What’s more American than freedom? School shootings

Nathan Yuan, News Editor

In the wake of another school shooting… 

Funny you have to ask “which one?”

On April 5, a student was shot at Erie High School in Erie, Pennsylvania.

On March 31, a 12-year-old was shot and killed at Tanglewood High School in Greenville, South Carolina.

In the time it took for me to write this opinion, a 16-year-old girl was shot and murdered near her high school on April 9.

The U.S. “had 57 times as many school shootings as the other major industrialized nations combined” between January 2009 and May 2018.

No developed nation on Earth has a problem with school shootings even remotely similar to the U.S. where school shootings literally happen every week. Between January 2009 to May 2018, the U.S. had 288 school shootings. For Canada, Japan, Germany, Italy, France and the UK combined? Five. We’ve had 22 school shootings this year, and we’re only four months in! 

So welcome to America! The land of the free, home of the brave and where school shootings are so normal, we consume headlines like “loved ones mourn 12-year-old victim” and “shooting at high school leaves one injured” in the same breath as funny cat videos.

But more concerning is the inability for anyone to do anything. Where is the outrage at children being shot? Where is the political will to do something, anything?

The hard truth is that we have done nothing following previous school shootings. And after we did nothing after 18 students were murdered at the University of Texas tower shooting, after we did nothing when 15 children were slaughtered at the Columbine High School shooting, after we did nothing after 20 first-graders and eight adults were massacred at Sandy Hook Elementary, for the shootings that followed, the Stoneman Douglas High School shooting, the Santa Fe High School shooting and even the shooting at Auburn High School in Rockford, Illinois, can we really say blood isn’t on our hands?

I really wish I had an inspiring message for us, but there is none.

There’s something incredibly sad when the search results of “school news” are almost all school shootings. I write Hallway Headlines, a monthly recap of news we think is interesting for students, and as I search for news pertaining to high schools, this is what I see. (Screenshot taken on April 8)

When we chose to do nothing after the Sandy Hook Elementary shooting, when we decided that school shootings have become a normal part of our lives, there is no coming back. Because if the murder of 20 6-year-olds and 7-year-olds can’t prompt change, what can?

We have lost our chance at passing meaningful gun control in America, and we have become a country where guns have become so intertwined in our culture that any meaningful change to the status quo requires huge cultural change first.

I wonder if the rest of the world looks at our school shootings in confusion and disbelief, as if America is a bizarre episode of the Twilight Zone.

And well, if your mind still hasn’t changed, I’ll just show you the search results of “school news.”