10 people have been killed and at least 10 wounded following the Santa Fe High School shooting that occurred on Friday. CNN reports that the victims included eight students ranging from 15 to 17 years-olds, and two substitute teachers who were both mothers. The shooter was 17-year-old Dimitrios Pagourtzis, who used a revolver and a shotgun to carry out the attack. Texas Police Governor Gregg Abbot says there were “not the same type of warning signs” as other school shooters to suggest he was considering committing this crime. Pagourtzis pleaded guilty in court and has been charged with capital murder, ABC reporting that he is being held in solitary confinement under suicide watch. This is the 22nd school shooting in America just this year, and, according to ABC, this equates to twice the amount of deaths than in the military.
Following the shooting, President Trump told the public that “my administration is determined to do everything in our power to protect our students, secure our schools and to keep weapons out of the hands of those who pose a threat.” The President’s approach includes raising the age to purchase a gun from 18 to 21 and bringing back more mental institutions so suspicious people can be removed from communities. The NRA agrees with this, with spokesperson Dana Loesch saying the issue is not people having easy access to guns, but the law that does not require states to report convicted or mentally unfit individuals, so “crazy people” can pass background checks. President Trump has also suggested that military trained teachers should be armed with guns, saying in a tweet that “gun free schools are a magnet for bad people. ATTACKS WOULD END!”
The other side of the argument calls for further law reform, not just by raising the age but in making automatic rifles and other military level guns and equipment unavailable. Activists, such as Parkland shooting survivor Emma Gonzalez, hold politicians accountable for making their NRA funding prevent their action, hidden by a cry of “guns are my constitutional right.”
Previous views on guns in America focuses on civilians’ right to use them for safety. This has not worked as more guns available has only lead to an increase in violence and less regulation. Therefore, teachers having guns is not a sustainable way to end school shootings for good. Even banning semi-automatic weapons and accessories like bump stocks will not suffice, as Pagourtzis killed 10 people with a revolver and a shotgun. Guns seem too ingrained in American culture to ban their private use without resulting in a mass black market, which further complicates the situation.
Keeping this in mind, long-term solutions may include compulsory gun licenses that require regular renewal and restrictions on the type and number of guns per person in all states. Rather than a focus on mental institutions, funding in-school psychotherapy may be more worthwhile, educating children on mental well-being before violence happens as a result. Maybe the most beneficial suggestion would be to ban the NRA from funding politicians and campaigns, so the government, public, and even the NRA themselves can work together to formulate sensible solutions without money corruption.
One hopes that after another devastating loss, something will happen to prevent more school shootings. Unfortunately, after the hundreds of shootings since Columbine that have resulted in no action, this seems very unlikely. The moral question posed to America remains: how many of your children will you allow to die before you take preventative action? In the meantime, all that the victims are left with are more obligatory moments of silence and empty prayers.
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