Time for discussion on ending the violence

By Richard Greene | Published Saturday, October 3, 2015

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Fifteen years ago in August, I walked off the University of North Texas campus in Denton with a degree in hand.

Over four years around campus, the biggest worries were scraping together 99 cents for tacos at Jack In The Box and if four hours was enough time to start, complete research and pile together a 10-page term paper. Those claims are not exaggerations.

Richard Greene

Richard Greene

But while the dangers of starving as a poor college student or never finding a parking spot were very real, I never felt that my life was in peril by simply attending class or walking across campus.

Unfortunately, as we witnessed Thursday on a campus in Oregon, that’s not the case today. Again, a sanctuary of education and higher thinking was robbed of that innocence with senseless acts of hate.

Now, Umpqua Community College in Roseburg, Ore., has risen from anonymity to join Virginia Tech and a growing list of schools shaken by terrible acts of violence.

Similar to the gunmen in a church or movie theater, I can’t comprehend targeting innocent people going about their normal life.

I’m not naive to blame all the acts on guns and our relatively easy access to them. Will picking up all the guns cure all our ills? No. Is arming everyone and allowing more guns on campuses and open carry the solution as advocated by some? I don’t agree with that either.

Truly, I don’t know the answer to stop this depravity, sickness and evil.

While the details of this latest act of terror are being uncovered, we all need to recognize there is an illness spreading across the nation that only seems to be getting worse. Though we read the headlines or see the stories on the television news, I don’t believe America realizes that we truly do have a problem.

According to Creative Commons’ mass shooting list (www.shootingtracker.com) there’s been 294 mass shootings in 2015. That’s 294 in just 274 days.

That’s ahead of the staggering nearly one per day in 2013 and well ahead of the pace of the 337 in 2014.

Is it our violent movies or video games that desensitizes individuals or just simply undiagnosed mental diseases that leads to such violence? How do we stop this and now?

We owe it to the memories of victims from Sandy Hook to Oregon to at least have a serious dialogue on what can be done, regardless of amendments, political beliefs or affiliations.

Maybe one day students can get back to saying that the only killers on campus are a tough term paper or test without having to look over their shoulders.

Richard Greene is the Messenger’s sports editor.

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