The year of 2013 has been a ride of many emotions. The Baltimore Ravens won the Super Bowl. The Los Angeles Lakers didn't win the finals. Edward Snowden exposed our government, and then disappeared. The Affordable Care Act was launched. The government shut down, "Grand Theft Auto V" debuted, and let's face it, the game's profit could probably pay off the shutdown. "The Hunger Games: Catching Fire" blazed through movie theaters nationwide, and to cap off the madness, Brian Griffin of "Family Guy" died.
Within all the commotion, there are bone-chilling numbers that glare into the face of our precious society.
- 26 - The number of families in Newtown, Conn. who will never be the same.
- 12 - The lives from a Washington D.C. naval yard, now resting in peace.
- 5 - The number of lives taken by John Zawahri during a shooting rampage both near and on Santa Monica College's campus.
- 11,089 - An undersized portion of reported gun-related deaths in 2013, according to a gun death tally by the online magazine Slate.
This is alarming. Far too many times, these incidents have taken place within locations where people are supposed to feel secure. An elementary school, a place for children to feel safe with the guidance of their teachers, was turned into a blood bath of 20 innocent children and six adults at the end of last year.
A naval yard, one of the United States Navy's largest, a location surrounded by government officials and soldiers, was the site of a massacre by one the government's own.
With all the chaos taking place, it has become increasingly difficult to live in a society where you cannot use the restroom without the fear of a crazed gunman storming in and raising hell.
Never mind the fact that these incidents are only a taste of the suffering, most of which is not covered heavily by the media. The Los Angeles Times reported on several deaths not given the time of day, including the six people in New York killed by a 64-year-old man and the six people killed in Hialeah, Fla., by a man bent on neighborly destruction.
If it weren't for local media outlets, the Santa Monica shootings in June would have gone ignored, seeing as President Barack Obama, who was a few minutes away from the shooting, decided not to acknowledge the horrible event — thank you for the complete rejection, by the way.
Dear readers, if you are expecting another article about how important gun control is, or how mental illnesses are to blame, look elsewhere.
Sure, those topics have much to do with the safety of this country going down the toilet, but a large part of this violence currently swallowing the U.S. is on us. Clearly, not everyone is a murderer, but a large portion of society doesn't seem to mind the promotion of the very issues it obsesses over.
Take a look at our rich culture. In what seems like the hundredth installment of the series "Call of Duty: Ghosts" just released, the same people moaning over gun control do not seem to mind shooting people in the head if it means attaining the next prestige.
"Grand Theft Auto V," a game that feeds off of the fun in senseless crime, made more than $1 billion in revenue, thanks to the same nerds who complain about the government's lack of action in all of these tragedies. Many movies today would not survive if not for their ability to feed people's appetites for gore and destruction.
A wise friend once told me that society is not influenced by music, but that society influences music. The same applies to real life and death. We can only be as good as the good that we support. However, it does not help if we try to find every loophole in every law the country throws our way.
Marijuana is banned, yet people still get high. Heroin, cocaine, ecstasy, and other drugs are illegal, and people still find a way around the system. Some people will literally turn to inhaling smoke out of an apple if no other means are possible. This is the same with the violence in this country.
Gun control doesn't matter. If the government were to truly build a wall against gun use in the U.S., Americans would surely find a way around it. Gamers would probably create a game based on illegally attaining guns.
The new statistic on crime would then be the number of Americans illegally attaining firepower. It will never change. Whether known or not, the country is one example of rebellion itself. Americans will never stop looking for keys whenever handcuffs are placed on them.
Many are already looking on how to sway away from the country's new health care system, another product of the government that dissatisfies citizens of this country.
The joke that is Black Friday annually proves that people will do whatever it takes to attain their desires, even if it means killing or engaging in parking-lot brawls. Online news site RYOT recently tallied deaths and injuries during Black Friday from 2006, for a total of five deaths and 80 injuries. Fortunately, no deaths were reported this year.
This nation is built on its craftiness and its ability to find the crack in every fence. Are we really supposed to believe that this will suddenly change? No.
The best that we can do is try our hardest to protect ourselves and those we care about. Expect the unexpected and understand the society we live in. That is the only way people have a chance of surviving on this very unstable planet.
2013 was the wake-up call. Now it is time to do just that; wake up.