OP-ED: The solution to gun violence is compassion


Izzie Ramirez

Bailey Herrera, Reporter

“Tara, run!” I yelled when I heard what sounded like gunshots as we walked down the streets of Chinatown on the Fourth of July. Luckily, I had mistaken the sound for what was actually fireworks a group of kids were playing with down the street. However, other teens weren’t as fortunate as myself —  school shootings have affected 187,000 students in the United States.

The fear of experiencing a school shooting is an all too real experience for American teens, like myself. The constant media coverage and conversation about gun violence makes it hard to ignore. The thought runs through my head everyday. In school, I think to myself, ‘What would I do if it happened to me?’ This shouldn’t be the case; kids should be able to learn in an environment where they aren’t constantly paranoid of being shot.

The frequency of events, like the shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, caused many schools to change their policies and procedures. My school, for instance, got rid of ‘safe rooms’ and instituted a protocol if a shooter were on campus.

“In the past, we had a lockdown procedure where it was our main focus to be accountable for all of the students,” assistant principal and teacher Mr. Keith Gibalski said in a yearbook interview. “We later realized that wasn’t our top concern. Now teachers are instructed to look outside before students leave their classroom to get a sense of the situation, unless there is an immediate threat. We now announce all of our fire drills so if a drill is not announced, the faculty takes extra precautions for students safety.”

Many schools started to adopt the practice of active shooter drills. According to the National Center for Education statistics, nine out of 10 public schools have the drills regularly. Even if a student hasn’t been involved in a shooting of any kind the constant worry causes stress to kids and teens.

However, it doesn’t matter how much schools prepare for an attack like this. Until we dig down to the real issue, nothing will change. The real issue isn’t guns or mental health, it’s the incapability of society to look beyond each person’s own bubble, to the world around them. Gun control is a constant debate that so far has not made any kind of change.

According to the Journal of Child and Family Studies, there have been more shootings in the past 18 years than in the entire 20th century. Shouldn’t we all agree that something has to change? Shouldn’t we be be willing to do whatever it takes so that innocent children don’t have to die? Wrong.

The website Gallup provides research that shows 42 percent of Americans have a gun in their home, 48 percent of Americans are for the ban of automatic assault rifles, and 49 percent of Americans are against the ban of automatic assault rifles. Even then, there is the matter of mental health, gun storage, background checks, etc. This spilt of opinion makes it nearly impossible to come up with a solution to this issue.

It’s time to bring the issue closer to home.

These victims can no longer just be some numbers on a screen. They were real people with real lives. The girl who sat behind you in math class, the person who held door open for you at at the store. We cannot fix the issue until we all rally together for one collective cause.

In the simplest of terms: The solution to gun violence in America is compassion for other human beings. Only then can we work together as a society to come up with a solution that benefits the greater good, but more importantly keeps our children safe.

As Elizabeth Warren said in A Fighting Chance, “We lose eight children and teenagers to gun violence every day. If a mysterious virus suddenly started killing eight of our children every day, America would mobilize teams of doctors and public health officials. We would move heaven and earth until we found a way to protect our children. But not with gun violence.”