Five people were killed in a bank in Sebring, Fla., and the country barely took notice.

Gone are the days when such an event demands round-the-clock network news coverage or a national discussion. This latest shooting couldn’t even get a breaking news notification on our phones.

At the time of this writing, we don’t know much about the shooting beyond the plainest facts: A 21-year-old man is accused of walking into a SunTrust bank branch after noon on Wednesday and opening fire, killing all five other people in the bank. The suspect was taken into custody.

There are surely concerns about the gun used in the attack, the mental health history of the perpetrator, and more. But those concerns still need to be hashed out in public, with a national debate. The United States and its citizens cannot simply look away each and every time a group of people are gunned down in cold blood.

We must not become desensitized to this kind of violence. We should remember the example of Pulitzer Prize-winning reporter Edna Buchanan, who humanized each and every homicide victim on her beat in Miami so as to convey the tragedy of an extinguished human life.

Each of the five victims from Wednesday’s shooting had a family and friends, hopes and dreams. They had a name. They had a purpose. They had a life.

And now, because of an evil act, they are gone and news of their death did not even make the front page. It is emotionally taxing to confront each heinous act of violence we see in the news, but doing so is an essential part of solving the problem. Losing grasp of our collective humanity is a defeat we cannot sustain.


The above editorial was published Jan. 27 by the Toledo Blade. Its views are its own.

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