Did You Hear About the Other School Shooting?

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The news of the Oregon school shooting yesterday was sad, but less shocking than it should be. This shooting is the third public shooting in a week. School shootings are becoming more and more “common.” According to data from Everytown for Gun Safety, an average of 1.37 school shootings have happened each week in our country since the Newtown, Connecticut shooting. Seventy-four school shootings have taken place in 18 months since December 2012, four in North Carolina, and 39 at K-12 schools. Are we becoming numb to the violence that is harming – killing – children?

The United States is the only developed country in the world that seems to have gun violence making headlines almost weekly. Discussion of gun control waxes and wanes. Of course there are two distinct opinions: no guns or the absolute right to guns, but the danger lies somewhere in the middle; and congress seems completely intimidated by the NRA for whatever reasons. I believe Americans have a right to bear arms, but I believe the laws surrounding getting permits and the ability for just about anyone to get a permit are flawed. Background checks aren’t stopping people who obviously have mental issues from getting guns, and congress needs to implement tougher gun restrictions. 

So maybe that’s the bigger issue: mental health help. Are teens who are getting a hold of parents guns not getting the help they need? It’s a huge issue. It’s believed the Seattle Pacific University shooter went off his meds before going on his shooting rampage. Again a case of instable mental health that lead him to his violent acts. And too many times the young shooters end their own lives, which to me is only further indication of mental health problems. 

I don’t know what the answers are, but I hope the discussion stays live regarding gun control and the need for more mental health help, as well as ways to remove the stigma attached to mental health services. If you think your child is suffering from depression, anxiety, or just doesn’t seem themself, hug them, talk to them, and seek help. Early intervention can be the key to saving a person from harming themself or others.