Garfield Senior High School

Guns are not the only problem

I’m simply a young teen raised in the streets of East Los Angeles, so some may say that my opinion on matters like gun control are irrelevant. I’m simply “too young” to fully comprehend the significance of the debate, or at least that is what I’ve been told. That may truly be the case, but that won’t stop me from at least voicing my opinion on the matter.

The current gun control issue has become significantly more relevant in the past decade. Whenever we read the news, there always seems to be another school shooting in at least one place in the United States. It’s always the same story: somebody was bullied at school, they get access to some form of weapon – typically from the collections of their parents – then they proceed to take their weapon to school and end the lives of some of their classmates.

That may be an oversimplification of what actually occurs, but it at least exists as the fundamental core. At this point, I feel that I’ve become desensitized to this type of issue. I’ve heard podcasts of people saying something entirely foreign to me. 

They say that they never needed to worry about somebody “shooting up” their schools when they were kids. This may come as a given, but the problem seems to be that to them, the fact that we have become so accustomed to these tragedies is something unfathomable.

We seem to live in two different worlds. What is alien to us, the youth of today, is alien to them, the current adults of society. I know that the fact that students are constantly dying by the hands and arms of other fellow students is something that should shock me – it should disgust me to extreme extents.

However, the simple fact of the matter is that we have become accustomed to these shootings to happen. Because of this, gun control has been something that has been called for by youth across the nation. However, I began to think and question, these students having guns was the only issue at hand. If guns has always been the issue, why has this only become a problem recently? The gun control laws were not much different a decade ago, so why is this only happening now?

The problem lies in the society that we are raised in today. Social media is an essential part of everyone’s life, and it has become so easy for students to get information. It sounds good at first, I mean, you can literally look up anything that you want on your phone. You can be instantly up-to-date with the news at every waking moment, or you can catch up with what your favorite celebrities are doing.

However, students aren’t only exposed to whatever new inventions are being made or who ate what new food. Students are also exposed to the horrors of the world. One shooting after another and some depressed students may think “Well, why not? What more do I have to lose if I also do this?” It’s a mindset that belongs to kids who have gone astray in life, but exists nonetheless.

The exposure to other students who have taken part in these events leads to more of these shootings. Instead of seeking help for their thoughts, they turn to other alternatives that they have been exposed to thanks to social media. News networks are also often critical in spreading these stories like a wildfire.

To them, the deaths of people are simple statistics used to generate clicks. Others with like minds to the criminals then see those stories and thus follow suit. It becomes an endless cycle of cause and effect resulting in more and more deaths of innocent students.

Simply “banning guns” isn’t enough to truly put an end to the horrors of school shootings. Most of the people who are extreme enough to murder their own classmates in cold blood would find a way to get the guns anyway; they wouldn’t care if they had to do it by illegal means.

Having extreme gun control would prove counter-effective to the cause of protecting our citizens. It would get rid of one of their primary forms of self-defense while the criminals would still have access, though probably illegal access, to the weapons that they need. We need to focus not on guns, but rather on the society that we live in and the level of exposure covered by social media and news networks.