Increased Mass Shootings Effects On Community Spaces


Schools, malls, clubs, concerts, parks, what do these places have in common? Fun? Community? Being the settings of mass shootings? 

The popularity of public gathering spaces like these has deteriorated over recent years due to the increasing amounts of mass shootings. 

Some may say we should get rid of these places for less opportunities for these shootings and less opportunities to lose lives, but I disagree. 

On Nov. 19, clubgoers at a LGBTQ nightclub Club Q in Colorado Springs, Colorado were enjoying their Saturday night when 22-year-old Anderson Lee Aldrich walked in and opened fire in the club, killing at least five and injuring 25. 

According to NPR, Club Q has been known as a safe space for members of the LQBTQ community since its opening in 2002. This opening was amidst lots of prejudice in the town due to its hosting of the headquarters of the conservative Christian fundamentalist protestant organization, Focus on the Family (FOTF) who is openly opposed to same-sex marriage and homosexuality. 

Club Q was one of many places where people went to feel safe and came back feeling worse than unsafe. This brings back the question, is there still room for community spaces in a society where it seems almost impossible to guarantee any sense of security the moment you step out of your home? 

The answer is difficult. While it is true that spaces like Club Q aren’t exactly “guaranteed safety,” there aren’t any places that truly are. Community spaces are important for many reasons, one of those being for those who don’t feel safe or would just prefer not going home. This applies specifically to people in the LGBTQ+ community whose parents/ the people they currently reside with may not fully support their sexuality and identity, leading back to Club Q and how its existence is critical for many people’s safety and wellbeing. 

There are many public gathering spaces such as libraries, public parks, and schools that I can say were a big help in my life and the lives of others I know in difficult circumstances by providing a safe space away from home to stay in times of need. So, I raise the question, why aren’t there more community spaces?

While I fully understand the concerns of a public area, I believe it is important to have places for people, specifically young adults and teenagers, to hang out without having to get into trouble or ‘get in with the wrong people.’ 

Furthermore, I acknowledge the argument that physical gathering spaces have become unnecessary due to the ever growing amount of community spaces and social opportunities online; however, those spaces are not a solution for the individuals who need a place away from home that I previously mentioned.

I think it is stupid to keep blaming “society” and even video games on some dumb guy’s decisions but if there is anything we can do to try to prevent this, we should.

So, while community spaces may feel unsafe and insecure, there is no denying the importance of places for everyone to get a sense of community and belonging.