As guns evolved and became far more advanced, Americans upheld their right to bear arms and the term “gun culture” was born in 1970. Richard Hofstadter is to credit for the term and came up with it to express Americans adoration for weaponry. Gun culture became a popular and an indivisible part of American society, since it is often closely associated with freedom and independence, which are important core values of many Americans. With rights to baring arms comes big responsibilities and those responsibilities are taken advantage of when mass gun violence in schools starts to become a societal concern. With every mass school shooting U.S. citizens start to question the role of guns in our society and if they are really something we are willing to pay the price for. Our nation can fight mass school shootings by taking preventative measures such as putting age restrictions on owning guns, giving mental status exams to gun users/owners, taking warning signs in children or young adults more seriously, and educating our nation about the effects of mass shootings in order to uphold the safety of our peers and protect our society.
A common argument against any kind of gun reform is that people will still get their hands on guns and the U.S. will still continue to experience heartbreak over these incidents of mass school shootings. In, “Forget Gun Control. America Needs Fallacy Control” by Michelle Malkin, she briefly counters gun control because she believes the main problems is how gun violence is portrayed, and secondly believes that people will use illegal outlets such as the black market to continue to buy guns to commit crimes. Other points brought up by those who don’t seek reform is the point in which people will buy guns just how they buy drugs off the street, and what will America do with approximately 400 million guns we already own? Many wonder if their second amendment rights will be infringed if the United States seeks gun reform.
Though these points are relevant they commonly come from gun extremists. While there are some gun reform extremists my point isn’t to ban guns, my point is to find a common ground so that we can lessen mass school shootings and the emotional turmoil that follows. To say that there is no need for gun control and to keep things the way they are, means that we are not spending enough time look for solutions. When our founding fathers wrote the constitution and included the second amendment they intended us to be able to use guns to protect ourselves and use them for hunting, but more importantly they wanted us to use them responsibly and be “well regulated.” With that being said I believe gun reform is constitutional as long as we aren’t taking away American people’s right to own them.
Educating our communities about these effects can help end school shootings by bringing attention to how they disturb our nation’s health as a whole. Whereas the causes of mass school shootings vary from shooter to shooter, the effects of mass school shootings are shocking and horrible. According to statistics provided by the CDC the United States has experienced well over 300 school shootings, spanning between 1960 and 2018, and these shootings range from mass shootings to a gun going off in a single time in a school. Between seeing death and hearing of many dying because of these shootings faculty and students are scared to attend school in hopes that they aren’t another statistic. These school shooting epidemics have also left parents afraid to trust the safety of schools. A mental health professional named Sheila Rauch was interviewed in an article about the effects of mass shootings, “Violent trauma steals the sense of safety that most people take for granted in their lives for themselves and those they care about.” Although people can be flexible and often quick to recover from hard times, the American Counseling Association also backs up this notion that events such as mass school shootings don’t just affect those that are involved. They also affects citizens that view the event on the news or on social media. On the ACA school shooting homepage it is explained that when people are exposed to another human causing intentional harm to other beings they experience a stress induced psychological pain because of the loss even if they don’t feel it. According to the DSM-5 these psychological pains can include; post traumatic stress disorder, any kind of anxiety disorders, mood disorders (such as depression), and brief psychotic disorders due to the trauma.
Giving mental status exams to gun owners and gun users should be apart of the steps in owning guns. There are many complexities with not giving guns to mentally ill people because of the fact that “one in five people experience mental illness” (Diagnostic Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders). Because of stigmas we shouldn’t be just focused on not giving mentally ill people guns, but rather not giving guns to people who are at risk for making bad decisions with them. I often feel that people are there own worst enemies and people who purchase guns can also be people who experience mental illness which can lead to chaos. These mental status exams would include an in depth psychiatric evaluation concluding whether or not that person is mentally fit to own a gun and it would examine the line of thought this person has. I don’t agree with this exam being a pass or fail exam, but I believe it to be an exam where you talk about the problems in your life to come up with solutions and why owning a gun is valuable to you. In my opinion, people usually indicate bad decisions before they commit to them, and while everyone has bad events take place in their life some result to harming others because of it. I also believe that this exam should have to be taken periodically every 3 years or jail time, fines, or the taking away of ones firearms is as punishment. Using these exams can help determine early signs of possible gun abuse.
With gun violence in schools becoming so prevalent parents and faculty members are having difficulties facilitating conversations about mass violence and the warning signs that can be seen. In an article called Gun Control, the author Gale takes to one of the most recent mass school shootings; in Parkland, Florida where 17 members of Stoneman Douglas High School were murdered. The reason she talks about this instance is because many students at this high school were completely aware of the shooters state of mind saying, “We Knew it would be him.” another article from CNN writes, “Others who knew Cruz growing up described him as deeply disturbed, saying he tormented animals, threw rocks at cars, and sometimes introduced himself by saying, ‘I’m a school shooter’ (Flores, Adone, Sanchez). A big question is why didn’t we listen enough to take these accusations seriously? I believe this to be so because Americans are so desensitized by violence we start to ignore the warning signs. People in the U.S. must start speaking up about potentially dangerous behaviors and the government must start listening to our concerns. One common warning sign that TIME magazine writes about is, “leakage.” A term explained by Doctor Peter Langman, “people leak their intentions. Sometimes they’ll brag about what they are going to do or just flat out say it, ‘I’m going to bring a gun to school and kill people’” (Langman). Society needs to start preparing kids not to shy away from having tough conversations and helping kids realize it is to protect themselves, others, and the attacker.
Putting age restrictions on guns can help prepare people for mature interactions, such as owning a gun. While the federal law of owning a gun is 21, state laws don’t always correlate with that. I believe that you need to be 21 of age to own a gun and that the state laws need to follow this federal law for the safety of schools. We can’t keep giving erratic people under 21 the opportunities to go into gun stores and buy whatever they want because of a clean record. We must stop being concerned with making a profit over the safety of our children and future leaders. I believe legislators need to enforce gun laws strictly with consequences and without loopholes. A short anecdote in We The People Confront Sandy Hook, the author unknowingly makes a point and addresses an issue. She tells of how young kids must be taught at an early age to hunt animals so they become conditioned not to feel for what they are doing. She tells of how she was unable to participate in hunting animals with her father because she started late and could not stomach what she was doing (Semeiks). This proves my point that people under 21 aren’t ready to use a gun because they are unable to recognize the repercussions of what they are doing. Putting this age restriction on guns will help adults realize what killing means and how it might affect them and what they are killing.
The first school shooting in American history takes place on November 12, 1840 in Charlottesville, Virginia and in this current year alone (2018) there have been over 20 school shootings (Gale, CDC). There no doubt needs to be a gun reform but I believe government officials will continue to not take action when necessary because of the money it may cost them. My idea is to provide U.S. citizens with age restrictions, mental status exams, education about the effects of mass school violence, and to take warning signs in people who express dangerous behavior more seriously. Even though this can cost America more money, I think it will prove to be more valuable when we take precautions to end mass violence in schools.
- Malkin, Michelle. “Forget Gun Control. America Needs Fallacy Control.” Opposing Viewpoints Online Collection, Gale, 2018. Opposing Viewpoints In Context, http://link.galegroup.com/apps/doc/ZUPIIS311205446/OVIC?u=ranc95197&sid=OVIC&xid=2280f88d. Accessed 10 September 2018. Originally published as “Forget Gun Control. America Needs Fallacy Control,” The Daily Signal, 4 Oct. 2017.
This article is about how celebrities have mislead the nation about gun control and gun violence. The author explains that many celebrities have gone on their shows or social media to talk about gun control when they aren’t educated on the topic or a specific instance. She includes a short anecdote about Jimmy Kimmel making a statement about gun violence on his tv show and how that can be problematic. She also includes some facts about the Las Vegas concert shooting and how it doesn’t correlate with what celebrities were going to social media with. I chose this source as an example to possible fallacies in the media and I believe it to be reliable because this actually occured on national television and was also broadcasted on multiple social media outlets. I plan on using this source in my rebuttal and counter argument.
2. “Gun Control.” Opposing Viewpoints Online Collection, Gale, 2017. Opposing Viewpoints In Context, http://link.galegroup.com/apps/doc/PC3010999212/OVIC?u=ranc95197&sid=OVIC&xid=c6c97533. Accessed 10 September 2018.
This article tells the argument of the individuals the who advocate for gun reform and those who are against it. Extremists and gun owners who don’t seek a reform fear for their constitutional rights to be stripped away from them, while reform advocates seek restriction and laws that make owning a firearm harder to access in order to protect the community. The article brings up statistics about gun violence in the United States in 2014 and then follows with the current event of the Florida school shooting. It also brings up the viewpoints of both parties and how they feel about the second amendment. Other topics covered in the article include; court decisions, gun control laws, and loopholes in legislation. The loophole segment includes short anecdotes of mental illness, private collectors selling guns, domestic violence purchasing protection order, being the causing factor of the deaths due to illegally owned guns.
Although this source has a lot of information not directly related to school shootings, i still believe is useful and valuable. With this article I am able to learn about the argument against mine so that I can come up with a well articulated rebuttal. This article is one of my only articles that brings me statistics from a reliable source such as the CDC. The goal of this source is to help the reader understand both sides of the argument surrounding gun control which makes the article objective. Not only do I plan on using this article to make my counter argument but I also plan on using it for the statistics presented from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
3. “Media Coverage of Mass Violence.” Opposing Viewpoints Online Collection, Gale, 2017. Opposing Viewpoints In Context, http://link.galegroup.com/apps/doc/OGMCQV284306820/OVIC?u=ranc95197&sid=OVIC&xid=07d2c928. Accessed 10 September 2018.
This article is about how the media covers mass violence and how viewers are intended to perceive it. The article contains the perspective of a psychologists who believes it negatively impacts Americans psyche. The author explains in her own words from the psychologists point of view how people shouldn’t be shown traumatic experiences for entertainment purposes, and how median outlets take advantage of people by doing that. The author then explains the notion, “if it bleeds, it leads.” This idea means that if the story is dramatic and dangerous, it gets the most views, and the views are what help them against their competition.
I think this article is important because a common argument about gun violence is that it’s gone down but we see more of it in the media. This article will help my counter argument and help me understand if the only reason we are so affected by gun violence is because we see a lot of it through technology. I believe this to be a valuable source because it was published this year and includes a time span between 2007 and 2017.
4. Semeiks, Jonna G. “We the people confront Sandy Hook.” Confrontation, vol. 113, 2013, p. 11+. Opposing Viewpoints In Context, http://link.galegroup.com/apps/doc/A337184878/OVIC?u=ranc95197&sid=OVIC&xid=0d5938f7. Accessed 10 September 2018. This academic journal tells the story of the aftermath of the Sandy Hook Elementary school shooting. In the month following the shooting, a magazine’s poetry editor decided to feature a poem about the school shooting as the winner of 2013 Poetry Prize. This poem tells of the horror and trauma experiences by families, students, and faculty. The article then takes a turn and starts addressing rumors and conspiracy theories that people have put out into the media. These theories involve people thinking that the Sandy Hook School shooting was set up by federal agents in order to scare people into voting for gun-control laws, so that Americans would be deprived of the roughly 3 million guns we own. The article then discusses the gun culture in America and how guns were first used/invented for hunting animals. The author dives into the psychology behind hunting animals and why it must be taught at a young age to kill in order for it to be effective in the future after the prefrontal cortex is developed in the brain. Not only does she question why gun owners need five plus guns in their homes if they are using them to hunt animals but she also questions why Americans need guns like the AR-15 and the AK-47 to hunt, finally she questions why gun owners need such powerful hunters if they aren’t hunting at all. After her argument she gives her opinion on why Americans are addicted to guns: freedom.
I think this source will be useful and reliable to my topic of school shootings, it helps me understand possible reasons why America is so obsessed with the second amendment. The goal of this article was to inform readers about how grand the effects are in our country when a school shooting happens, and the history of using guns. This article can help me form my argument and opinion on school shootings. It also helps me understand how the trauma has affected those involved and how other Americans have reacted as we watched this happen through mass media coverage.