Augustana Observer

Augustana Observer

Augustana Observer

In Leman’s Terms: An analysis of deaths

Journalists are being killed.
That’s the sort of news headline you expect from a story about foreign correspondents or an overseas war. As of last Thursday, it’s a headline you can read within the borders of the United States.
As I’m sure others did as well, my first thought was that this happened because of Donald Trump. At first glance, that argument seems founded. Trump has been criticizing all media outlets save Fox News for years, and his steps toward gun safety have been minimal. It seems logical to say that the atrocity in Annapolis, Maryland at the Capital Gazette stemmed from Trump’s actions or lack thereof.
However, Jarrod Ramos, the suspect in the shooting, was historically known to have a poor relationship with the Capital Gazette long before Trump had even announced his campaign. Ramos had sued the paper in 2012 for defamation in a case that was later thrown out as groundless and had tweeted about wanting to see two of the Gazette’s reporters “cease breathing” in February of 2015. It’s clear that Trump’s rhetoric didn’t spark the rage within Ramos, but it also doesn’t mean he is free from mistakes.
Regarding the direct blame of each and every particular shooting, the only person truly at fault is the shooter themselves. It is their choice and decision to commit these crimes, and theirs alone. However, in terms of prevention measures, the burden of these deaths should partially weigh on the shoulders of those who stood in the way of taking them. Even worse so, this tragedy should also be a remorseful thought for those who encouraged the mindset of gun violence. In both of these aspects, Trump stands.
The facts are, based on the numbers from the Washington Post’s continuously updating mass shooting data collection, the amount of mass shootings has drastically increased since Trump was inaugurated as president.
In the roughly one and a half years that Trump has been president, an average of 98 people have been killed each year in mass shootings. This is more than double the average number of people killed in either of Barack Obama’s two terms and in less than half the length of time.
Obama’s two terms combined averaged 39 people killed in mass shootings per year. Comparing that to Trump’s average of 98 deaths each year reveals a more than 250% increase. Trump may not be directly at fault for any of these deaths, but the American mindset his presidency has created is correlated too much with this data to be ignored.
There was a shooting at my high school during the second week of my freshman year. Normal Community High School was one of the lucky ones in that no one was hurt. No fatalities or injuries. But I was less than a month into high school when I had to be locked in a locker room with several other confused fifteen year-olds while some of my friends were approximately 100 meters away being held at gunpoint.
There was a shooting at my high school in 2012. If it happened now, the likelihood of someone getting hurt is 250% higher. I hid in a locker room, and reporters at the Capital Gazette hid under their desks.
Journalists are being killed in America now, and so is everyone else.

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In Leman’s Terms: An analysis of deaths