Bringing sensitivity to a desensitized issue: Why we should learn the names of victims in mass shootings

In the world right now it feels like there is a shooting every other day. It’s become so common for someone to lose their life to gun violence that some people have become almost numb or desensitized when talking or thinking about it.

Since the start of 2023 alone, there have been at least 40 mass shootings reported. In the course of human history, however, there are too many to count. 

Because shootings happen so much, they are talked about almost everywhere. This includes in schools, all over the news, the internet and between everyday people. The problem is how people are talking about this issue and their responses to it. 

Sometimes people seem so blinded by the event that is happening, that they don’t take the time to realize the real people being affected by it. Anytime a mass shooting is being discussed, you hear about the location, the day it happened, and possibly how many people have been injured or passed away. Rarely talked about  are the victims’ names, who they are, and how their lives were impacted by this tragic event.

Although these victims deserve recognition, there’s a lot of reasons as to why they sometimes get left out of the conversation. Most people have just never heard of the victims’ names. When a news article is written, the writers are focused on what they believe is the most important information. This usually is influenced by what they think the readers want to know the most. This could include what happened, why it happened, who is involved, where it happened or when it happened. People want to know the most information by reading the least amount. Most people are more focused on the event that occurred rather than the victims. This causes their names to be pushed to the bottom and often not read about. 

This is where desensitization can come into conversation. People get so focused on the tragedy, and most often the perpetrator, that they seem to subconsciously block out the other people involved. It usually doesn’t seem purposeful, however it’s concerning how casually people talk about real life people who lost their lives, the trauma they went through and then go onto their next topic without a second thought.

Taking a step back and focusing on the people who were affected by a mass shooting, is necessary. We need to remember that these people are real and they deserve the recognition for what they have been through. They do not deserve to be talked about without a second thought.  

Despite most people do recognize negative feelings associated with the conversation of shootings, in the end they get overtaken by this feeling of numbness that is important to understand.

“I think people have become numb to this kind of news. We all feel horrified for some time and then we move on and I think that is because we know our leaders will do nothing about gun control,” said a Niles North staff member in a North Star News survey. 

Although I do understand why people feel this way, fighting that feeling of numbness is key to denormalizing our desensitization when discussing these mass shootings.