BY ROSA PRESTON
Schools and guns obviously don’t mix. And in cases where someone has brought a gun to school and opened fire, the results have been predictably disastrous. Luckily, there hasn’t been a shooting here at Truman, but there have been several shootings in 2022, including one at an Elementary School just before the last day of school. But why? Why are schools so vulnerable to shootings now? And what can be done in the future to prevent them?
Well, one thing to consider is the mentality and background of the shooter(s) involved. Although only five percent of mass shootings are associated with severe mental illness, about 25% are associated with non-psychotic psychiatric or neurological illnesses such as depression, and 23% involve substance abuse. In 80% of cases, school shooters showed directly, or indirectly, that they were in crisis, whether through a marked change in behavior or specific threats of violence.
Another thing is how accessible guns are in America. 68% of gun related school incidents had guns taken from home. This is so because approximately 4.6 million American children live in a home with some sort of firearm. Whatever kind of gun it is, it should be left unloaded, and locked, because improper storage has led to not just school shootings, but accidental deaths or suicides.
But it isn’t just storage that we should consider when thinking about prevention. 93% of shooters plan their attack in advance, almost all of them post images or messages on social media. And four out of five of the cases, at least one person had some knowledge about these plans, but failed to report it, and over 75% of the social media posts raised concern from others prior to the attack.
This is one of the biggest ways to prevent shootings. Almost all shooter documents showed warning signs. And as previously stated, at least one person knew about these, but didn’t report it. It’s extremely important to inform someone, anyone, of any behavior or warning signs that someone may exhibit. Not only could it save several lives, possibly including the shooter, but it could get someone the help they may need.