The United States, unfortunately, witnessed yet another act of gun violence in San Bruno, Calif., at YouTube’s headquarters on April 3, according to The Washington Post.
The perpetrator, Nasim Najafi Aghdam, did not meet the typical profile of American mass shooters. As a result, some have taken the opportunity to wrongfully discredit the arguments of those fighting for gun control, instead of finding solutions to preventing mass shootings.
For example, The Washington Post outlined a theory that “No longer, conservatives crowed, could liberals argue that angry white males armed with semiautomatic rifles were the greatest threat to American civilians.”
Nevertheless, in the wake of this narrowly avoided tragedy, it is crucial to remember that, despite the uniqueness of this situation, it is still, at its core, a gun violence issue.
Some individuals believe theories regarding Aghdam’s profile, including that this is “another instance of Islamist terrorism,” despite the fact that she was not Muslim; “she was an ‘illegal immigrant,’” when she was not and in some even more offensive suggestions such as that, she “must have been a transgender woman” because “cis ‘women would never do such a thing,’” as reported by The Washington Post.
People are searching for any explanation, even the most unbelievable conspiracy-like ones, because it is seemingly impossible to understand that the offender was a woman.
Although Aghdam is admittedly different from the standard shooter profile, the media attention covering her is almost identical to the treatment of previous mass shooters.
Rather than putting the focus on the real issues at play, namely how to control gun violence, the media tend to make perpetrators appear sympathetic and misunderstood.
For example, the Los Angeles Times has focused on Aghdam, and writes that, “Aghdam had dedicated her life to animals, according to her uncle, who said if she found an insect in her home she would not harm it.”
Portraying mass shooters and other criminals in this light not only normalizes their behavior, but it defers attention from looking for ways to prevent these tragedies. In the end, that’s what this country needs.
For those who do not support gun control and reform, there are more positive ways to respond to the YouTube shooting. For example, these individuals could advocate for examining the effectiveness of security protocols, instead of simply bashing those demanding political change.
It is apparent that “what YouTube can do is take advantage of a bigger tragedy averted so the rest of us might be safer for any deficiencies or gaps that were exposed in those few scary minutes on its campus,” according to CNN.
While Democrats and Republicans may not be able to agree on gun control, one thing is astonishingly clear: mass shootings, such as the most recent one at YouTube headquarters, need to come to an end.
Whether better security, gun control or something else entirely will be able to accomplish this, no one can say for sure. Nonetheless, it is vain to waste time glorifying the perpetrator or analyzing the odd particulars of Aghdam’s profile.
While Aghdam is not a stereotypical shooter, “perhaps she would have killed more people had California’s stringent gun laws not made it so difficult to acquire that weapon of war,” reported The Washington Post.
Therefore, thanks to actual action taken by California lawmakers in this situation, Aghdam was the only casualty in the YouTube shooting. By focusing the conversation on the similarities to other mass shootings, rather than the differences in Aghdam’s case, it may be easier to recognize just how extensive gun violence can be in the United States.