Gun Violence Isn’t Stopping–Are Lockdowns Enough?

Abigail Dieterichs, News Editor

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All over America, gun violence occurs, is broadcasted, and then we put it out of our minds. We remember Columbine in 1999, only a few miles away. We remember Parkland just this year, and the impact it had on our country as its victims spoke out. But who remembers the details of Noblesville, Indiana, that left two injured? Who remembers Nashville, where a student was shot five times in the parking lot?

With the most recent lockdown fresh in Ralston Valley’s memory, I’ve found myself wondering about the measures we take, and the measures we don’t. RV is, basically, a very safe school. But are there things we could be doing better?
“People who [perform acts of violence in schools] know the protocol,” Kelcie Foss, a senior, said. “We should find a way to fight back. We’re basically sitting ducks… [we should] make it more about defense than hiding.”

I can remember, very clearly, lockdowns all the way back to kindergarten; without fail, someone complains about it and will say something to the effect of: “If this was real, I’d be gone.”
“Consider the human aspect of this,” Anna Blum, a freshman, said. “We all have fight or flight responses, and [the administration] should consider how we’d actually react.”

Fear and realism have a complicated relationship when it comes to this issue, and often, when asked if they feel safe in public settings, people say they choose not to live in fear.
“Be cautious, not afraid,” Foss says to that point. “If you have a gun, you have other people’s lives in your hands, and that’s scary… Everyone’s affected [by this].”

I have to agree. We live in a relatively safe area, but even RV can never ensure it is completely safe. These incidents are about as unpredictable as they are common, and although it’s horrible that we have to round students up for lockdowns, we have to be prepared. Specifically, we should be better prepared. Shooters will not stop existing. Stricter gun laws– while logical on the surface– will not stop dedicated people from getting the tools they need for destruction.

Guns are a means, not a reason, and although stricter gun laws are needed in this country, we should be looking at the “why” in addition to the “how.” Mental health affects gun violence far less than the common perception suggests. As important as mental health awareness is, the stereotype that mental illness is exclusively responsible for the violent crime is extremely harmful.

Changes to our lockdown protocol are nothing if not essential. In my opinion, giving teachers guns is not the answer. Non-lethal methods of protection are better, whether that be more bulletproof glass, increased security, or a more sophisticated security system. It has even been suggested that fire extinguishers or bats in every classroom could assist teachers in the case a perpetrator manages to enter a classroom.

There has to be an answer, and the time has come to demand one. Gun violence may not stop existing in America, but we should look to prevent and protect from it.

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The Student-Run Magazine of Ralston Valley High School
Gun Violence Isn’t Stopping–Are Lockdowns Enough?