatically quarantined in states like New York and New Jersey. All this hysteria is based off of three confirmed cases in the United States. Of those three, only one patient, who arrived from Liberia, has died.
Certainly, the reactions aren’t baseless; there is a reason to be cautious. The disease has affected more than 10,000 people so far, according to the World Health Organization, resulting in around 4,500 deaths.
That’s an epidemic.
There have been more than 41,000 incidents of gun violence this year, according to the Gun Violence Archive. At least 10,000 people have died. There have been 50 incidents of gun violence at U.S. high schools and colleges this year alone, and 87 since the infamous Sandy Hook shooting in 2012, according to, a gun safety campaign; 24 of those during roughly the past two years have resulted in victims dying. Of those shootings, 13 of the shooters committed suicide. According to the Harvard School of Public Health, the rate of mass shootings has tripled since 2011.
That’s an epidemic.
Where are the politicians calling for quarantines with those who could commit these crimes? Where is the public outrage? It is as though we are numb to these horrors because they have became so commonplace.
Some will say that it’s too soon to talk about this awful tragedy, that it’s disrespectful to the families of those who died, that we need to let time pass before we seek to address this. Maybe those people are right, but every day we wait for it to not be too soon is a day too late to save another parent’s child. To not strive for a cure to this epidemic of gun violence is to admit defeat, to accept the mounting deaths of innocent children.
I’m not here to promote a political ideology. I’m not here to tell you how to fix it, though I bet that having less people with guns might be a good place to start. I just want the people of America to not be okay with it anymore, to not say that it’s a thing that happens. I want people to want to change it, and to work together to change our attitude of apathy, because until that happens it’s not going to get any better.
By Brett Stover
ebola vs guns
Update: Ebola statistics updated from print edition to reflect latest CDC numbers. 
Correction: Gun violence statistics corrected from print edition. 
All statistics current as of Oct. 30, 2014.