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Ourview: Consistent mass shootings desensitize America to terrorist attacks

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Each week the editorial board reflects on a current issue in Our View. The position taken does not reflect the opinions of everyone on the Hilltop Views staff. This week’s editorial board is composed of Viewpoints editors Kenny Phipps and Lauren Sanchez.

New York City experienced a tragic, deadly terrorist attack on Halloween this year. Eight people were murdered when a man who had pledged allegiance to ISIS careened a rented truck into a crowded bike lane. It was the deadliest attack in NYC since 9/11.

The devastating nature of this event, however, does not seem to have made a huge impact on the news media; as we write this, the front pages of every major newspaper make no mention of the Manhattan attack.

Vegas, San Bernadino, New York City, Paris, Nice, Charlottesville, Dallas, Mogadishu; the list of cities affected by terrorist attacks or mass shootings goes on and on, so much so that it is often difficult to remember when or for what ill-conceived reason this horrific violence occurred.

In fact, most times it’s difficult to even feel anything when it comes to these attacks. Yes, we care about the lives lost and the atrocities committed, but do we feel any devastation? We hardly even feel shock, nowadays.

When 9/11 happened, it was the biggest terrorist attack committed in our history, and the devastation was nationwide. People took time off work, processed what had happened and overall feared for what the future held.

Now another terrorist attack in NYC, and we move on with our daily lives. Even with the attack in Las Vegas, we had our arguments about gun control and promptly moved on.

And yet, it seems too easy to move on from these events. Thanks to the constant onslaught of news and media in our lives, we are bombarded by coverage of tragic events and are supplied with greater knowledge of the terror humans are capable of inflicting on one another.

It’s obvious that as a society we have become numb to this type of terror. Though we fear it happening to ourselves and to the people around us, this is something we have become accustomed to. America, and the rest of the Western world, has normalized terrorism.

This is in no way the fault of American citizens. The ubiquity of terror attacks in modern life has caused us to become somewhat immune to their effects. Perhaps this means in the future terrorism will become less widespread due to its inability to produce shock and fear, but more likely it spells only an increase in their frequency and destruction.

However, the American government itself has had a hand in this normalization. When a domestic terror attack occurs, as in a terror attack committed by a white man with a gun, which is majority of terror attacks in America, they brush it off. They blame mental health, they tell us that “guns aren’t the problem” and that we need to move on from that conversation and keep the victims in our “thoughts and prayers.”

But when a terror attack is committed by a Muslim or person who has pledged allegiance to ISIS, Islam is the problem and should be dealt with immediately. Even then, the terror attack is quickly replaced as the central topic in the national conversation.

While it’s the government’s job to take steps to make sure no more attacks occur, it is also the job of the average American citizen to stop the normalization and desensitization of terrorist attacks. Don’t forget New York, don’t forget Orlando, don’t forget Las Vegas or any other devastating attacks.

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Ourview: Consistent mass shootings desensitize America to terrorist attacks