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School Shootings on the Rise in America: The facts and what you can do.

There have been 11 school shootings this year, and it is only the 30th day of January.

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In the Nexus database of American news sources, the words “active shooter” appeared 17 times in US articles from the year 2000. In 2010, the number jumped to 915, and last year, 2016, it showed up 11,214 times. If this statistic still doesn’t indicate to you the obvious gun violence epidemic present in modern American society, consider this fact: there have been 11 school shootings this year, and it is only the 30th day of January.

In recent years, American crime rates of violent acts committed using firearms has skyrocketed at an alarming rate and unfortunately too many of these heinous crimes occurring today take place in schools. The term active shooter, as discussed in the previous paragraph, refers to an assailant who is “actively engaged in killing or attempting to kill people in a confined and populated area” (Alice Training Institute 2017). This year, 2018, there have already been 11 active shooter attacks in schools across the nation resulting in 2 suicides by firearm, 3 murder victims, and over 17 injured students. The most recent attack took place in Marshall County, Kentucky, where a fifteen-year-old walked into the school just before the first bell rang and fired off several rounds from a loaded handgun before police arrived to apprehend him nearly 2 minutes after the first shot was fired.

While these almost daily occurring heartbreaking acts of violence could be ebbed with stricter government regulated gun control and gun violence prevention measures, they have become so common, many people have given up on stopping the attacks all together and are now turning their attention towards informing educators as well as students of the best courses of action to take in the event of an active shooter situation.

Along with commonplace “Code Red’ or “Lockdown” drills, school staff members are starting to be prepped with a more in-depth plan for action. From the moment a 911 call is placed, law enforcement will take an average of three minutes to reach the scene, and it is the choices made in these three minutes that could be the difference between life or death. If an active shooter infiltrates the school, evacuation no longer becomes a viable option to avoid the assailant. The best thing to do in this case, as taught in intruder drills across the country, is to find a confinable space with few windows and entrances, lock or secure any doors of said space, turn off the lights, and hide in such a manner that would convince the shooter there are no possible victims to be had. An important fact to consider in school shootings is that often, the perpetrator is looking for a high body count and is not concerned with singling out and hunting for specific students, so any small inconvenience that keeps them from achieving their goal as quickly as possible is a valuable deterrent.
If you find yourself in a room without a lock, flip flops or any other flat open shoe make effective door jams for doors opening inward, and using a belt pulled tight and looped over the handle works for those doors opening out. It is also important to stop yourself from panicking, because doing so could lead to rash mistakes. If all prevention methods fail and the shooter manages to enter the secured space, the final option is to arm yourself with whatever available objects and attempt to attack the attacker, throwing them off from their course.

School shootings are heartbreaking, senseless, and far too common murders of innocent lives and while gun control is a huge issue with many sides and solutions, there is sadly no solution being proposed for the near future. It is horribly unfortunate to think of the American politicians who believe that these violent attacks can only be prevented by allowing more firearms into the system, and I can only hope that in the future we can look for solutions instead of just accepting this violence as a reality.

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