Gun violence unfortunately has become timeless and is at an all time high in America. The government, parents, and educators have now combined forces and are struggling to find a way forward towards dealing with the matter adequately. Back in the day, most people believed gun violence only took place in the inner cities, but currently the epidemic has reached the suburbs and rural America. This epidemic has hit grade schools, high schools, schools yards of inner-city schools and college campuses. Most times school shootings make the national press while threats to schools are not reported on the news as much. Students a lot of times make phone calls and deliver note threats but unfortunately the national media does not cover this, so the truth of the matter is that this problem is with us more than we can imagine. More energy and resources should be marshaled to help deal with this issue. One major approach that I strongly believe can assist in averting this problem is the implementation of tighter gun control measures in the country.
Statement of the problem
School violence in American schools is a many-facet problem (Thomas 2006). This has in fact made it hard for researchers to actually pinpoint its causes. A survey carried out by the Department of Justice in America three years ago revealed that the overall crime rate in the America society have gone down. On the other hand, a school based studies shows that many violent behaviors, including gun violence have increased among children and the adolescents. A combined study carried out by the department of justice and department of education in America revealed that public schools experiencing violent incidents increased from 71% to 81% between 1999 and 2004 and continues to increase even now (Thomas 2006). The same report also revealed that the percentage of students who reported gang presence at school also increased from 21% to 24% between the year 2003 and 2005 (Thomas 2006).
It must be noted that, violence in schools does not limit itself only to the student population since the report also showed that 8% of teachers also reported that they are threatened with violence on school grounds at least once a month (Thomas 2006). Two percent of the teachers also report of being physically assaulted annually. It must be admitted that specific incidents of school related violent incidences are too many to list. Even though, there were 48 school-based deaths that were reported in elementary and secondary schools in a single year alone i.e. between 2004 and 2005. Statistics show that progress is being made in the efforts to curb this epidemic especially since 1992 till date, but a permanent solution is still being sought (Thomas 2006).
The major objective of the research is to determine the causes of gun violence in American schools and also find out the extent to which tighter gun control measures can help to deal with the problem. The hypotheses of the study involve the following: To determine if tightening gun control laws is unconstitutional. Secondly, to assess the extent to which tighter gun control laws would make America safer. Thirdly, to find out if limiting access to guns benefit society. Last but not least, the research seeks to find out if increasing education about gun safety constitutes an adequate form of tightening gun control laws.
The main causes of the prevailing problem of gun violence in American schools today can be pointed to another source beyond attitudes and behaviors noticed in the children. More than any past generation, today children are more likely to be brought up with parents or guardians who are addicts, who get arrested, go to prison, get lost and are unable to maintain stable families (Congress 2009). Other challenges that are being experienced in the American society today that gun violence in schools can be attributed to are disownment, and poverty. Messed-up adults living in our society are another very big challenge children in America are facing. This then poses the question why only a relatively small fraction of modern kids are acting dangerous in America.
One major cause of gun violence and increased deaths and injuries in American schools today that cannot go unmentioned is the easy access to guns. In the last two years, it is reported that 85 young people in American schools lost their lives and 75% of these incidents were gun related murders (Congress 2009). Sadly enough, many young people continue to illegally arm themselves and cause injury to their fellows and themselves. A study recently carried out by the "National institute of Heath Study" in Boston and Milwaukee that involved 7th and 10th graders revealed that, 42% of the kids could acquire a firearm if they wanted, while 28% mentioned that, they had handled a firearm without an adult's knowledge (Congress 2009).
The question most people do ask themselves is how young people get hold of firearms. The University of South Carolina recently issued a report showing that close to 35% of homes in America with kids less than 18 years of age possess at least one gun (Congress 2009). This statistic translates to the fact that an average of 11 million kids live in homes with guns. Young people are increasingly acquiring guns in illegal sales. American gun shows continues to provide an avenue efficient to carryout these illegal activities e.g. unlicensed sales to prohibited persons in the society. Frequently we also find incidences where certain people are licensed to have gun but the question of their mental challenges do not arise.
Another cause that is widely becoming an issue is the cyber abuse. Since the invention of the internet, it use and popularity continues to grow and is becoming popular even among children. The internet, email, blogs, and cell-phone are significantly playing a big role in the erosion of safety in American schools. Violent internet-based video games and children today are becoming inseparable even as the cyber technology is becoming more sophisticated. Students especially those in high schools are likely to develop more pro-violent attitudes and hostile personalities when exposed to violent video games (DeConde 2001).
Communities that are not attentive and responsive to the welfare of families and their children are more likely to experience school violence (DeConde 2001). Tough economic times are also making it very difficult for parents to meet the social and emotional needs of their children. There is a lot of dependence on schools to play multiple roles for the children and this is something they are unlikely to achieve.
A case study of Columbine High School
The violent event at the Columbine High School was a traumatizing one in the history of education in the USA that will live to be remembered in a very long time. Before the incident at the school, shootings in schools involved a lone and deranged student or ex-student carrying a firearm to an institution of learning and shooting at teachers and peers for real or imagined humiliations. The shooter in this case might have obsessed over the actions prior to the actual event, but still the shooting looked like it was either a rampage or a direct target of a specific individual or small group (Ralph 2007).
The attack on Columbine School was planned over a period of not less than eight months (Ralph 2007). The attackers, Harry and Klebold carried out what they planned as a strategic military assault. They were heavily armed like military personnel going to war, each having a sawed off shotgun. One had a TEC-9 semiautomatic while another had a Hi-Point 9 mm carbine rifle, and between them, they had four knifes. The boys carried shotgun shells in utility belts, ammunition and CO2 bombs with a number of other different kinds of bombs in a duffel bag. On top of that, the Harry and Klebold also hauled two twenty-gallon propane tank bombs into the school cafeteria that they timed to explode at a time when the area was most crowded (Ralph 2007).
The question most people ask themselves today is where the boys got the idea to create that much destruction and what social and cultural forces influenced the behavior and ideas they came up with? What were the reasons why they adopted this kind of military tactic and what were the roles of each one of them in the planning process?
This research is proposing to use different methods of data collection and analysis. It will collect data through interviews where a group of community members will be chosen randomly for the survey and their responses analyzed critically. The interviews will be divided into two parts such as those that seek to assess the relationship status between Gun Control Law and the problem of gun violence in schools. In both types of interview method, respondents will be asked to give their thoughts on the effectiveness of the Gun Control Law as it is currently.
The respondents will be encouraged to give both the positive and the negative sides of the law. The data will be analyzed critically to find out the percentage of the extent of the negative public opinion on law. For this research to be successful, the responses of the participants will be analyzed according to their demographic features such as age, occupation rate, and sex.
One of the elaborate solutions to the problem of gun violence in American schools is the tightening of the federal gun control laws (Valelly 2009). The second amendment of the constitution states that a person has the individual right to possess a firearm. It is important to mention that, making changes to the gun laws would be unconstitutional. Still, it is quite necessary to make some changes so as to make the law fit the current needs of the current society and situation we are living in. The second amendment was written when there were only two key uses for a gun, i.e. to hunt and to protect. In our current society, firearms are being used for recreational purposes have also been used for situations of mass fatalities (Valelly 2009). The society we are living in as well as the situation has changed and so should the amendment.
It is also important to mention that, the amendment does not guarantee a personal right to possess a gun, but it applies only collectively to the militia. The amendment was created to empower the citizen militia with the ability to protect and serve the community. It was seen as a civic duty and today would compare to the National Guard (Valelly 2009).
Survey carried out in a number of countries other than America, is evident that tighter gun control laws would help create a safer America (Valelly 2009). The laws currently governing the country in relation gun controls are very relaxed. The truth of the matter is that, it quite easy to purchase a gun in America. The average number of gun related deaths recorded per year is 9000. Even though this statistic is shocking, it is certainly not surprising. The number is almost a thousand times low in countries like Denmark that prohibits all gun ownership (Valelly 2009). With no doubt, this may very well be an effective solution to the problem of gun violence in American schools.
Limiting gun access would definitely benefit schools and it environs a great deal. It would make minimal the chances of having events such as those that were witnessed in Columbine school and Cleveland school happening again. Once students are not able to acquire guns as easily as they don now, the number of schools shooting would be cut down and hence save lives. An increased educational requirement about gun safety would also help constitute an adequate form of tightening gun laws. After watching an educational video in a hunter safety course, individual are more likely to treat guns properly and use the firearm in a suitable manner that is unlikely to cause harm (Valelly 2009).
The research aims at urging the relevant authorities to amend the necessary laws to tighten the gun control laws. Gun violence in schools today is an epidemic. More energy and resources should be marshaled to help deal with this issue. One major approach that I strongly believe can assist in averting this problem is the implementation of stiffer gun control measures in the country. One major cause of gun violence and increased deaths and injuries in American schools today that cannot go unmentioned is the easy access to guns.
An elaborate solution to the problem of gun violence in American schools is to tighten the federal gun control laws. Tighter gun control laws would help create a safer America. The laws currently governing the country in relation gun controls are very relaxed and this should change if American schools are to get any safer.