Your thoughts and prayers are a slap in the face. While the power of faith plays a strong and prosperous role in many lives, it is not enough to prevent the deaths of countless people due to actions backed by cowardly politicians acting as co-conspirators. To say that the seemingly never-ending cycle of gun violence our country faces is exhausting is obviously beyond the bounds of what constitutes an “understatement.” However, just as depleting is the cycle that follows a mass tragedy such as the Buffalo, New York, or Uvalde, Texas, shootings and others that we’ve seen multiple times, just in the past month: the public mourning, outcries for action and eventual fizzle out of the news cycle until the next time when absolutely nothing gets done to protect our lives from gun violence.
At this point, not only is the desensitization that can occur from this process insulting, but the mental gymnastics it takes to blame anything but the root of the issue — e.g., gun laws, mental health services, unethical conduct between politicians and gun lobbyists — is astounding.
When it comes to school shootings, specifically, there is always undue burden placed upon the shoulders of students and education staff to protect their own lives. School is supposed to be the place where kids learn and, at the very least, they should feel safe doing so. That becomes increasingly difficult with the threat of school shootings. “Solutions” like arming teachers or having school buildings with fewer open doors, as if either of these things seem logical, won’t prevent school shootings.
Over-policing students and treating them as the problem has already been in schools: metal detectors, inaccessible entrance ways, constant school shooter drills and an overall militarization of what is supposed to be an environment conducive to learning and growth.
I understand the desire to find quick fixes in the place that seems most effective, but what these policies actually do is exacerbate the flaws in an already shaky, inequitable system. The result of this policing impacts communities of color most, playing into the stereotypes that students of color are dangerous or don’t deserve funds that go to textbooks and school essentials (when they aren’t the demographic of school shooters in the first place).
Whether any of these precautions or proposals are even effective is another conversation, but the question is this: why do we constantly turn to potentially traumatic, stressful (at the very least) solutions for kids rather than placing the burden on the adults in power who are responsible for keeping us safe?
Alexis Mburu is a high school junior in Tukwila. She is involved in racial equity advocacy and community engagement organizations such as the WA NAACP Youth Council.
Read more of the Jun 22-28, 2022 issue.