Writer wishes to remain anonymous
Friday Oct. 25, yet another shooting occurred in the cafeteria of a high school in Seattle, Washington. Tragic incidents like this make such frequent headlines in the news, but these headlines have not just been reporting each shooting but are rather calling to question: have these gun-related tragedies become a norm in the United States? Having said that does not in any way make these incidents any less tragic, heartbreaking, or significant. If anything, each new case that leaves people with a deeper sense of fear brings the issue to a close examination it deserves. It begs for this issue not to just be mulled over, debated, and shoved underneath the rug, just for another strike to occur, leaving the whole country wondering why this is a continuous occurrence. This past June, the number of shootings was released, a startling high total of 74 cases within the past six months.
It is also, by now, a very well-known fact that shootings happen more frequently in this country than any other developed country in the world. In fact, in light of the other recent shooting that occurred outside of the Canadian Parliament, model Chrissy Teigen took to Twitter to express her thoughts regarding the event: “active shooting in Canada, or as we call it in America, Wednesday. That’s not a joke. It is a fact. … I’ve lost faith in this world. Sorry if it comes off as being unemotional. There is just so much bad.” Though the actress was brutally criticized and even received death threats in response to what many believe was a highly insensitive public statement, I have to say – as controversial as it was, she does have a point. Perhaps it was not the most appropriate way to express her thoughts of gun control across social media, but it is still a fact, however harsh it may come across, and sadly, the truth and reality of the country we are living in.
With all these recent cases in mind, many have delved deeper into the exact and specific underlying problems that lay beneath the surface of why shootings keep happening. Finger pointing is in our human nature when exact causes cannot be deciphered and many have pointed at parents of the mentally ill, along with those that allow their children to play violent video games, and so on and so forth. However, blaming each other does not evidentially solve anything, nor does it bring back the lives that were robbed. So first and foremost, we need to stop this nonsense of trying to figure out whose fault it is; we will never know.
With every passing shooting that comes across our attention, educational institutions have understandably become more and more concerned for the safety of their students. Schools have implemented metal detectors at the entrance of their schools, along with shooting drills, and trained teachers how to deal with these situations. One school in particular has even designed and implemented a bulletproof blanket in preparation for possible shooting incidents.
Though I appreciate the safety precautions and measures these schools have taken in order to keep their students safe, the point is, no student or faculty member should ever have to feel the need to walk through airport security upon entering their institutions just to feel safe. We should not have to spend money creating these precautionary devices in preparation, but rather eliminate the real perpetrator – the gun itself – that I believe should be banned in the United States.
That being said, of course, we do not live in a perfect world. Therefore it is impossible to eliminate guns completely, but we can still do what is in our power to reduce the chances of death by gun violation through either tightening regulations of gun possession or by means of banning them altogether.
This has proven to be effective in countless other countries such as Japan, where they have made the process of being allowed to own a gun so complicated that actually in turn, have turned people away from wanting a gun. According to The Atlantic, in order to get a gun in Japan, the process includes “an all-day class, a written test (only held once a month), take and pass a shooting range class, take both a mental and drug test, then pass a rigorous background check for any criminal record or association with criminal or extremist groups.” Once the proud owners of the guns are through with all of that, they must re-take the test and exam every three years. Though it may sound ridiculous, this is actually a genius plan. Most importantly, it has proven to be effective. In 2008, where America had 12,000 firearm homicides, Japan only had 11.
Other examples also include Australia, whose government launched an aggressive method of tightening regulations by taking the guns from residents away completely. This also saw a staggering 59 percent drop in all gun-related homicides.
The solution to America’s shooting problems stands right before us in the form of the policies of other countries. Perhaps the solution is not to directly copy and paste their laws onto ours, but rather to take our fellow foreign, developed countries’ gun regulation and policies to learn how we can better protect this country’s innocent children and citizens. History and statistics stand against us; we should be taking active steps to decreasing the number of gun accidents and shootings to a clear-cut zero a year.