Another day in America, another mass shooting. Early Monday morning, Stephen Paddock turned the Las Vegas strip into a war zone. The terrorist opened fire on a country music festival with an automatic weapon, killing upwards of 50 and injuring more than 500. He was armed with 17 guns.
The mainstream media will cover the events as it always has. There will be first-hand accounts from survivors. There will be a somber montage of the names and faces of those killed. There will be a forensic breakdown of the attack as it happened. There will be speculation about the motivation of the terrorist. There will be political leaders condemning the violence. Maybe a New England senator will call for gun control. There will be mourning, then quickly acceptance. And then we will move on to the next big news story.
On Vanderbilt’s campus, the same cycle has played itself out in conversations. There’s a sense of moral disorientation. There’s a manifestation of empathy. There are guesses about the cause of the attack. And then we talk about the Gen Chem test or the upcoming concert.
There’s an emotion that has been deeply underrepresented in the aftermaths of the Newtowns, of the Charlestons, of the Orlandos: anger. We need to be pissed off that our elected leaders have ignored our calls for commonsense gun control, which 85 percent of Americans stand for. We need to be angry that both Bob Corker and Lamar Alexander, Tennessee’s elected Senators, have accepted money from the NRA. We need to be furious that we have to have this conversation again and again, while no other developed democracies in the world do.
Yes, mourn the victims. Send your thoughts out to the families of the injured. Keep Las Vegas on your mind. But, along with that, actually do something. Call your senator. Yell at your congressperson at a town hall. Go to a protest.
But don’t let this one slip through your fingers. Not again.