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School Shootings

Kyle Jennings, Staff Writer

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On February 12, 2018, Nikous Cruz, a 19-year-old from Florida, walked into the Parkland High School, after pulling the fire alarm, and started shooting at multiple students. Cruz moved through the building a shot and killed 17 people, mostly students. After this, he attempted to escape by walking out with a crowd of students who were rushing out of the building. He then walked around Parkland until the police were able to arrest him, alive.

Shooters, like Cruz, usually exhibit some sort of warning signs before they decide to pull the trigger at fellow students or teachers–whether it would be the result of bullying or a hard life at home. While knowing these signs beforehand and being alert may help us in the future, these signs or reasons do not excuse the actions of the shooter. Mental illness tends to be blamed for murders, though only 1% of gun-related homicides are carried out by people with mental illnesses (Knoll).

There have been 86 attacks on schools (not counting colleges) since 2013–63 of these matching the definition of a school shooting (Wilson). The closest to Franklin, Illinois, was in Mattoon, Illinois, where a student shot a gun in a crowded cafeteria in the school. One teacher was able to stop him from killing anyone, but two students were hurt during the attack (Schabbing). Mattoon was lucky that the teacher was quickly able to stop the shooting; many other schools were not as lucky, such as Sandy Hook where a gunman entered the elementary school and killed 20 children.

Students can play a role in helping to avoid these shootings by reporting any suspicious behavior to any teachers or by reporting bullying or signs of depression to a teacher.  Many high schools, such as Franklin High School, have training every year in case of an active shooter and have drills when students are not present.

On a larger scale, the United States government is at stalemate because some republicans want to add extra measures to background checks but not ban assault-style weapons; many democrats, however, want to ban assault style weapons in addition to extra measures on background checks (Connolly). Both sides want to help, but they won’t budge on the legalization of assault weapons. Everyone wants these shootings to stop but nothing will happen if the two parties cannot put aside their differences and put their country before their views. Florida, however, has passed a new gun bill upping the age restriction from 18 to 21, creating a waiting period a minimum of three days or until the background check is finished, banning bump stocks, providing more funding for school security, tightening mental health restrictions and expanding funding for mental health services in schools, and, most controversially, giving superintendents the power to arm some school personnel who undergo the proper amount of training, determined in the bill. 

 

Works Cited

Connolly, Griffen. “Democrat Republican Responses to Parkland Shooting Vary Wildly.” Rollcall, https://www.rollcall.com/news/politics/democratic-republican-responses-parkland-school-shooting-vary-wildly. Accessed 6 March 2018.

Greathouse, Tanya. “School Shootings.” Britannica, https://www.britannica.com/topic/school-shooting. Accessed 6 March 2018.

Knoll, James. “Mass Shootings and Mental Health.” Psychiatryonline, https://psychiatryonline.org/doi/pdf/10.5555/appi.books.9781615371099. Accessed 6 March 2018.

Schabbing, Dawn. “Teachers Quick Responses Saves Lives.” Chicago Tribune, http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/nationworld/midwest/ct-mattoon-high-school-shooting-teacher-20170921-story.html.  Accessed 6 March 2018.

Wilson, Chris. “This Charts Shows the Number of Schools Shootings Since Sandy Hook.” Time, http://time.com/5168272/how-many-school-shootings/. Accessed 6 March 2018.

 

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School Shootings