Sunday, July 21, 2024

School shooting sparks debate

Columbine. Virginia Tech. Sandy Hook.

Umpqua Community College.

A shooting took place at Umpqua Community College, claiming the lives of nine people Oct. 1, in Roseburg, Oregon.

Another name is tacked onto the growing list of tragic school shootings, and what have we done to change our ways? We turn to our television sets and laptops to figure out where we’re going wrong. “Professionals,” politicians and bystanders tell the story of what happened and quickly throw their opinions at the camera, and we wait, and we listen.

We need stricter gun laws, we need better security, we need to give guns to everyone, we need to take guns away from everyone. It’s hard to agree with any one point of view.

Some people step up to the plate and claim that, no matter what, resistance is futile, and we’re simply doomed for life. Violent, crazy people will always be violent and crazy. Let’s just let them be violent and crazy and hope they don’t come kill us one day.

The Columbine shooting of 1999 happened 16 years ago, and in those 16 years, there have been attempts to prevent gun violence, but time and again, we’re slapped back into reality by witnessing yet another gun-related death.

My personal take on all of this is that it’s a matter of our leadership not being able to agree on any one solution. No one is willing to compromise; no one is willing to admit that their idea might not be as good as someone else’s. I truly do believe that’s why nothing is getting done.

At its source, shootings begin with the person behind the gun. It takes a troubled, mentally unstable individual to want to take an innocent person’s life. Perhaps we need to make therapy more affordable. Perhaps we need to stop shaming people with mental disabilities and get them help before they do something dangerous. We should be watching our children more closely. If your son or daughter has a closet full of guns and a tendency to keep isolated, isn’t that a red flag for you?

The solution to this is bigger than our arguments. There are so many things that need to get done and I think that’s overwhelming for the people that are in authority positions.

It’s sad, to me, that ten lives were senselessly taken and all we care about is being the first to have an opinion. People jump at opportunities like this to shout their standpoints from rooftops and hop on social media to say “I told you so.” Everyone wants to be right instead of being the one to make a difference.

It’s disrespectful that we’ve become so divided in times like this. A tragedy just happened, and all you care about is whether or not your Facebook followers know that you support the Second Amendment.

We need a group of officials to come together, sooner rather than later, and make a plan. Whether that means arming our professors or enacting gun laws so strict that a weapon could never fall into the wrong hands, something needs to happen quickly.

It’s frightening that at any moment, some unstable person could charge through the library doors and kill the students sitting in front of me. It’s not something you think about until you’re watching it on the news.

It’s unsettling and disturbing to feel unsafe in a learning environment. It’s unfortunate that people see schools as easy targets. I truly hope that one day we feel more at peace about this matter.

Maybe one day, we’ll turn on our television sets and our government officials will be shaking hands and patting each other on the back because a shooter was stopped in his tracks by a teacher who was armed and prepared.

Maybe that shooter, who was planning all along to shoot up a school, was denied at the counter because he didn’t pass an extensive background check.

Or maybe, just maybe, that shooter didn’t even think of shooting at all because his mother noticed his irregular behavior and sent him to therapy.

I pray for this day, and I’m sure the rest of America does too. Until then, we’ll hold our breath and wait for the right changes to be made, by the right people, at the right time.

Email Courtney Casey at

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