Recent suicides highlight how much mass shootings affect us

In this Feb. 25, 2018 file photo, mourners bring flowers as they pay tribute at a memorial for the victims of the shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, in Parkland, Fla. The community of Parkland, Florida, is focusing on suicide prevention programs after two survivors of the Florida high school massacre there killed themselves this month. Parkland Mayor Christine Hunschofsky said Monday, March 25, 2019, that officials are publicizing the available counseling services after a second Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School student apparently killed himself over the weekend. (David Santiago/Miami Herald via AP, File)

In recent weeks, there have been suicides in the news connected to mass shootings such as the Parkland High and Sandy Hook shootings. These tragic events are a lingering effect of these mass shootings and are another reason why the United States should not give up on trying to stop these crimes from happening.

In March, two students who attended Parkland High School, where Nikolas Cruz killed 17 students and staff members, killed themselves after reportedly suffering from survivor’s guilt. A father of one of the children killed in the Sandy Hook shooting also killed himself, more than six years after the crime. These suicides are proof that effects from mass shootings do not end after the media has talked about them for two weeks and moved on; they are devastating events that can affect communities for years, and the country should be doing more to stop them.

It is alarming when one compares the United States’ response to these shootings to New Zealand’s response to the attack that recently happened there, when 50 people were killed in a mosque. Just a month after the attack, New Zealand is already banning many semi automatic weapons in an effort to curb these shootings. Keep in mind that this is not just another shooting in that country; it is the first mass shooting to happen in New Zealand. It only took this one terrible crime to spur the country to action. Meanwhile, here in the U.S., shootings keep happening and nothing is being done to stop it. Sure, states like Connecticut may have instituted bans on high capacity magazines and mandated background checks, but federal law has barely been changed. The shootings keep happening, and the government keeps ignoring them. What does this say about our country, when we are unwilling to solve a problem that can devastate communities and put our citizens at massive risk?

Even if you do not agree with gun control, it is still admirable that New Zealand is making such a rapid response to its mass shooting. These crimes have been a cancer in the United States for too long, and the fact that no major response is being made is deplorable. Kids in the United States are dying, and they are not only dying from shooters’ guns. The effects from these shootings linger, and as they keep happening they will only get worse and worse. As long as these shootings are still swept under the rug, people will probably keep dealing with mental health issues from them. It is terrible that even with suicides that result from these tragedies, there is still no response from the government.

Ultimately, until the government attempts to stop these shootings, we as a society need to ensure that the survivors and people related to victims of tragedies have access to mental health services, and that we do not stigmatize illnesses like PTSD and survivor’s guilt. We have a responsibility to help these people process these mass shootings, and find a way to heal. It is all we can do until the day that the government finally decides to make an effort to stop them.


Ben Crnic is a contributor for The Daily Campus. He can be reached via email at benjamin.crnic@uconn.edu.