Living under constant threat
Mass shootings seem to have become a sad new normal in societies these days. On Friday morning, two shooting incidents were reported from the al Noor mosque on Deans Avenue and Linwood Masjid in Linwood, both in Christchurch, New Zealand, resulting in multiple fatalities. The Bangladesh cricket team members were present at the mosque when the shoot-out happened. Fortunately, they escaped unhurt. The third Test, which was scheduled to start at Hagley Oval on Saturday, has been cancelled. Players took to social media to express shock. Mass shootings are happening too often and at extremely unexpected venues like concerts, places of worship, even cafes and schools. And who are the targets? Anybody, actually. These incidents leave a deep impact on people including post-traumatic stress disorder. Certain debilitating psychiatric conditions may get chronic, like the survivor's guilt, which can aggravate over time and become more difficult to treat. It is thus important to understand and consider the fears and feelings of not only children but also adults who are involved in such incidents. Very often, they have lifelong influences. Mass shootings definitely contribute to heightened societal anxiety, posing a hindrance towards effective solutions. Firsthand experience of gun violence in what should be a 'safe place' for them can be indeed challenging and overbearing. Violence and criminality are pervasive in popular social themes and mass murderers gain notoriety through non-stop deliberations, resulting in a culture where narratives of such shootings spread and gain momentum. Undoubtedly, such episodes evoke raw emotions. For prevention, the world has adopted a number of measures that are also endorsed by researchers and doctors. Some of them include tightening gun laws, identifying potentially dangerous people in a community, learning self-defence mechanisms, restricting depictions of mayhem in video games, social media or on prime-time television, a crackdown on bullying in schools and working towards a peaceful conflict resolution. But hate crimes are rising. And each time, such frightening cases have either close or distant association with white supremacy and far-right extremism. Regrettably, they are motivated by the victim's ethnicity, religion, race and even gender. It is a very complicated and stubborn phenomenon where the perpetrators feel emboldened enough to disobey the law and carry out their acts of violence. Thus, only prayers are not enough. What we need are stricter laws against such acts of violence, regulations which can set a precedence of its own and be an emblematic example to society, taking us towards an enhanced pervasiveness of investigation and study of each of such acts. Behind every such action, the hate is real. And so is the threat.