Being Right: Mass Shooting Solutions

Madeleine Student

On Sunday night, I got distracted on YouTube watching videos of babies reacting to their dads coming home from work. They wait by the window, bouncing up and down as they watch their father pull into the driveway. Their faces light up as they walk through the door and holds them. It makes me sick to my stomach to know that 12 innocent people are not returning home to their families after leaving for work at the Washington Navy Yard on Monday morning.

All tragedies make us sad, angry and confused, but we react differently to mass shootings because we think they can be prevented. There must be something we can do or some law we can enact to prevent mass shootings in the future. This is a rational and very human response. We should be trying to find a better way to protect ourselves from mass shootings, just like we try to protect ourselves from other tragedies. When a tornado hits, people build underground storm shelters as a reaction. To defend ourselves against cancer, we get checkups regularly. To protect ourselves from dying in a car crash, we always wear our seat belts. Are all of these solutions foolproof? No. No matter how many rules we follow, our protection is not guaranteed. However, our chances of getting injured or killed are reduced when we take measures to protect yourself.  So what can we do to protect ourselves from a mass shooting?

Well, we can introduce new legislation. We can make certain types of guns illegal, limit the number of bullets someone can carry, or make more “gun-free” zones. We can call our senators and vote for these measures, washing our hands of the problem forever. It seems like the simple solution and it doesn’t take a lot of effort on our part. Unfortunately, we already have laws, and laws do not always prevent crime. First-degree murder is punishable by life in prison or death. No regulations, laws or punishment will deter a mass shooter. If a mentally sick person is determined to shoot his or her coworkers, moviegoers or a classroom of first graders, he/she does not care about the law. Only law-abiding citizens abide by the law.

What about the police? Surely, I can rely on the police for protection! This also seems like a great idea, but unfortunately the police cannot protect us from everything. This summer, 22-year-old Australian baseball player Christopher Lane was shot while jogging in Oklahoma. It took the police dispatcher three minutes to call for an ambulance as Lane died in the arms of the strangers who stopped to help him.

When police stop a mass shooting, the average death toll is 14.3.  When a fellow citizen stops a mass shooting, the average death toll is 2.3. When a fellow citizen stops a crazed gunman, the death toll isn’t even high enough to be categorized as a mass shooting! I am absolutely not advocating that everybody should carry a gun. However, I have great respect for people who go through the extensive process of

getting a concealed carry permit. Having such a permit is an enormous responsibility. There is a lot of paper work, background checks are run on you everyday and you have to take the time to practice accuracy and controlling your nerves.

On December 11, 2012, 22 year-old Nick Meli was walking around an Oregon mall with his friend and her baby. All of a sudden, shots broke out and a masked gunman appeared. Thankfully, Meli had a concealed weapon and pointed it at the gunman. After seeing Meli, the gunman turned his gun on himself. Three people, including the gunman, were killed in that mall. Four days later, a school nurse at Sandy Hook Elementary watched a gunman storm through her office and head toward the classrooms. She had no gun and was not able to stop him, so she hid. The principal chased down the gunman and threw objects at him. She was shot and killed. Twenty minutes later, police arrived and the gunman fired at himself. No guns were allowed on the premises of the elementary school. The law-abiding citizens followed those rules, but the murderer did not. Twenty-eight people died. Your protection is not the government’s responsibility, nor the police’s responsibility. Your protection is your responsibility. You do not necessarily have to get a concealed carry permit. However, some people have chosen to not be a victim and it would behoove society to

respect that decision.

Contact Madeleine Student at [email protected]