News/Op-Ed: School Shootings Reveal Striking Cold War Parallels

by Joaquin Medrano

Societies often repeat history to the alarm of the general population, and it is vital that we look back and evaluate past lessons.


In the 1950s at the height of the Cold War, people were scared of bombings by the USSR, starting a new fear and a new trend among American families: Fallout shelters. These shelters served as a way for Americans to feel safe in the case of nuclear warfare, a method that wasn’t necessarily effective.

This history can be instructional to modern societies in showing how fast we are changing for the worst. In the last 10 years, school shootings have been on the rise, thus increasing the fear among Americans. These shootings have required many schools to prepare students and teachers for a possible tragedy. Many schools have trained teachers to deal with the situations, while other schools have drills, not dissimilar to “drop drills” held in school during the Cold War.

Going to school with the fear of a possible attack is not right, and we as Americans should attack the problem before it takes more precious life.

The current president, Donald J. Trump, blames video games for the rise of violence causing shootings in the US.

“We must stop the glorification of violence in our society. This includes the gruesome and grisly video games that are now commonplace. It is too easy today for troubled youth to surround themselves with a culture that celebrates violence,” said Trump in front of the press in August after a string of high profile mass shootings in the Summer.

While the president blames video games fully for the increase of violence, he ignores the fact that the country still has no universal background checks for obtaining firearms, meaning not everything is being done to stop these guns from getting in the wrong hands. This is mind-boggling given the widespread bi-partisan support for the legislation shown in public opinion polls, with those supporting universal background checks hovering consistently between eighty and ninety percent, no doubt statistically significant in a time where Americans seemingly cannot agree on anything.

Most schools historically have had drills for natural disasters, something that cannot be prevented, however, this could be the first major human-caused event alarming schools since the Cold War.

This situation not only affects the youth, but our culture as a whole, as it reflects our morals and our safety. One never knows when and where the next shooting could occur. It could be at a school or any other public space.

The fact that as a community we think about the next shooting happening is alarming. It means that we have moved backward into a since forgotten Cold War mentality. The only difference is that the enemy is from our community, not a hostile foreign power.

A kid should not have to worry about the future, especially an existential threat to it. A kid should enjoy and cherish good memories for life without the constant specter of violence.

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