Roughly, almost nine years ago, I remembered the shock when I heard the news of the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting. Twenty-six people died. But, the most tragic thing of all was that at least 20 people Adam Lanza killed were little first graders. What could these children do to Lanza that made him wanted to murder them? Did he have anything against one of the teachers?
Lanza was 20 years old at the incident, had no commonalities with the children he murdered in cold blood, nor had any connection to the teachers in the school. From the incident report, it seemed that he killed these innocent people indiscriminately. The killer targeted the school purely out of randomness.
Six years old who survived the attack told her mother, “Mommy, I am okay, but all my friends are dead.”
Let the fact that lives were gone because of a person they did not know, decided that a day in November 2012 was a good day to commit a mass shooting.
In the age where the world was supposed to be safer because we are no longer in the war period, a child had to tell her mother she watched her friends died. She did not go to her mom to cry about her bad grades, fights with some classmates, or how her teacher scolded her for bad behavior. The little girl went to her mother with the news that her classmates’ lifeless bodies piled on top of her as she played dead to survive.
Now, years after the incident on top of the raging pandemic, the trend does not seem to stop. Only halfway through 2021, we already have 40 recorded cases of gunfire in schools under our belt. It leaves 12 people dead and 17 injured. Should we thank the pandemic we are doing better than in previous years, now that we have fewer people died in schools due to gun violence? Or should we be worried - that on top of the lives claimed by the COVID-19 pandemic, we also need to be on the lookout for shooters targeting our children?
The question now is, is scaring children with active shooter drill effective in reducing the number of deaths from shooters? A fire drill is customary. But having to pretend to hide from gunners is messed up. Children should concern themselves with their education, building social skills, and have fun exploring their talents. But thinking about potential life-threats coming from an unknown stranger coming in with their guns should be the least of their concern.
School shooting incidents like this got me wondering about how lax gun control is in the United States. Now is the time we need to ask ourselves if having guns should still be considered a constitutional right. Bear in mind that gun violence in the country is already a daily occurrence. People do not need to protect themselves from armed robbers if access to guns is limited in the first place. Perhaps, the Second Amendment of the Constitution should only be in effect in times of war, where everyone can ready up to become a soldier on short notice. Like anything, even the Constitutions should have a limit, and the second point of the second page of the District of Columbia et al. v. Heller Supreme Court document highlights this point. Carrying guns in sensitive places like schools and government buildings should be prohibited.
Should this amendment be applicable in times of peace, when we have the United Nations to prevent wars and local officers to maintain peace?
I get that wanting to protect yourself is an instinct. However, think about it this way. If everyone has the right to guns, wouldn’t that means not only people with good intention can possess one, but also those who have ill intent?
The evidence was right there: Sandy Hook School shooting and hundreds and hundreds of gun violence on school grounds from 2012 until now.
In all honesty, it would just be easier if nobody is allowed to own guns in the first place except for military personnel and police officers. But that is just my personal preference.
However, if we still decided to keep our guns, here are some of my suggestions. At least thoroughly checking for mental illness, criminal history, and other factors that could prevent someone from using guns irresponsibly should be mandatory. Ask someone who wants to own a rifle the purpose of the ownership and make the authorization process as hard as getting a car driving license in Ontario, Canada.
And honestly, how are mass shooters get their hands on semi-automatic and fully automatic rifles like machine guns? At least, handguns do not shoot bullets 400-600 rounds per minute. If we wish to keep guns for protective purposes, limit civilian ownership to strictly pistols. At least, limiting arms possession to handguns would reduce the chance of mass shootings and reduce the number of casualties from gun violence.
Mental health workers are just as essential to prevent crimes in general. Some people do not know how to deal with their mental conditions. Interference by a social worker equipped with mental health training would help people manage their mental health and get the help they needed.
Many people are good. However, we cannot deny the indispensable role of stringent limitations to gun ownership. Pair it with severe punishments for irresponsible gun users. These two keys would reduce the potential of people with ill-intent to twist the Second Amendment to fit their agendas, such as expressing their hatred towards a race. To close out my point, we desperately need stricter gun control to reduce the number of deaths and injuries from deadly weapons. Protect our children, and accordingly, they will not need to feel anxious coming to school. We all know the school by itself could be stressful enough without having to worry about a shooting in the middle of an exam.