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Editorial: What can we do to prevent school shootings?

Skylar Maihles

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“What we must do now is enact change because that is what we do to things that fail: We change them.” – Lorenzo Prado, Parkland shooting survivor.

According to the New York Times, since the infamous Columbine shooting in 1999, 141 people in America have been killed in school shootings.

Since 2015, there has been an average of 1 shooting per week on a school or college campus.

As these tragedies repeat mercilessly, it’s sometimes easy to become desensitized or view mass shootings as normal. But they aren’t normal, or at least under no circumstances should they be.

Yet time after time, the same horrible story unfolds again. A ‘troubled’ teenage boy (according to FBI records, 96% of school shooters are male) brings a gun to school and kills or injures his classmates.

Politicians offer thoughts and prayers. News outlets cover the story for a few days, and then- it disappears. People stop talking about it. And then next week, somewhere in the United States it happens again.

There is something so inherently wrong with this. No child should ever be killed in a school, and the lives of those that were should be worth more than the sporadic and temporary attention they receive.

Even one death should be too much, and yet there have been 141 teenagers and young adults murdered in schools, and what has been done about it? Unfortunately, for a long time the answer to that question was: not much.

However, for the first time in a long time, political action seems plausible. And this is mainly due to the activism from the survivors of the shooting in Parkland, Florida.

On February 14, At Stoneman Douglass High School, an ex-student shot and killed 17 people in just 6 minutes and 20 seconds. This tragedy is one America is no stranger to, but what followed was something truly exceptional.

The survivors from Parkland have outright refused to be swept under the rug, to become just another statistic. These teenagers have started a nationwide movement, centering on the belief that something in America desperately needs to change to keep schools from producing body counts. Simply stated- enough is enough.

For the teenagers of Parkland the answer to school shooting prevention lies in gun control legislation; from more comprehensive background checks, to raising the buying age, to high capacity magazine bans.

However, for the most part conservatives disagree, citing that school safety is the aspect of this nationwide catastrophe legislators should focus on.

Whatever the solution, it’s clear that something needs to be done, and the most likely way of getting there is going to take some compromise.

Some form of basic gun-control legislation should be enacted, at least so teenagers who publicly declare on the internet their desire to kill people (as Nikolas Cruz did, according to CNN) are denied access to military grade weapons.

And schools should be safer for kids and teachers, because no matter what laws are enacted, some instances can still fall through the cracks.

Everyone in America wants the same things, for schools to be safe and students to not live in fear. This issue is bigger than the divide between political parties and the clash between conservative and liberal. This is a matter of life and death.

And it’s our lives that are at risk when a school shooting happens, not those of politicians. For years, Congress and lawmakers have placed this national crisis on the back-burner, because it doesn’t affect them. But we don’t have that luxury.

After witnessing the number of school shootings and the degree of government inactivity, it’s clear that Congress is not going to do anything unless voters make them.

November 6, 2018 is a senatorial midterm election. Take a little time to research candidates’ stances on this issue and make it known in the polls that this issue is not one that is going away.

Most importantly, just show up to vote. Because if you don’t actively pursue change using the best tool American citizens have, no one will do it for you.

 

 

 

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About the Writer
Audrey McGovern, Editor-In-Chief
Senior Journalism III student Audrey’s favorite quote is, “To be hardcore, you have to live hardcore.”  
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