In the wake of recent mass shootings and various violent firearm attacks, the debate on gun violence and gun control has once again come to the fore. Gun-related violence by definition is violence committed with the use of a gun. Sometimes, it may not be considered criminal. 

There is no official definition for mass shootings, but any event that involves shooting (not necessarily fatal) of five or more people is considered mass shooting. The frequency of mass shootings is becoming an increasing cause of alarm to residents and an apparent threat to national security.

A Brief History of Gun Violence

The first mass shooting occurred in 1949 in Camden, New Jersey when a 28-year-old World War II veteran killed 13 people. 

Statistics show that the number of mass shooting victims has increased significantly over the past four decades. More than 90 mass shootings took place in the United States between 1966 and 2012. 

In November 2015, the Paris Attacks in Paris, France claimed 130 lives. On June 12, 2016, a gunman gunned down 49 people at a gay nightclub in Orlando, Florida, USA.

On October 1, 2017, Stephen Paddock fired over 1,100 rounds into the crowd of Route 91 Harvest musical festival in Las Vegas, Nevada, USA killing 58 people. In 2018, there was the Parkland school shooting with a total of 340 mass shootings, according to the Gun Violence Archive.

Since Hadiya Pendleton’s death by gun violence in 2013, the first Friday in June is recognized as National Gun Violence Awareness Day. People wear orange to honor victims and survivors of gun violence.

Mass Shootings In America

The frequency of mass shootings in American has become a huge concern. In fact, America experienced two mass shootings in the span of 14 hours leaving at least 29 victims dead just this past month. What is behind these mass shootings? You could point an accusing finger at guns, and of course, those wielding them.

Mass shootings have shaken everyone to their very foundations - US President Donald Trump and congressional Republicans have expressed support for new gun-control legislation, after years of opposing any such measures.

America has a very long list of mass shootings and news outlet CNN took time out to compile a list of the 40 deadliest mass shootings. The least number of victims per shooting was pegged at 8 and the most pegged at 58 when 64-year-old Stephen Paddock decided to open fire in Las Vegas. 


The role of the National Rifle Association (NRA)

The NRA, founded in 1871, is a gun rights support group with a significant amount of power behind the passing of Gun laws in the USA. Since 1934, the group has informed its members about firearm-related legislation, and it has directly lobbied for and against firearms legislation since 1975.

For the most part, it is believed that they constitute a major part of the problem. In 2019, The NRA spent $1.6 million during the first half of the year lobbying Congress against laws that would enact stricter background checks for people looking to buy guns, according to disclosure reports.


Statistics on gun control

A report by the BBC showed that about 40% of Americans say they own a gun or live in a household with one, according to a 2017 survey, and the rate of murder or manslaughter by firearm is the highest in the developed world. 

In 2017 alone, there were almost 11,000 deaths as a result of murder or manslaughter involving a firearm. The FBI has also reported that 13% of the documented gun violence-related cases do not have data on the weapon used. 

Every year, 113,108 people are shot. Every year, 7,782 children and teens are shot in the United States. Every day, 310 people are shot in the United States. Every day, 21 children and teens (1-17) are shot in the United States.

The rate of gun deaths in the US is at its highest rate in more than 20 years, with almost 40,000 people killed in shootings in 2017, according to new figures from the United Against Gun Violence brigade.

It's 2019 and it's gone from bad to worse. So far, there have been 22 shootings at US schools in which someone was hurt or killed.

The Role of Parents

Every year, nearly 2,900 children and teenagers (ages 0 to 19) in the U.S. die each year due to guns, and nearly 15,600 are injured, according to Everytown for Gun Safety. Of those tragedies, 1,685 are homicides, 1,045 are suicides, and 112 are accidental shootings, meaning 4 percent of all child gun deaths are unintentional, indicating an increase from previous years. 

According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report, between 2016 and 2018, eight multiple-victim shootings claimed the lives of 31 kids at elementary, middle and high schools in the United States. 2019 and across the United States at elementary, middle and high schools and on college and university campuses, at least 22 shootings have occurred.

As a parent/guardian, it’s only right that you’re anxious over the possibility that a school shooting could go down in your child/ward(s) school. How then can you educate your children/ward on gun violence?

  • Don't let only the TV do the talking

Since the media will already extensively cover events like the El Paso, Texas, and Dayton, Ohio shootings. A thing to note is that you don’t want your child to absorb too much of the TV narrative with the little understanding they possess. Break it down for them in a way they understand.

  • Reassure your child that you’ll keep them safe

Children need to be constantly reminded that you're looking out for them, especially in the wake of cases of gun violence. Reassuring them in these turbulent and violent times is key. Words of encouragement that everything would be okay are very welcome.

  • Let your children share their thoughts openly

Allow your kids to express their thoughts, opinions, questions, and fears freely. Rather than judge or chastise them, listen and respond to them appropriately. Do not just give a vague response. Who knows? you might even learn a thing or two from them in the process.

  • Teach the child gun safety

Children find guns fascinating, therefore, keeping guns forbidden and mysterious only increases their allure. Ensure that any guns in the home are safely secured (they are not loaded and are locked away). You must also ensure they know and understand the consequences of pulling a trigger regardless of what they are aiming at.


The Role of Children

Here are some tips on what parents can instruct their kids/students on what to do in a school shooting:

  • Stay Calm

It is crucial that they try their best to stay calm when a shootout happens. Stay calm because it will not only keep others calm and raise morale, but it also helps everyone escape unhurt.

  • Re-live School Protocol

Most schools have a lock-down protocol in preparation for gun violence attacks. Having absorbed what's happening you should initiate school protocol and carry it out to the letter. Strict obedience and adherence is a must.

  • Run, Hide, Fight

In the face of danger, always remember the words, "Run, Hide, Fight". Run from the source of the gunfire, Hide in a suitable place and if all else fails, fight the shooter. Try to remember those words in order to improve your chances of staying alive.

  • Run in a Zigzag Pattern

If you need to run, do it in a zigzag pattern. This pattern of running helps you get out of the fire zone as quickly as possible. As soon as you can approach a turn that will get you out of harm's way take it, and hide.

  • Avoid Closed Spaces

In the event you need to hide, it is important that you avoid dark places that likely don't have any windows with only one entrance and exit. If you’re cornered, escaping is almost impossible.

Go to an open classroom or office instead which will provide you with an escape zone should you need one.

  • Fight as a Group

If you have no other option than to fight, never fight a gunman alone. If you’re in a group, come up with a good plan that only takes at least 2 people to take down your assailant without getting into harm's way.

The Role of Teachers in Avoiding Casualties During School Shootings

Experts have widely criticized moves by schools to ensure the safety of their students in the advent of a school shooting. We’ve heard cases of the use of high-tech surveillance, tactical gear and even executing live drills.

While implementing some of these may be expensive, teachers and educators still need to put measures in place in case their school is hit by gunmen and assailants. Take a look:

  • Educate students on gun policies 

The teacher is to educate students on gun policies in their area/county. You must be aware of the gun laws whether possession of a registered firearm is restricted or not and understand in detail.

  • Teach Students first aid and CPR

In addition to teaching students security drills, the teacher should educate students on how to give first aid and administer CPR (mouth-to-mouth resuscitation) in the event of a collapse or an injury to a student.

  • Practice Security Awareness

Be watchful of the surroundings, be wary of everybody and report any unnatural movement. The teacher should be one of the first to sense that something is off.

  • Teach Security Drills

The teacher is to show the students how to reach security personnel (911) and paramedics quickly. 

  • The Use of Social Media

Learn to use social media to alert others; be aware of the locations of health centers and fastest routes to get them. In most schools where phones may not be allowed, the responsibility of using social media to raise alarm falls on the teacher.

  • Offer counseling

In the aftermath of a traumatic experience, the teacher is to ensure they reach out to the students and offer counseling to deal with the trauma.

Conclusion

Each year tens of thousands of people are injured and killed by firearms; each year firearms are used to defend against and deter an unknown number of acts of violence, and each year firearms are widely used for recreational purposes.

While one divide feels guns are “necessary” for protection and have gone to lengths to suggest teachers carry arms for protection, the other half argues that if there were no guns, there wouldn’t be any gun violence in the first place. Think what you may but one thing is for certain, gun violence is becoming somewhat of a huge security concern. Worse still, it’s 2019 and there are little to no hopes of gun violence cases going away.




  • Formplus blog
  • on 8 min read

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