Normalized insensitivity in light of school shootings


Fibonacci Blue from Minnesota, USA, CC BY 2.0 , via Wikimedia Commons

The continuous inaction of authority in light of school shootings has caused an even worse effect: insensitivity.

Josie Olderog, Feature Editor

The terror of watching the supposedly safe walls of high schools across the country become deadly war zones. The tragic aftermath of numerous students and teachers dead. And those with the power to fix it only offering their “thoughts and prayers.” 

On Nov. 30 at Oxford High School in Michigan the most deadly school shooting since 2018 occured, killing four and injuring seven. 

And if the past few weeks post-tragedy have shown us anything, it is that these “thoughts and prayers” and nothing more have become increasingly common yet normalized with each tragedy; the headlines are no longer shocking or rare. With this normalization comes a sick effect, one that further attacks any amount of action: insensitivity.

Rep. Thomas Massie posted a family photo posing with a gun in front of a Christmas tree mere days after the Michigan school shooting. He captioned the photo “Merry Christmas! p.s. Santa, please bring ammo.”

Oxymoronic at the very least as it goes against all things festive and peaceful, the post received massive backlash. 

Fred Guttenburg, the father of Jaime Guttenburg who died in the Parkland shooting of 2018, replied to Massie’s tweet. “@RepThomasMassie, since we are sharing family photos, here are mine. One is the last photo that I ever took of Jaime, the other is where she is buried because of the Parkland school shooting. The Michigan shooter and his family used to take photos like yours as well.” 

But along with this, Massie’s post brings up the danger of insensitivity towards tragic topics within the government in light of school shootings. If government officials cannot handle a tragedy with grace and respect, how can we expect the victims to be given justice?

Senior Niyati Kulkarni has noticed a reluctance to fix the issue within the government due to insensitivity. “Authorities should be taking this issue way more seriously to keep children protected. The attitude towards this subject by lawmakers has instilled fear in students because we know that we aren’t safe even in our own school because the law is not protecting us.” she explained. 

An additional story of thoughtlessness in light of school shootings occurred in Michigan the day after the tragedy at Oxford High School. A teacher reportedly explained how she would have “committed the act differently”, causing her suspension. 

“It was gut-wrenching devastation that a grown adult would mentally harm our children this way,” stated a parent in a news interview

Insensitivity has become common among grown adults in light of gun accidents. For many, the pro-gun creed seems to trump respect and propriety. One can only hope that the issue will begin to be taken seriously by those that have the power to fix it.