According to the Monday edition of Education Week, as of this date, there have been 23 school shootings in 2019.
Since January, schools have been in session approximately 32 weeks — depending on nationwide district calendars (weeks of summer recess are not tallied). During these 32 weeks, 48 people in schools have been either killed or injured. Sadly, Education Week has even created a “School Shooting Tracker.” Schools, by their very nature, are supposed to be safe havens for children where they can learn and grow in nurturing environments.
Mental health is often given as a reason for the cause of shootings. However, there is no statistical evidence to support such claims. To the contrary, the United States has no higher mental health issues than many other industrialized countries, and no country comes close to matching the U.S. in numbers for mass shootings or school shootings.
“Thoughts and prayers” offers an empty response to victims and their families and doesn’t seem to be a viable solution. If the commercial airline industry experienced 23 crashes in 32 weeks the problem already would have been solved.
It comes down to a matter of will and values. Which do we as a nation value more: guns or children? Reasonable gun control with background checks, registration with paper trails (like auto registration and titling, along with mandatory safety tests like those given to operate a vehicle), and the elimination of weapons with large magazines and a rapid-fire capacity would seem like a good place to start. Responsible gun use and ownership can be preserved, and needless shootings can be greatly reduced. Until we as a nation have a collective will to solve the problem it will continue to exist.