You’re going to read the story and perhaps feel a pang of sadness. You’ll read the names — maybe even get to know their families for a second.
But then you’ll close the story and go back to looking at Tasty video to learn how to make the cookies you’ll never bake. Oh look, this one shows a no-bake recipe.
We digressed. It’s not entirely your fault, dear reader. We’ve become desensitized to the headlines and stories the same way we’ve become desensitized to government ineptitude. The government shutdown was an example of that.
But again, we digressed. Do you see how simple it is to get distracted by peripheral topics and ideas? It’s easier to move on to the next story, the next photo or the next day.
What about the families of the two 15-year-olds who died at Marshall County High School? They don’t get to do that. From now on there will be an empty bed in two Kentucky homes, two less gifts to give on Christmas and memories that no longer have the chance to be made.
The families who lose loved ones don’t get to digress. They’re going to remember the last moments with their sons and replay everything they could’ve done differently.
According to MassShootingTracker.org, a website that tracks mass shootings, 427 took place in 2017, leaving at least 586 dead in their wake. We’ve just begun 2018, and including Tuesday’s shooting, there have been at least 20 mass shootings — 32 victims.
Each day the count goes up.
But you don’t care.
Unless, of course, it happens close to home. How many of you felt the Orlando Pulse shooting that left 49 people dead was personal? Orlando is a two-hour drive from Gainesville. It could have been us.
When the next school shooting comes, maybe you’ll breathe a sigh of grief. It was bound to happen again, you’ll tell yourself, but at least it wasn’t at your school — in your city. And you’ll keep scrolling through your feed.
You’ll tell yourself there’s nothing you can do. It’s easy to block it out because it’s not your town.
The punch of loss will pound the families who call Benton, Kentucky, home. The story of the children who are dead and the 17 injured will stay with the mothers who have to send their children to school in Benton.
But to everyone looking on it will not matter.
Unless you do care.
Dear readers: Prove us wrong and show the people of Benton, Kentucky, that you care by sharing this editorial. Stop watching the Tasty video and forward this to your legislators, lobbyists and those who can legislate change.
Demand them to care.
This isn’t a political argument. It doesn’t matter if you have the Second Amendment of the United States Constitution taped to your wall, or if you don’t believe it should exist; the tragedy must stop.
No one wants to see these headlines. No governor wants to hold a press conference on this. No parent wants to explain this to their child.
Whether it’s gun control, better background checks or restrictions on the types of guns and ammunition available for sale, you, dear reader, need to be advocating for these changes. Call your local, state and national representatives. Be a champion of access to mental health services in your community.
Speak up. Events like Kentucky shouldn’t make us complacent. They should make us angry.