Shootings should spark changes

Editorials featured in the Forum section are solely the opinions of their individual authors.

Last week, a school shooting in Marysville, Wash. led to the death of four high school students. The perpetrator, 15-year-old Jaylen Fryberg, shot five students in the school cafeteria after having invited them to have lunch with him. County Sheriff Ty Trenary “may not have answers ... for several months” as to the motive behind this terrifying crime, according to The Seattle Times.

The tragedy in Washington has stirred up a call for action from various gun control activist groups, including Moms Demand Action (MDA). As stated by Shannon Watts, founder of MDA, schools “should be safe from the gun violence that kills 86 Americans every day,” according to an MDA press release. Watts also added that Washington was the 87th school shooting since Sandy Hook Elementary School in December 2012.

Why haven’t we taken significant action since Sandy Hook to protect our schools? We’ve reached the 87th shooting since 2012, and significant change has not yet taken place to address the issue.

In response to Sandy Hook, the Maryland-based company Hardwire LLC has created a line of bulletproof products, including bulletproof whiteboards, bulletproof clipboards, and so on.

If this is an attempt to protect schools from gun violence, it isn’t doing the job properly. These bulletproof products are not only expensive, but also not addressing the real problem. I don’t see how a bulletproof clipboard would’ve been any help to the five victims of last week’s shooting.

It’s unfortunate that people simply watch the shootings on television and don’t take action unless it directly affects them. We shouldn’t be watching news coverage on school shootings as if it were the weather. Instead, we should be considering the frequency of school shootings on the news as a call to action.

According to an FBI study last month, 160 active shooter incidents — shootings that may be impacted by the actions of citizens and law enforcement personnel — occurred between 2000 and 2013. The study’s conclusion was that active shooter incidents are becoming more frequent and significantly add to the number of violent deaths in the United States. In fact, these 160 incidents resulted in 1,043 casualties.

Gun control will not be a cure-all to school shootings, since Washington shooter Fryberg had legally acquired the gun that he used to kill four fellow classmates. However, we need to take steps. We can’t just sit and watch the number of active shooter incidents grow. This is already happening way too often.

We need to take more responsibility across the country in order to prevent school shootings. The government needs to take immediate and effective action in order to decrease the number of deaths that occur each day as a result of gun violence. Whether by expanding background checks or increasing licensing, action has to be taken. More importantly, it has to be taken both at the local and the national level.

Individuals and families have to consider what is at risk to have gun access at home, and at the same time, the government needs to respond effectively to shootings when they occur. This eventuality will be better than watching the local news cover the 88th United States school shooting.