The Voice of the Bellwood-Antis Student Body

Many are to blame, including the media for advertising school shootings

The year 2018 has seen drops of crime nation-wide in the U.S., yet for some reason we have seen the rise of school shootings, the most recent being in Florida on February 14th. As always with mass shootings, the media publicizes the shooting to no end in an attempt to get as many viewers as possible on their stories. However, isn’t this promoting exactly what the school shooter wanted? Just yesterday, my school had a fire drill and students around me were scared that somebody might be trying to “shoot up the school”. Students should not be scared to go to school and the media just fuels that fire. From what I’ve seen, I believe that there is always blame to go around to both the media, lawmakers, and officers, and, at the end of the day, nothing ever changes. In order to stop these school shootings, something obviously must change.

Whenever a school shooting occurs, the first blame is always the guns. After all, according to CNN, the U.S. citizens own approximately 48% of civilian-owned guns worldwide. Of course, our gun laws make it easier to get your hands on a gun than if you were in a country with stricter gun laws. However, if somebody like Nikolas Cruz, who spent countless hours planning his attack, wants to get a gun, he will undoubtedly be able to get one off of the black market. So, by restricting gun laws, you may be taking the guns out of the hands of people that have good intentions, and leaving only the criminals with guns. This is seen clearly in Chicago, which has some of the strictest gun laws and the highest crime rates in the country.

Whenever a school shooting occurs, the first blame is always the guns”

Don’t get me wrong on any account, we definitely need gun reform. An 18 year old who has had authorities have to visit his house 39 times over 7 years should not be allowed to buy an AR-15 assault rifle. The federal government needs to do more to regulate background checks of individuals buying guns, which has been, for the most part, left up to the states. This would ensure a more fail-proof system of gun control without loopholes that would allow for someone like Cruz to get their hands on an assault rifle.

Something that often gets overlooked is that the media fuels this fire of school shootings by covering them so heavily. It’s eight days since the Florida shooting, and still you can’t turn on the news without seeing something about it. Nikolas Cruz is getting exactly what he wanted. With the help of the media, he has stricken fear into millions of students and parents around the country, and he is at the center of attention around the nation. This kind of coverage may meet some other mentally unstable being who may have had thoughts of doing this themselves, and they see it as a challenge to try to get the highest death toll. Without this mass coverage, less people could get inspired to do these heinous acts against humanity.

Finally, officers, schools, and friends and family cannot ignore any warning signs at all. How was a kid who threatened to shoot up the school and be a “professional school shooter” still walking on the street? He should have been taken to jail, evaluated by a psychiatrist, and been cleared to go back out on the street (let alone buy a gun). I couldn’t possibly understand how anyone could think otherwise. So, I’m not sure whose fault it was in the case of the Florida school shooting, however, I am sure that laws should be passed that will force anyone who threatens to do something like this to get heavy counselling, and in cases like Cruz, get thrown into jail due to their threats. In order for that to work we will need to be willing to come forward, even if the shooter is a relative. Just a day before the Florida shooting, a grandmother came forward about her grandson who had detailed plans on how he would “shoot up” his Washington state school. When family is willing to turn in family and friends turn in friends, these shootings can be way more preventable. To continue, whenever officers are called out to the Cruz family home 39 times, there had to have been something wrong with the kid that could have him thrown into jail- how many warnings does a guy get? Finally, the school should have done more. The answer to a school shooting threat is expelling a kid? How about giving him some therapy?

Therefore, there are many reasons why school shootings happen, and the recent shooting in Florida was a perfect example of how bad our current system is. We need to have stricter gun laws from the national level, stop covering shootings to such an extent, and have some legislation that will help to counsel and eliminate these potential threats. Enough is enough. We need to stop just offering prayers to the families. It is time for our government to actually do some good so that parents no longer have to feel worried about their kids going off to school in the morning.

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