Shootings Have Become an Epidemic – Here’s How to Stop Them

Braeden Meadows, Video Editor

On November 14, Saugus High School in Santa Clarita, California fell victim to the universally dreaded doings of an active shooter. Two students lost their lives, one 14 and one 15 year old.  Three are in critical condition. As of writing, 46 weeks have passed in 2019. 

There have been 45 shootings on school campuses in the same amount of time. This averages to about 1 shooting on a school campus every week. 

This is also in complete disregard to the numerous public shootings that have taken place off of school property, the most notable of which would be the Walmart shooting in El Paso, Texas, where 22 were killed. 

Over the past several years in America, shootings like these have become an all-out epidemic that shows no sign of stopping any time soon. It is one of the most glaring issues with America and it’s high school culture is the primary catalyst for this kind of behavior. There is only one reason killers are bred in the halls of high schools across the country – and it’s in large part to do with mental health.

Lots of people like to place the blame on easy access to firearms, and this is absolutely, albeit only partially, something that needs to be addressed. Better background checks for gun purchases are something people have been asking for for years, but what else can we do to make sure the wrong people don’t get their hands on this stuff without completely abolishing their right to purchase altogether?

The first step: Include a mental health evaluation into your background checks for gun purchase. If somebody trying to purchase a firearm raises red flags for violent tendencies and other signs of unstable mental health, figure out something from there. It shouldn’t be this easy for mentally unstable individuals to get their hands on devices specifically designed for taking the lives of others.

Many schools in populated cities have also started including metal detectors at every entrance. Why isn’t this seen as a viable option? The technology is inexpensive, easy to get a hold of, and is a super smart investment for all around school security. 

But what more can be done to prevent more horrific tragedies like this in schools? It certainly isn’t easy, but the biggest stride that can be made in spite of ignorant politicians who won’t do the right thing is to near completely eliminate bullying and social discrimination in schools.

Now, on the surface this sounds impossible, and you wouldn’t be blamed for thinking so. It certainly isn’t possible to completely do away with it in every form, but if high school students would try, even if for a little, to lose their sense of entitlement, something big could change. 

You never EVER know somebody’s life outside of school. Even if you’re close to them and they tell you a lot, unless you explicitly see it, you will never know what they might be going through at any given time off campus. You will never know or understand the emotional despair some kids deal with on a regular basis, and some people have the nerve to put these people down. Why is this?

There are a couple good reasons why behavior like this STILL occurs in school hallways and classrooms. For starters, and the most glaring issue with ending bullying is the idea that most if not all bullying in schools stem from one thing: Insecurity. High schoolers are insecure, every single one without exception. Some high school kids biggest concern isn’t their future, it isn’t their grades, and it isn’t their opportunities, either.

It’s their social status.

That means things like how many friends they have, how many boys/girls they talk to, what people think of them, how much people think about them; this is what most high schoolers are REALLY worried about, and if it means putting other people, who may I remind you they do not even know in uncomfortable situations, they’ll do it without a second thought.

So why is this impactful? You push hurt people to their breaking point. That sense of dread that looms over them every day reaches its breaking point. Sheer sadness devolves into mental chaos and they stop thinking rationally. This is actually how teenagers turn into violent killers.

So what can we learn from this? Treat people well. It legitimately takes more effort to disrespect someone than it does to treat them hospitably. Want to do your part in preventing these tragedies? Speak up. If you see something, say something. It is NEVER shameful to stand up for those who can’t.