OPINION: Desensitization to gun violence

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A Springfield Armory XD .40 caliber handgun sits on a table while an extra magazine is loaded in Riverside, Calif. on May 24. (Stephen Day | Viewpoints)
By Vianney Morales

Californians are not immune from gun violence. No matter how much we try to disassociate ourselves from conservative states like Texas, we are still in danger.

Turning a blind eye to the gun violence that happens in Texas is not only selfish but irresponsible to pretend we are immune from it.

I had always separated California from Texas in terms of safety from gun violence. Until discovering that, according to the Gun Violence Archive, Texas and California have seen the most mass shootings this year.

Soon after the recent mass shooting in Allen, Texas, multiple graphic videos of the carnage quickly spread on social media.

 One video in particular showed the bodies of the Cho family, a devastating scene that shocked me to my core. The video had spread before their identities were revealed to the public.

This sparked an outrage. Many cited the lack of respect for the victims and their families. I understand this sentiment, as I could only imagine how I’d feel if those were my loved ones being filmed.

How have we reached a point where we are so desensitized to gun violence that numerous people think to film the bloodshed of a mass shooting?

A family of four started the day with an innocent trip to the outlet mall and only one of them would return home. I think about how safe I feel with my family when we go to the store and it never once dawned on me that something like this could very well happen.

Before seeing the graphic videos of the shooting’s aftermath, I hadn’t been able to truly fathom what a mass shooting looks like. After every mass shooting prior, I’d just hear the numbers of casualties and see their faces after their identities are revealed. I would genuinely ache for the victims and their families, especially after watching interviews with them. However, I never truly understood the manner of death. 

Physically seeing the overwhelming amount of bloodshed forced me to put gun violence into perspective.

We owe it to the victims of gun violence to actually understand the way they were murdered. A preventable tragedy that not only Texas politicians refuse to take accountability for, but all American politicians. 

We are not immune to the ills of gun violence, no matter how disillusioned we have become that California is some sort of safe haven from such violent tragedy.

I remember always being on edge at school following the Parkland Shooting. I would pray that if a shooting were to happen, I’d be in a certain classroom because it had easier access to leave campus. 

My heart weighs heavily as I wonder if my future children will need to plan an escape route like many of us do now.

I am exhausted from thoughts and prayers. I think of the families of gun violence victims and how hopeless they must feel that their loss means nothing to politicians. 

Our government has made it painfully clear that a supposed right established over 200 years ago takes precedent over the livelihood of every American. That a person’s right to own a gun trumps everyone’s right to live and feel safe.

 I shouldn’t panic everytime I’m in a movie theater or a restaurant because someone could easily murder dozens of people in a matter of seconds. I shouldn’t have to consider my action plan if I’m ever put in a situation that too many Americans have found themselves in. 

Even false alarms of shootings are terrorizing Americans. I’ve seen countless videos of customers forced into the backroom of a store due to reports of a shooter. I will always remember the same worry on their faces that they might not make it home.

Ensuring I have an escape plan at every public place isn’t the pursuit of life and liberty. Although I try to tell myself it won’t happen to me even though it easily could.

I am tired and disheartened by the inaction of our government. If murdered children and bloodied bodies on the sidewalk of a shopping mall aren’t enough to force politicians to reform gun laws, then nothing will.

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