Prof. ST Hsieh
Director, US-China Energy Industry Forum
October 26, 2023
Mass shootings in the US happen so often that many of us feel numb. But the dangerous trend is alarming, nobody can feel safe anymore. Sadly, our society seems to have lost hope and no one can make any changes anymore.
Any shooting involves two basic elements. The first is the shooter who pulled the trigger for one reason or another. The major reason is now blamed on mental illness caused by war fatigue and substance abuse…Most often, the proposed solution is to ask for more funding for consoling and social services. But the basis of one’s life starts with the family and then school education. It is time for us to take responsibility to build a warm family lifestyle when the kids are young. Then our school system, from K-12 all the way to college, has to be able to teach young minds true values of life (not only monetary values!)
Another basic element of any shooting is the weapon, and the preferred weapon is powerful handguns. Gun control is almost a taboo for conservatives in the US. If we have the political will, it is the simplest and most direct approach for reducing mass shootings in the US. We are a model democracy, so we cannot blame the politicians for strongly opposing any gun control measure. We the people are responsible for voting these politicians to the offices. As such, collectively, we are responsible for our own actions: even if it is destroying our society.
Opinion: Lewiston killings show the war zone we have at home
Published 3:33 PM EDT, Thu October 26, 2023
Editor’s Note: Danielle Campoamor is freelance writer and reporter, formerly of TODAY and NBC. The views expressed here are her own.
On the morning of May 24, 2022, my then-editors at TODAY.com were ready to send me to Ukraine to cover Russia’s unprovoked war. I had done everything necessary to prepare: I completed a three-day hostile environment training; purchased tourniquets and other battlefield medical equipment to carry on my person at all times; facilitated difficult conversations with my then-partner, about the worst case scenario and how he would discuss the unthinkable with our two young sons.
Then, I received a phone call as news alerts flooded my phone, email and Slack: A reported 19 children and two teachers were shot and killed inside two fourth-grade classrooms at Robb Elementary School In Uvalde, Texas.
On Thursday it happened again.
While on a 10-hour flight to Israel to cover the ongoing Israel-Hamas war as an independent journalist, I received notifications of a mass shooting in Maine. As I was planning on-the-ground coverage — including face-to-face interviews with grieving family members whose loved ones were either killed or kidnapped by Hamas, and while collecting voice memos from innocent civilians trapped in Gaza — I read the initial reports with a very familiar feeling of dread: Multiple people killed. More than a dozen others injured. The shooter still at large. An entire community paralyzed by fear, sheltering-in-place, and waiting for the sun to rise and the nightmare that is gun violence to be over.
I was traveling across the globe to cover a devastating war that has left thousands reported dead, many of them children — and all the while the devastation of yet another mass shooting was being felt at home.
It’s not hyperbolic to say that unfettered access to weapons of war have turned this nation’s schools, parades, churches and synagogues, nightclubs, health care clinics, movie theaters, malls, grocery stores, outdoor concerts and bowling alleys into potential slaughterhouses. Guns are now the leading cause of death among children living in the United States, surpassing car crashes, overdoses and Covid-19, according to data from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
In 2023, it took the country just about two months to surpass 100 mass shootings nationwide. In 2022, the US surpassed 100 mass shootings by March 19. In 2021, by the end of March.
In other words, it’s getting worse.
Now, in Maine, we’re watching it all unfold again.
And like war-time soldiers, those who either lost a loved one to gun violence, survived a mass shooting or witnessed one firsthand are suffering negative mental health outcomes, including post-traumatic stress disorder, depression and anxiety.
And like soldiers who return from war, they are often not able to obtain adequate, sustainable mental health care.
Ashbey Beasley — who, on July 4, 2022, ran for her life alongside her 6-year-old son as a man with an AR-15 style weapon opened fire on a parade in Highland Park, Illinois, killing seven and injuring dozens of others — told me on Thursday that in the last year she has learned “how critical mental health care and community resources are to mass shooting survivors.”
“Some people will not be able to work. Some people don’t have health insurance or paid time off to take care of themselves,” she continued. “Expanding the conversation to include every person who was present at these mass shooting events means they will be counted in the total number of people who need resources. And they will need it.” Over 30 people were killed or injured in Lewiston, Maine. The town has a population of about 38,000. The entire state has only one Level 1 Trauma Hospital. Everyone — witnesses, loved ones, family members, first responders, health care workers and community members — are impacted.
In the era of a 24-hour news cycle covering two international conflicts, an unprecedented rolling back of constitutional and human rights, the ramifications of an unparalleled global pandemic, an opioid epidemic and the scourge of gun violence, it’s not a stretch to say that as human beings we have always carried with us the capacity to experience or bear witness to multiple horrors simultaneously.
So, to be clear: What has happened in Maine — like what happened in Uvalde, Highland Park, Sandy Hook, Buffalo, Las Vegas, Pulse, Parkland, San Jose, Columbine, Aurora, and more — does not negate what is happening in Israel, Gaza, Ukraine and beyond. And visa versa. One horrific act does not mean another should be ignored. Violence is violence. Lives stolen are forever lost, erasing bright futures and leaving communities destroyed and generations forever scarred.
But as a journalist who has covered both bloody conflicts waged overseas and countless acts of gun violence here at home, it is not lost on me that the horror of war is not some foreign concept that requires long flights, battlefield medical equipment and flak jackets with the word “PRESS” to adequately cover. Instead, those horrors are an American reality, experienced in quiet towns, local supermarkets and children’s classrooms.
Now in Israel, I keep thinking about what Uvalde dad Brett Cross, who lost his son, Uzi, in the Robb Elementary School shooting, told me as he heard about the shooting in Maine:
“I know you’re headed into a war zone,” he messaged. “But I’m here — we’re all here — in a war zone, too. A war zone that is brought about by lax gun laws and failure by our politicians. A war zone that is uniquely American.”
Washington, searching for ‘security threats,’ should take a look at Maine: Global Times editorial
By Global TimesPublished: Oct 27, 2023 12:06 AM Updated: Oct 27, 2023 12:03 AM
One long-discussed backdrop in the US is the widespread availability of firearms and lax gun control. This is a systemic issue that the US has been unable to resolve, contributing to the difficult-to-bridge societal divides.