Do you feel safe? | The Tylt

Do you feel safe?

During the first week in August, America suffered multiple mass shootings, making a total of 255 mass shootings in the U.S. since Jan. 1, 2019. Amidst grief and confusion, the news of the shootings in El Paso, Texas and Dayton, Ohio lead many to question their own safety as they go about their regular lives. For others, worrying about unpredictable violence is simply not worth the effort. But for much of the public, walking into grocery stores, bars and movie theaters brings with it a different sense of foreboding. Do you still feel safe on a daily basis, or is your sense of security changing?

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Within the course of 24 hours, America suffered two mass shootings. On the morning of Aug. 3, a shooter opened fire in a Walmart in El Paso, Texas. In the early hours the following day, another shooter did the same outside a bar in Dayton, Ohio. These incidents come less than a week after of another high-profile shooting on July 28 at the Gilroy Garlic Festival in San Fransisco, California. 

At the time of this writing, 22 people have died at the hands of the shooter in El Paso, and 26 are injured. In Dayton, 9 people lost their lives, and 27 have been injured. As CBS News reports, more than 100 people were shot in an eight-day period across five mass shootings.

As some government officials call for Congress to resume in order to address these tragedies and implement immediate changes to prevent further horror, much of the country feels the weight of its current reality: no change thus far has successfully prevented mass shootings. A total of 255 mass shootings this year alone means there have been more shootings than there are days in 2019. 

As people grapple with this reality, some no longer feel safe going about their regular life. Going to work, going to the movies and going to school all carry a different weight—there is a certain trepidation that comes with being among a crowd, and the looming question of "what if?" becomes heavier and heavier. 

Others remain confident that on the whole, the country is safe. Whether it be through resilience, optimism or a certain blindness to the everyday news cycle, many feel it is their duty to live life as they otherwise would. Anything less gives the shooters in these tragedies the power they desire—the power to inflict fear. 

How are you feeling?

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For some, it's as simple as this: going out in public feels like a risk. 

For decades, public places seemed to be an extension of the home. Sidewalks, stores and markets were not spectacular; they were a means to an end— places you stopped by for moments to get to other, more impactful moments in life. 

Too many people have been taken by shooters before their graduations, before they are able to buy Christmas gifts or buy their back-to-school supplies, or before they are able to discuss a simple movie with their friends. 

#NoLongerFeelSafe

The innocence of public places has been taken away for many. Their everyday nature now feels menacing. 

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As years like this one—with 251 mass shootings in the span of eight months—mount, tragedy becomes an unfortunate expectation. For those who grew up witnessing mass violence from day one, it's difficult to imagine what level of tragedy could change daily habits. 

Nothing excuses these tragedies; each is horrific and inexcusable. Nevertheless, many young people don't know a world without these kinds of realities. As the country fights to make change, many refuse to give past acts of violence the power to interrupt their lives. They refuse to succumb to the fear many others feel, oftentimes because it would simply be too crushing of a burden to bear. 

The AP's Ted Anthony sums this sentiment up perfectly: 

“I don’t like to go out, especially without my husband. It’s really scary being out by myself,” preschool teacher Courtney Grier, 21, said Sunday outside a grocery store in Virginia Beach, Virginia, where a gunman killed 12 in a city building in late May.
But, Grier says, “You still have to go to the grocery store to get dinner. You can’t just not go.”
That might be an apt slogan for America, circa 2019: You can’t just not go.

Anthony also illustrates a defiant reaction to tragedy, where a community comes together so that everyone feels protected: 

That’s the approach that retired Marine Richard Ruiz, a Gilroy native, says he’s seen in Gilroy in the week since the garlic festival shooting.
“The thing that has changed in Gilroy is our focus,” said Ruiz, 42. “No one is showing signs of being worried or fearful in public. We’re emboldened. We want to go out more.”
FINAL RESULTS
Culture
Do you feel safe?
#StillFeelSafe
A festive crown for the winner
#NoLongerFeelSafe