How Can Designers Prevent the Next Mass Shooting?

By Raymond Stone on October 2, 2017

This morning, moments after posting my previous blog to Twitter and LinkedIn, a news alert appeared on my phone stating that 50 people died in a Las Vegas shooting that sent over 400 people to the hospital. As I write this several hours later, a CNN headline in my phone’s top stories reads, “58 killed, 515 hurt in Las Vegas Strip massacre.” In my introspection I cannot tell whether I feel more numb or more heartbroken, but I am definitely angered.

As a designer who understands the importance of consciously tapping into human emotions, I determined that my frustrated mind instinctively goes to the same place other frustrated minds go: blame. We immediately and rightfully want to know the “who,” “what,” and “how” a tragedy occurred. Unfortunately, after we solve the “who” we endlessly debate over how to legislate the “what” and the “how,” leading to no real changes preventing the continuation of the mass shooting epidemic that has plagued the United States for too long. We cannot limit ourselves to simply identifying mass shooters after they complete their damage. Crazy people exist, crazy people will attempt carry out their actions, and politicians we elect to enact laws to protect us will do nothing.

I do not want to read anymore tweets about thoughts and prayers while sitting back and waiting for the next such event. As a designer, what can I do to help prevent the next mass shooting, or at the very least ensure they one day come to an end? As creatives, as a society...what can we collectively do that goes above the futile effort of pressuring elected officials to take action? Do we need citywide and countywide GPS weapon detection systems throughout the country connected to apps that empower the public with alerts of nearby threats? Do we need to build a ground system that crawls large areas to invasively scan everyone for weapons? Do we need to build a satellite system that detects these weapons from above?

I obviously have no concrete solutions and even the above ideas require legislative intervention, but everything begins with an idea. Coincidentally, I have an interview scheduled for tomorrow afternoon with a company that specializes in software commonly used in civil engineering, so perhaps some of the change begins there. Or perhaps this blog post will reach someone or someones, maybe fellow designers with endless innovative potential who by some miracle just needed the bland words I strung together here to spark them to use their genius to figure this out and change the world. As designers we must seek to solve the most difficult human challenges or enable those who can.

Photo Credits

Thumbnail and Header: MasterTux on Pixabay


Raymond Stone
BA in Art Practice, UC Berkeley
User Experience Designer

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