Stuck in a Cycle of Shootings

School shootings have become a recurring nightmare we are condemned to repeat. Americans have fallen into a cycle where shootings occur and no changes are made before another makes the news. We no longer are surprised when reports are made concerning a new disaster. As a nation we have become desensitized to shootings and indifferent to put an end to the cycle.

“I can’t help but think that each victim is just another statistic. These happen so frequently so I’ve become insensitive to the issue,”  junior Troy Parish said. “People have always killed one another and there will never be an end to violence, we will just find new methods of murder.”

The latest nightmare occured on Friday May 18, 2018 at Santa Fe High School in Texas. Ten people were fatally shot, including eight students and two teachers, and 13 others were wounded when a student, Dimitrios Pagourtzis, opened fire in the art room. Students were interviewed at the scene of the shooting. Paige Curry, a student at Santa Fe High School was interviewed by a local TV reporter to show the sense of inevitability of the fatal tragedy.

“It has been happening everywhere,” Curry said. “I’ve always kind of felt eventually it would happen here too.” (The Washington Post)

Since January 1, 2009 there have been 288 school shootings in the United States, which is 57 times as many shootings as the other six G7 countries combined (CNN). The Group of Seven countries consist of Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the United Kingdom and the United States. These are the most economically developed nations and encounter similar relations (Council of Foreign Relations). Many questions have been raised concerning why the amount of shootings vary so drastically across the globe.

“I feel the occurrences are due to America’s flawed mental healthcare system, rather than our gun laws. No person is born wanting to shoot someone else. The blame should be placed on poor parenting, socioeconomic status and a lack of focus on the mentally ill,” Parish said. “Better care for the mentally ill is all that can be done. People won’t turn in their guns, and if they do, we will just find alternative ways to create and distribute them. ”

There has been, on average, one school shooting every week this year. We are 21 weeks into 2018 and 22 school shootings have already occurred where at least one person was hurt or killed (CNN). Student resource officer Adriane Stone shares an officer’s perspective on  school shootings.

“Evil is everywhere and you can’t completely stop someone if they really want to come in. However, there are measures to be taken to protect our kids,” Stone said. “Times have changed and the issue is more prevalent now. These kids have the nerve and confidence to conduct shootings because they’ve seen it done before them.”

Parish feels that past experiences have allowed for a feeling of safety if an event like this were to occur.

“When the lock down incident occurred a few months ago, the response time from the police was very quick, and the new door lock system was installed soon afterwards,” Parish said. “These factors lead me to believe that my safety is in good hands and that the staff really cares about protecting my peers and I. I think we all would be much more serious in a lock down event since the recent scare shook us all up.”

Recent discussions concern whether or not teachers should be armed in the event that a shooting may occur. People question who should bear arms within a school. Some argue it is not a teacher’s responsibility and that certain credentials should exist to have a gun on school grounds. Stone shares how she feels about these debates.

“If you want more arms, you need trained individuals and more law enforcement,” Stone said. “Being the only individual with a gun on campus means it is my responsibility to protect and serve the public. If teachers are armed, it feels like the school is saying they can handle it themselves and they do not need me.”

According to the National Center for Education Statistics, 9 out of 10 public schools now practice active shooter drills and educate students and teachers on how to properly respond to a mass shooting situation. Stone shares how safe students at West Johnston should feel.

“No one can say how they would respond in a situation until they are in it. I’m not the officer who did not run in to save the kids, ” Stone said. “I can not promise to keep you from harm but I can promise that if anything happens I am coming for your aid.”