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School Shootings

Madison Pruitt

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Since 2000, school shootings have become more and more common in the United States. On January 22nd another shooting occurred at a North Texas high school, leaving one student seriously injured. Authorities say a 16-year-old male student with a violent past shot at a 15-year-old girl in the school’s outside cafeteria. The victim is now recovering from four gunshot wounds – a bullet in her neck, another in her abdomen, and a foot of unrepairable small intestine had to be removed – at a hospital in Dallas, Texas. Although the motive for the shooting is uncertain, it seems that a break-up may have been what drove the 16-year-old to go to violent lengths. One classmate, Danaisia McCowan told FOX4, “I did know that the guy was shooting was mad at the girl because she had left him for somebody else,” she continues, “So he shot at one guy and missed him, and then shot at her.” The alleged shooter has been charged with two counts of aggravated assault and is currently in a juvenile detention center for psychological evaluation. It is still being decided whether or not the alleged gunman will be tried as a juvenile or an adult for his actions. From 2000-2006, school shootings ranged from an average of 6.4 annually, and from 2007-2013, shootings rose to an average of 16.4 annually.  Since 2013, almost 300 school shootings have occurred, injuring and killing many. Already, there have been 11 school shootings in 2018. Most recently, on January 23rd another one happened at a Kentucky high school, killing two 15-year old students and injuring 18 other students.

So what is causing these violent incidents to rise in the United States and what is the next step in preventing them? Whereas these shootings used to be a shocking rarity, they are now consistent recurrences. Some believe outlawing guns in the US is the answer to stopping these devastating events. Banning firearms may help reduce accessibility to guns but would this really be the solution? Although outlawed, it would be nearly impossible to rid all households of firearms. If a person is determined to use a gun, they would be able to find one. Outlawing guns would mean only outlaws would have access to firearms and law abiding citizens would be left defenseless. Drugs like cocaine, meth, and heroin are all illegal but does that mean the US is completely free of these drugs? Unfortunately, no. While I believe that making guns illegal may not be the answer, I do think we need to implement higher regulations for a person to obtain a firearm. Guns aren’t the driving force behind these events, ignored deep-rooted psychological issues are the problem. One way to help prevent shootings would be to make it a higher priority on educating students and teachers on the warning signs of potential shooters.

As a high school student myself, I can understand the mental stress and whirlwind of emotions, but what allows a student to have such a build-up of anger to lash out in such a violent manner? Kids can be very mean, in fact, inhumane towards each other at times. To someone already struggling with mental instability or illness maybe it is enough to tip someone over the edge. Some students can be completely isolated or ignored. It is important to reach out and support one another, especially towards those who look like they could use a friend because you have no clue what struggles they could be handling. Kindness might not be the solution to these violent events, but a little kindness can go a long way. Paying attention to one another and making sure to take potential threats as a serious matter is also very important. School communities, students, and faculty alike, should try to create a safer environment by having open lines of communication. A troubled teen should always feel like they have someone to talk to at least at school because maybe they don’t have anyone at home. Perhaps if we all work to create a kinder and safer environment and pay attention to warning signs, we can prevent some of these tragedies.


Madison Pruitt, Life & Style Editor

Madison is a senior at Wheeler and has been with the Catalyst since her sophomore year. She plays varsity soccer and despite her severe case of senioritis,...

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School Shootings