Lately in London: Reflecting on tragedy from overseas

Rosalita Capoldo, Herald Foreign Correspondent

In many ways, living in London is a lot like living in America. We speak the same language, share similar customs, etc. But there’s one big thing I’ve noticed that isn’t happening here that I am kind of shocked about — almost no one is talking about the shooting that took place in the U.S. just over a week ago.

I know this is probably not what is expected in a column about a student’s travel experience, but I feel like as a journalist and a citizen, I had to write about it. When news first broke about the shooting, I didn’t see it on the news (online or on TV); I heard about it almost an hour after the shooter had been taken into custody from one of my roommates. Additionally, none of my friends here even started to hear about it until two hours had already passed — and they found out from Facebook posts their friends and family had put up. Then, upon Googling it, the first online report I could find was written Feb. 15 – an entire day after the shooting took place.

Now, I’m not sure if this speaks volumes to anyone other than myself, but the fact that this shooting, which the Gun Violence Archive has called the largest mass shooting (but 30th overall) of 2018, did not immediately make breaking news baffles me. To me, that shows how normalized mass shootings have become within our country — how unfocused the rest of the world is on one of our own killing another. How unfazed these terrorists — because yes, that is what they are — have made society.

I haven’t even heard my fellow American classmates discussing these events. The only times I’ve heard about it are when I talk to my friends about it, or when the coverage now pops up on my Twitter feed. And I know it may be a different experience because we’re overseas, but for people to not feel as heartbroken, despite the fact that we are miles away from home, confuses me. I even talked to my European friend about it, and he told me how simple it seemed to everyone here. He said he could not understand why we would jeopardize our freedom to feel safe, just because individuals did not want to give up their guns.

This is our country that these things are happening in. These are our fellow Americans that are dying because our Congress refuses to look past the fact that our Constitution was written long before assault weapons ever came into play. These are children who are going to school and never coming back because all anybody wants to do is talk about change, or post about it on social media, but no one is willing to back it up with action.

As an American abroad, I feel like this has been my biggest culture-shock — looking at my country through the rest of the world’s eyes, and seeing nothing but the failure to protect our own simply because someone’s right to own a gun is deemed more important.