Lake and Sumter Style Magazine
12:18 am EDT
Wednesday, October 21, 2020

Final Thought: Let’s rekindle our outrage

Perhaps a wall could combat apathy toward mass shootings.

Build the damn wall. 

I don’t care how much it costs. I don’t care who pays for it. I don’t care how many oppose it. 

I’m not referring to a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border. I’m talking about a wall to memorialize the thousands of people who have died at the hands of mass shooters in this country. 

The wall would come with several touch-screen kiosks that provide information about the victims. Reading their stories might motivate us to do something about these shootings rather than readily accept them as part of daily life. 

We’ll feel strong emotions for Liviu Librescu, a 76-year-old engineering professor at Virginia Tech University. In 2007, a deranged shooter made his way into Liviu’s classroom and murdered him. As a child, Liviu survived the Holocaust. He did not survive the U.S. mass shooting epidemic. 

We’ll shed a tear for 30-year-old Kameron Brown. The Army veteran was on his way to work when he became one of seven victims in the Odessa, Texas, mass shooting. He survived the bloody battlefields of Afghanistan. He did not survive the U.S. mass shooting epidemic. 

We’ll choke up while reading about Charleston Hartfield, an off-duty police officer who was shot and killed during a 2017 concert in Las Vegas. A married father of two children, he survived being a police officer in Sin City for 11 years. He did not survive the U.S. mass shooting epidemic.  

Our heartstrings will be pulled when we see the names of people spanning all ages—from 18-month-old Noah Holcombe, killed in the Sutherland Springs, Texas, shooting, to 97-year-old Rose Mallinger, killed in the Pittsburgh synagogue shooting.

We’ll weep over the shattered dreams of Nicholas Dworet, a Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School senior who was shot in the head. He received a swimming scholarship to the University of Indianapolis and aspired to become an Olympian.

We’ll experience heartache for the 11 children who lost their mother in the blink of an eye when 49-year-old Brenda Lee Marquez McCool was gunned down at the Pulse Nightclub in Orlando. She was at the club with her gay son. 

The wall also will be a grim reminder that no one and nowhere is immune. Not retail stores. Not churches. Not nightclubs. Not newspaper offices. Not outdoor concerts. Not movie theaters. Not elementary schools. Not high schools. Not college campuses. Not military bases. Not beer factories. 

As these shootings pass in and out of the news cycle, it seems more and more people become numb to them. Or maybe they feel powerless to help so they shut down those feelings of empathy. 

There are things that all of us can do. Vote. Write our representatives. Become politically active in organizations trying to combat this epidemic. 

In the meantime, let’s build that wall. Let it be a motivator to do your part in preventing future mass shootings.