In 72 hours, three hate crimes tore our country apart. In those three days, thirteen people died, fourteen had attempts on their lives and several more were injured. In what CNN has dubbed, “a hate-filled week,” many have paused to consider how to stop the increasingly frequent hate crimes and mass shootings. From the proposal of arming teachers and upping security nationwide, to possible gun control legislation, we’ll take a look at different approaches to solving America’s hate crisis.
On Wednesday, October 24, Gregory Bush, a white man with a history of violence shot and killed two black men at a Kroger grocery store, after trying and failing to enter a predominantly black church. His intentions, while they have thus far not been confirmed, can be assumed to have been to attack the church members inside.
Then on Saturday morning, Robert Bowers, a vehemently anti-semitic white man, shot and killed 11 people at a synagogue in Pittsburgh. Lastly, over the course of that week, 15 pipe bombs were mailed by a Florida man to critics of President Trump. The brutality of the violence and the closeness in timing have many worried that such acts are heading for a steep increase.
This begs the question: how do we prevent such occurrences? Conservatives have largely responded to such tragedies with a push for more security. The president himself has called for the arming and training of teachers. Some counties have picked up that idea, and are currently in the process of training their teachers for these kinds of crises. The guns, which are kept in biometric safes, are intended only for the worst circumstances.
Even with safety guidelines for the use of firearms in schools being set, there have been accidents already. In one instance, a teacher was performing a safety demonstration at a Northern California school, when they accidentally fired the gun into the ceiling and a bullet fragment hit a student.
While this is clearly a situation in which the protocol was not followed, it highlights the issue that some teachers simply aren’t experienced enough to be handling weapons. On top of this, some argue that putting the responsibility of the students’ safety on teachers is just too much responsibility to bare.
A popular cartoon circulated the internet depicting a teacher struggling beneath the weight of her responsibilities: educator, social worker, drug detector, disciplinarian and many more. In many states, teachers are underpaid and overworked already. Each year sees more and more budget cuts. With this in mind is it fair to place this enormous responsibility upon the teachers? A
rming these teachers does not necessarily doesn’t even guarantee action. The armed resource officer who was present at the Parkland shooting in February of 2018 did not intervene at all. If the one man who was expected to stop the event fails to do it, how can we expect teachers to do this?
Those who support arming teachers turn this point on its head. They argue that simply by having the presence of these guns deters shooters who are looking for an easy target. The NRA repeatedly uses the argument that banks, sporting events, concerts and office buildings are better-guarded than our schools. There is no denying this fact, but it doesn’t show the entire picture. In all of these places, there is an explicit person or object being targeted. In school shootings, we see more often than not that there is no target in particular.
The goal of the shooter is to take out as many people as possible, causing the most damage. This is why attacks on schools are considered particularly atrocious. The idea being that the event is essentially senseless violence. This does not deny the fact that most schools fail to effectively protect the lives of their students.
Another proposed solution, championed almost entirely by democrats, is gun control. It is a highly-divisive proposal; many on the left see those who oppose gun control as willingly endangering the lives of the gun violence victims. Conversely, the right views gun control as being ineffective at limiting gun violence, and more importantly, as infringing on their constitutional right to bear arms.
While studies have reported conflicting results as to whether or not gun control is effective in preventing gun violence, there is no denying that steps need to be taken to restrict access to guns for people with a history of violence.
Neither side denies that action needs to be taken. The argument resides in how to go about doing this. While many argue that the defense should stem from a legal implementation of gun control, others argue using gunfire to fight gunfire. Regardless of the stance one takes on the issue, it is clear that change is required to protect the future of our nation.
Let this debate not divide us but instead act as a unifying force allowing us to develop the best possible solution. Instead of further damaging one another by assigning blame to those who disagree with us, we need to find a middle ground in which we both agree upon. A solution which best protects the ones we love.