Tuesday, May 22, 2018

Kentucky School Shooting Highlights a Larger Issue

JAYMIE BIANCA ’21

OPINION EDITOR

Have you heard about the recent school shooting in Kentucky? Well, if you have not, it would be no surprise. While past school shootings have swamped the news with stories of heart-break and disdain, such as Columbine and Newtown, it seems that the catastrophe in Kentucky has received minimal cover-age. One of the only reasons for this fact lies in the unfortunate reality that shootings are becoming more normalized in society. The Kentucky incident was the 11th school shooting as of January 23rd, which leads society and the news media to believe that gun related crimes are merely occurrences that cannot be fixed or eradicated. Yet, with stricter policies, the belief that shootings are common and normal can be abolished.

The Second Amendment, which ensures the right to bear arms, is an important aspect of the American Constitution. It is a way in which individuals can utilize guns for protection. While obtaining a gun through the correct process does not seem harmful, it is those who take advantage of this right. While gun policies are determined by each state, studies have shown that states with stricter gun control laws have fewer gun related deaths than states whose policies are more lenient. Therefore, it is statistically proven that stricter gun policies have had a positive ef-fect for numerous U.S. states. While this may not be the only or best answer, it does provide a sense of relief, especially for those personally affected by gun violence.

However, obtaining guns illegally is a more pressing issue in society. This especially occurs through “straw purchases”, which often happen when someone cannot legally purchase a gun, so they have someone else perform this action for them. This can occur in several different forms. Either two people are involved in purchasing the gun where one chooses it and the other purchases the weapon, or if people are underage, they then have an adult pay for the gun. Straw purchases are illegal, and must be monitored in order to prevent guns from falling into the wrong hands.

Lastly, some individuals who have prompted mass shootings have suffered from mental illness. This is not to say that mental illness causes people to act in such a manner, nevertheless, the issue lies with those who have gone untreated for mental illness. This cannot be interpreted to mean that labeling someone with a mental illness after a mass shooting solves the problem, rather, treatment for mental instability must begin early. Advance intervention and early diagnosis can make a positive impact for those struggling with a mental disorder. With treatment and sup-port from families and others, people are able to receive the services and help they need. Not to say shootings and mental illness have a perfect correlation, but when concocting solutions for gun violence, it is important to address several facets, not only pertaining to policy, but emotional aspects as well.

In conclusion, it is vital to address that gun control is a very gray issue. There is no right or wrong answer. There are numerous studies that produce various conclusions, yet, it is still difficult to discover a perfect solution. However, it must be agreed that gun violence should not be a normalized concept in society. Whether this means changing policies in certain states, cracking down on the use of straw purchases, or improving the quality of mental health in America, the stereotype of gun violence must come to a halt.

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