Last Friday, a firearm found its way into an American school… again. Last Friday, shots were fired in an American school… again. Last Friday, young, promising and innocent lives were lost… again. A week later the media is fixated on a school shooting… once again. Isn’t this trend getting old? Aren’t people sick and tired of hearing about a young kid bringing a firearm to a school and causing havoc? Don’t people want this all to stop?
Three lives were lost last Friday during a shooting at Marysville-Pilchuck High School north of Seattle. According to multiple reports, the shooter, 15-year-old Jaylen Fryberg, invited his victims to the lunchroom where he opened fire with a .40 caliber handgun, killing two and wounding three others before turning the gun on himself, committing suicide. Authorities have begun taking a look into what could’ve possibly motivated this incident while the rest of the nation tries to figure out how to prevent this epidemic from spreading further. A shooting like this will once again bring up the argument of gun control, especially with the midterm elections looming within the next week, and this decade and a half long argument traces back to the most significant shooting of all.
Whenever a school shooting occurs in America, the one thing that comes to mind for many Americans is Columbine, which makes sense because the Columbine High School shooting has seemingly long served as the catalyst for school shootings in America. Yet according to research, another catalyst exists in the Sandy Hook shootings in 2012. According to Wikipedia, between the Columbine High School shooting in 1999 and the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting in 2012, 83 shootings have occurred with 263 deaths and 170 others left wounded. Since the Sandy Hook shooting two years ago, another 70 have taken place with 50 deaths and 80 others left wounded. Another website, everytown.org, combats that fact, claiming the following:
“Since the December 2012 shooting in Newtown, Conn, there have been at least 87 school shootings in America. How many more before our leaders pass common-sense laws to prevent gun violence and save lives? Communities all over the country live in fear of gun violence. That’s unacceptable. We should feel secure in sending our children to school — comforted by the knowledge that they’re safe.”
Everytown’s claim is backed by the fact that, since Columbine in 1999, a combined total of at least 170 school shootings have occurred, resulting in the deaths of 313 people and leaving 250 others wounded. Out of those statistics, at least 51 percent of the shootings, 16 percent of the deaths and 32 percent of the wounds took place following the events at Sandy Hook Elementary in December 2012.
However, many Americans may not be aware of these numbers, they may not know of the other 167 school shootings that have taken place outside of Columbine, Sandy Hook and Virginia Tech in 2007. People should be aware of this growing epidemic in America, which has plagued the last decade and a half and continues to trend upward in terms of frequency. Instead, the 50 lives that have been lost since Sandy Hook due to school shootings will get lost in the fray as the media will focus on the nine Americans that have been diagnosed with the Ebola virus. This isn’t to say the Ebola virus shouldn’t be taken seriously, for it is also lethal. The point is that more school shootings occur in America than people are aware of.
Unlike Ebola, however, there hardly exists a way for school shootings to be predetermined or discovered before it occurs. Most of the time these incidents are completely out of the blue with no one suspecting the shooter of having any prior mental or personal issues. It is usually after the fact that people try to decipher why the gunmen decided to act, what drove them to the state of mind they were in, how they acquired their weapon and when they decided they would take such actions, etc. Never do they look at the person prior to the incident and determine that they are likely to perform a school shooting because it’s such a hard thing to predict.
Regardless of whatever the argument is about school shootings, let it be known these incidents are becoming much too frequent, yet much too underexposed. There may be ways to prevent future incidents from happening if society is to go deeper into what may cause these shootings. Until then, let it be made aware that school shootings are a growing epidemic and must be addressed more thoroughly, otherwise the numbers may only tragically grow.