The Short-sided Changes


U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Tara A. Williamson/Released)

An “active shooter” encounters a helpless victim during a High Risk Response course on Kadena Air Base, Japan, April 12, 2012. Kadena members throughout the base volunteered as victims to give realism and urgency to the scenarios played out during the day’s training. -Pacific Air Forces

Najee Ali Baker, Bailey Holt, Preston Cope, Ralph Kennedy, Nicholas Dworet, Gina Montalto. It’s likely that these name mean nothing to you, and even more likely that you’ve never even heard them uttered somewhere. These 6 people are only a portion of the populace who have been victims of gun violence at schools in the first two months of 2018. As a society, not recognizing the continuing issue of school shootings is unacceptable. Aside from the fact that every student in America has practiced a lock down drill at least once in their school career, automated door locks and armed security guards are becoming more abundant in  places that are supposed to prepare young people for their futures. Though these precautions are all very helpful, the continued violence raises the question: Are we making the right changes?

Columbine, an infamous school shooting that took place right here in Colorado, and Stoneman Douglas, the school whose survivors started the #NeverAgain movement, are two examples of killers getting creative in order to get around the drills and precautions put into place to protect students and staff. Columbine is the point of focus today. Even though this tragic event took place nearly two decades ago, in 1999, it’s hard to say if schools truly took the situation that took place and adapted to prevent it.

In case you didn’t know, the two perpetrators of the deadly crime were students of the school, and therefore they knew the perfect time to strike was during lunch, the most people would be concentrated in one place, so the death toll would be higher. They originally planned to detonate bombs that were strategically placed around the cafeteria. When that plan failed, they went into the school with guns instead, set on their mission.

Logically, their plan made sense. If someone truly intended to attack and harm a large group of students and faculty members, lunchtime would be a prime target. So that makes us think, have we ever practiced any drills during lunch? What about during passing periods? The likely answer is no, regardless of where in the United States you live.

Although we add more safety measures to our schools, we aren’t responding to the correct threats. Instead of hearing ‘students murdered’ at lunch we, as a society, hear ‘students murdered.’ The important bits that tell us how to respond and react get lost, and history repeats itself again and again.

The chances of a school shooting happening to you or someone you know isn’t getting as low as we might expect. According to the National Center for Education statistics, 326 school-aged adolescents, as well as school employees, died in homicides in school shootings as well as outside of school between 1992-1999, an 8 year period. Between 2005 and 2013, 273 was the number, only a 53 person drop. It seems like a big difference, but it’s still nearly 600 lives taken through a senseless act of violence.

This violence may never cease, but by educating ourselves and honoring the victims of these crimes, we can continue taking steps forwards to ensure the safety of the next generation.



Fact Checked by Connor Zook

Correction: In its original publishing, it was stated that 326 students/staff had died associated with school shootings; however, this statistic includes shootings that occurred outside of school as well.