The only thing that will stop or slow school shootings is summer break.
This is the reality of 2018.
Yet another school shooting arrived on Feb. 14. It’s time to face the facts: Something is wrong, and no legislation is being passed to curb it.
On Feb. 14, Marjory Stoneman High School in Parkland, Florida, experienced a school shooting, resulting in 17 dead and 15 injured.
It’s almost a knee-jerk reaction to think this is just another in a long line of school shootings, but this particular one is the third deadliest on record. According to NBC, 20 people have died in school shootings in 2018.
Instead of planning spring break trips or deciding what they’ll wear to prom, survivors of the Parkland shooting now have to plan to attend the funerals of their peers, teachers and one beloved coach.
The details of the 19-year-old suspect arrested in the case have been disturbing. His social media feeds feature selfies with guns and Instagram posts depicting dead lizards and other things he hunted.
CNN reported Feb. 15 that the FBI was warned in September about a comment the suspect allegedly left on a YouTube video saying he would “be a professional school shooter.”
The vlogger reported the comment to YouTube and emailed a screenshot to what he thought was an FBI tip line. He heard from an agent the next day but heard nothing about how the case progressed until the shooting. And of course, there was another tip reported to the FBI in January from someone concerned the suspect could do this.
Former classmates of the man arrested and charged in the case shared numerous stories about uncomfortable interactions with him. One classmate recalled that the suspect “threatened to bring a gun to school” on several occasions.
Other former classmates described him as someone who “joked” about shooting up the school one day. Yeah, a joke.
Hindsight is always 20/20. This much can be easily seen. But it’s clear students had worries about their former classmate.
At 19, the suspect faces 17 counts of premeditated murder and has been denied bail.
One thing is certain: Legislators at the state and federal levels will make no headway on gun violence, gun accessibility or gun control due to this latest tragedy. Instead, they will focus on how mental health played a role in this while continuing to fail to properly fund mental health initiatives and make mental health screenings mandatory before a person can purchase a gun.
If a potential shooter reveals himself, instead of waiting for legislation to be passed, we need to act. Often, people feel like it’s not their place to speak up or rely on the thought that someone else will do it so they don’t have to.
But shooting up a school is not a joke. If someone says it, jokingly or not, no one should feel bad for telling someone about their concerns. That’s a risk in situations like these, and we are living in an era where school shootings are too commonplace. But that doesn’t mean we have to normalize them. And we shouldn’t.
Mass murder, particularly that of children in schools, cannot be allowed to become this country’s new normal.