Given recent events, it is safe to say that school related shootings are becoming an epidemic. The latest shooting happened near Leander High School in the Cedar Park area of Texas. Although this shooting did not take place in the actual school, the incident caused Leander High School to go into lockdown and delay school on Monday January 27. This marks the latest in a string of shooting events in 2014. In the month of January alone, police were called to respond to a school related shooting almost every other day.
The lockdown at Leander High School was prompted by an early morning response to shots fired in a car. It was believed that one of the persons involved in the shooting fled towards Leander High School. Nobody was found at the school and the all-clear was called by 9:15am. Two men have been arrested in connection with the latest incident. The driver of the vehicle in question, nineteen-year-old Ryan Gilbertson, has been charged with unlawfully carrying a weapon and having a prohibited weapon. A second suspect, twenty-two-year-old Nicholas Lilley, was later apprehended and charged with criminal trespass and evading police.
Long gone are the days where schools were considered sacred ground. Since the horrific Columbine shooting in 1999 which saw the killing of twelve people, school related shootings have been running wild. In 2012 twenty-six people were killed by a twenty-year-old male at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut. Though both these incidents yielded a high body count, other school related shootings are no less troubling. An epidemic quickly spreads and becomes out of control. That is exactly what is happening with school shootings. A simple fist fight at school is no longer the most dangerous thing on campus. Lockdown drills have become common practice for schools these days. It is now considered the norm to have schools locked at all times during the day.
In the month of January, school related shootings are at an all time high. There seems to be no safe place when it comes to this problem. This new epidemic shows no mercy. Shootings have taken place at elementary schools, middle schools, high schools and universities. Some of the latest school shootings demonstrate how wide-spread the problem is. Liberty Technology Magnet School saw one student shot on January 9. On January 14 two students were shot at Berrendo Middle School. On January 17, two separate school shootings occurred. One happened at Albany High School with one student shot, and another at Delaware Valley Charter Elementary, where two students were shot. There was yet another incident on January 20 at Widener University, where one student was shot. Two more shootings occurred on January 21. One took place at Wakefield Elementary, where one person was shot, and again at Perdue University, where another person was shot and killed.
There is much controversy around this epidemic of school shootings. People want to find out who to blame. The more pertinent question is whether there is a way to prevent them from occurring. Facing this epidemic, the nation wonders if a cure can be found. Many say it is the fault of the gun. Others say it is poor parenting. More than a few believe that it is time that America took a look at what exactly is being told and taught to the nation’s children. The comparison to an epidemic is one that many feel ought to be followed in the search for answers. The same approach may be applicable. In a health-related emergency, steps are taken to restore faith in community safety. Authorities continue without stopping to search for a cure until one is found. Scientists keep at it until they have the results they want. A call is going out to have the same attitude approaching the issue of school shootings; to pay attention and do something about this epidemic and not just cry about it.
Editorial by Shannon Malone