Cease school shootings


Jacklyne Gomez

School shootings are horrific events that continue to destroy families, lives and futures. They must stop now.

Serena Elkins

While hiding during a school shooting in St. Louis, Missouri on Oct. 24, 16-year-old Messiah Miller texted multiple people, including his mother telling them that he loved them.

On Jan. 6, a 6-year-old boy took a gun to Richneck Elementary School in Virginia and shot his first grade teacher Abigail Zwerner. She was shot through her hand and into her chest by the weapon, a 9-millimeter Taurus handgun. The gun came from his house and had been legally purchased by his mother, according to The New York Times in “Six-Year-Old Brought Gun From Home in Newport News School Shooting, Police Say” published on Jan. 9.

Students and teachers are injured or killed in school shootings all across America every week. Three hundred school shootings took place in the United States in 2022, doubling the rate of school shootings in 2020.  This week was the 5-year anniversary of the shooting at  Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, where 17 people were killed and 17 were injured. And just this week, a gunman opened fire at Michigan State University on Feb. 13, killing three students and critically wounding five others before killing himself. 

It is a uniquely American problem. Obviously, the United States is not doing enough to stop these devastating shootings. We must commit to universal gun laws, raise the age limit to buy a gun, perform universal background checks on everyone purchasing guns and ban assault-style weapons.

“The US has had 57 times as many school shootings than Canada, France, Germany, Japan, Italy, and the UK combined,” according to the CNN article “The US has had 57 times as many school shootings as the other major industrialized nations combined” published May 21, 2018.

“Honestly, I wanted to go to school with my friends at Champs,” freshman Nemesi Martinez Morales said. “But it actually terrified me, the thought of being in a school shooting. I don’t have a phone, so I wouldn’t be able to tell my mom ‘I love you’ or ‘Goodbye.’ I feel like when I was choosing a high school, it was a very big factor. I wanted to be safe. I didn’t want to be anywhere where that could happen because I feel like that’s a fear that I’m really scared of.”

We also need to better help the people who end up shooting schools. Schools are currently enforcing a heavy understanding of both mental health and bullying to lessen the rates of school shootings along with suicide. “Seventy eight percent of school shooters had a history of suicide attempts or suicidal ideations prior to their attack,” according to The American Counseling Association.

Suicide and school shootings are highly related, both stemming from depression and loneliness. The difference between these is that school shooters also include bullying that gets them angry, angry enough to want to die, but kill others too. Most school shootings end with the attacker committing suicide because the shooter is angry and depressed. With school shootings, the anger is reflected on the people around them rather than on themselves. 

“People who do these kinds of targeted attacks don’t feel very good about themselves or where they’re headed in their lives,” psychologist John Van Dreal told NPR. “They may wish someone would kill them. Or they may wish they could kill themselves.”

Most schools and the government say that they are doing all that they can to stop school shootings. They’ve said that by staying safe, learning to protect ourselves and creating a safe school environment, we can prevent shootings. While all these concepts are necessary for schools and society to function properly, obviously these ideas are not fully working because of how many of these shootings continue to take place in America. It is important to know how to protect ourselves in case of a shooting and to have a happy school climate. But that can’t be the only thing we do to stay safe.

In California, there are already gun laws in the books, including the safe storage of guns, a licensing system for gun and ammunition purchases, prohibition for possession of large capacity magazines, a 10-day waiting period between applying for and obtaining firearms and a limitation to buying one handgun per month. Just because California has these laws doesn’t mean other states do. People from California can travel to other states to purchase guns illegally.

But here (in California), the gun lobby holds tremendous sway, and gun companies just want to keep selling guns. And they’ve been able to – our gun laws have been weakened considerably over the last 30 years, thanks to gun industry lobbying,” according to the CNN article “Why California’s ‘strong’ gun laws are in danger.”

Although California does background checks before people can buy a gun, those are not foolproof. 

“The background checks are not going to catch everyone, especially those without a criminal history, those who have never been psychiatrically hospitalized or who don’t meet any of the other criteria for prohibition of owning a gun,” Dr. Amy Barnhorst said in ABC News article “Experts explain why California is still rife with gun violence despite some of the most stringent gun laws in the country” published Jan 26. 

Universal gun laws and background checks need to be placed so people cannot access guns as easily and school shootings cannot take place as often. The age limit to buy a gun should be moved from the age of 18 to at least 21. We don’t allow 18-year-olds to buy alcohol, so why should we allow them to buy a gun? Assault-style weapons are unnecessary in society and there is no reason for anybody to own one unless they are using it in the military. School shootings are horrific on so many levels. It is time they come to an end.