My jaw almost hit the floor when I heard the statistic. Just wait until you read it.
John Walsh, the host of America’s Most Wanted, The Hunt, and In Pursuit, was a guest last week on one of the noon-time tv talk shows. He was there to promote the new season of the show, In Pursuit. In the segment, he stated that in 2019 there were over 300 mass shootings in the U.S.
“Over 300 mass shootings”?!
That’s when my jaw hit the floor. I sat for a while in a daze. How could I have been so unaware? How could I have missed the news briefs and the stories covering these horrible incidents? Where had I been?
And then I thought, “What is going on with people in our country?”
I seldom watch the news. Years ago, I had read that watching the news, especially before bed, can disrupt your sleep. At that point in my life, I was already having a tough time getting enough sleep due to the stress of parenting two highly active boys under age 10 (one of whom was on the Autism Spectrum), and being the sole employee of my business. That’s when I stopped watching the news and began only watching shows that transported me from reality.
John Walsh’s statistics about mass shootings in the U.S. stuck with me for days and caused me to think more deeply about the issue. I couldn’t believe the numbers were possible I know John Walsh doesn’t lie, but I had to fact-check this statistic. It was just too unimaginable. Here’s what I found.
In 2019 there weren’t 300 mass shootings; there were actually 434!
That’s 1.19 shootings per day.
The total number of people injured was 1643.
The total number of people who died was 517.
The total number of victims was 2160.
Of the 434 events, 9 took place at schools or universities.
The numbers are overwhelming, and the effects of them lead to real fear. No one is immune to that fear; whether we’ve been an actual victim or a news watcher.
There are countless silent victims living in a state of trauma, PTSD, and on-going fear of an event like this happening to them.
As someone who is highly sensitive to the energy of events and others, I can feel the trauma of those who are associated with these experiences. I am able to sense their devastation, anger, outrage, anxiety, and fear. I also sense them closing off emotionally and socially in an effort to protect themselves from the pain, and remaining suspicious of those who are unfamiliar. As a result, people are separating and distancing themselves from one another.
Each of those 434 events last year has its own story, precipitating moment or cause. I can’t begin to imagine what those causes could have been to provoke such catastrophic events. But what I can imagine is these events never happening again. I believe they don’t have to be repeated. I believe we can change the future. I believe if we each take responsibility for ourselves, we can put an end to them– or at the very least, reduce their numbers. Here’s how.
Individually, we must stop blaming others for how we feel – “she/he made me feel ___.” We need to stop expressing our emotions inappropriately through overt and passive-aggressive actions. We must put an end to bullying. We must stop expecting our government, companies, and schools to protect us when we aren’t taking responsibility for ourselves.
Instead, we must find ways to use our words to clear up misunderstandings and hurts. We must own our feelings and communicate them appropriately to those involved. We must recognize when we feel inadequate or powerless and ask for help to transform these feelings into something more positive. And finally, we must respect and honor one another with our words and actions. Only then will we be able to reduce conflict and the number of victims associated with violence.