Observations The USA


A sad image of high-schoolers being evacuated with hands in their air.
Umpqua Community College students being evacuated with hands in the air, as if they were perpetrators rather than victims.

I couldn’t take another word so I punched a finger into the car radio power button and sat in silence. A prestigious panel had been discussing the latest school shooting on the Diane Rehm Show and I was still bristling from their word choices.

People who kill other people are murderers, not “shooters” and yet during the few minutes I listened, everyone used the term shooter. When they began referring to the massacre as a disaster, I lost it. Man-made violence is not an act of nature as the word disaster would imply. The latest killing was pre-meditated mass murder, plain and simple.

I get it. We’ve come a long way since two perpetrators murdered twelve students during the Columbine High School Massacre sixteen years ago. Yes, those are the words they used back then. Perpetrator, murder and massacre.

There have been 163 School shootings since then with 45 this year alone, according to Newsweek. Mass murder has become commonplace, an earmark of a violent gun-obsessed society. We’re inundated with murder and so it makes sense that media would try and soften the assault with damped-down language.

It’s a small thing, I told myself and tried to forget it. In the hours that followed my little tantrum, I wanted to share my outrage. But by the end of the day, after dozens of conversations with peers and co-workers the only person I was able to vent to was Bob. Not only are we as a nation becoming numb to the mounting legacy of violence, it seemed futile to voice my indignation. Sad times, I tell you. Sad and frustrating times.


Denver Post December 12, 2013 – School shootings since Columbine High massacre

Newsweek October 6, 2015 – Map: Every School Shooting in America Since 2013

Oxford Dictionary – dis·as·ter [d??zast?r/] noun
“A sudden event, such as an accident or a natural catastrophe, that causes great damage or loss of life.”

By Camille Armantrout

Camille lives with her soul mate Bob in the back woods of central North Carolina where she hikes, gardens, cooks, and writes.

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