Last Thursday, Nov. 14, Santa Clarita, Calif. High School students were left helpless and scared as one of their fellow students opened fire with a .45-caliber pistol. The site is one that has become very familiar to students across America as this shooting served as the 44th school-shooting in the last 46 weeks, according to “CNN.”
It is horrifying to imagine: a stampede of students running down the hallway, tripping over each other, as they are all trying to find shelter in a familiar place they once considered safe. Meanwhile, the parents of these students are slowly receiving their “goodbye, I love you” text messages as the hope of survival dwindles away.
For me, accounts like these are terrifying.
I spent countless hours at my high school learning, studying, participating in sports, going to school dances, performing music concerts, etc. Sometimes I spent more hours of my day at my high school than my own house.
My high school was essentially my second home.
I think many other students can agree with me on this sentiment. Whether you’re a high school or college student, your school becomes your home away from home. Having someone infiltrate your home and bring violence to it, is not just scary, but frightening.
It is frightening to think how easily your safe place can become deadly.
It takes only a few seconds for a schoolmate to pull a gun out of their bookbag and start shooting other students; however, it takes longer for that student to arrive at that emotionally unstable state to want to kill one of their own classmates.
I don’t understand what leads people to commit these actions and I will not try to draw conclusions based on my own perceptions and beliefs. However, whenever these events occur, which has ultimately become all too common, psychologists and journalists try to investigate what led this person to kill innocent people, in the hope of preventing similar cases in the future.
In this specific case, the Los Angeles County Sheriff Alex Villanueva told “CNN” that the student that opened fire was not a loner nor socially awkward, two characteristics people usually associate with school shooters. The shooter was not known to have been mentally unstable either.
This is just a prime example of the idea that school shooters cannot be stereotyped. They are not always the socially awkward kid who’s too shy to talk to anyone or the kid who’s been bullied time and time again. A school shooter can be anyone.
For many, this event has been eye-opening and emphasizes the need for a call to action.
This does not just mean the government should take action, but I encourage you to do something as well.
Even though this event happened all the way on the other side of the country, we are the people this inadvertently affects.
We are students too and we live in a world where students cannot feel protected in a place that is supposed to act as a safe space.
So, we need to fight back.
“CNN” reported text messages from a child involved in the high school shooting this past Thursday that she sent to her mom saying, “Hey mom I don’t know what’s going on here at school, but I love you and I’m so thankful for everything you’ve done for me. I love you so much.”
According to “CNN,” this message brought this girl’s mom to tears; her heart sank.
Our parents are not supposed to be receiving these goodbye messages.
That is not the world I want to live in and that is why something needs to change.
The government passed the Students, Teachers and Officers Preventing School Violence Act in 2018, but what’s changed since then? There are still numerous school shootings and statistically more shootings in 2019 than last year.
More recently, in September U.S. Senators David Perdue and Doug Jones introduced legislation called the School Safety Clearinghouse Act that focuses on the best practices for school safety.
The government has also talked about stricter gun laws, like banning assault rifles and raising the age to buy a gun, but that is all talk. Nothing has been done.
I’m not going to propose my own solutions because I don’t think there is just one solution to this issue. I think the first step is for students to become aware of the dangers of school shooters and to not be afraid to talk about it with their teachers or faculty.
We need to be aware, but more importantly, we need to not be afraid anymore.