Do people want to send their kids to school and fear one day that one day that he or she might not come home? No, of course not no parents should have to worry about their child’s safety when sending them off to school whether if it’s elementary, high school or college. Unfortunately because of the times that is of society today, there is a probably that parents could send their kids off to school and they will not return home. This is because that mass shootings are at an all time high. A mass shooting, by definition of the Federal Bureau Investigation, is defined as a single individual unleashes a mass attack that results four or more victims that have been either wounded or have been killed by the attack. Everyday more communities are traumatized as the result of mass shootings that occur in their hometown. So far in 2015, there have been a total of 294 mass shootings that have occurred in the United States that dates back to October 1st of this year. Which means that everyday a mass shootings occurs somewhere within the United States. The majority of mass shootings that have occurred have been in schools, but in recent months statistics prove that movie theaters and churches have also been prime targets for mass shooters. There are a couple of questions that are asked after a mass shooting occurs. Questions include “why would someone want to do this”, “could this have been prevented” and “what can be done to prevent this”? The main thing that is looked at when evaluating all of this is that mass shootings are mainly related to have mental health issues of the attacker or gun violence. Some people will say that one is the problem while others will say the opposite. There will even be people that say that both are the problem or neither is the problem. It’s obvious that both issues are the problems for mass shootings and nothing is being done to help prevent them.
There can be ways that mass shootings can be prevented such as having more strict gun control law, having strict background checks and having routine checks for people. The reason why mass shootings happen because it is too easy for crazy people to obtain guns. People will argue that it is only one of these three problems is the cause for mass shootings but that is not the case. Mass shootings occur because of the combination of these three problems put to get together. All of these non-strict regulations make it so that can mass shootings can poetically happen. Mass shootings have been a problem for over two decades now, dating back to the first mass shooting that occurred in 1998 at Columbine High School in Colorado. This trend has been continually happening since present day and nothing has been done to help prevent this form of domestic terrorism. All there have been is back and forth debates on what the main problem is and as a result nothing can accomplish because the two sides of people cannot agree on one thing. Statistics indicate that the United States leads the world in mass shootings by twice as much as the second country. This shows that this is an in country problem rather a world problem. How can other countries not have mass shooting problems but the United States does? This is the fact that gun control has proven to work in other countries. Banning guns would be difficult to do in the United States however. Banning guns would mean violating the second Amendment in the United States Constitution. Also there are plenty of guns that most owners have already registered for so how does the country deal with taking them away? People will also claim that need guns as self defense in case of being attacked in home or in public. Stopping mass shootings will take time and collaboration but with these proposals, the United States could dissolve the problem within a couple years.
Mass shootings have become a common tragedy in our society. These shootings represent a fairly recent trend of terror involving gun violence. The definition of the term or phrase, “mass shooting” appears only in medical dictionaries, which define it as, “the discharging of firearms multiple times by one or more parties into a group of unarmed victims.” In general terms, a mass shooting involves a person(s) who kills multiple victims with a gun during a single incident. Mass shootings is also considered to be a domestic form of terrorism. As stated, mass shootings have certain key characteristics. Mass murderers commit mass shootings. The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) classified three different perpetrators who commit gun violence: mass murderers, spree killers, and serial killers. According to the FBI, the primary distinction between a mass murderer and a spree killer is that the latter strikes in multiple locations (as opposed to a single locale). Both kill in a relatively short time frame. The serial killer strikes over a longer period of time, in multiple locations, and engages in a “cooling off” period between attacks. For example, the infamous D.C. Sniper’s heinous acts of murder throughout the course of several weeks are not considered mass shootings. The FBI defines a mass shooting as an incident where people are killed, but research groups, such as the group that created the project, “Mass Shooting Tracker”, calculated that mass shootings involve at least four victims. Since the 1980s, researchers on the subject have used at least four homicides, excluding the shooter if killed during the incident, as the ground number for studying the subject and calculating statistics. However, experts, such as James Alan Fox of Northeastern University, who has written extensively on the subject, concluded that the number four was an arbitrary number. Using the criteria of at least four fatalities, the tracker reported that 294 mass shootings occurred in 2015. There poetically could have been a lot more mass shootings but the FBI and other law enforcement agencies have thwarted plots of mass shootings that individuals planned to do. Mass shooting attacks generally occur as a single incident, in a public place, such as a shopping mall, a movie theater, or a school. The FBI classifies school shootings as a sub-category of mass shootings, defined as an attack on any educational institute of learning. Using these key characteristics to define what a mass shooting is provides a starting point for the cause and solutions.
A mass shooting can occur because of a failed background check. Background checks exist so that guns do not fall into the hands of those who may potentially do harm to others. For example, minors should not be able to buy a gun. A person convicted of a violent crime should not be able to purchase a gun. A person who has exhibited some record of mental illness should not be able to buy a gun. While background checks will not prevent a person who possesses none of the red flags cited from buying a gun and later committing a mass shooting, background checks will prevent those whose history demonstrates that he or she is a threat to society, from legally buying a gun. Just a few months back, the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) declared that the mass murderer who sat through an hour-long Bible study meeting inside a Black church before shooting and killing the pastor and eight parishioners in Charleston, South Carolina, should never have been able to legally buy a gun. A member of the FBI admitted that flaws in paperwork and communication between a federal background worker and state law enforcement allowed this man, a convicted drug felon, “to pass” a background check. “The gun dealers never heard back from the FBI” and as a result, the shooter was allowed to buy the gun. Background checks need to be thorough to lessen the likelihood of felons getting their hands on firearms. The tragedy that occurred in that South Carolina church raised awareness here in South Jersey where churches are now raising awareness about “open door policies and background checks against people.” Where accurate and thorough background checks exist, less mass shootings will occur. Surveys have found that more Americans are in favor of owning firearms than those who are opposed to gun ownership. As of November 20, 2015, a MSNBC network poll showed that 338,000 people voted that Americans should be allowed to carry guns because it is their Second Amendment right to carry a weapon in order to defend themselves. Only 16,000 people voted that it was too dangerous to carry around firearms in public. This year the number of guns estimated in the United States was more than 300 million. (Follman).
Just recently there has been another mass murder that occurred Umpqua Community College in Western Oregon. This was yet another community that has been traumatized by gun violence. Many questions unfolded with this story such as how and why did he commit such a heinous crime. The answers were obvious because as a country we have become accustomed to such gun violence before. Due to respect of the victims, the Oregon killer’s name will not be mentioned. The Oregon killer suffered from being lonely as a young adult and as a result he developed mental health issues and was angry toward other people that felt that did him wrong in society. He was a part of a notorious and now considered a terrorist organization by some people, Beta Uprising. This organization is mainly composed of young males, mostly in their early 20’s that feel inferior to society and what to take out their angry by unleashing a mass killing. This isn’t the first time something like this as occurred. Another mass murder, who’s name will also not be mentioned, also committed a mass shooting at Santa Barbara University in California. He was also apart of the same organization as the Oregon killer’s. Both of these people show signs of mental health issues and were not treated properly. This made them go out of their way to buy many firearms so they could go out and commit this crime. They also were able to by the guns legally which they shouldn’t have allowed to. The FBI confirms that the background check failed on both of these guys.
Another problem would be that on how they were able to buy these dangerous weapons so easily. This is because the United States also isn’t strict enough with gun control. I do believe people have the right to defend themselves with guns but the National Rifle Association (NRA) shouldn’t be selling assault rifles to the public people. Only the military and other law enforcement agencies should have the right to use these weapons. This has shown to cause multiple problems within this country. The only guns that the public should be allowed to own are hunting rifles, pistols and shotguns to defend themselves from attackers within their homes or out in public. This is because the majority of mass shootings are committed by using automatic weapons and other military equipment. People do have the right to defend themselves and if they want a one shot gun to make them feel safe, then they should be allowed to own these types of guns. The problem with taking away assault rifles is that it would go against the second amendment of the constitution, which will also cause problems to people. But this needs to be done other wise there will continue to be problems with mass shootings occurring every other week. This is a difficult process to fix but our leaders of this country should be motivated than they are currently.
Many people believe that the cause of mass shootings stems from the proliferation of guns that exist within our society as a result of lax gun control. Equally troubling is the large number of people who believe that mass shootings are the result of a deficient mental health system ill-equipped to deal with the mentally ill, who are often portrayed as violent individuals. In a Washington Post-ABC News poll on gun violence published on October 26, 2015, “by a more than 2 to 1 margin, more people said mass shootings reflect problems identifying and treating people with mental health problems rather than inadequate gun control laws.” (Follman). However, Mark Follman, who cited the above poll in his article, “No, Mental Illness Is Not the Main Cause of Mass Shootings in America”, noted that the poll presented a “false choice between mental health and gun policy.”
The cause of mass shootings is neither lax gun control nor the taxed mental health system. It is a combination of both as evidenced by the Santa Barbra. In which the shooter killed six people before killing himself in Isla Vista, California. He was able to amass a stockpile of weapons as he prepared to inflict retribution onto those who he perceived had wronged him, specifically because he was sexually frustrated. Further, he was able to buy the guns legally despite a history of mental health concerns according to his family. As this example illustrates, there is no one cause of mass shootings, but is rather a complex intertwining of a small sample of people with untreated mental illness legally obtaining weapons. “The vast majority of mentally ill people are not violent”, (Follman) and any examination of the problem of mass shootings must be cognizant of this fact in the national debate on gun control.
Mental illnesses isn’t the problem to clarify. The problem is that people become frustrated with their life and decide to go on a rampage. People can become frustrated for a number reasons that can include stressing over school, work or they are having relationship issues. This causes people to go crazy and get angry thus they go out commit a mass shooting. Most mass shooters commit their acts because they feel society has hurt them and they need to obtain retribution by going out and committing a mass shooting. The people that commit these mass shooters are considered to be the outcasts of society. This means that they are lonely and have no one to turn to due to their lack of friends and family. They think there is nothing left in life for them so they go out commit a terrorist act before they commit suicide. This is why the majority of mass shooters kill themselves after they are done with their act. The proposal to try to fix this problem is to do a better job at making everyone feel welcome in society. Everyone can help with this by not discriminating against anyone and make people feel more at welcome. A simple hello could brighten up someone’s day and make them feel better about themselves. Everyone gets a little stressed out over things, people just have to make sure they don’t take out their anger on anyone else. There also should be yearly therapy checks on people to ensure that every citizen is okay and getting the right amount of love between friends and family members. Every citizen would be included in this and would get a checkup from their local therapist every six months. This would keep people in check and clam. The calmer people are in society, then there would be a less likely chance that people will go out and commit mass shootings.
So far the discussion has been on what the country is doing wrong on handling mass shootings, however there are things that our leaders are doing right. As mentioned before, the FBI and other law enforcement agencies have thwarted many mass shootings against individuals especially against schools. This is because people post their frustrations on social media and threaten to shoot up an educational insistue. Law enforcement are able to track certain terms that people post and are able to arrest the individuals that are responsible for posting their treats. Schools will also evacuate if there is a threat of a school shooting. Some schools will also close for a day to ensure that everyone feels safe and doesn’t get harm in a poetical school shooting. Recently there were threats on both Kingsway Regional High School in Woolwich, New Jersey and Rowan University in Glassboro, New Jersey. These are two different communities that are in the same county and had two different instances where an individual had plan to harm individuals. At Rowan there was a threat against all Philadelphia area colleges that some was going to attempt to shoot up a nearby university on October 5th, 2015. Rowan University being one of them, advised all students of this threat and gave them opportunity to not to attend class if they didn’t feel comfortable going out. The other threat made towards Kingsway, there was an individual, most likely a student, made a threat online against the school that was considered to be a mass shooting threat on November 11th, 2015. The community responded to the threat by having additional patrols to surround the school until the situation was resolved. “We are taking every measure to ensure the safety and well-being of our students and staff and will cooperate with local authorities in establishing the validity of these social media posts” the superintendent Dr. James Lavender wrote. (Forand) These two instances happened in one month between two separate towns that are only 15 minutes away from each other. This means that mass shootings can happen anywhere in the country and all law enforcement must be prepared at any minute. No one attempted to shoot up any of these schools and the law enforcement presence made so. Both schools and law enforcement have been doing a good job to ensure that no one gets harm in wake of a mass shooting.
There have been too many mass shootings to count for over the pass decade. Mass shootings occur because of the combination between people feeling angry and easiness to obtain guns due to weak background checks. There are certain guns that should be banned from the public such as assault rifles and other guns that the military would use. This would make it that only hunting rifles, pistols and shotguns would be available to the public for self defense against attackers. This will also have it so that the United States does not fully violate the second amendment of the constitution. There also should be yearly therapy checks on people to ensure that every citizen is okay and getting the right amount of love between friends and family members. This will also help people deal with stress with work, school and relationship issues. The calmer people are the less likely they will go on heinous acts. This trend of domestic terrorism is scary but if the country pulls through with these suggestions, they can be prevented more.
“What Exactly Is a Mass Shooting?” Mother Jones. Mark Follman, 24 August 2012. Web. Dec 4 2015.
“Another: The 45th School Shooting in America in 2015.” NewsWeek. Michelle Richinick. 1 October 2015. Web. Dec 4 2015.
Oh, Inae. NPR. FBI Says Background Check Error Let Charleston Shooting Suspect Buy Gun. 10 Jul 2015. Dec 4 2015.
Flowers, Matt. Courier Post. Charleston Shooting Shakes South Jersey. 19 June 2015. Dec 4 2015.
Follman, Mark. No, Mental Illness Is Not the Main Cause of Mass Shootings in America. Mother Jones. Oct 27 2015. Dec 4 2015
Serna, Joseph. Elliot Rodger meticulously planned Isla Vista rampage, report says. Los Angeles Times. Feb 19 2015. Dec 4 2015.
Forand, Rebecca. Police Probe Threat to Kingsway Regional High School. NJ.com. Nov 11 2015. Dec 4 2015.