In today’s nation, firearms and school shootings have been controversial problems. However, in the United States, the number of students fired in schools has risen at an unprecedented pace. In reality, based on the statistics of student shooting events that have been reported, it has emerged that the profile of a student shooter cannot be identified with any group of students, since it has emerged that any student is capable of being a student shooter at any stage (Kleck, 1447). Although some are children of divorcees, some are loners, and still others are children of an ideal American family, profiling of such student shooters has shown that every profile of a student shooter will suit so many students, since it has emerged that although some are children of divorcees, some are loners, and still others are children of an ideal American family (Cavanaugh, et al, 317). The basic feature of Guns and School Violence is that, unlike shooting students in the head, shooting other students has been shown to be premeditated and orchestrated, with student shootings acquiring firearms long in advance and even following a significant public course of violence (Redding and Sarah, 297). Although several student shootings were discovered to plan their actions in secret, others were discovered to make their intentions public over time by repeated warnings that ultimately lead to the execution of the aggressive act of shooting. The key source of worry is the driving factors that lead gun violence in schools to escalate at such an accelerated pace.
While it is disturbing to think that weapons can make their way into schools and be used for abuse, the fact is that this is precisely what has occurred, and the figures are much higher than predicted. Indeed, such incidents have caused many students and parents to be afraid of classrooms, opting to study at home or in other private environments. According to the Bureau of Justice Statistics’ 2011 survey on indices of campus crime and safety, 6 percent of high school students in the United States remained home because they felt unsafe at school or on their way to school (Cavanaugh, et al, 322). This fact shows how gun and school violence has changed the education system in the United States, and how it is continuing to paralyze public education, notably in communities where crime and gang violence are prevalent. According to the study, approximately 7% of students in grades 9 through 12 confessed to having been threatened with a firearm on school grounds at any point during their school careers, and 6% of those students admitted to bringing guns to school for safety and self-defense (Cavanaugh, et al, 321). This trend points to the possibility of turning educational institutions into violence clubs and military training camps, if the necessary and urgent measures are not taken to address the issue. Therefore, the education system is in total jeopardy by gun and school violence incidences, and unless sufficient measures are undertaken to avert this occurrence, the situation might turn to be uncontrollable and irreversible (O’Grady, Patrick and Justin, 77).
Several factors have been attributed to the rise of gun and school violence in modern-day. The first of such factors is significant violent traumatizing that individuals have undergone during their childhood (Slovak, Karen and Linda, 78). Such acts may involve acts of child abuse and other violent acts that are perpetrated by adults or other teens on the young children. Such acts make the children to lose touch with the reality, always posing to meditate on the trauma and the suffering they have gone through. While such children live on violence meditation and reflection, they tend to make the children grow fond of violence, and develop the urge for revenge, which may occur in the form of perpetuating the violent acts on the same individuals who caused them to suffer earlier on, or avenging themselves by perpetuating the violent acts towards others, either those who seems more vulnerable or highly resistant (Regina and Birkland, 1198). Through the meditation on trauma, pain and suffering that individuals have experienced before, they tend to develop the dissociative character, where they stop getting in touch with the reality, a fact that allows the child to turn into a violent adult, whose action are not any close to the normalcy. Therefore, to tame the gun and school violence, the first step is to address the abuses and the traumas that children are going through during their early life, which turns out to be the recipe for violence, when the child later grows up (Cavanaugh, et al, 339).
A fundamental observation regarding gun and school violence is that; it has mostly affected the male gender, as compared to the female (Kleck, 1455). In fact, in certain instances, gun and school violence has become so gender-specific, that it has become synonymous with schoolboy violence. This question begs an answer as to what exactly promotes gun and school violence. This is because, while all children are prone to abuse and mistreatment at their early life, girls are even the most affected and vulnerable. However, when it turns to revenge and expressing the traumas that have been experienced through violence, the male gender becomes the most affected. It is at this point that the issue of accessibility and upbringing come into focus. First, while being brought up, boys are brought up with the mentality that they hold their destiny in their own hands, and thus it is incumbent upon them to protect their interests (Slovak, Karen and Linda, 95). This mentality becomes even more pronounced when such children come from dysfunctional families, or when such children have been abused earlier in their lives, and thus have developed mistrust and resentment against others.
Further, boys are well known to be adventurous, and thus have high accessibility to their parents’ weapons, or are able to connect easily to the suppliers of illegal arms and the black market operators (Lawrence and Thomas, 1194). This puts them in a better position to access guns, which allows them to perpetrate such violent acts, whenever they need to do it arises. Watching violent visual materials and playing violent video games also makes children develop a violent mentality, which makes such children have the desire to experience and exercise what they have been seeing in such games and films. Therefore, simply put, the mode of upbringing children influences the violent reaction of children to a certain extent. This explains the observation that it is difficult to profile the character of the gun and school violence perpetrators, since the perpetrators could be the loners and the children of dysfunctional families who have experienced abuses, or children of ideal families who have been brought up with access to weapons, violent films and video games (Slovak, Karen and Linda, 82).
At this point, a question arises as to what are the best methods can be used to curb gun and school violence. The application of stiffer penalties for possession of weapons within the school property or within the vicinity of the school property is one such preventive measure that can be adopted (Cavanaugh, et al, 342). Despite the fact that such a move does not completely address the core problem of the motivations and the causes of such violent reactions for some students, it helps in a great way to deter the rise of incidences, which could see the proliferation of gun and school violence incidences, should such measures fail to be undertaken. Additionally, the application of such rules does not only help to deter gun and school violence, but also the penetration of minor weapons into the schools, which could fuel the physical violence, and eventually promote the need for gun use. The application of strict detective measures such as the use of metal and weapon detector, as well as searching, is yet another strategy that can be applied to reduce the incidences of gun and school violence (Kleck, 1459). This is because, when such measures are operationalized regularly, coupled with the stiff penalties for the possession of weapons, the students will fear to be caught, and thus will be deterred from bringing weapons to school.
However, counseling services are the most essential and effective ways of curbing gun and school violence. This is because; counseling addresses the core motivations and causes of the student engagement in violent acts, thus helping to fully combat the problem (O’Grady, Patrick and Justin, 55). Adopting counseling services will go a long way in addressing the issue since counseling does not only help to avert the incidences of gun and school violence but also help the children undergoing trauma to recover and approach life differently. Counseling often assists students in finding the meaning of existence, especially for those who have lost contact with truth as a consequence of prior suffering (Kleck, 1460). They are able to value life and interpret it better as a consequence of such therapy, removing the desire for vengeance, which not only harms the survivor, but both the offender and the society at large. As a consequence, it is important to introduce therapy services for children that recognise those with deep-seated problems and assist them in addressing them until they become a full-fledged concern.
- Kleck, Gary. “Mass Shootings in Schools: The Worst Possible Case for Gun Control.” American Behavioral Scientist 52.10 (2009): 1447-1464. Print.
- Regina, Lawrence and Birkland, Thomas. “Guns, Hollywood, and School Safety: Defining The School-Shooting Problem Across Public Arenas.” Social Science Quarterly (Blackwell Publishing Limited) 85.5 (2004): 1193-1207. Print.
- Cavanaugh, Michael et al. “How Many More Guns?: Estimating The Effect Of Allowing Licensed Concealed Handguns On A College Campus.” Journal Of Interpersonal Violence 27.2 (2012): 316-343. Print.
- O’Grady, William, Patrick F. Parnaby, and Justin Schikschneit. “Guns, Gangs, and The Underclass: A Constructionist Analysis Of Gun Violence In A Toronto High School1.” Canadian Journal of Criminology & Criminal Justice 52.1 (2010): 55-77. Print.
- Redding, Richard, and Sarah M. Shalf. “The Legal Context of School Violence: The Effectiveness Of Federal, State, And Local Law Enforcement Efforts To Reduce Gun Violence In Schools.” Law & Policy 23.3 (2001): 297. Print.
- Slovak, Karen, Karen Carlson, and Linda Helm. “The Influence of Family Violence On Youth Attitudes.” Child & Adolescent Social Work Journal 24.1 (2007): 77-99. Print.