by Abigail Anaba
Thousands of kids hit the streets, Wednesday, on a national school walkout to say enough is enough and demand action on gun control to make schools safer. They are protesting the inactions of government over the Florida school shootings. It has been one month of talk from the Trump administration but little action. The only cogent move by the administration has been setting up a Federal Commission on School Safety. On their own part, the Florida State government has passed one piece of legislation raising the age of persons who can buy guns from eighteen to twenty-one. An action for which they are being sued by the National Rifle Association (NRA).
The children’s demands are clear cut. They are asking the adults to make up their minds and do something that will make schools safer. The students have been non-partisan. They are doing what children should do: ask for help. In the process, they are learning something that parents have always known but tried to hide behind brave smiles and stern looks–adults don’t have all the answers, they are just trying to figure it out.
There have been many suggestions put on the table. Some are products of uncommon thinking, while others are repetitive, repeated but never implemented. As far back as 1866, school shooting was an issue in the news. In the April 30 issue of that year, A New York Times editorial suggested children should not be carrying guns. But, it said, if some children are carrying arms, then all children should, so that, ‘there may be an equal chance at least of their shooting as of being shot”. (http://www.k12academics.com/school-shootings/history-school-shootings-united-states#.Wqkw_-jwbIU)
Over a century later, this reasoning was reborn, with slight modifications, when President Trump said making schools gun-free zones is an open invitation to shooters. “Arm the teachers,” he says. When these shooters know someone may shoot back at them, they will not go shooting at schools. Of all the suggestions made in the wake of these increased shootings, this has met with the most opposition. It probably creates a picture of teachers in class teaching while thinking, “Which of you will I shoot next”.
Two facts we cannot ignore; one, you do not take a knife to a gunfight, two, every tool can become a weapon. In view of one above, it is not reasonable to declare schools gun-free zones when the bad guys will not play by the rules. And from two, anything can become a weapon, so if we ban guns, what else will ban down the line? Knives? Bows and arrows? Sticks? Stones? Water? Yet, teachers do not appear to be the best people to be bearing arms when they don’t want to. And what is to say the teacher won’t shoot themselves?
So the solution to this problem does not lie with one group. Like a wise person once said, when conflicts arise, it is not the time to focus on the things that separate us, it is time to play up the things that unite us. The problem with guns is twofold. One part is access. The legislation by the state of Florida addresses that. And perhaps more stringent measures also need to put in place. But, it cannot end there. The second is safety.
We need more proactive measures for our children’s safety. There cannot be just one solution to gun violence in schools. Adults need to accept that they cannot keep squabbling and stay entrenched in their views on guns. The best solutions happen when two parties sit and listen to each other. There is always a middle ground. Partial gun control and removing the tag ‘gun-free zones’ from schools appear to be a fair compromise.
Maybe, someday, Arkansas, Ohio, Colorado, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Connecticut and Washington State will not be the states that have allowed guns in schools; they will ‘the pioneers’. Because securing a place implies guarding it. Guarding involves violence against intruders. Violence implies using an instrument of violence. A gun is an instrument of violence. But instruments of violence can also be a source of security.