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Editorial: Missed call

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Pride flag

Think about one single simple thing. Your cellphone.

Most of us have one in our pocket, or maybe on the counter in the kitchen. Maybe it’s in the pocket of your jacket, hanging near the front door.

Take yours out. Put it there in front of you. Now, say your child or spouse has been on the road, and you hear that there’s been a serious highway accident in the area where you know they are.

So you send a text. Maybe you don’t even tell them there’s been an accident; you just send a carefully offhand little note that says, “How’s the driving going?” And then wait. Wait for the first chance for them to pull over to look at their phones, wait for the huge relief of seeing an answer pop up on your screen.

Sometimes, though, people don’t get an answer. They don’t get an answer for the most horrible of reasons.

Imagine working at the horrific crime scene at the Pulse nightclub in Orlando, where 50 people were killed and 53 injured by a shooter.

Law enforcement workers in Orlando have said it’s just one more thing they have to block out at scenes like the mass shooting at the popular gay nightclub: the endless ringing of victims’ cellphones, as their loved ones try in vain to reach family members or other loved ones.

Imagine that. Imagine all the family and friends listening to the ringing phone, then leaving progressively more desperate messages. (It’s not a new experience: the New Yorker’s Adam Gopnik wrote about the chilling experience of hearing a mix of different cellphones after the Virginia Tech mass shooting in 2007.)

If that, though, doesn’t bring home the horror of mass shootings in the supposedly civilized United States, here’s something else to think about.

In December of 2012, 26 people were killed by a gunman in Newtown, Conn — 20 of the victims were children at school at Sandy Hook Elementary School. It was a horrific mass killing, the sort of event that you would think might provide the impetus to finally bring some sort of gun control, if nothing else over weapons as carefully designed for killing people as assault weapons.

No.

The Gun Violence Archive in the United States has been tracking mass shootings in the United States since Sandy Hook, and Vox.com has put together an interactive map of mass shootings in the U.S. (you can see it here: http://bit.ly/1IguvE4).

As Vox.com points out since Sandy Hook, “there have been at least 1,001 mass shootings, with shooters killing at least 1,141 people and wounding 3,943 more.”

Look at your cellphone in front of you, and thank your lucky stars that, in Canada, there’s one kind of call you are far less likely to make. And spare a little of your day to feel for those whose calls went unanswered.

Follow the world’s response to the Orlando shootings here.

Most of us have one in our pocket, or maybe on the counter in the kitchen. Maybe it’s in the pocket of your jacket, hanging near the front door.

Take yours out. Put it there in front of you. Now, say your child or spouse has been on the road, and you hear that there’s been a serious highway accident in the area where you know they are.

So you send a text. Maybe you don’t even tell them there’s been an accident; you just send a carefully offhand little note that says, “How’s the driving going?” And then wait. Wait for the first chance for them to pull over to look at their phones, wait for the huge relief of seeing an answer pop up on your screen.

Sometimes, though, people don’t get an answer. They don’t get an answer for the most horrible of reasons.

Imagine working at the horrific crime scene at the Pulse nightclub in Orlando, where 50 people were killed and 53 injured by a shooter.

Law enforcement workers in Orlando have said it’s just one more thing they have to block out at scenes like the mass shooting at the popular gay nightclub: the endless ringing of victims’ cellphones, as their loved ones try in vain to reach family members or other loved ones.

Imagine that. Imagine all the family and friends listening to the ringing phone, then leaving progressively more desperate messages. (It’s not a new experience: the New Yorker’s Adam Gopnik wrote about the chilling experience of hearing a mix of different cellphones after the Virginia Tech mass shooting in 2007.)

If that, though, doesn’t bring home the horror of mass shootings in the supposedly civilized United States, here’s something else to think about.

In December of 2012, 26 people were killed by a gunman in Newtown, Conn — 20 of the victims were children at school at Sandy Hook Elementary School. It was a horrific mass killing, the sort of event that you would think might provide the impetus to finally bring some sort of gun control, if nothing else over weapons as carefully designed for killing people as assault weapons.

No.

The Gun Violence Archive in the United States has been tracking mass shootings in the United States since Sandy Hook, and Vox.com has put together an interactive map of mass shootings in the U.S. (you can see it here: http://bit.ly/1IguvE4).

As Vox.com points out since Sandy Hook, “there have been at least 1,001 mass shootings, with shooters killing at least 1,141 people and wounding 3,943 more.”

Look at your cellphone in front of you, and thank your lucky stars that, in Canada, there’s one kind of call you are far less likely to make. And spare a little of your day to feel for those whose calls went unanswered.

Follow the world’s response to the Orlando shootings here.

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