A Project for Better Journalism chapter
Editorials and Profiles

PTSD Country-Wide

In 2019, the United States has experienced 255 mass shootings and we are only on day 235 (?) of this year. Every day, there seems to be more threats, more arrests, more protests, more shootings, yet nothing has been done. The citizens of the U.S. are frightened. Is it possible that we are all experiencing a form of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder?

The United States has always had gun control issues. Most recently, there was a major mass shooting in Dayton, Ohio. That was on August 4th. We have had 15 more shootings since then, and four mass shooting scares. 

According to Mayoclinic.org, Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, or PTSD, is a mental illness that’s triggered by a terrifying event-either experiencing it or witnessing it. Many experience a sense of PTSD after being involved in a traumatic event months or even years after.

On August 7th, just three days after the Dayton shooting, a motorcycle backfired in Times Square, causing mass distress. CNN.com states, “Police say motorcycles backfiring in the popular New York tourist destination Times Square led people to believe they were at the center of a third mass shooting.” Since this happened days after two mass shootings, which left 31 people dead, many were on edge and this only pushed people further. 

Also, on that same day a sign at a mall in Utah led to panic as many thought there was a shooter. “Some people feared the loud bang of a sign falling was the sound of a gunshot,” the West Valley City Police Department said. “People ran from the performance in the Utah mall into stores to hide. A few skirmishes that took place during the panic and subsequent mall evacuation led to a few arrests,” police said. “There were no injuries.” 

Could the citizens of the U.S. be dealing with this disorder? Alauna Curry, a Veterans Affairs psychiatrist who specializes in psychological trauma, told ABC News that trauma from gun violence can affect anyone, from family and friends who are directly affected to the news media covering the shooting to the general public who learn about it. She said that trauma erodes trust, making us become more distrustful of others. 

As we go further into 2019, we have questioned the political aspect of our country. With protests for gun reform, protesting our government and, our President. Many don’t feel that anything is going to happen and are afraid to go to public places. According to BuzzFeed, “Americans are worried they need to have an escape plan anytime they’re in a public space.” 

We live in a difficult time and all have seen unfortunate things. We can either learn from them and try to stop the issue, or just ignore and mindlessly blame things. It’s our choice as a country, and as voters.