Man-made tragedies

US needs to come together to stop school shootings

Brooke Butler, Editor-in-chief

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On April 20, 1999, Columbine High School in Colorado was attacked. Fifteen people were killed, and 24 injured. It started a trend that has killed hundreds more. 

While Columbine wasn’t the first school shooting, this unnatural epidemic can certainly be traced back to it. Since then, there have been 376 school shootings in the U.S. (The Washington Post). And the number is only going up. 

According to CBS, “There were 41 (school shootings) in 2021, the most ever in a single year. Between 1999 and 2017, the highest amount was 15.” Each year the number of school shootings increases.  

This is a man-made problem. Why haven’t we made a solution? 

Of course, there are people who speak up on this issue. Protests, organizations and general awareness have grown in tandem with the ever-increasing number of lives lost in schools. Groups like Make Our Schools Safe and Sandy Hook Promise have made strides in gun control and school security – but not enough to stop gun violence in school. 

Congress has done essentially nothing to restrict guns – certainly a benefit to the 77% of mass shooters who obtained at least some of their weapons legally (Axios). Pro-gun organizations like the National Rifle Association – which has spent several million dollars on lobbying in past years (Open Secrets)– incentivize those in power to leave gun availability untouched.  

I know the feeling of being trapped in a room of screaming and crying children. I know the sound of an AR-15 going off on school grounds. I know the conversations students have with their parents to tell them goodbye. I know the quiet acceptance I felt, knowing I had no say in it. 

I was twelve years old when the MSD shooting happened. I was locked down in the neighboring middle school’s locker room, crowded in a room of scared and confused kids. The P. E. coaches that were with us stood there silently. They didn’t know what to do – and they shouldn’t have had to. Gunshots shouldn’t be a familiar sound at schools. 

My experience isn’t a rare one. More than 348,000 American students have experienced gun violence in school since Columbine (The Washington Post). School shootings are expected in the United States – and the United States alone.  

Between 2009-2018, the US had 288 school shootings. The country with the second most in the world was Mexico – at 8 (World Population Review). Most countries have none. 

The most recent mass school shooting was March 27 at The Covenant School in Nashville, TN. The 28-year-old assailant killed six people, half over the age of 60 and half under the age of 10 (NBC).

In response to the most recent shooting, hundreds of people gathered in the Tennessee capitol on March 30 to call for gun control and safety in schools. Despite the public’s cry for help, lawmakers have opted not to make any adjustments to gun control (News Channel 5). 

We need change. Democrats and Republicans have been going back and forth for far too long. The nation needs to set aside petty conflict and do something. The longer politicians run in circles and table gun violence, the more children die in school.

Guns are the leading cause of death in children right now. There are more guns than there are people right now. There are people dying right now. We need change right now.   

How can we stop this? Aside from gun control, there are ways to at least curb the amount of school shootings.  

Mental health awareness and help is essential. According to the National Institute of Justice, “31% of persons who perpetrated mass shootings were found to have experiences of severe childhood trauma, and over 80% were in crisis.”  

Offering mental help to those in need can help stop these massacres at the source. Many assailants suffer from severe mental issues and show signs early on. Instead of turning a blind eye, schools and individuals should try to help those who are suffering.  

School shooters also tend to foreshadow their intentions prior to their assault (PBS). Always report online threats and inform authorities if you believe somebody may be planning an attack. 

Offering help should always be the first choice when you notice somebody is suffering. However, if they show signs of endangering themselves or those around them, reporting them may save lives. 

School shootings are a scar to the nation. To stop them, we all need to pitch in. Help those in need. Speak up when you see something. Advocate for stronger measures to make schools safe.  

We can’t let this keep happening. Parents shouldn’t have to drop their kids off at school knowing they may never come back. 

We need change. Now.