Desensitization quantifies lives

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Students from Cobb County walk out to raise awareness of the need to address school violence.

Elizabeth Hsieh, Feature Editor

Bang. A sound goes off in the background, and in the seconds following, screams ensue. The sound of the shooting is far off, but the screams are close at hand, centimeters away. At that point, I turn off the video.
The footage that emerged from the Parkland shooting on Feb. 14 was terrifying and disturbing, but what is truly frightening is how quickly we become desensitized to this type of news.
According to the New York Times, since the 26 deaths from the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting in 2012, the number of school shootings in the US alone has tallied up to 239. Today, around five schools every month experience the horrors reported on TV, yet the public has largely kept silent on the issue, until now.
Society has fallen into a pattern of taking acts of terrorism and turning them into mere news. Today, there are more statistics, videos, and personal stories on school shootings than ever. Although the expected effect would be a greater push for action, school shootings have become normalized if anything.
The initial shock that might have accompanied news of a school shooting in prior years has been replaced with questions like “how many dead?”, but the horror surrounding this terrorism is not about the death count at the end of shooting. It is about the fact that the threat was there, that any lives were cut short within minutes.
By focusing on the numbers, society has allowed itself to become desensitized to the value of human lives. For the people reading the news, the death of one student is a small ripple in their day, but for the families and communities of that one victim, the loss is unreal.
With the recent Parkland shooting, we have finally seen a loud call for change, but at what price? We turn away from the news, change the channel, scroll past feed, mute notifications, and in consequence, have left behind the tragedy of even one life senselessly lost.
Recently, the country has seen a rapid rise to action. For the first time in a long time, feelings of grievance, anger, and hurt have begun to awaken. Embrace them. Although the process is painful, it is necessary if we ever want to see change.