The Garden State Plaza. Los Angeles Airport. The Navy Yard. These are but a fraction of the number of mass shootings that have occurred just this year.

Each time, there is a media frenzy, with reporters and civilians alike adding to the sensationalism of a shooting. Yet with each successive shooting, it’s as if we grow more and more accustomed to the idea of someone taking a gun with the intention of not just taking his or her life, but of also hurting others. It’s gotten to a point where it feels as though we’re no longer surprised and we shrug off each tragedy.

There are several concerns that are raised consistently: one on gun control and another on mental health. On the subject of gun control, where do we draw the line when it comes to who can buy and own guns and what types of arms a civilian is permitted to own? For society, is there a deeper, mental health issue at large that’s contributing to the recent string of shootings?

However, this writer believes there is a more vicious cycle here at work. Have we become a society where there are more shootings because perpetrators recognize the allure of sensationalism or have we become desensitized to shootings because of their prevalence? 

Today, it’s incredibly easy to be alone. Everything from groceries to clothes can be found online and delivered straight to our doorsteps. Humans are biologically social creatures, yet our technology-laden society makes it so easy to remain in solitude. Just ten years ago, it wasn’t so strange for a friendly stranger to strike up a conversation while sitting next to you on the train. In a similar situation today, we’re immediately suspicious of that person’s intentions.

Technology and social media, two items that were meant to foster communication and bridge gaps are also ironically allowing those with ill intentions to execute dangerous decisions on an international platform. And because we continue to feed the sensationalizing aspect of a mass shooting, we’re inevitably adapting to the tragedies and growing desensitized to them.