OPINION: Mass Shootings at Educational Facilities Have Become Normalized

Photo by Dmitry Rozhkov is licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0.

In the America we call home, it is not uncommon for mass shootings to be directed at schools and educational facilities. This disheartening truth reflects the lack of value we place on both educational institutions and those seeking an education. These places are sacred in that they hold the youth that carry the potential greatness of a nation and our world. Yet, in America, acts and threats that violate the safety and well-being of those who play a pivotal role in the development of society as a whole are predictable. Threats to the livelihood and promise of prosperity for our world have developed into an inimical national norm. The escalating development of this norm and the stagnancy in addressing its harm is a great American tragedy.  

I often recall hiding under desks when a gunman approached my elementary school’s campus. As I got older, my friends and I deemed it humorous that preparing for and experiencing school shootings in your formative years, amongst other violence directed at schools, is simply part of the customary American experience. Just halfway through the 2022 calendar year, over 3,000 children from the ages of zero to 17, have been injured or killed due to gun violence.  

Each school shooting, each threat to our societal prosperity, sets off a domino effect of a normalized repetitive behavior that threatens the lives of children and educational pursuers alike. Each time a shooting occurs, the gunmen are given a name and a platform, and our lack of legislative action sets it as the norm.  

I frequently ponder the rationale of why education facilities are so frequently the main target of mass shootings. In this, I recognize that educational facilities are susceptible to mass shootings because they hold a global promise of a better future for us all. A future with which we so desperately need. 

Education is our unrecognized superpower. Threats to safe access to education for all is a poison for our country’s present and future.  

I, amongst other American youth, often question the value I carry in the eyes of my country. I wonder if those in charge of the fundamental systems shaped by our past, present and future enact a sense of sensibility towards the lives of children and teachers.  

When our children and our teachers remain unprotected in the supposed safe haven that schools are meant to serve as, what spaces do we collaboratively deem as untouchable? More importantly, when the lives of so many children are taken, when do we finally decide to remedy the disease that is gun violence in America?