For the past ten years I have worked an an employee of the Providence School Department. I am a current teacher in the system and one trend I have noticed rise throughout the years is violence in schools. Fortunately, I have never been in a situation where a student has brought a gun to school or witnessed a school shooting, but that doesn't mean it will never happen. The scary fact is that I work a teaching job with inner city children where violence has become a way of life. There have been multiple students that I have known who were gunned down in the streets, It is so sad to hear about but the question remains, why is this happening?
The spike in school shootings could be related to a number of things. My take on this and why it is happening so frequently is because of the media and technology. Just a little over a year ago the world watched in horror as the tragedy known as the Sandy Hook Elementary school shootings occurred. This is where 20-year-old Adam Lanza fatally shot twenty children and six adult staff members in an all out blood bath. Now, I was working in a junior high school in Providence at the time of the shootings and can recall some events that transpired. The main thing that I remember was my students informing me of the horrific events in Newtown, Connecticut before I had any idea of what was going on. Furthermore, as the day went on, more and more students were learning of the shootings. This incensed some of the students, Many were scared and were panicking, which is a direct result of the media. That, in my opinion, is part of the problem. Students everywhere are equipped with their smart phones now of days. Some are obsessed with them and can barely go five minutes without picking them up. Our students essentially have their own pocket computers that rely to them all the newsworthy stories of the day. That can be a good thing. However, when a story breaks like school shootings, it leaves many of them misinformed because they don't understand and the results can be catastrophic.
As the weeks went by after Sandy Hook, violent trends in our school spiked. Many students were caught bringing in knives and other house hold weapons. I was shocked to see so many junior high school students being exposed, expelled or suspended because they felt the need to arm themselves for protection. They simply were misinformed. These were good students, whose only intention was to bring a weapon to school in case someone tried to repeat the Sandy Hook shooting in our very school. Keep in mind, this was only a junior high school with students in 6th, 7th and 8th grade. I had heard in some of the major high schools in Providence, things were even worse. The media and the internet accessibility for students creates panic. Since technology is just getting greater, I'm not sure how this will stop because it won't. I have heard the argument of arming teachers and administrators. I would have to say that would be a horrible idea. When students do bring weapons into the school building it stresses everybody out and many teachers these days are burnt out and on edge, you don't want to put a gun in their hands.
Perhaps some of the strangest reactions/solutions to the problem are from the National Rifle Association. They've blamed the violence of the media (Video games and movies), and called for such strategies as arming teachers, placing armed guards in schools, and mandatory lessons in operating firearms for students. Now, on the first account, we have what I've always felt was an inherent contradiction in the right wing--the importance of the free market versus conservative values, or, for that matter, any values. That is to say, capitalism is always going to contradict a values system, because The Market caters to unthinking, visceral want, not morals, be they bible-thumpers or hippies. I mean, sure, you sometimes have a business that thrives based on a mission statement like a Chick Fil-Et or a Whole Foods, but for the most part, money is made despite objections over the decline of society. So when the President of the NRA (which is itself more like a booster club for an industry than a collection of advocates for Constitutional Law), we're basically at a point of one business versus another. It deserves all the moral investment of two rival burger joints across the street from one another.
On the second front, the proposed idea of turning elementary schools into veritable barracks would possibly get the job done, but it sounds like in order to avoid America turning into a heavily armed police state we've...turned America into a heavily armed police state. I mean, once our taxes are going to guns in the art studio, than I think we are squarely in the realm of Satism.
A knee-jerk plot to melt all the guns ad use the metal to make a great big iron statue of two guys getting gay married is probably not the solution, but we should probably take the companies who make bucks off of weapons with a grain of salt. The problem with dogma is all rules eventually contradict each other. The Second Amendment is an important and vital one, but what happens when it butts heads with the other ones? I mean, we ask what the founding fathers would do, but their reaction would probably be "Your children aren't halved by scarlet fever? That's weird."
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