On Thursday, June 28, at approximately 3:15 p.m, Anne Arundel Police, alongside the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives confirmed that they were responding to an “active shooter incident” at the Capital Gazette’s newsroom in Annapolis, Maryland. At least five people have been killed and several others were “gravely injured,” according to reports from the Baltimore Sun, owner of the Capital Gazette. Police said the shooter is in custody and is being interrogated and have confirmed that the suspect is, in fact, a white male using a long gun and that explosive devices were found on the scene.
Phil Davis, a Capital Gazette crime reporter who was in the building as the gunman opened fire said “it was like a war zone” inside the newspaper offices, “as much as I’m going to try and articulate how traumatizing it is to be hiding under your desk, you don’t know until you’re there and you feel helpless.”
President Donald Trump wrote on Twitter that he had been briefed on the shooting sending “thoughts and prayers” to the victims and their families while thanking first responders on the scene as well. Public officials across the aisle reacted to the situation on Twitter, including House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), who called for Congress to take up legislation on gun safety in the aftermath of the shooting at the Capital Gazette. “Everyday it [Congress] fails to do so is a stain on our country,” she wrote.
Congresswoman Pelosi is not wrong, Congress does have a responsibility to take action. Yet since Parkland, Congress has only passed a government funding package that increases funds for the national background check system. Lawmakers are yet to consider legislation that would, for example, raise age restrictions on firearm purchases or ban certain assault weapons, two initiatives that have been strongly advocated for by gun safety activists.
Unfortunately, this narrative is not a new one in American society. In 2018 alone, there have been approximately 154 shooting incidents in the United States. Americans have been conditioned to respond to mass shootings in a sequence that, in the end, incidentally leaves us waiting for the next shooting to happen. We speculate and send our condolences as we wait for the shooter’s identity to be revealed. After the initial aftermath — other news stories take precedence as guns continue to remain unchecked — until another mass shooting inevitably occurs. I hate to say it but if this trend continues, the news cycle will eventually move on and we will continue to live our day-to-day lives until history repeats itself once again.
We are quickly approaching the point where each and every one of us will know someone affected by a mass shooting or be affected ourselves. It doesn’t and shouldn’t need to become personal for legitimate action to occur. Fellow Americans, people we co-exist with on this planet are being gunned down daily. That should be personal enough for us, but unfortunately, it isn’t in our arguably selfish society. Citizens and legislators alike must stop arguing on the causes of mass shootings and instead agree that we simply want to solve the issue and commit to doing so; whatever it takes. There cannot be any more excuses, human lives are superior to politics. We cannot afford to wait until a new Congress is elected in November for effective, long-term change — our lives are at stake.