When Will America Learn To Fix Gun Violence?

by Alex Gladu

By now, you've almost certainly heard about Sunday's deadly shooting at Pulse, a popular gay nightclub in Orlando. The massacre left at least 50 people dead and more than 50 others injured, making it the worst mass shooting in U.S. history. Remarkable as it may be, the Orlando shooting isn't an anomaly. In fact, this infographic about major mass shootings shows just how long Americans have been talking about — rather than taking action on — gun violence.

The Columbine High School shooting in Littleton, Colorado, in 1999 is often regarded as the first modern mass shooting in the U.S. At the time, it was the deadliest shooting in the country's history, as 13 students, excluding the shooters, perished. Since Columbine, there have been school shootings from elementary schools, like Sandy Hook, to colleges, like Virginia Tech. There have been mass shootings elsewhere, too, including last year's incidents in San Bernardino, California, and Charleston, South Carolina.

After each mass shooting that gets national attention (and there are certainly also those that don't), politicians, activists, celebrities, and everyday Americans call for some sort of reform — a ban on certain types of guns, more restrictive purchasing processes, or more resources for mental illness treatment, to name a few ideas. Yet, it's been more than 17 years since that tragic incident at Columbine, and the shootings don't seem to be happening any less frequently.

To put it another way, Bill Clinton was president when Columbine happened. That means that current presidential candidate Hillary Clinton has served as first lady, senator from New York, secretary of state, and now, presidential nominee, all in the amount of time that nothing widely effective has been done to stop gun violence. As the infographic above shows, it's not for a lack of conversation.

It's not that nothing has been done to fix gun violence. Things have been done. Some states have legislated. Much awareness has certainly been raised. Task forces have formed. It's Congress that has remained steadfastly slow.

Sunday's shooting in Orlando has given the American people another chance to speak out about the need for reform — and speak out they have. A quick scroll through Twitter or Facebook is all you need to see how upset these acts of violence leave the country. The situation becomes — or rather, remains — problematic when that conversation doesn't turn into action.

Images: Liz Minch/Bustle (2)