On February 14, 2018, seventeen students attending Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida were shot and killed by an armed gunman. This latest shooting makes a total of over four-hundred deaths in school shootings since the Sandy Hook Elementary shooting on December 14, 2012, in Newtown, Connecticut (Patel 2018).Still, this number is continuously rising, since the start of 2018, there have been seventeen school shootings, this means that on average there is one shooting per week. Subsequent to the tragedy of sandy hook elementary, there have been over two-hundred school shootings in the United States. The United States needs to do something about gun control, and we need to do it now.
The Parkland High School shooting was news that shocked the nation; students were terrified to attend school for fear of copycat shooters, or retaliation from peers, consequently, parents have been outraged by the number of shootings that followed Parkland. Many students have contemplated dropping out, or boycotting for the rest of the school year, or until gun laws change. After the parkland shooting, it was suspected that there would be an increase in school shootings, but not nearly as much as occurred in the past months. Since the parkland shooting, there have been ten more school shootings, this includes the Maryland shooting which occurred Tuesday, March 20th, 2018
Although the parkland shooting lit up news broadcasts across the country, many other school shootings have not. In fact, many of the “minor” school shootings go unnoticed until a more distinguished shooting occurs. The mass shooting at Parkland brought light to the major issue of gun control, and gun violence, however, parkland was the 17th shooting in 2018.
Schools across the nation are spending millions of dollars on getting new security measures to help prevent another mass shooting, however, this is not enough. The United States makes roughly 13.5 billion dollars a year off of guns and ammunition, a percentage of this revenue goes to politicians and lawmakers to reduce the strictness of gun laws. Essentially, the more money the National Rifle Association makes off guns, the more politicians make. Although the government is making billions of dollars on guns, somehow they still fail to offer proper funding to public schools. This leaves many schools under-funded and struggling to offer their students proper learning materials.
One of the main concerns of our nation should be providing safe environments for everyone, however, we still fail to offer safe learning environments for the youth of our nation. The new proposal for school safety is arming teachers, this will not only take funds away from students basic needs but also propose a number of safety risks. Students attending public school should not have to worry about being shot, or having to defend themselves if someone attacks them with a deadly weapon. Teachers should not have to waste time and money on arming themselves with a loaded weapon to protect their helpless students. The main concern of public schools should be providing a quality education to every student attending the school. If teachers are occupied with the concern pulling a gun in the middle of class, they can not provide a quality education to students.
Gun Laws in America vary from state to state, in Michigan, virtually anyone who is eighteen or older can buy a gun regardless of their background. This poses a threat to all of the residents of the United States, if one person can successfully buy, and use a gun in a school shooting, who’s to say ten more can’t? The average American citizen does not need to have access to military grade automatic, or semi-automatic weapons. There is no recreational; or logical use for a weapon of the caliper of an AR-15, or a semi-automatic weapon. “A total of 43 rifles have been used in 35 mass shootings between 1982 and 2017.” ("Weapons used in mass shootings in the U.S. 1982-2017 | Statistic", 2017) The United States is one of the leading manufacturers of guns and ammunition, ,and the United States has more guns than any other country, with 112.6 guns per 100 residents (Morris 2016).
The debate that school shootings are caused by bullying and mental illness is going viral. Hours after the Parkland shooting, there was already talk of the shooter being mentally ill, even the president sent out a tweet naming the suspect “mentally disturbed” and promising to “tackle the difficult issue of mental health.” This proposal suggests that any act of violence or murder can be considered a result of mental illness. In many school shootings, the suspect is claimed to be mentally ill before they are even apprehended, or interviewed. Claiming that the suspect was mentally ill before he was diagnosed is simply ridiculous. Although many acts of violence may be related to mental health, it is absurd to assume that a person is mentally ill based on personal opinion or judgment.
Overall, the only way to stop school shootings is to make it harder to access guns. The United States needs stricter background checks, with longer waiting times required to buy weapons. The number of school shootings in the past few months is outrageous, no student should be scared to attend their school. Students should be focused on homework, and SAT scores, not how they’re going to protect themselves if an armed shooter invades their school.
(2017, June). Weapons used in mass shootings in the U.S. 1982-2017 | Statistic. Retrieved March 21, 2018.
Lopez, German. “I've Covered Gun Violence for Years. The Solutions Aren't a Big Mystery.” Vox, Vox Media, 21 Feb. 2018.
Ducharme, Jamie. “Stop Blaming School Shootings on Mental Illness, APA Says.” Time, Time, 16 Feb. 2018.
Patel, Jugal K. “After Sandy Hook, More Than 400 People Have Been Shot in Over 200 School Shootings.” The New York Times, The New York Times, 15 Feb. 2018.
Morris, Hugh. “Mapped: The Countries with the Most Guns (No Prizes for Guessing #1).” The Telegraph, Telegraph Media Group, 22 Oct. 2016.
“Statistics.” Giffords Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence, Giffords Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence.
Ahmed, Saeed, and Christina Walker. “There Has Been, on Average, 1 School Shooting Every Week This Year.” CNN, Cable News Network, 20 Mar. 2018.