Loading cover... Drag cover to reposition

Haitians Corner

Last seen online, 2 months ago
Featured 

No more thoughts and prayers: How the U.S. government can prevent school shootings

high-school-shooting-parkland The nation is reeling in the wake of the Valentine’s Day shooting at a Parkland, Florida high school that left 17 people dead.

The nation is reeling in the wake of the Valentine’s Day shooting at a Parkland, Florida high school that left 17 people dead.

Information on the senseless tragedy is developing, but we do have alarming details on the shooter, 19-year-old Nikolas Cruz. We know that Cruz used a legally purchased AR-15 semi automatic assault rifle to carry out the crime. We also know that Cruz had a history of making threats, killing small animals, and posting violent content on social media.

Despite violent outbursts, verbal threats, and his access to powerful weapons, no one stepped up to diffuse what turned out to be a deadly time bomb. People across the United States are offering their thoughts and prayers to the victims of this tragedy, but thoughts and prayers aren’t enough.

Why?

Because the United States has more mass shooters than any other nation on Earth. We also own almost half (48%) of all the civilian-owned firearms in the world. Gun violence is a real and pervasive sickness in the United States. Gun control isn’t about dismantling the Second Amendment. It’s about enacting sensible measures that prevent gun violence. Citizens may have the right to bear arms, but we don’t have the right to operate machines that kill dozens of people in 60 seconds.

It’s clear that policy and action, not thoughts and prayers, are what will save America’s youth.

Here are several policy adjustments that our government should implement to prevent mass shootings in our schools.

Mental health support and programs in schools

It’s no secret that public school funding rarely meets the needs of our students and teachers. However, interventions start when our schools have the mental health support systems in place to identify at-risk kids.

This takes several forms. First of all, schools must normalize talking about mental illness. Mental Health Alliance clubs advocate for mental health screening and awareness in our schools. After-school activities and clubs also give students valuable support systems to encourage positivity. A strong social network can also detect and report when an individual is behaving dangerously.

Because the United States has more mass shooters than any other nation on Earth. We also own almost half (48%) of all the civilian-owned firearms in the world. Gun violence is a real and pervasive sickness in the United States. Gun control isn’t about dismantling the Second Amendment. It’s about enacting sensible measures that prevent gun violence. Citizens may have the right to bear arms, but we don’t have the right to operate machines that kill dozens of people in 60 seconds.

It’s clear that policy and action, not thoughts and prayers, are what will save America’s youth.

Here are several policy adjustments that our government should implement to prevent mass shootings in our schools.

Mental health support and programs in schools

It’s no secret that public school funding rarely meets the needs of our students and teachers. However, interventions start when our schools have the mental health support systems in place to identify at-risk kids.

This takes several forms. First of all, schools must normalize talking about mental illness. Mental Health Alliance clubs advocate for mental health screening and awareness in our schools. After-school activities and clubs also give students valuable support systems to encourage positivity. A strong social network can also detect and report when an individual is behaving dangerously.

The government also needs to fund evidence-based anti-violence initiatives in our schools and communities. These programs help troubled kids build a positive network that encourages them to be social, active, and happy.

Increased staffing and training

Schools need more support staff. This includes increasing counselors available at schools and teacher intervention training.

Counselors are a valuable resource for troubled kids. They offer mental health evaluations and support, which can stop mass shootings before they happen.

Teachers also need intervention training to identify students who are at risk for committing violence. We often hear teachers talking about “that weird, quiet kid” in the back of the classroom, drawing disturbing pictures. Unfortunately our schools don’t offer teachers the support and training on how to handle troublesome students.

Silence and complacency create an environment for violence. When we have staff on hand to address troubled kids, we can treat or prevent the emotional issues that lead to mass shootings. If schools increase staffing and training through government funding, we can stop another Nikolas Cruz.

Background checks and waiting periods

Based on what we know about Nikolas Cruz’s background, the mass shooting shouldn’t have been a surprise. His violence and deteriorating mental health were well-documented by his high school, family, and police.

Paper trails often are left behind when institutions try to intervene with individuals like Cruz. Unfortunately, many of these institutions don’t have enough evidence, funding, or training to identify who is a Cruz and who is simply a confused teenager.

Although it’s hard to identify if a disturbed person is truly a threat to safety, we can determine whether he or she is healthy enough to own a firearm. It was very apparent that Nikolas Cruz should never have been allowed to buy a gun. However, he was 18 and had the money, and legally obtained the murder weapon.

 

   How can we prevent people like Cruz from purchasing weapons? How can we do this while preserving Second Amendment rights?

The government needs to enact policy to close background check loopholes. If a person buys a gun from a store, the store runs a background check. The store also completes paperwork to transfer ownership of the firearm, which is registered with the ATF. But if someone buys a gun from another individual, no background check is needed. All the seller needs is to take note of the buyer’s driver’s license information and the gun’s serial number. This loophole allows people like Cruz to purchase firearms without accountability.

In fact, our government can go one step further by instituting universal background checks for both gun and ammunition purchases. While gun-rights groups largely oppose these restrictions, they only negatively affect individuals who shouldn’t have guns or 500 rounds of assault rifle ammunition in the first place.

Increased age and weapons regulations

In many states, it’s legal for 18-year-olds to purchase rifles, although the legal age for purchasing handguns is usually 21. Unfortunately, the AR-15 assault rifle purchased by Cruz is legally considered a rifle. At 18 years old, he was allowed to purchase the rifle. An AR-15 with a 30-round magazine is arguably more deadly than a Glock 42 handgun.

The age limit for purchasing all firearms, both rifles and handguns, should be raised to 21. Rifles aren’t a safer option compared to handguns, although many states believe that to be the case. In fact, assault rifles are the weapon of choice for mass shootings. They’re more deadly in mass casualty events than low-capacity handguns.

In addition to raising the age limit, we can implement limits on allowed magazine clip sizes for these weapons. Most AR-15 rifles come with a standard 30-magazine clip, but this can be easily replaced with higher capacity magazines. This means mass shooters don’t have to pause to reload, which means more deaths.

The bottom line

We should feel empathy and grief for the pain caused by a senseless mass shooting. But the time for offering condolences without action is over. We can’t let gun violence limit our freedom and happiness. Community leaders, citizens, and the government must take action right now to stop mass shootings before they happen - or they have blood on our hands.

 

Meghan Markle, Dreams = Drama?
Interesting facts about Haiti
 

Comments (0)

Rated 0 out of 5 based on 0 voters
There are no comments posted here yet

Leave your comments

  1. Posting comment as a guest.
Rate this post:
0 Characters
Attachments (0 / 3)
Share Your Location