Editorial – Tree of Life

Editorial Board

It is surprising to see how many news networks are so quick to move on from the mass shooting at the Tree of Life Synagogue in Pittsburgh that occurred just a week and a half ago. To many, the Pittsburgh tragedy has become “just another one” in a litany of mass shootings in the last several years. Many are no longer surprised. But is the blasé attitude really so shocking?

According to the Gun Violence Archive, as of November 8th, there have been 307 mass shootings in the United States in 2018. For seniors, our high school careers began a few months after the Charleston Church Massacre in June 2015 when a white supremacist murdered nine African-Americans. In December of 2015, fourteen people were killed in the San Bernardino shooting. In 2016, forty-nine people were gunned down at Pulse, a gay nightclub in Orlando. In 2017, fifty-eight people died at the Harvest Musical Festival in Las Vegas, the deadliest mass shooting in our nation’s history. The frequency and magnitude of shootings in the United States far surprasses any other country and continues to increase every year. From 1983 to 2013 there were 119 mass shootings around the world, and the United States accounted for 78 of them. Last year, there were roughly six mass shootings per week in the United States.

Places of learning and spiritual peace have been marred by violence and death. The most sacred spaces have been used as outlets of rage, hatred, and discrimination too many times. No one is exempt from the threat of mass shootings.

This past Wednesday, thirteen people were killed at a country music dance hall in Thousand Oaks, California. Many of us on the board came to school yesterday expecting to have conversations about the shooting and were disheartened to find that the school carried on like usual. Let’s not allow these horrific acts to become normalized. Let them not fade away among countless other headlines, stories, and distractions permeating and plaguing our nation. Let the past serve as a constant reminder of why we must fight the encroaching belief that this is normal.

First they came for the Communists

And I did not speak out

Because I was not a Communist

Then they came for the Socialists

And I did not speak out

Because I was not a Socialist

Then they came for the trade unionists

And I did not speak out

Because I was not a trade unionist

Then they came for the Jews

And I did not speak out

Because I was not a Jew

Then they came for me

And there was no one left

To speak out for me

-Martin Niemöller (1892-1984) in the US Holocaust Memorial Museum