PROTECTING STUDENTS FROM SHOOTINGS
                                                   First Three Steps
                    By Alexandra (Alex) Woloszyn, student

In the past year, the issue of gun control and gun violence has plagued the nation, most commonly, in the form of school shootings. On February 14th, 2018, a 19-year-old shooter killed 17 people and wounded 17 more. Most recently, May 18th, Santa Fe High School experienced the same tragic event. Since the 2017-18 school year has started, 23 shootings have taken place. One would think after three instances that federal action would take action. The shooting at Parkland should have been the deciding factor. It seems that the government is taking time that we do not have on the issue of gun violence in America. Perhaps it is because they do not know where to start. However, not knowing where to start is not a reason to continue to not do anything. Here are three logical steps to start protecting students.

Step one: Fix the simplest problems first: Schools cannot continue to be havens of learning if students go to school every day wondering if today is the day they make the news. If school shootings keep happening, then why haven’t we made the schools safer? For starters, double sets of doors locked from the inside can slow down any threat entering the building. Bulletproof glass can also be installed on all doors and windows. Increasing the numbers of armed police officers are simple options schools can take to protect themselves.
Step two: Mental health in America: All criminals and school shooters have one thing in common: mental illness. In the case of Parkland, everyone knew that the perpetrator was the one most likely to shoot up the school, even the police knew it. But no one applied preventative measures to curb his actions. The police did not investigate the claims, and the shooter did not receive the obvious psychiatric help he needed. We cannot afford to stay silent on the issue of mental health. Not only does it plague the criminals, but also citizens who suffer from depression, anxiety, PTSD, and other mental illnesses. The common solution for mental illness is psychotropic drugs (even sometimes opiods). We give mentally ill patients drugs and chemicals to treat a chemical imbalance when we should be working with them just like a doctor would with a broken bone. You cannot take a pill for a broken bone; you have to put a cast on it to heal and undergo physical therapy. But how does one address this for everyone in America? Well, everyone visits the doctors at least once a year. Let that visit include an optional, but highly suggested, mental health screening/test. The results would then be taken into account and sent to psychiatrists who conduct research about the current state of America’s mental health. Also, administer a mental health screening before the purchase of a firearm, and if the test raises any red flags, deny that person his/her firearm. Giving people the help they need is a large step in preventing violence caused by mental health.

Step three: Enforce the laws we have: There is a lot of talk about abolishing the second amendment. So, before we abolish a piece of legislature that has been enacted since 1791, let’s review a solution that will not only be a lot easier but will also be a lot quicker and cover more domestic issues the country currently faces. First and foremost, amplify the consequences of gun violence. What do we do with criminals that commit a crime via gun violence? We put them in jail with all the other murders and criminals only to get released x-amount of years later because their “time was served”. They are now hereby “rehabilitated” and released back into society, i.e. mainstreamed. The cycle never ends (implying the fact that the criminal never received aid for mental illness). But, how does one break the cycle? The answer is quite simple, capital punishment. We can break the cycle of these criminals by eliminating them and therefore eliminating the threat they plague on our communities. For example, if a criminal shoots up a school, taking five lives, why do we let them live? Why will they live and waste our tax dollars sitting in jail? (Remember: his arrest comes out of your pocket). People who kill without purpose and without mercy should not continue to live on our planet if they do not respect the gift of life. That being said: a life for a life, or take one life in order to spare the lives of many. Tightening our gun laws is best action we can take right now in preventing more acts that threaten our humanity. 

Our nation cannot afford to let recent events go without action. The students and citizens of the United States of America need their country to protect them and keep them safe from all enemies both foreign and domestic.

Alex Woloszyn, student


  1. I wish more people would read this and understand the thoughts of a student so as to compare her proposal to the inadequate, even senseless, actions of many focused on by media and others.


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