In the wake of the deadliest mass shooting in modern American history, The Post asked readers whether we’re doing enough to prevent these attacks. Thousands shared their thoughts about mass shootings in America in a series of short questions. This is how they described their feelings in one word:

disgusted 449 angry 379 frustrated 331 sad 220 horrified 169 outraged 120 numb 75 hopeless 73 disappointed 70 sickened 62 heartbroken 60 resigned 60 anger 58 helpless 57 furious 56 unsurprised 51 saddened 50 sick 50 tired 42 despair 41 appalled 39 devastated 33 exasperated 29 ashamed 26 shocked 25 dismayed 24 enraged 23 scared 23 enough 22 exhausted 22 depressed 21 despondent 20 confused 20 powerless 16 infuriated 15 bewildered 14 fear 14 horror 14 distraught 14 disheartened 14 upset 14 mad 13 disturbed 12 incredulous 12 preventable 11 cynical 10 concerned 10 discouraged 10 livid 10 weary 10 sorrow 10 disbelief 9 stunned 9 terrified 9 jaded 8 grief 8 dumbfounded 8 impotent 7 insane 7 hurt 7 anxious 6 defeated 6 disillusioned 6 conflicted 6 heartsick 6 betrayed 6 overwhelmed 6 nauseated 6 incensed 6 control 6 broken 5 senseless 5 lost 5 apalled 5 shame 5 rage 4 determined 4 worried 4 prayerful 4 stupidity 4 unsure 4 astonished 4 empty 4 embarrassed 4 unacceptable 4 frightened 4 desensitized 4 horrific 4 tragic 4 again 4 annoyed 4 baffled 3 dispirited 3 pathetic 3 done 3 torn 3 desperate 3 freedom 3 aghast 3 apathetic 3 crushed 3 anguished 3 afraid 3 hopeful 3 shattered 3 terror 3 demoralized 3 heartbreaking 3 gutted 3 meh 3 calm 3 desolate 3 horrible 3 threatened 2 stymied 2 dejected 2 perplexed 2 mortified 2 flummoxed 2 mixed 2 regretful 2 strong 2 stupefied 2 pained 2 grieved 2 awful 2 fury 2 deranged 2 divided 2 impatient 2 indignant 2 ridiculous 2 mourning 2 revulsion 2 empathy 2 sympathetic 2 woke 2 contempt 2 uncontrolled 2 disaffected 2 ambivalent 2 surprised 2 inexcusable 2 heartache 2 disgraced 2 traumatized 2 indifferent 2 fatigue 2 emotional 2 nauseous 2 distressed 2 crazy 2

We also asked readers to consider the following three questions.

Do you think it’s possible to prevent mass shootings?

Are we doing enough to prevent mass shootings?

How important are gun rights and gun control issues to you?

This is a non-scientific user poll. Results are not statistically valid and cannot be assumed to reflect the views of Washington Post users as a group or the general population.

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How readers are feeling, in their own words


378 others chose this word

Mental health needs to be addressed in this country. It needs to stop being swept under the rug. The stigma attached to it needs to go. We also need to address the gun laws in this country. I fully support the right to bear arms, however, that amendment was put in place when a gun was able to shoot one bullet, not several at a time
— Beth M., 36 years old, from Peoria, Ill.

I am angry, as I am each time, that the correct response to mass shootings is being ignored both by the media and by the majority of politicians: the dismantling of “gun rights” legislation across the country, and a push for a repeal of the Second Amendment.
— Kevin, 44 years old, from Atlanta, Ga.

Mental health issues need to be de-stigmatized so that people don't feel shame in getting help.
— Asher, 31 years old, from Lynchburg, Va.

We should enforce the current gun laws, rather than create new ones.
— Ashley Greene, 33 years old, from Kentucky


32 others chose this word

You can't put the toothpaste back in the tube. These weapons should never have been sold to begin with, but now that they are, we can only work on damage control.
— Amy, 44 years old, from Denver, Colo.


59 others chose this word

I have mixed feelings. I hunt occasionally, but don't own my own guns. I respect the rights of hunters and I appreciate the perspective of legal handgun hunters. Guns are pretty cool; I get that. But I still think things have gotten way out of hand and that the all or nothing perspective of people on both sides of this debate (but especially the NRA) is the opposite of constructive.
— David, 47 years old, from Ann Arbor, Mich.

No one needs a weapon like this outside of the military, much less the 20 or so that were reported to be in that hotel room. But if a school full of children didn't prompt that discussion, I have little hope that 600 dead and wounded concert goers will.
— Stephanie Chernoff, 51 years old, from Long Island, N.Y.


448 others chose this word

Getting a low powered hunting weapon should be at least as difficult as getting and maintaining a driver’s license. ... Our founders never intended to allow this.
— Karen Herren, 46 years old, from Ellicott City, Md.

We need a bi-partisan and united national effort to turn this tide. We can begin by renewing the ban on assault weapons. Trump should sign an executive order which should not be challenged. … A buyback program should be instituted to obtain assault rifles, and more stringent penalties for owning or using one after ban should be implemented.
— Shaun Witten, from Passiac, N.J.

If someone wants to kill they will kill. You can have all the gun control out there and it won't stop the criminals from terrorizing innocent people. Guns are not legal in France and they had a mass shooting. That's proof that gun control doesn't work. I don't know what the answer is but I do know that if somone wants to kill people they will find a way to do it.
— A Washington Post reader, from New Jersey

You want to be armed and in a militia? Join the National Guard.
— Dale Selby, 52 years old, from St. Louis, Mo.


219 others chose this word

Conceptualize gun violence as a public health issue and treat it as you would a disease. Focus more on risk factors, especially in the area of identifying those who are at increased risk to perpetrate gun violence.
— Tracey Elam, 51 years old, from Decatur, Ga.

America should not respond with an emotional response. Think about this. Gun rights is a second amendment constitutional right; you do not want to take away the right of the American people but you also don't want this to happen again. ... We must do something, we can't keep repeating history where we talk and talk and talk but never take action.
— Joshua, 32 years old, from Panama City, Fla.


11 others chose this word

Australia figured it out. Europe's figured it out. We don't want to figure it out. Guns for hunting are totally reasonable. Guns for militia's are not.
— Chris Beegle, 33 years old, from Philadelphia, Penn.


330 others chose this word

As difficult as it is, to address the shootings we need to step back from emotions and approach it the way we would any critical issue. Analyze. What are the root causes? What are contributing factors that make them possible? Aggregate those and identify commonalities. Identify ways to address the causes. Develop a plan and *execute* on it. How did we address Ebola? How do we address cancer? We can do this.
— Mary Treder, 61 years old, from Grand Junction, Colo.

I grew up in Texas, learned to respect guns and shoot safely by age 12, both rifles and shotguns, for the sole purpose of hunting game animals. Later on joined the military, shot expert with M-16, M-60 and .50 cal, all semi or fully automatic weapons., weapons whose sole purpose is to kill or maim humans. As someone who has fired and qualified on several of these types of weapons, I can state they have no place in civilian hands. What’s wrong with a country who thinks it’s ok for some citizens to have more firepower than some of their local police or sheriff’s departments?
— Steve, 53 years old, from Detroit, Mich.

What we do need to do is make sure that the good people have weapons, and the bad people do not. Stricter gun laws for everyone will not benefit anybody. Taking away weapons from all citizens will still not fix the issue. All we need is a single process for a more direct and in-depth background check, and a few more regulations in different level weapons licenses.
— Andrew Garza, 23 years old, from McAllen, Tex.

We should not make policy based on outlier or politicized reactions. We need to think about how the media, entertainment industry, our culture and families address issues of self-control, anger, hate and violence. ... This is an issue that goes far beyond guns in the same way that preventing car accidents goes far beyond automobiles.
— Barbara Ettner, 70 years old, from Kilmarnock, Va.

Society’s attitude towards guns must change, starting with assault rifles. They must become shunned and avoided, like cigarettes. There is little the government can do directly; prohibition does not work. A government with credibility must take moral lead the against assault rifles and the people who profit from them.
— Ian Medfod, 37 years old, from Auburn, Maine

Even if it's not the end-all solution, we need to see that our leaders will no longer look the other way and accept this as the new norm. Two years ago, almost to the date, it was a shooting in my home town. This year, it's in Las Vegas. What did we do over the last two years to prevent mass shootings? Anything in the last year since Orlando?
— Jessica Wafer, 29 years old


74 others chose this word

I don't have the answers. But we aren't even trying to solve this equation. That's become my biggest fear for our political future in the USA. Indifference and apathy rule the day. The game is so rigged, intelligent and inspired citizens like myself are powerless.
— Collin Ihlenfeldt, 35 years old, from Charlotte, N.C.

Sadly, I don’t think anything less than a complete ban on all guns would have stopped this; maybe not even then because there are already millions of guns in the hands of citizens.
— Robert Forsman, 36 years old, from Suquamish, Wash.


13 others chose this word

America's right to bear arms should never eliminated. But high-powered, automatic weapons are not needed to defend oneself ... You don't need a fully automatic high powered weapon if all you're needing is to protect yourself and your loved ones. Our country has changed over the last two hundred years. We're not cowboys anymore. It's time for a more civilized and comprehensive approach to this.
— Jack, 59 years old, from Langhorne, Penn.


13 others chose this word

It’s come to a point in our society where I fear there may be an active shooter anytime I’m at a concert or festival. I worry someone may shoot up my child’s school like Sandy Hook. Our representatives don’t seem to care because “rights...” Why are my rights, and the rights of my children, disregarded at the thought of common sense gun laws? Do we not have the right to be and feel safe in our own country? When will enough be enough?
— Ferne Emery, 36 years old, from N.C.


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