|Glock 17 Night firing to catch muzzle flash. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)|
Reading about gun violence isn’t enough. A shooting is a visual tragedy. There’s a muzzle flash, bullets, a wound, blood, and bodies. When we see an upsetting image, our brain draws on tens of thousands of years of evolutionary training for a proper response. We are flooded with chemicals that make us feel the badness of what we see, so that we can adjust our behavior accordingly. Maybe that means running away from a tiger, or maybe it means passing gun control legislation. But horror is healthy and normal, and means your brain is working as intended. It’s a useful response, because it might convince you—it might force you—to viscerally react to our nation’s epidemic of gun violence. If people see photos of Alison Parker being effortlessly slaughtered by a disgruntled former co-worker with an easily obtained firearm, maybe they will conclude that guns are devices of horror and easy death. If so, it will be worth the discomfort. It’s a nice fantasy, but you can’t pretend that discomfort is optional; feeling like shit is a necessary part of being alive.