By Alexcia McKinley
On December 14, 2012, Adam Lanza grabbed three guns from his home - a semi-automatic AR-15 assault rifle made by Bushmaster and pistols made by Glock and Sig Sauer - and went to Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut.
In total, 20 children were killed along with 6 teachers.
Many politicians have come together to come up with a way to stop mass shootings. But how far do they really get?
Within months after the Sandy Hook shooting, did anyone ever really hear about it? The president stopped addressing it, we stopped reading articles about it online. And the politicians who swore to decrease the amount of any mass shootings came to a quiet halt.
With the Republicans so against restricting our gun laws, and the Democrats wanting something to change, and blaming the actual gun on the event, it’s difficult to even come together as one, even under the heinous circumstances.
Everyone is arguing over gun laws, whether to restrict them or not, but has anyone ever thought that the person behind the gun is the one to truly blame as opposed to the actual gun?
It’s not like the gun actually goes off by itself. It takes an action from the person holding the weapon to fire the amo.
Harsher measures have been taken for anyone to purchase a gun. But think about, the salesman does a background check on the customer and sees no sign of any mental instability or past record with the law enforcement, so he lets the person purchase the gun.
But isn’t it safe to say that, yeah, the person may have a clean record with the police and may have their mental state at ease, but can we really predict if the person is going to have a mental breakdown a couple months after buying the gun? No, no we cannot.
Because of this and the fact that in today’s society, anyone is vulnerable, the A.L.I.C.E. training institute has come up with a new plan called A.L.I.C.E., a new twist is put into the lockdown method that most schools are familiar with.
The “A” stands for “Alert.” An announcement is made over the loudspeakers that tells the student staff the situation they have at hand. In most cases it will tell the student body where the intruder is at (b-Wing, cafeteria, etc) and to take precautionary measures.
The “L” representing “Lockdown.” If evacuation is not an option, barricading the doors and windows is. Students were taught to use any resources, including desks, tables, even computer carts and put them in front of the door, stacking the materials in a way to prolong the intruder from coming in. This is the moment when the students and staff of a school will need to prepare themselves for potentially coming face to face with the intruder and taking action to ensure that no more people are killed or injured.
“I” standing for “Inform” is so that the people can work against the intruder and tell everyone else in the building where he/she is what they may be carrying. This way, the people who are in the opposite side of the school can quickly evacuate and come to safety. This is also when anyone can call 911 and update the police on the situation.
The “C” standing for C is the newest and most surprising change in a lockdown. In elementary and junior high we were taught to go to the back of the room, sit down on the ground in one big group, turn the lights off, and remain completely silent. Now with this new method, they actually want you to create the noise we were to not form, if the intruder were to come into the classroom. This is where everyone distracts the intruder, attempting to get the weapon away from the criminal and bring others to safety.
“E” is the one we’re most familiar. Standing for “Evacuate”, as the intruder moves away from where a particular classroom is and it is safe for them to go out of their classrooms, the students and staff must quickly, but quietly leave the premises.
The A.L.I.C.E. trainers give helpful and useful tips that most civilians don’t even exist. For example, the person who is trying to break open a window to create attention is to break the window in the top corner rather than the center of the window.
But did the A.L.I.C.E. trainers think about the evacuation process? What if, when the students and staff are evacuating the school with their hands in the air, that the intruder pretends to be one of the “good guys” and come out in safety?
Then there’s the fact that what if the intruder never comes into our classroom? We just barricaded the door, desks stacked on top of each other, computer carts hitting the doors, and even tables on top of the desks. Then what if we’re taking everything away from the door and the intruder shows back up? Because we had to get everything away from the door, it caused us to be vulnerable.
Many critiques were brought upon on the previous method of lockdown that we were taught. Why would you stay in a room full of students, in the dark, hoping that the intruder will not enter the classroom? Chances are, the intruder is going to notice that every classroom’s lights are off. Isn’t that a little suspicious?
I believe it is excellent to take measures to prevent mass casualties again and be educated on what to do in a situation like Sandy Hook, but does anyone ever stop and think, “If shootings weren’t such a problem then we wouldn’t have to be so cautious?”
Does anyone’s grandparents or great-grandparents remember being able to leave their doors unlocked? In modern days society, people must lock their doors, turn on their security system, and sometimes even leave lights on so people think they’re still up.
We are so programmed to think that there’s nothing we can do. That it’s inevitable. That politicians have tried to come up with policies and laws that will decrease the amount of school shootings but have not come to the same conclusion. We are literally accepting the fact that this could happen to our school.
Then we have the media, who provide us the gruesome stories of the fallen and the horrifying stories of the survivors that will forever haunt them.
Did it ever occur to them that they could be potentially training the next school shooter? They tell us how the intruder got in, how they planned the massacre, even how they purchased the guns. This just feeds the minds of the psychotic people that roam this earth. If they could decide to pay more attention on the people who died, who will never see their families again, instead of the shooter, we may be able to actually prevent more shootings.
There was 64 school shootings in 2015 alone. And are people surprised by that number? Most likely, they may be appalled but they’re not surprised. That’s the kind of society we live.
I sat in my AP Government during 6th period one day and got the notification from the WGAL app that there was a church shooting in Texas. The number of fatalities began to rise, but did I stop what I was doing and read the article? No, I went back to the activity at hand. That’s is how much we are programmed to just acknowledge the catastrophes that happen in today’s world.
School shootings aren’t anything taboo. School shootings have dated back to the 18th century, and we still can’t get anything done about it?
Something needs to change, and fast. Whether it is better security at major events or better organization.
There has been many faults in the recent gun laws that impact shootings. For example, The Texas church shooting that occurred on November 6th, 2017.
Due to the disorganization and poor communication in the Air Force. It failed to provide key information to the FBI that should have prevented the attacker from purchasing firearms.
While serving in the Air Force, Devin Patrick Kelley, the gunman that opened fire at the Texas church, was convicted by a general court-martial on two charges of domestic assault.
If there was a warning to the FBI about this criminal, he would never have been allowed to buy any guns whatsoever, potentially preventing the massacre.
Kelley should have been on the FBI’s radar from the day he was convicted of domestic assault.
Too many times, people see in the news how criminals purchased their weapons they used. If they have a criminal record or a lack of mental stability, they should not be allowed to ever purchase a gun at all. We need to have even more precautions.
A lot of people like to blame the gun and how we need to ban guns in order to prevent shootings. But do people really take the time to sit down and think, “Maybe it is the person’s fault who is holding the gun and firing it.”
If everyone has this mindset, then banning guns wouldn’t be the main focus, but the mental stability and criminal records of consumers would be the main concern.
So let's stop just sitting back and continuing to get notifications about shootings, and lets truly do something about it.
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