The Patriot Press

Filed under Opinion

The Way We Talk About Violence Has To Change. For Real This Time

Outrage. Heated Political Debate. Loss of Interest. Repeat. In recent years, the public conversation about violence has grown startlingly formulaic.

Chris McGrath/Getty Images

Hang on for a minute...we're trying to find some more stories you might like.


Email This Story






Yesterday, a crazed man slaughtered eleven worshippers at a synagogue in Pittsburgh. It was the deadliest anti-Semitic attack on American soil in decades.

One year ago this month, I sat down in front of my desk at home after school and wrote about a similar event: the senseless murder of 59 people at a concert in Las Vegas. Even then, the content of my writing was uncomfortably familiar, echoing the wording of articles written about the Pulse nightclub shooting a year prior, from which the Las Vegas tragedy had just taken the title of “deadliest mass shooting in American history.”

The nation took to the Internet to express its outrage. Politicians assured their constituents that they too were appalled by mass murder, but their constituents fired back, mocking the meaningless “thoughts and prayers” that littered the Twitter feeds of American lawmakers. After roughly 24 hours, the Twitter wars grew hyperpartisan, and action of some kind was suddenly demanded, though much of the actual calls to action revolved around little except the phrases “more guns” and “fewer guns”.

Then, a few days after, the tragically predictable happened: the nation moved on. America’s now-formulaic response to violence had run its course. By this point, even the cynical remarks about how formulaic and ineffectual this response had become were frustratingly predictable.

In the months that followed, violence at home and abroad pervaded the national conversation. Churchgoers in Texas were murdered in their place of worship. More debate was sparked. Uncomfortable insinuations were made by news organizations like Fox, which was keen on reminding its viewers that the shooter was both a Democrat and an atheist (it should be noted that this problem is not endemic to media outlets on any one side of the political spectrum). Further afield, terrorists seemed to be murdering innocent people in Afganistan every week. The occasional Russian journalist/former secret agent was murdered by Putin. These and other events sparked varying degrees of disgust among the American populace, but it was always short-lived. 

Then came Parkland. Parkland, where teenagers were murdered by another teenager in a shocking display of barbarity. While school shootings were not a new phenomenon in February 2018, Parkland was markedly different from its predecessors. The survivors were not small children and they were not adults with fully established lives to rebuild. They were teenagers, members of a new “Post-Columbine Generation,” whose social media news feeds had always been inundated with violence, and who were at the perfect age for social activism. Left-of-center Americans rallied behind them. The media hailed them as heroes. Schools nationwide, including Wayne Hills, were caught up in the fervor and held their own protests in solidarity with them. For a while, it was even thought that the Parkland students age and status as survivors would save them from the attacks of the US gun lobby. For a fleeting moment, the cycle had been broken: it seemed that meaningful change had arrived at last.

However, even the post-Parkland conversation came to an end without any meaningful change. Gridlock was quickly reached between proponents and opponents of gun control. The far-right quickly lost any qualms it may have had about hurling insults at teenage school-shooting survivors, and soon enough the survivors’ voices were silenced by accusations that they were “crisis actors” and “liberal propagandists”. Today, David Hogg and Emma Gonzalez are rapidly fading memories in the Amercian consciousness.

Now, in October 2018, little has changed. On Tuesday, October 2, Saudi Arabian journalist and political dissident Jamal Khashoggi entered his nation’s consulate in Ankara and is widely believed to have been tortured and decapitated by a team of Saudi agents. It is likely that Mohammad Bin Salman Al Saud, the young Saudi Crown Prince, ordered the killing.

The politically motivated murder of Khashoggi dominated the headlines for a few days and was the original topic of this opinion piece. However, while I was putting off finishing it, a disgruntled Trump supporter sent pipe bombs to several prominent critics of President Donald Trump, including billionaire George Soros, former President Barack Obama, and New Jersey Senator Corey Booker. This sensational affair quickly robbed the Saudi scandal of its headlines. Mere days after that, the Tree of Life Congregation was fired upon, and America’s attention turned away from the MAGA-Bomber.

The frequency and seeming ubiquity of violence in the modern world has numbed America to it. This is not a new observation, and neither is the concept of an opinion article urging that something be done about that violence.

However, I am still compelled to urge a change in the way we talk (and think) about violence. Violent acts, no matter their frequency, should never be considered commonplace. We are moving to a point at which political and religious violence is just a fact of life, but the country should not be complacent with this. The debate about how to solve this problem should be both civil and last more than a few months. Real change will not come about in a democratic society like our own without a willingness from both sides to compromise on issues like gun control and American-Saudi relations. The conversation should not cease when an impasse is reached, as the problem of violence will persist.

If any real progress is to be made, the United States cannot forget the tragedies of this October. The cycle cannot be allowed to continue.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Joe Mezza, Senior Editor

Joe Mezza, alongside Nick Tulino and Jenna Sundel, is a Senior Editor for the Patriot Press and has written for the paper since 2016. When not writing...

Leave a Comment

If you want a picture to show with your comment, go get a gravatar.




Navigate Left
  • The Way We Talk About Violence Has To Change. For Real This Time

    Opinion

    OP-ED: Pros of Block Schedules

  • The Way We Talk About Violence Has To Change. For Real This Time

    Entertainment

    Michael Myers Strikes Again In New Version Of Halloween

  • The Way We Talk About Violence Has To Change. For Real This Time

    Humans of Wayne Hills

    Marijuana and Wayne Hills

  • National News

    Kavanaugh…really?

  • The Way We Talk About Violence Has To Change. For Real This Time

    Opinion

    Kavanaugh Faces Sexual Assault Accusations: Why WHHS Should Care

  • The Way We Talk About Violence Has To Change. For Real This Time

    Fashion

    Do You Follow These Fashion Trends?

  • The Way We Talk About Violence Has To Change. For Real This Time

    National News

    Trump’s Domestic Gag Rule

  • The Way We Talk About Violence Has To Change. For Real This Time

    Opinion

    Kanye West’s Ignorant Twitter Rampage

  • The Way We Talk About Violence Has To Change. For Real This Time

    National News

    NFL Kneeling Ban: Oppressive and Unconstitutional

  • The Way We Talk About Violence Has To Change. For Real This Time

    Entertainment

    Avengers: Infinity War Review

Navigate Right
"Without an informed public, the democracy will cease to exist."
The Way We Talk About Violence Has To Change. For Real This Time