14 November 2012
Stopping the Tragedy of School Shootings
Every single day, millions of kids across the country wake up, get ready for the day, and head to school. The parents of these children trust the school with many things; a safe bus ride, a productive environment, and most importantly, keeping their kids safe throughout the day. School districts take pride in this, and on a normal basis, things will go smoothly. Despite all of their efforts, though, one of the most serious and saddening problems that affects schools today is the occurrence of school shootings. Since 1980, there have been over 50 deadly shootings in the United States that occurred on school campuses. There have been many actions taken to prevent these terrible acts, but because they are so unpredictable, shootings still occur. There are many more things we can do to prevent school shootings, horrible events that do not need to occur, and to help those who suffer from thoughts of violence.
Shootings have been a problem for hundreds of years. Beginning in 1927, individuals have been driven to intense measures and have taken it out on classmates, teachers, or even random victims. Unfortunately, almost every single incident involving school shootings could have been avoided if people would have taken precautions and said something. Dr. Fred Bemak, a professor at George Mason University, feels that situations can be dodged if we just talk to one another. “This is a very individualistic society, and we need to work more toward becoming a collective one. We need to work in groups to help foster tolerance and acceptance for others” (Orr 92). One of the most saddening things is the fact that often times, the attacker is a victim driven to these extremes.
There are many different things that can be pointed to as the cause of school shootings, including mental disorders and family trouble, but perhaps the largest contributor is bullying. “One-third of U.S. students have experienced bullying, either as a target or the perpetrator, and 8 percent of those reported bullying or being bullied at least once a week” (Orr 25). We constantly hear the media telling us about how serious of a problem bullying in schools is, but even the news underestimates how bad it is. According to a study produced by Secret Service after the Columbine shooting, one of the most famous deadly school shootings ever, bullying is a leading cause in driving someone to a breaking point. “Many attackers felt bullied, persecuted, or injured by others prior to the attack” (Threat Assessment). Bullying is something that will never entirely go away, but there is not nearly enough being done to put an end to it. If this problem were taken out of the equation, hundreds of lives could have been saved. More programs need to be put into place that make people aware of this impending problem, and schools need to be more firm about putting their foot down against bullying when it occurs. In turn, the chances of a victim lashing out will be hugely diminished.
In this day and age, firearms are much too easy to acquire. There are laws that say you must be a certain age to purchase a gun, and laws that make the punishments clear for supplying a minor with a weapon, but kids across the country find ways to get them illegally with ease. “In the eyes of gun-control advocates, the correlation between violence and a growing supply of guns is clear: the greater availability of guns leads to more gun-related deaths” (Gun Control). Guns are a great thing for many reasons, and in the 2nd Amendment of the Constitution, every American has the right to possess a gun, but in the wrong hands they can have deadly consequences. They also become all the more dangerous when someone driven to the breaking point owns one, and lashes out. Shootings can be entirely spontaneous and throwing a deadly weapon into the picture makes them all the scarier. “Gun-control advocates add that...