News/OP-ED: Mass Shootings Rack Nation As Bosco Goes Further to Keep Students Safe

by Joshua Lucero

Mass shootings have become increasingly a part of our society, particularly those committed on school campuses by students.

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In 2019, shootings have had a major presence in our news and social media with new shootings being reported more frequently than in prior years. In 2019 alone, these tragedies have increased in number with a total of 297 shootings from January to August, the total number killed was 335 with 1219 wounded.

On August 30th at a high school football game in Alabama, Ladd-Peebles Stadium in Mobile, a 17-year-old child was arrested for shooting and injuring 10 other children. That evening those 10 innocent lives were going to their high school football game just like any other Brave would go to support their fellow classmates on the field. The suspect would then turn himself in the next day being faced with nine counts of attempted murder, according to NPR. 

Riley Howell, Reed Parlier, Joshua Ayers and Emily Houpt are the few who were affected by the shooting at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte. Riley Howell was shot and killed after charging the armed gunman, former student Trystan Terrell, taking a bullet to the torso which did not stop Howell from attempting to disarm the gunman. He would be shot two more times, the final shot coming at “point-blank range into his head,” according to the New York Times. The gunman killed Reed Parlier and wounded four other students in a classroom filled with many students.

Many times we ask why this happened? We ask how did he acquire this weapon? The suspect purchased his handgun, with a large amount of ammunition, legally. Even with the supposed “regulations” of gun laws, Trystan Terrell killed two young innocent adults. 

Patrick Crusis, 21, who legally was able to have an “open carry” firearm in El Paso, Texas committed a mass shooting in Walmart with people who “ranged in age from two years old to 82,” according to ABC News. A gun that was similar to an AK-47 killed 20 and injured 26 more. Crusius likely will face hate crimes and federal firearms charges.

These recurrences keep on happening, but what is being done? The children, the youth, the adults have shown time and time again that there will always be a way to murder and cause pain to others. In many cases, it is the people we least expect, who need dyer help.

Children, teens, and young adults face challenges throughout school or life. It is inevitable. For many cases, a shooter has reasons behind their actions. These do not justify these horrendous acts, but according to a study by Alfred University, there is a reason for why they commit these crimes. 

Ranking at the top is wanting to get back at people who hurt them with 87% , following with 86% who similarly say they were bullied and 62% of people not valuing their lives.  

What would society do to help? The tough answer that no one wants to hear is there is nothing you can do. There are not enough people in the world who can stop these crises from happening. These events are uncontrollable, even if there are gun laws put into place you can not control a person’s actions. 

Not being able to end this crisis is not the same as creating precautions for it. East High School in Anchorage, Alaska took a necessary step for keeping their youth safe. A drill was performed by a police officer firing blanks from a handgun to simulate an active shooter. “The purpose of the training was to teach students what gunfire would likely sound like in the hallways in a real active shooter situation,” according to the Washington Examiner. 

Shootings are a tragedy that is the new “norm” in America. It was one of the hardest things to see, but it is even worse when shootings happen and no one talks about them. You cannot prevent these tragedies from happening without taking free will out of the equation.

These shootings have also been brought to St. John Bosco’s attention, as addressing these tragedies both in a cathartic way and ways that are practical is at the center of our school’s mission. Bosco is beginning to take the necessary precautions to keep the safety of the students and faculty a major priority. 

One is to make it easier for the staff and cameras to identify students on campus. Regarding a situation that happened in New Mexico, a former student disguised himself with a hoodie and sneaked onto campus. He would then kill two students and be stopped by a janitor.

To enforce a no hoodie policy helps “visibly track [potential suspects] on camera,” said Vice Principal Mr. Adan Jaramillo. This makes it easier for situations like this to be solved quickly when they occur, or even prevented when suspicious and unverified people are seen on school surveillance. 

Bosco is also looking into security features for the doors that are opened to the public when a visitor would first enter Bosco. These doors would have a simple buzz implemented that lets the office workers know who is coming in. Currently, when a visitor comes, Bosco runs the ID, and if they are flagged for whatever reason, they cannot enter the school.

Ish, Bosco’s security guard, is also going to extensive training through the ALICE Program, which specializes in active shooter response training. 

For more physical features that help defend the students, there have been talks about increased fencing, which would wrap around the back of the 300 building facing the street. Lastly, Bosco is attempting to raise the fences around the school. However, since Bosco is also a residency, the City of Bellflower will make it difficult for such changes to occur.

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