SMITHVILLE, OHIO — When Richard Kahn turned on his television on October 1st, 2015 and he saw the news of the mass shooting at Umpqua Community College in Roseburg, Oregon, his heart sank. “I thought to myself,” Kahn told our reporter, “oh my God, how can this keep happening? Can’t we do something — anything — to try to at least make these terrible shootings happen less frequently?” Kahn said that for five days, all he thought about was what he could to help stop gun violence. He considered calling his congressional representatives, and he even thought about ending his NRA membership after 15 years. Now, however, he’s ready to forget about mass shootings entirely — at least until the next one happens in approximately 24 hours from now.
“So far, there have been 300 multiple shootings in America this year,” Kahn told the interviewer, “and that’s an average of more than one a day.” Kahn says that he feels that he’s earned himself at least a brief respite from the news about multiple shootings, so he plans to “go off the grid” for a full day. “I figure, the only way to avoid hearing about a mass shooting is to literally not watch any news, stay off social media, and pretty much unplug entirely from society until the next time one occurs,” Mr. Kahn said.
Kahn, who runs a local construction company, said that he’d be “ready to think about gun violence” the next time one happens, but for now he’s “just too burned out to talk about it.” Kahn said that he “really, really” wants to do something about guns, “but it’s really, really hard” and he’s an American so he’d rather “just watch about it on the news until I’m bored or overloaded and then forget about it for a day until it happens again.”
“I think I can speak for a lot of us when I say that I just need a break from all the talk of mass shootings, so until the next one happens, I’m staying out of it,” Kahn said. By his estimation, he figures that should give him “at least 18 to 24 hours without news of a new mass shooting” although he admits “that really all depends on if I look at a news site” because “they pretty much happen all the damn time now.”
Kahn, a gun owner since he was in his early 20’s, calls himself “sensible” and supports universal background checks because “if you’re not trying to keep guns away from violent, dangerous jerks, you’re not being an adult.” However, he said, he is still very leery about doing anything about spree shootings. “I mean, just because we see a problem happening, does that mean we have to do anything about it, especially if that problem is particularly difficult to tackle without possibly offending someone’s sense of their constitutional rights,” Kahn asked rhetorically.
Mr. Kahn said at first he didn’t “trust the media’s narrative” about mass shootings, so he checked the FBI’s website, and found that indeed the number of mass killings and active shooter events has been rising sharply in recent years. “I just had no idea how frequent spree shootings were happening in this country,” Kahn said, “and once you see the numbers it just becomes too much to process after awhile. So I’m giving myself a full reprieve from it all until the next shooting happens.”
“Which will be tomorrow,” Kahn said with deep resignation.