October 1’s tragic incident at Umpqua College in Oregon marks the 45th school shooting in 2015. 10 students were killed and seven were injured as a 26 year old gunman walked onto campus and began firing shots following the questioning of students about their religion. Public shootings, specifically school shootings, have increased steadily and disturbingly over the past four years. Since 2011, mass shootings have nearly tripled in number.
The loose provisions on gun control from state to state allow these shootings to happen. People don’t know their limits with guns and we as the public are beginning to witness more and more mass shootings all over the country. But what is the government doing to protect innocent citizens from these crimes? The right to bear arms is a given right from the constitution, but what the state governments don’t realize is that the less restrictions they put on the possession of guns, the more people will misuse their rights.
Ever since I was in the sixth grade, the schools in our district have been preparing us for intruder attacks. We close the blinds, lock all the windows and doors, and sit in a dark classroom until the intruder has officially left the premises. We must be ready at all times to face any intruder attacks, which is actually incredibly scary. Having to prepare for the worst during school is alarming and affects the way children interact within a school. How safe are we supposed to feel when we’re constantly preparing for danger?
At one point, our school district wanted its teachers to contain weapons inside the classrooms to be ready at any moment. And to prevent intruders on campus, we would have to wear out identification cards around our necks all day everyday. Someone even suggested high equipped security to ensure that no other students were bringing weapons on campus.
Two years ago, a neighboring middle school received a threat written on the wall of a part of the school, that on the following day, they would kill seven students. My younger sister was a sixth grader at the time attending a middle school in the same area. I was in my yoga class when I heard the news and rushed to grab my cellphone and call my mom, begging her not to send my younger sister to school that day. My heart was pounding and my mind filled with anxiety. The threat wasn’t given to the school my sister attends, but I had never been so scared for my sister in my life.
Thankfully, the threat turned out to be a disgusting prank. However on that day, several students were kept at home because of how scared their parents were to send them to school.
For people living in unsafe areas, these paranoias are common. All schools across the country should foster a safe and secure environment, and it’s time that something be done about this shooting epidemic.
Mass shootings are not a common occurrence, but they are also not specifically rare. We receive the tragic news of a school shooting, and it may be miles or minutes away from our homes. We then grieve and offer condolences via Twitter or Facebook. After a few weeks, everyone forgets about the incident. However, it seems that not long after, we receive news of another shooting and the cycle continues.
Parents should be able to feel confident when dropping their children off to school in the mornings before work, and children should always feel comfortable stepping foot on campus until it’s time to go home at the end of the day. Public school shootings are preventing this feeling of safety, and if things don’t take a turn for the better, shootings will likely increase even more in 2016.
President Obama delivered a speech on Thursday night addressing the fact that he can do little to nothing to prevent such tragedies from occurring. President Obama was deeply affected and frustrated by the school shooting, which was apparent throughout his speech. He also remarked that people have been growing “numb” to mass shootings. At one point, he referred to the National Rifle Association, which have fought limits on gun manufacturing while pushing for gun legislation. The NRA has made it easier for the possession of guns around the country by loosening requirements, and its a problem.
Hopefully the 2016 presidential candidates will take the gun control debate seriously and make genuine efforts that will in turn lower the rates of mass shootings as a whole. No child deserves to feel insecure and in danger at their own school, and no parent should fear sending their child to school everyday.