Social Issue: Gun Violence

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More than 187,000 children have been exposed to gun violence at school since the Columbine Massacre. The issue of gun violence has been and continues to be an ongoing problem in our world. In the recent years, school shootings have unfortunately become more and more popular. Most people who think of gun violence automatically connect it with school shootings. In this year alone, there have been 23 school shooting in the United States. From 1983 to 2013, there were 119 mass shootings around the world, and 66% of them took place in the United States. In 2017, there were 346 mass shootings in the U.S. alone. This riveting statistic goes to show that the matter of unsafe gun use is a growing to be a major problem, and that it needs to be solved.

One possible strategy to help prevent gun violence in schools is arming teachers. They would have to undergo gun training, background checks, and psychological evaluations before being allowed to carry a firearm. For example, in South Dakota, teachers are allowed to carry a firearm on campus, but not before undergoing at least 80 hours of force application, weapon proficiency, legal aspects, and first aid classes. In addition to this, they also have to be approved by the school board and a law enforcement agency. The idea of teachers carrying guns on campus has been a highly debated topic for decades but is now being considered a real possible solution. Many people argue that nothing more can be done to stop the recurring school shootings, but it is believed by many that teachers carrying firearms could deter future shootings and prevent the loss of innocent lives.

Many people ask how and why school shootings even occur. A number of factors contribute to the growing cycle of gun violence in school and workplace environments.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      The biggest known factor is bullying. Evidence shows that kids who have been cyber bullied or harassed by their peers are more likely to resort to gun violence. In a study conducted by the University of Washington School of Public Health, more than 10,000 students were analyzed regarding the effect bullying had on them and their peers. Research from this study shows that kids who were physically or verbally abused were two times more likely to report access to a gun. It also found that of these same children, those who had been cyber bullied through text message, email, and other forms of social media were three times more likely to report having access to a gun.

Many people think that mental illness plays a role in a shooter’s actions. On the other hand, it is quite the opposite. People with mental illnesses are less likely to impose gun violence, but become victim of it. They are eleven times more likely than the rest of the general population to be a victim of this type of violence. The National Rifle Association (NRA) blames gun violence on “insane killers”. Due to this and other false information, the disabled community has struggled with the policies that ignore the true facts and focus on the resulting incidents caused by improper health care.

Although it may not seem like it, there are some positive effects of gun violence that follow the negative ones. These occurrences have allowed people, schools, and communities to be more aware of their surroundings and what actions to take in case of a shooting. For example, this summer at Flomaton High School, the Flomaton Police Department carried out series of drills and scenarios to prepare teachers on how to handle a situation in the event of a shooting. Many other schools nationwide have began arming their faculty and staff in order to stop shooters and prevent casualties. Although arming teachers, taming bullying, and being more aware of mental health cannot fully eliminate school shootings, it puts us one step closer to understanding and avoiding them.

While it is apparent that certain measures are being taken to prevent future shootings, arming teachers may be the best option to protect students and reduce casualties. Access to deadly weapons is apparently more accessible than mental health aides or counseling for bullying or depression. These tragedies will not stop here and are far from over but have sparked eye opening propositions for well equipped schools and safer students. Gun violence did not begin here nor will it end, but enough is enough, and at some point the lives of children will become more important than the right to carry a firearm. After this, the numerous deaths of teenagers and their peers will become more important that the lack of care and funding to help the issues that caused them. Due to the uprising precautions being taken, we can say goodbye to fearing what were once the safest places in America. It is time to take action.

Work Cited

 

  • Cox, John W. “The Extraordinary Number of Kids Who Have Endured School Shootings since Columbine.” The Washington Post, WP Company, 25 Mar. 2018, www.washingtonpost.com/graphics/2018/local/us-school-shootings-history/?noredirect=on&utm_term=.12fe0a48578b.
  • Jeffrey, Courtland. “Mass Shootings in the U.S.: When, Where They Have Occurred in 2018.” KNXV, 27 Aug. 2018, www.abc15.com/news/data/mass-shootings-in-the-us-when-where-they-have-occurred-in-2018.
  • Lemieux, Frederic. “6 Things to Know about Mass Shootings in America.” Scientific American, 13 June 2016, www.scientificamerican.com/article/6-things-to-know-about-mass-shootings-in-america/.
  • Chavez, Nicole. “These Schools Say Arming Teachers ‘Can Be Done Right’.” CNN, Cable News Network, 28 Feb. 2018, www.cnn.com/2018/02/24/us/armed-teachers-states-trnd/index.html.
  • Simckes, Maayan. “The Worrying Relationship between Bullying and Gun Violence in American Schools.” Newsweek, 1 July 2017, www.newsweek.com/bullied-victims-and-gun-violence-american-schools-worrying-relationship-629752.
  • Park, Jenny. “Increased Gun Violence Risk among Bullied Students.” The Nation’s Health, American Public Health Association, 1 Sept. 2017, thenationshealth.aphapublications.org/content/47/7/E32.
  • Ross, Patrick. “Mental Health and Gun Violence – Healthcare in America.” Healthcare in America, Healthcare in America, 19 Feb. 2018, healthcareinamerica.us/mental-health-and-gun-violence-607dbb564fb6.
  • Daniels, Aaron. “This Teenager Tried To Buy Cigarettes, Porn, And A Gun…Which One Did He Get?” Warped Speed, 19 July 2018, www.warpedspeed.com/teenagers-can-buy-guns-but-not-lotto-ticket.
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