Since the 1970s, school shootings in the USA have progressively become more commonplace. Before the coronavirus pandemic they were almost a weekly occurrence. Multiple reports from parents highlight fear surrounding the word “lockdown” for their children, as it is a term they are trained to recognise and dread in the instance of a school shooting.
In order to prevent the spread of Covid-19, schools began closing and students in the US switched to home-schooling at the beginning of March. Clearly, this was the reason there hadn’t been a single school shooting since February 2020. Sadly, this situation changed on 16th September when 17-year-old Eric Aguiar was shot and killed in a California high school car park. Washington Post reporter, Robert Klemko, tweeted: “Last month was the first March without a school shooting in the United States since 2002.” Why has it taken a global pandemic and the subsequent closing of schools to make this possible?
According to Sandy Hook Promise, firearms are the second leading cause of death among American children, yet the country still has very little gun control. It is a country so terrified of losing ultimate control it has plans of banning the app TikTok, fearing it is a threat to US national security. They have done this before even considering an increase in gun control. Although the infamous app has resulted in several devastating deaths and external data misuse is a definite possibility, gun violence and the lack of gun control result in an average of eight children dying a day. The pace at which they were considering banning this app is shocking when you compare the statistics of TikTok with the statistics of gun violence. Gun violence and school shootings have been a massive problem in the US since the 70s and nothing seems to be happening in the way of progression.
In my opinion, banning semi-automatic rifles in America would be ineffective as it would simply encourage the purchasing of more dangerous guns. Therefore, gun control is not about banning guns or taking guns away from those who are qualified and stable enough to own them, it is about putting legislation and manufacturing changes in place to prevent the mass devastation gun violence is currently causing. How many young lives could be saved if a shooter had to reload his gun every 5 bullets instead of every 10?
Recent statistics have also shown a rise in gun sales during the pandemic. Igor Volsky, executive director of Guns Down America, commented: “When this pandemic ends and we emerge from this physical distancing reality, the guns will remain.” It is clear to see once schools reopen fully, multiple shootings are inevitable.
Covid-19 has exposed how normalised these tragedies are. How has it become the norm for a country to have weekly school shootings? How is it acceptable for a leader of a country to completely disregard the importance of gun control? This horrific reality is unacceptable and preventable. Gun violence is a public health crisis.