Gun violence in America’s Schools vs. Everywhere Else
As an American living in the United States, it has become way too common to turn on the news and hear about a shooting taking place in a school. One can even go as far as to say that we are overdue for a school shooting considering how the pandemic has shut down our schools and we are now resuming in-person learning. In most other countries, their citizens are not used to hearing about school shootings so frequently, nor can they wrap their heads around the fact that America has so many. Minus a school shooting that recently took place in Russia, many of us at Protecting Our Students (POS) are struggling to think about other countries that have experienced a school shooting within the past five years.
We know that Americans love their guns and their rights to own guns. That is completely fine. The problem arises when those guns get in the hands of the wrong person. It is extremely easy to go to a gun store and buy a gun today. Unfortunately, many people who should not own a gun can buy one, such as those with mental illnesses or criminals. It does not end there, there are also opportunities for children to get their hands on a gun if that gun is not properly and securely stored. There is now an ever-growing abundance of guns all over the nation due to record-level gun sales boosted by the Covid-19 pandemic. According to the FBI, The Federal Bureau of Investigation conducted a record 39.7 million background checks for gun purchases in 2020, a 40% surge over 2019’s record total. It is safe to say that all the new guns being purchased are potentially not being stored properly to avoid a child from getting their hands on them.
Gun Culture Outside the Nation
With confidence, we say that other first-world countries do not have a gun culture like ours in the States. We regularly train our children to participate in active shooter drills at school to prepare them for a worst-case scenario. Other countries do not do this. The United Kingdom is a country with rather effective gun control policies in place. Take the Dunblane, Scotland mass shooting for example which happened in 1996 resulting in the deaths of 16 children and one teacher. Shortly after, the U.K. banned private ownership of guns as well as assault rifles. These new rules have resulted in a decline in gun violence; the U.K. has only experienced one mass shooting since the new restrictions were enacted. Other countries do not have elected officials who promote gun rights instead of gun control all while profiting from their lobbying efforts. America’s gun violence epidemic can be contributed to the attitudes many have towards guns versus the attitudes citizens of other countries have. Simply put, other nations have effective gun control that works.
At POS, we were lucky enough to have one of our staffers stop by headquarters with their cousin who happens to be from London, England. We sat with Emma for a few minutes to get her to take on school shootings in the States v. abroad:
POS: Emma, thank you for taking the time to meet with us today. What comes to mind when you think of America and its guns?
Emma: What first comes to mind is the sheer abundance of guns that everyone seems to have. Guns for everyone! Guns for adults, for children, even for grandma! It is rather shocking. As a European person living in a country where you rarely see guns, it can be quite confusing. If the guns are for protection, then why are so many people dying of gun violence every day here? I do not know why more is not being done to stop the violence.
POS: What do Europeans think when there is yet another school shooting in the news?
First, we think of what a shame. A tragedy that should never have occurred in the first place. Once again, our minds go to why is America so obsessed with guns? There are already guns out there but why are these students who are usually silently suffering mentally able to get their hands on these guns. Why are adults not taking appropriate measures to ensure those guns stay out of the hands of these students. We also wonder why the schools are not being secured properly. We know there is a problem when someone can get on school grounds and inflict damage, so why are not there more security measures being placed on these schools to protect the students.
POS: Do you have anything else you would like to add to the conversation:
Emma: It is all incredibly sad. Regardless of whether a shooting takes place in a school, a common area, or anywhere for that matter, it is just sad. America is a fantastic, wonderful place and as a foreigner, it breaks my heart to see all the violence that happens daily. I hope some type of change is enacted sooner rather than later.
At POS we could not agree more with Emma’s sentiments. We are ever so fortunate to live in a nation like America, which does grant us the right to bear arms. At the same time, we are saddened to hear about senseless acts of violence every single day. Acts of violence that should not have ever occurred in the first place. Innocent lives were taken too soon. It is high time we come together as one and stop the violence. Every day POS is working towards stopping school shootings that take place where children are meant to be safe and protected. Our mission is simple, to end all K-12 school shootings but getting there takes time, hard work, perseverance, and the help of others. We will get there, and when we do, it will all be worth it to know we are protecting our students.