I didn’t intend for this to be my first blog post, I really didn’t. In light of recent events though, I felt it would be wrong to not address what happened May 31, 2019.
This week, I have been quiet about the shooting in Virginia Beach. I believe it was shocking to me at first that my home, southeastern Virginia, had been terrorized. Until earlier this week, I didn’t realize how phased I was by what happened since I was tearing up – which isn’t much like me at all – reading a news article about each victim’s aspirations and how they were leading their lives. I read of how some immigrated here to better their lives, how some dedicated four decades towards the city of Virginia Beach, and how some saved numerous others by using themselves as a shield.
Following the shooting, the school board office telephoned homes asking parents to encourage their students to wear a blue article of clothing on Monday, June 3 to honor the twelve individuals who lost their lives. It was overwhelming how many of the students, teachers, and administrators at my school showed up in blue. Everyone was clad with blue shirts, blue jeans, blue jackets, blue shoes – it was a huge, rolling wave of blue.
It bothers me how we as Americans are a bit unphased by it being “just another shooting.” There is something very wrong with our culture, as we glorify guns and violence often in our music, television, movies, and pop culture. No one says anything since such topics have been ingrained in our daily lives.
Since the Columbine shooting in 1999, more mass shooters aspire to be famous since they know their names will be blasted on every news outlet. We need to stop publicizing the names of these shooters, as the media is feeding into these shooters’ egos by displaying their faces and names for all of the United States and possibly the rest of the world to see. Studies have shown that with publicizing mass shootings, the amount of shootings is more likely to increase in the two week period that follows.
Much like mass shooters and serial killers today whose identities are plastered on news outlets, the Zodiac Killer fed off of his threatening letters being published in The San Francisco Chronicle for residents of San Francisco to read. Soon enough, it escalated to the whole state and the rest of the country to read the letters and know who the Zodiac was.
I was pleasantly surprised at the fact that I did not immediately hear or read the name of the Virginia Beach shooter, and I hope that in the future, we focus more on memorializing the lives that were lost instead of sensationalizing the person who was responsible for taking innocent lives.
As you proceed throughout your week, please don’t forget these names:
If you or someone you know is in need of help following the tragedy in Virginia Beach, do not hesitate to seek out help. The grief recovery hotline can be reached at 1-800-445-4808.