Protecting the Next Generation: School Shootings
Schools, while not perfect in practice, are one of the primary ways that children obtain knowledge. Children have become victims of violence in their place of learning, and, as of now, there are no feasible solutions to preventing violent acts, including shootings. Political bickering has prevented a solution that protects the lives of innocent children.
As of May, there were 23 school shootings in 2018 alone. That amounts to about one school shooting per week. There have been nearly 200 since the year 2000. How is it that something so preventable cannot be solved?
The answer is disheartening in its own respect. Political bickering has lead to a stalemate to finding a practical solution to protect children. The politicization of the slaughtering of children is not only inappropriate, it is perpetuating the lack of safety in schools. After nearly every shooting, politicians and constituents alike selfishly blame each other for halting their political agenda that would have prevented the massacre. The resistance towards finding a common solution is perpetuating the victimization of innocent children.
I remain steadfast in my opinion that polarization and the inability to compromise is leading to the demise of progress and conservation of values respectively. Everything is inherently political, but that does not mean there is no room to find a common solution void of political agenda. The school shooting epidemic has not been settled accordingly, due to both side's inability to let go of their opinions. The truth is that the potential solution exists independent of the majority opinions of both parties.
A prime example of a unified response to a horrific incident is the attacks on 9/11. The world watched in horror, as they do with every shooting. TSA was installed to prevent the hijacking of planes. It takes longer, creates an extra step while traveling, and makes air travel more costly, but it is a sacrifice that was willingly taken to prevent the loss of life. It took one attack and that was one too many, so why are school shootings any different? The reality that evil will evolve and manifest itself in different forms is something that was understood at that time. Most people, regardless of political affiliation united under the common goal of safety. Why after 200 shootings in the past 18 years is there still no feasible solution? The reason for the lack of progress is that neither side of the issue fits conveniently into a political agenda.
The solution lies in between the lines of political discourse. The idea that people would rather not see security measures because they do not want to acknowledge the evil in the world is ignorant. The age-old saying, “Ignorance is bliss” should not be the mindset when dealing with the lives of the next generation. Instead, we should increase security measures in schools. Airports, banks, and stores are protected at a higher rate than the youth of the United States. That is a sad reality that identifies the motivation of money. Nonetheless, even if it increases the time required to enter school, increased security in schools should be enacted nationwide.
There should be metal detectors present at all entrances. As the first line of security, they should present them as a deterrent to bringing any items not acceptable on school grounds. As a second line of defense, trained and armed security guards should canvas the campus regularly. A few recent school shootings were minimized due to an armed guard. In the month of May, in Maryland and Illinois, an armed guard stopped a school shooting, both resulting in less damage thanks to a quick response. Another line of defense should be drilling. Schools are still operating with minor to no experience with active shooters. It should be required that local police or certified officials train school staff to respond properly in the event of a school shooting.
The school shooting problem should not reside in the midst of the gun control debate. Rather, it should be a non-partisan issue that can provide solutions that do not intertwine themselves with party politics. The solutions aforementioned do not rely on a politician's ability to argue their side, rather an ability to come together for the sake of the future and the innocent lives of children. If both sides of the political aisle stop using tragedy to push a political agenda then the realignment of life and value can exist again.