Editor’s Desk: Who will survive in America?

Volume 50, Issue 14: Editor’s Desk

Who will survive in America?


I remember where I was when Sandy Hook happened. I was a first-year student then, having just completed my first ever post secondary final exam. I walked out of that final brimming with confidence – despite my less than stellar attendance, I knew I did well in the class.

News about the shooting in the Newton, Connecticut elementary school broke out as I was about to leave campus grounds. I remember not having data on my non-smart cellphone, so on my commute back to Coquitlam, I was left entirely out of the loop.

When I got home, my social media feeds were overflowing with thoughts and prayers. There were messages laden with anger, confusion and distraught. There were calls to action, campaigns and public pleas to dramatically improve the US government’s stance on gun control. Posts came from lawmakers, celebrities and friends – from a massive variety of people, even from those with a complete physical detachment to the tragedy.

Sandy Hook was a turning point. And I believe that many years from now, regardless of how the US government moves forward with their seemingly endless gun control debate, we will look back at Sandy Hook as the very moment where we lost.

According to the New York Times, there have been at least 239 school shootings in the US since Sandy Hook – a mere six-year span. In that span, 438 people were shot, 138 of whom were shot fatally. During that same span, we have witnessed even more public outcry regarding gun control in the US, countless modifications to an increasingly diluted “#PrayFor” social media trend and even more messages about thoughts and prayers.

We have reached a point where society has become desensitized to shootings. We have become far too used to tragedies south of the border that our reactions, and the reactions we expect, almost border on routine. Tragedy, send thoughts and prayers, a moment of public outcry against US lawmakers, rinse and repeat. It’s hard to believe that even after one of the worst tragedies in modern history, we’ve somehow gotten worse.

But how are we supposed to react? How do we cope? On June 19, 2015, Dan Hodges of the Daily Mail tweeted what arguably has become the most apt answer to the same question we ask each other tragedy after tragedy: “In retrospect, Sandy Hook marked the end of the US gun control debate. Once America decided killing children was bearable, it was over.”

Maybe it is over. Maybe this is it. Major political leaders around the world are not getting any better. And regardless of whether election interference took place or not, a massive group of people are still voting clearly inept and irresponsible figures into positions of power. It is so debilitating to feel and sound so hopeless in the midst of a tumultuous sociopolitical climate, especially since it feels like humanity just hasn’t seen a “win” in a little bit.

Recently, I’ve had numerous conversations about the value of sports. I’ve had arguments defending sports’ place in society as more than just a distraction from more important worldly affairs. While we can’t allow ourselves to be completely cut off from the environment we live in, maybe this is the time to look to sports. At least our respective teams and sports icons give us the hope of victory – something that we might not see from the real world anytime soon.

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