Uproar after Parkland, silence after Santa Fe

Shock fatigue sets in among students following tragedies

Aaron Deans, Online Editor

Ten lives were lost in the May 21 shooting at Santa Fe High School in Santa Fe, Texas. As of Sunday, the United States has had 23 school shootings involving at least one injury or casualty this year.

Unlike the Parkland shooting in February, which saw a widespread call to action in response, the tragedy in the Houston suburb hasn’t received the same response, from the media or from students.

The regular occurrence of school shootings, even to its victims, isn’t shocking anymore. In an interview to a local news station, Paige Curry, a Santa Fe High School student, said that she was not surprised that her school was targeted.

“I’ve always felt it would eventually happen here, too,” she said.

At Branham, students have been silent.

On March 14, one month after the Parkland tragedy, hundreds marched to the quad to protest gun violence as talks about the protest started within days of the shooting. There are currently no plans for a similar protest.

Freshman Katelyn Anderson said that school shootings were becoming less shocking to her.

“It’s not really surprising anymore,” she said. “It’s really sad that I’m kind of used to it now.”

Some point to the risk of desensitization: the concept that overexposure to something negative will, over time, make one less emotionally reactive to it. In other words, it becomes less shocking due to one repeatedly viewing something traumatic.

Junior Hana Tzou, one of the organizers for the Branham walkout in March, pointed out that desensitization reflects how shootings are happening far too often.

“The very fact that we’re no longer surprised when yet another shooting is heard about in the news,” she said, “when yet another group of children or students or people in America are killed, it’s a representation of just how bad this epidemic has gotten in America.”

Tzou said that people still need to be careful and not let desensitization change how they fight violence.

“We still have to keep our voices loud, and we also still have to keep responding to these shootings with the same amount of vigor that we responded to Parkland, that we respond to Vegas,” Tzou said. “Because even though these shootings may be smaller, less people died, they still matter in the fact that people still died and that’s still a problem.”

Joel Rodriguez, senior at Prospect High School and a leader in March for Our Lives San Jose, said that people need to break past this desensitization and keep working towards a solution.

“Right now, what we’re seeing in the status quo is that these shootings are gonna keep on going on, they’re gonna keep on happening, until we do something about it,” he said. “And I think that, until we change desensitization of these shootings, and what they actually mean, then we’re gonna be able to find an actual solution to the problem.”

In the months since Parkland, there has been substantial progress toward March for Our Lives’s goals of curbing gun violence. Major sporting goods outlets have increased the age of purchasing a firearm, among other measures.

In early May, March for Our Lives San Jose helped pass a law that bans the possession and sale of firearms on all Santa Clara County property.