uasive EssaysKids, Schools and Guns
Guns. The word itself conjures up images of bloodshed and death. Yet instead of instilling fear into people, American society has embraced guns and placed them in numerous homes under the pretence of protection. Add to that image – children. Children and guns should never have any association, yet has become somewhat commonplace because of the many incidences that involve the two.
In the age bracket of 10 to 19 years, guns are the second leading cause of deaths, after automobile accidents, in America. Of the 5751 deaths in 1993, 3661 were homicides while 1460 were suicides. One American in that age group dies every 92 minutes regardless of cause, and for every child killed, four are injured. Between 1996 and 1997, 6000 school children were expelled for bringing guns to school. (http://www.handguncontrol.org/)
In April 1999, two boys in Littleton, Colorado went on a rampage at Columbine High School where 12 students and a teacher were killed. Almost 20 other students were hurt during this incident. They turned the guns on themselves after the shooting was over. Then in May, a 15-year-old boy opened fire at Heritage High School in Conyers, Georgia injuring six students. He had taken a rifle and pistol from a cabinet of weapons in his home. (http://www.angelfire.com/wa)
In May 1998, in Springfield, Oregon, a 15-year-old, expelled from Thurston High School, returned to the school and opened fire in the cafeteria, killing two students. His parents were later found shot dead in their home, believed to have been killed by the son.
The latest shooting took place in Michigan this past February where a six-year-old boy shot dead a classmate. Kayla Rolland, 6, was shot through the neck and died later in hospital. The boy was under the care of his aunt, living in a house where guns were within reach, and drugs were traded for stolen weapons. The six-year-old, suspended from school three times prior to the shooting, once for stabbing a student with a pencil, got the loaded gun from under some blankets on a bed at the house in which he was living.
One might imagine that after all these unnecessary deaths, gun laws would be revised to ensure guns are kept out of the hands of children. In America, the Brady Law states that anyone under 21 cannot legally purchase handguns from licensed dealers. There is, however, a loophole whereby 18 to 21-year-olds can purchase handguns from private or unlicensed dealers. The Columbine High shooters purchased guns at gun shows with the help of an 18-year-old friend. Child Prevention Laws have been passed in 17 states, making gun owners legally responsible if children access their loaded weapons to hurt themselves or someone else.
Most handguns today have so little trigger resistance that any 3-year-old can fire them. These guns often fire when dropped on the floor, and do not have load indicators or magazine safety disconnects as precautions.
Instead of investing time and effort developing childproof guns, the industry insists on making more lethal weapons. And while the drinking age is 21, the National Rifle Association (NRA) opposes raising the age of handgun possession from 18 to 21. The NRA also fights laws that make it necessary for new firearms to be sold with trigger locks.
Due to the many shooting incidents that have taken place over the last few years, teachers and authorities have taken it upon themselves to profile school shooters. Behaviour that shows chronic feelings of isolation or rejection, or frequent angry outbursts are sited as early warning signs, a list of which are to be handed out to all American schools.
It is apparent that this random violence has fostered a need to predict and control. However, profiling is a technique that is better suited to FBI investigations, not schools. It is absurd to believe that targeting a potential problem child is a useful way of preventing future incidents because it is harmful to label individual students simply because they fit a specific profile.
Authorities are better off searching for long-term solutions such as rethinking boys’ emotional education and treating boys’ depression more seriously. The most common reasons behind school shootings may seem trivial to the majority of people, but these kids feel like outcasts, many have just ended a relationship, as in the case of the Heritage High School shooting.
uasive EssaysKids, Schools and Guns