Thoughts on School Shootings

February 14th is normally a day for cheesy cards, candy, and flowers. On February 14th, 2018, all of that changed. 19-year-old Nikolas Cruz pulled the fire alarm at his old high school and as students and teachers left the building, he opened fire with his semi-automatic rifle. When the shooting stopped 17 people were dead and 14 others were injured.


The sad fact is that tragedies like this are an extremely American event. From 2009 to May of 2018, the United States had at least 288 school shootings, 57 times more than the other six G7 countries combined. The country with the next highest number of school shootings, Mexico…with 8. 


In 2021, there were 34 school shootings. 68 people were injured or killed—14 killed, 54 injured. 11 of those killed were students, 3 were staff. We’ll be lucky if 2022 isn’t worse.


The inability of our representatives to pass meaningful gun-control laws on a national level has ensured that children will continue to foot the bill for partisan fighting and special interests, and that’s truly heartbreaking. 


Instead of passing national or state legislation in the wake of the shooting at Oxford High School on November 30, 2021. Students now have to carry clear backpacks. These clear backpacks and metal detectors are very common guidelines after school shootings, but they ignore the root of the problem. Guns are the problem and as long as guns are available violence will continue, clear backpacks or not.


There is a history of this. In 2013, one year after the Sandy Hook Elementary School Shooting, a bipartisan gun control bill failed to override a Senate filibuster by six votes—54 to 46. The act would have expanded background checks and it would have banned some semi-automatic weapons based on military assault weapons.


One of the major parties responsible for the blocking of the act was the National Rifle Association. The NRA gives massive amounts of money to politicians, according to a 2018 CNN article Senator Marco Rubio received more than $1 million in campaign contributions from the NRA. Then Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, received over 800,000. In 2018, more than half of the incumbents in Congress received campaign donations from the NRA.


Gun’s Rights Groups as a whole have a massive amount of influence in politics, because of money. In the 2018 midterm election cycle alone, gun groups outspent other interest groups more than 40 to 1 and in a political world that runs on money, that appears to matter above all else…even over lives. At Sandy Hook 20 elementary schoolers, ages ranging 6-7 died, along with 6 educators and the NRA helped block a bill that would stop it from happening again.


Hopefully something will happen to make everyone see that this is not an issue that should be used to win elections, an issue in which the important thing is the opinion of the party base. But numerous tragedies: Parkland, Sandy Hook, and Columbine have yet to force lasting change, so who knows what will be enough to make politicians put aside the votes of the party base and the money from special interest groups in favor of creating a safer country.