Gun violence: what has improved this decade?


Recently, there was a mass shooting in New Zealand this past month. Immediately after the event, New Zealand’s prime minister made a change to their gun laws. Seems simple, like a no-brainer, after such a horrible massacre. Though, over the past nine years, the mass shootings that have been experienced worldwide is alarming. New Zealand’s proposed changes to their gun laws is the right first step, but there are many other governments who have ceased to make enough changes to stop these horrible acts from occurring.

2012 — Sandy Hook Elementary (United States)

28 people (including 20 children) were killed in a shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary school on December 14, 2012. The shooter was the son of one of the teachers at the school, whom he also killed, prior to making his way to the school.

2016 — Night club (United States)

49 people were killed and 53 others injured when a 29 year-old security guard opened fire at Pulse, a gay nightclub in Orlando, Florida on June 12, 2016.

2017 — Music festival (United States)

In Las Vegas, Nevada the number of people murdered and injured surpassed what happened on June 12 the previous year in Orlando. On October 1, 2017, 59 people were killed, while 422 were injured by gunfire, and an additional 429 were injured from other circumstances during the shooting.

2018 — High school (United States)

On February 14, 2018, Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida was the next place to become victim to a mass shooting. An expelled student of the school opened fire and wound up killing 17 people.

2019 — Mosque (New Zealand)

Less than a month ago at Christchurch mosque in New Zealand, 50 people were killed and another 50 injured. The perpetrator also filmed the shooting as it was happening, and in the aftermath of the event, the video circulated social media, showing the alarming fatalities and horror of the event.

One development on social media during this decade was Facebook’s “Safety Check” feature. This allows Facebook users to go on their page during a catastrophic event (tsunami, shooting, etc.) and check themselves as “safe” as notification for friends and family. During the Orlando shooting, it was the first time Safety Check was used in the United States.

Some school boards in the United States have opted to have guns in classrooms as a form of protection, should an active shooter situation ever occur. Other places, such as universities, have changed their protocol from the typical lockdown procedure to encouraging those in an active shooter situation to get out of harm’s way if they are far enough away from where the shooter is — rather than staying in the building(s).

The most alarming stat is not the ones listed above. Those are just some of the largest mass shootings that have occurred this decade.

Can we control everything in the world? Can we prevent all the horrible things that could happen? No. But when we evaluate these horrible acts, how they happened, why they happened, everyone has to learn from them. Kids go to school and take history classes to learn about the past and make sure that we don’t repeat the awful parts of history. What are we teaching the future leaders of the world if there are people who refuse to make the changes necessary to keep the next school-kid, church-goer or movie-lover from becoming a victim to a ruthless act?


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