Guns are not the issue: humanity is

What people can do to stop school shootings

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School shootings, and shootings in public places in general, have been a hot topic of discussion since the 1999 mass shooting that took place at Columbine High School in Littleton, Colorado, a shooting in which 12 students and one teacher tragically lost their lives at the hands of two bullied students seeking revenge on the individuals who had tormented them throughout the course of their high school careers.

In the wake of shootings similar to the one that happened at Columbine that have become a far too common sight in the U.S., media sources are quick to depict this issue as more of a gun issue than anything else. This is not just a gun issue; this is an issue of, more than anything, way too many individuals in our society lacking human decency and courtesy for one another.
When any individual on San Jose City College’s campus takes into account all the violence that has transpired in the country over the past two years alone, it hits close to home to know that our own campus could have easily been the sight of one of these horrific shootings.

Two summers ago, an incident transpired on campus in which a student arrived on campus with a taser on him. Further investigation of that situation revealed that the student possessed ammunition stored in his vehicle. Too often, stories are emerging of either a public shooting that took place or even a botched attempted shooting in which a lot of innocent blood could have been shed, and we are becoming increasingly desensitized to it as a society.

When one argues that the accessibility of guns plays a bigger role in a mass shooting than the mental state and societal treatment of the perpetrator, one must ask themself how any socially content and mentally stable person could possibly want to carry out such a heinous act on fellow human beings?

Let’s take a look at the Columbine and Parkland shooters. What did Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold (Columbine) and Nikolas Cruz (Parkland) all have in common? They were all bullied by their peers throughout the course of their high school careers. Harris and Klebold were common targets of the jocks at Columbine High School. Emma Gonzalez, a survivor of the Parkland shooting, even admitted to bullying Cruz when she addressed lawmakers at a gun control rally just days after Cruz gunned down 17 people at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School.
Gonzalez said, “Those talking about how we should have not ostracized him, you didn’t know this kid.”

These examples of the treatment of these troubled individuals are in no way trying to humanize them or their actions: it is simply trying to gain a better understanding of why they did what they did. At the end of the day, there are so many other factors other than the accessibility of guns to the public.

Remember going forward that words carry weight. We all heard the saying as a kid, “Sticks and stones may break my bones but words will never hurt me.” We’ve seen now more than ever how invalid that statement is. Remember that your kind treatment of someone today could save countless lives tomorrow.