Too Tired To Weep

As the barrage of tear-jerking headlines continues, it gets increasingly difficult to find appropriate reactions within ourselves

Shoshie Hemley, Reporter

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News lately isn’t news. We have become completely desensitized to headlines of school shootings, unjust legislation being signed into law, outrageous and offensive comments or actions coming from the representatives of our nation, and a variety of violent atrocities. We live in a nation where teenagers being gunned down is accepted as the way of life here. With each inevitable tragedy, we shed our tears and we move on. We have our outrage, our walkouts, our protests, and then we lose momentum and quickly forget. We have our disdain towards our government and their actions or lack thereof, but we’re never shocked by it.

Last spring, the Stoneman Douglas school shooting that ended the lives of seventeen people sparked thousands of walkouts across schools all over the nation. Enormous rallies were held, including here in Iowa City. A little over six months later, no gun control legislation has been passed within the state of Iowa, yet the fire within the student body has died down. Few are still working to prevent the next school shooting. When there was a shooting at a mall in Alabama on Thanksgiving, many individuals shrugged their shoulders and asked, “Who’s surprised?” The same lack of a reaction was present with the Chicago hospital shooting that left four dead on November 19. Many didn’t even know it happened. When I walked around the City High library interviewing students about the tear gassing situation at the U.S.-Mexico border, I was given the same general reaction. Students were upset, but not surprised. Many reiterated the idea that they’ve become so used to the violence, loss of life, and injustice within the nation that they now expect it.

Tragedy and loss have become too normalized. It takes a fairly sizable event to truly affect us anymore. These regular occurrences result in numbness to the world around us. We grow tired of demanding change. We want to be outraged, but there are too many things to be outraged about. When we’ve been worn out by event after event, we start to give up. Hope looks lost. We stop fighting and change less likely. Normalization is a deadly anesthetic. It causes the pain from every school shooting, every unarmed black man murdered, every racist interaction to dull. But this allows for them all to happen over and over again.

In order for action to take place, we need to feel. We can’t let things become normalized. We must mourn every soul, and truly feel outraged, sad, or upset. We can’t let things keep going the way they are, and to do this we must stop the desensitization. We can’t close ourselves off from the regular grief of it all. News needs to become news again. We must see tragedy as unusual and wrong in order for it to ever end.