Editorial: Nation should focus on change through local channels

By The Pitt News Editorial Board

A nauseating feeling permeates the air today as news of Monday’s mass shooting at the Washington Navy Yard reaches the victims’ families, bystanders and the nation.

We can once again comment on the tragedy of this event, we can consider the manner by which we should extend our thoughts and condolences to those touched, and we can lend our deepest gratitude to the authorities who were able to respond to the scene and save an innumerable amount of lives. And that is OK. We should foremost dedicate our thoughts and prayers to everyone in Washington, D.C., who was affected by such a tragic event. We should honor those who died and respect their courage and patriotism.

What is arguably sadder is that tragedies like this receive attention initially, but are then placed in the back of everyone’s minds until the next massacre occurs.

Once we silently lend our condolences, we move past the event largely unwavered. We ridicule our federal government for lack of reaction to such events. We call upon Twitter and Facebook to serve as our soapbox on which we may wag our fingers at Congress for not pushing hard enough to address such issues. But who are we to ridicule when we are the ones committing the biggest crime?

Instead of spending our time pushing the blame on federal officials, shouldn’t we instead ask our local congressmen and representatives to address these issues? If these issues really affect your life so much that you turn to social media outlets to express your distaste, wouldn’t you agree that such time could be better spent emailing your local representative about these concerns?

If you’re looking for an incentive, you’ve witnessed enough national mass shootings to use for motivation. If that doesn’t create some sort of impetus, take note of the two individuals found dead because of similar acts of gun violence in Homewood and Braddock, neighborhoods in close proximity with our University.

The nation has experienced a multitude of mass shootings, many of which have little in common. One fact remains certain: Innocent people were killed at the hands of cowardly assailants, leaving countless families forever marred by the memory of a loved one removed from their lives. It is wrong for us not to pay them solace. But it is a greater injustice served to the entire nation to not act proactively and foster change in our own communities.

We will move on from this tragic event with more wisdom than before. We will be stronger, and we will be more defined. As the saying goes, think globally; act locally.