Why we’ve become numb

Terrorism and violence have become a normality in our lives

By Kira Garlick and Elinda Xiao


It has only been a week since our community was threatened with bullets and bombs. Now it feels like a distant memory.

A 17-year-old from Fremont made online threats towards Jewish students, finally being arrested Sept 5.

What was our school’s reaction to the threats? One unsettling Monday of murmurs, a handful of people missing from first period, both followed by a normal Tuesday. That was it.

The fact that we dismissed such a threat so quickly is alarming. It has become almost normal to hear reports of another school shooting in the United States. When we do hear about these shootings, our response is “Oh, only three people this time?” instead of mourning for the loss of another three lives.

Just this Friday, a bomb threat was made toward the Redwood City High School. Fortunately there was no explosive to be found, but classes were still canceled and the campus along with city hall were evacuated, according to Mercury News.

Here’s the reality – we know about what has happened to past schools like Sandy Hook Elementary and Umpqua Community College in Oregon. We know the consequences, and it could have happened to us.

After countless news reports regarding fatalities and terrorism, our reaction is always lukewarm, whether the threat be in another continent, or only one school away.

The current generation of young teens is numb to the events of the world around us. And it has been like that since the very beginning of our lives.

Since we learned how to walk, we have been surrounded by news about international conflicts in the Middle East and heard stories about the tragedy of 9/11. The world that we’ve been raised in is a world built around the concept of impending violence. “Run, Hide, Defend” drills are to us what our parents had in “Duck and Cover” practices against atomic bombs.

The news is full of stories of violence in schools just like ours, and all we can do is listen. It’s like hearing the same song on the radio again and again. Repetition makes a mind dull, and we’ve heard the horrors repeatedly. We just can’t muster up an urge to care anymore– and that’s a big problem.

It should frighten us that it is possible for one of our fellow classmates to bring a gun onto campus and repeat the same scenarios that happened on countless other campuses. It shouldn’t be seen as weak or paranoid when someone is cautious when something like that happens. In fact, it’s even more irregular to brush it off, but that seems to have become the norm.

The violence is not stopping. Just in 2016, there have been 25 school shootings in the United States, according to Gun Violence archive, a nonprofit created to help raise awareness of recent statistics. 

A Harvard study reported mass shootings has become more frequent, tripling since 2011, with more than ten shootings occurring in the past four years.

Even though these are even more statistics piling on, there is good news. According to Washington Post, the overall number of shootings in the U.S. has declined dramatically.

So yes, there is hope for a more peaceful future, but we should still be aware of the reality of what is going on around us.

 With everything we hear about the world, it almost feels like the media has nothing but bad news for us, and we’d rather ignore what’s happening instead of taking action. Even more frustrating is when we’d like to take action, but there’s only so much that we can do.

There will be more threats in the future, and those ones might not be empty.

We need to wake up to the reality of what is happening, instead of turning our heads once again.