Shootings Must Stop

Gus Boyer, Staff Reporter

Columnist Gus Boyer

Screams of grief and pain echo all around, like the roaring of wind during a storm, while cries for help are engulfed by confusion. Swarms of people stampede out of the building, trying to escape the source of all this chaos and all this fear — a lone object — a gun.

Mass shootings like the one described are horrific and deadly, yet they occurred on average seven times a week from Jan. 1 to Nov. 5, 2017. They happen so often that mass shootings may even be viewed as mundane.

This is not acceptable in the United States of America, but it is a problem that seems to only be getting worse. The question that needs to be asked is, “How we can prevent it?”

According to data by the Gun Violence Archive, 384 mass shootings occurred in 2017,  A mass shooting is defined as at least four or more individuals being shot or killed at the same place at the same time. This means that at least 1,536 people were injured or killed in shootings in 2017. While many of the victims are adults, children are targeted as well.

Many students would like to think they are safe in their classrooms, but schools have been a common target for shootings, especially in 2018, where 14 school shootings happened by Mar. 8, averaging about one a week. How can we live with the fact that so many families are suffering?

Some have proposed a “solution” for school shootings, which is to arm teachers to help defend against attacks. This, however, would not work because gun accuracy drops immensely in times of peril.

Arming teachers could lead to even more injuries, which has already been the case in Seaside, California, where teacher Dennis Alexander’s gun went off during a safety demonstration, injuring one student.

The real solution lies in gun control. If we can lower the chance of guns getting in the hands of criminals or minors, gun violence could decrease drastically. Take Australia, for example, where after a mass shooting killed 35 people in 1996, all six states agreed to ban semi-automatic rifles and shotguns and have 28-day waiting periods, background checks, and a justifiable reason to purchase a gun.

The numbers don’t lie. About seven years after the laws passed, firearm homicide rates dropped by 42 percent and firearm suicide rates by about 57 percent. Zero mass shootings have occurred in Australia since 1996.

If the United States could implement the same system as Australia, results would be clear and the nation safer.