School shootings plaguing the nation
February 23, 2018
19 school shootings have occurred across the United States during the first few weeks of 2018. As of Feb. 5, 2018, six people have been killed and 25 injured due to gun violence in schools.
On Feb. 1, 2018, a handgun went off inside a 12-year old student’s backpack, supposedly accidentally, at Sal Castro Middle School in Los Angeles, California. The student faces two felony charges including possession of a firearm and bringing a firearm on school property (cnn.com).
This shooting came only a week after a student opened fire in his Kentucky high school, killing two students and injuring 20. The 15-year-old male student was arrested and charged with two counts of murder and 12 counts of first-degree assault. He is being charged as an adult and could face up to a lifetime in prison (cnn.com).
According to Everytown for Gun Safety (everytown.org), the high number of school shootings is nothing new, as there were 65 school shootings in 2017.
“The numbers show that school shootings are getting more prevalent in America. Whether a gun goes off accidentally, someone takes their own life on campus or someone purposefully brings a gun to a school in order to create panic, gun violence on school campuses has become an increasingly large concern for many people across the nation” (depaulia.com).
Since 2013, researchers have logged school shootings at an average of one per week (nytimes.com).
On Wed. Feb. 14, a 19-year-old man armed with an AR-15 rifle barged into Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, FL, killing 17 people and injuring 14. The shooter was previously a student at the school but was expelled due to disciplinary problems.
The shooter, identified as Nikolas Cruz, pulled the fire alarm around 2:40 to draw students out of classrooms, hoping to increase the casualties. Video footage circulating social media shows students taking cover in classrooms with sounds of gunshots booming in the background.
“This is catastrophic. There really are no words,” said Broward County Sheriff Scott Israel who has three children who graduated from the high school (nytimes.com).
The shooter was arrested in Coral Springs, a city just a few miles from the school. He allegedly slipped out of the building with a group of student and teachers evacuating the scene. Cruz was charged with 17 accounts of premeditated murder.
Among the victims was football coach Aaron Feis. According to cnn.com, Feie threw himself in front of students to protect them from gunfire. He suffered a gunshot wound and later died in surgery. School spokeswoman Denise Lehtio stated, “He died the same way he lived – he put himself second,” Lehtio said. “He was a very kind soul, a very nice man. He died a hero” (cnn.com).
The tragedy in Parkland, FL is reviving the Sandy Hook Promise, a movement adopted by Stephen Decatur High School. This policy is based around “if you see something, say something,” and encourages students and staff to be on the lookout for abnormal behavior. Teachers are showing support for Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School and the Sandy Hook Promise by wearing green bracelets.
The shooting has also revived the debate over gun control, leaving American citizens concern as to what to do next. What can be done to solve this issue? Read more on this topic here.