I’m heartbroken by the recent events in our country. It makes me sick that someone feels so much hate that they want to kill other people. What I find even more discouraging is that people are using this, and other tragedies, to further their political platforms. It’s pretty disgusting. So I’m just writing my thoughts because I don’t know where else to put them. I’m not trying to change anyone’s opinion on gun control. I realize my talking isn’t going to make a dent in anyone else’s mind. All I want to do is offer facts on various topics.
I love research. I love finding facts, not just personal ideas. I love taking that research and analyzing it. I’m not a scientist by any means. In reality, I’m a very emotion based person, I just find facts interesting and the truth compelling.
The first thing is that there have not been 18 school shootings since the start of 2018 (which has only been a sad 51 days). Don’t misunderstand, the shootings that have occurred are tragic. There is never a good reason for a loss of life like that. I don’t mean to downplay these events, which is part of the reason I think it’s so important to share the truth.
The whole thing started when Everytown for Gun Safety, a nonprofit group that works to prevent gun violence and is most famous for its running tally of school shootings, tweeted that horrifying statistic. I don’t know about you, but when I think of a school shooting, I tend to think of an angry young adult looking for revenge and vindication. A school shooting, to me, is a meaningful attack on multiple people at a school during open hours. In Everytown’s number of school shootings they included the suicide of a man in a car outside a school that had been closed for months, a student shot after an argument with a fellow student on a college campus, shot fired from a car long after the school day ended and no one was injured, a student fired a real gun instead of the training gun at a criminal justice club, and when a third grader accidentally pulled the trigger of a cop’s gun. In fact, only five of the shootings they claimed to be school shootings resulted in any injury and three more were intentional without any injuries. That’s eight out of the 18 that could be an actual school shooting. Two was accidental by a police officer and a peace officer, and seven happened after school hours. These are obviously a problem, but they aren’t mass shootings.
Another reason I truly hate inflating the truth for news is that it downplays the tragedies. Stretching the truth makes it seem like the real truth wasn’t awful enough. Let’s be honest, eight shootings are more than enough to get enraged over.
Every time one a shooting happens, I hear people making their claims that tougher laws on guns will solve all the problems and that other countries don’t have the problem with gun control that the US has.
First of all, it’s statistical that gun violence gets worse after a gun ban. For example, the firearm homicide rate doubled from when England and Wales banned firearms (1997) to 2004. It only began to decrease when the number of police officers increased. Similar statistics were found in Ireland and Jamaica. Other than the fact that gun violence has shown to go up with a gun ban, there is so much violence in other countries that aren’t gun related. Here are some of the incidents in Europe:
In Madrid, in March of 2004, 191 people were killed by a bomber.
In October of 2004, there was a bombing in Paris.
In May 2005 a bomber killed 52 in London.
77 were killed with a bomb and gun in Oslo in July 2011, over 300 more injured.
A bomber killed 6 in Burgas in July 2012.
A gunman killed 4 in Brussels in May 2014.
On January 7, 2015, in Charlie Hebdo, a gunman killed 12. Two days later four more were killed.
In Paris on November 13, 2015, a bomber killed 130 and injured hundreds more.
Bombers killed 32 and injured more than 300 in the Brussels airport and metro station.
On July 14, 2016, in Nice, a trucker killed 84 and injured hundreds more.
In July 2016 in Germany, there were several different attacks. On the 18th there was an axeman, a gunman on the 22nd, a bomb and machete attacker on the 24th, and a doctor was shot on the 26th.
A priest’s throat was slit and hostages taken in Normandy on July 26, 2016.
In Berlin on December 19, 2016, a trucker killed 12 and injured more than 60.
A knifeman attacked the Louvre on February 3, 2017.
On March 22, 2017, in Westminster, a trucker killed four, then stabbed another to death.
A trucker killed four and injured 15 in Stockholm on April 7, 2017.
In the Paris shooting on April 20, 2017, one person was killed.
A bomb killed 22 and injured 59 in Manchester on May 22, 2017.
On June 3, 2017, on the London Bridge, eight people were stabbed to death.
On June 19, 2017, in Finsbury Park, a van killed one and injured 10.
In Barcelona on August 17, 2017, a van killed 13 and injured more than 100.
A bomb injured at least 22 people in London on September 16, 2017.
Out of these 26 attacks, only seven were gun related. In at least six of them, the attacker was shot. If a person wants to cause damage and kill people, they will find a way. Taking away guns won’t keep these tragedies from happening.
Secondly, these tragedies happen in other countries. According to the Crime Prevention Research Center, since 1970 all of the 20 worst mass shootings happened outside the US, and 40 of the worst 44 happened outside the US. That says a lot. Our country isn’t an isolated location. Horrible things happen everywhere, regardless of laws.
An inanimate object doesn’t kill a person, a person kills a person and will use anything available if that’s their goal. The real problem isn’t the weapon that’s used; the real problem is the person. A psychologist friend of mine gave me some good information. Don’t confuse a mental illness, like depression or anxiety, with a personality disorder, like schizophrenia, narcissism, or sociopathy. Personality disorders are much harder to treat than to just “take a pill.” People with personality disorders often lack a sense of identity, accountability, and empathy and aren’t rooted in reality. Often, “taking a pill” doesn’t work at all.
I think the core of this problem is the broken family structure. We have parents that are too engrossed in their devices to pay attention to their kids. Children don’t have help, encouragement, or love they need. Boundaries are necessary for children to feel safe. It’s ok to say no. We blame everyone but ourselves for our failures and wonder why our children don’t have any accountability. We give them awards for participating instead of teaching them how to gracefully accept a loss. We take God and rules out of schools and homes and expect our children to know the difference between right and wrong. We expect our children to love and nurture each other when all they see are fighting parents, lazy adults, and broken relationships. We need to be responsible adults that teach empathy to our children. We need to be involved in our children’s lives, help with homework, interact, have family dinners every time it’s possible. We need to put down the devices and play outside, run around, get scraped knees. We need to interact with each other and with our kids and show them how to socially interact and what kind of behavior is acceptable. We can’t blame the world for our problems and expect our children to have any accountability. The problem isn’t the weapons; the problem is the broken hearts. I’m not saying there shouldn’t be stricter gun laws; I think there are definitely ways to make guns safer. What I am saying is that gun control isn’t going to change the heart of the nation.
Ainsworth, Amber. “No Injuries Reported after Altercation Leads to Shooting in Dearborn High School Parking Lot.” WDIV, 27 Jan. 2018, http://www.clickondetroit.com/news/no-injuries-reported-after-altercation-leads-to-shooting-in-dearborn-high-school-parking-lot.
Allen, Karma. “Minnesota 3rd-Grader Fires Police Officer’s Gun during School Activity.” ABC News, ABC News Network, abcnews.go.com/US/minnesota-3rd-grader-fires-police-officers-gun-school/story?id=52866888.
Cox, John Woodrow, and Steven Rich. “Analysis | No, There Haven’t Been 18 School Shootings in 2018. That Number Is Flat Wrong.” The Washington Post, WP Company, 15 Feb. 2018, http://www.washingtonpost.com/local/no-there-havent-been-18-school-shooting-in-2018-that-number-is-flat-wrong/2018/02/15/65b6cf72-1264-11e8-8ea1-c1d91fcec3fe_story.html?utm_term=.99b10b9cfaa2.
“Crime Prevention Research Center Conducts Research on Laws Regulating the Ownership or Use of Guns, Crime, and Public Safety.” Crime Prevention Research Center, crimeresearch.org/.
Desk, The Hindu Net. “Terror Attacks in Europe: A Timeline.” The Hindu, 20 Dec. 2016, http://www.thehindu.com/news/international/terror-in-europe-a-timeline/article16910920.ece1/amp/.
Foster, Alice. “Terror Attacks Timeline: From Paris and Brussels Terror to Most Recent Attacks in Europe.” Daily Express World RSS, Express, 18 Aug. 2017, http://www.express.co.uk/news/world/693421/Terror-attacks-timeline-France-Brussels-Europe-ISIS-killings-Germany-dates-terrorism/amp.
“Man Wanted on Murder Charge after Winston-Salem State Student Shot, Killed at Wake Forest University Event.” myfox8.Com, 24 Jan. 2018, myfox8.com/2018/01/24/man-wanted-on-murder-charge-after-winston-salem-state-student-shot-killed-at-wake-forest-university-event/.
Martinez, Peter. “Bullet Hits Building on Cal State San Bernardino Campus; No Shooter Found.” CBS News, CBS Interactive, 10 Jan. 2018, http://www.cbsnews.com/news/cal-state-san-bernardino-reports-shots-fired/.
“UPDATE: CPRC Original Research: Of Cases of at Least 15 Murders, All but Two of the 25 Worst Mass Public Shootings, 59 of the Worst 66, Occurred Outside the United States.” Crime Prevention Research Center, 14 Feb. 2018, crimeresearch.org/2018/02/with-39-killed-in-tunisia-attack-the-top-three-mass-public-shootings-are-outside-the-united-states/.