Usually, one of the first things I see when I start my day is another mass shooting occurring somewhere in the United States. The most disturbing part is the amount of time between shootings, usually being a few hours or days within each other. Young children (Adam Toledo, 13) and minorities (Breonna Taylor, Elijah Mclain, Daunte Wright…) are dying at the hands of the police, and people are fed up. School shootings are another major concern in the United States and have been on the rise since the first instance of the Columbine massacre on April 20th, 1999. Who is to blame? The parents, the police system, society?
The normalization of school shootings
Since there is no singular definition, a mass shooting is classified as three or more shooting victims, not including the shooter that cannot be gang-related, involve drugs, or any kind of organized crime. An FBI study of active shooter incidents in the United States between 2000-2013 shows a 45.6% chance of becoming a victim within a business setting and a 24.4% chance in a school setting. Since we are in 2021, the amount of school shootings has lessened due to COVID-19 and quarantine, but as things transition to “normalcy” again, schools shooting still needs to be addressed and prevented all costs. The school was supposed to be a fun haven; now, it’s filled with teens having to be on the lookout if one of their peers decides to come to school with a weapon. There have been at least 180 shootings (K-12) around the US throughout the past decade, and the numbers are only continuing to go up. Discussions have taken place on ways to fight back and how to protect adolescents in the event of a school shooting. Instead of having to be put in a situation to fight back, a more realistic solution is limited access and exposure to guns, especially teenagers.
Why is Gun Reform necessary?
Gun reform has been a touchy subject for many. The NRA (National Rifle Association) has been extremely vocal about America’s gun laws compared to other countries that appear to be more lenient and less structured despite the rules and regulations. America needs gun reform because the number of school shootings and mass shootings occurring before and after the pandemic is truly heartbreaking and could have easily been prevented if our rules weren’t so lenient. Gun reform would not only make people feel safer, but society would begin to see real change.
The United States vs. The Rest of the World
The United States was founded based on freedom and independence. We are painted as a society with everything together, yet the world around us is crumbling, and little is being done about it. The amount of shootings that occur in the US is astronomical compared to other countries. Japan, Germany, United Kingdom, and Australia are the few of many counties to have incentives set in place to decrease the number of firearms and accessibility to them. A prime example is Australia implementing a buy-back program that allowed their government to buy back guns and destroying a total of 600,000 guns. Japan requires extensive background checks, police inspections, and a separate permeate for ammunition. As you can see, The US should take notes.
What happens now?
Our children and siblings should not fear going to school because they’re afraid their peers will lash out. People shouldn’t be scared to walk in public with the fear of being targeted. As for the discrimination against people of color, there is more to be done. Yes, George Floyd’s murderer being convicted is a step in the right direction, but we’ve been going in circles for centuries. How many more steps are we going to have to take? The SAY, THEIR NAMES list of 2021, and the number of mass shootings that occurred (pre and post-pandemic) need to be closely examined to understand the extent to which people are being killed. Real change is needed, and it begins with us.