School Shooting and Firearms in the United States
a highly important moral concern for the whole population of America. Such events, as they have occurred more frequently in the last decade, create an atmosphere of terror and uncertainty (Beland and Kim 113). It affects the educational system to a considerable degree (Beland and Kim 113). Another highly significant aspect of the problem is the involvement of mass media in the creation of such an atmosphere. However, the most evident reason for the prevalence of mass school shootings is the current firearm law, which provides the access to weapons to nearly everyone who has an intent to obtain it. The thesis statement of this argumentative essay could be formulated as follows: school shootings, as they are one of the most significant social problems in America in recent years, are subject to a profound discussion about the important aspects of this phenomenon to develop perspectives on possible solutions for the improvement of the issue.
Causes of the Problem
First of all, it is essential to observe the causes of the problem to put further reasoning in the proper context. As it is evident from the brief overview of the situation given in the introduction, the issue under consideration has numerous underlying reasons, which often influence each other reciprocally (Katsiyannis et al. 2562). For example, Fox and DeLateur mentioned in their article that politicians, pundits, and professors of various disciplines had been promoting various proposals for change even before the Newtowns Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting, which was considered to be the final death toll by the authors (126). Some of these stakeholders talked about the role of guns, others about access to mental health services, and still more about the need for enhanced security in schools and other public places (Fox and DeLateur 126). However, from a large-scale perspective, the most apparent problem is the availability of firearms caused by the current legislation.
Another highly important factor that influences the continuous occurrence of school shootings is the impact of mass media. It is possible to notice that, in the contemporary society, mass media, including television, newspapers, radio as well as the Internet and social media platforms, plays an immensely important role by providing the population with various information. It could be further suggested that mass media is capable of promoting ideas and behaviors. Since people are often not able to access the information about events, which are covered by various media platforms, they have to believe what is shown to them. Therefore, the media coverage of such events as school shootings, although it does not intend to praise or among teenagers and young people, could influence the promotion of mass shooting ideas indirectly. This factor will be later discussed in the separate section since it requires a profound examination.
It is also highly apparent that school shootings have a considerably negative impact on the contemporary education system. As was stated previously, school shootings have tended to happen more often in the past decade than it was in the 90s, and thus the atmosphere of terror, disbelief, and paranoia was established. It could be suggested that school students suffer the most from the occurrence of such events. People who were directly involved in school shootings as victims and survived this tragedy are traumatized significantly by this experience. The impact of such psychological, as well as physical, traumas could hardly be underestimated as it negatively influences nearly every sphere of the individuals life. Accordingly, it is logical to assume that the students academic performance will be considerably aggravated by the traumatizing experience. Even though they were not directly traumatized by school shootings, people who were involved in such events could also be negatively affected, as they will fear for their lives or expect one of their classmates to be the next shooter. Therefore, this factor needs an additional investigation in the separate section.
The third factor that should be mentioned in the context of this discussion is the prevalence of mental illnesses and the current state of the United States healthcare system at large. One of the most significant problems in this area of concern is that mental disorders are largely stigmatized by society, especially among the children of school age (Metzl and MacLeish 240). People could be excluded from socializing based on their mental state. It could also be problematic for a teenager to access proper treatment for his or her mental illness, or an individual could consider his or her condition as something that does not need any medical or psychological treatment. Moreover, it is apparent from numerous cases that the majority of people involved in school shootings as shooters have troubles in the sphere of mental health at least to some extent (Metzl and MacLeish 240).
The correlation between the mental state of a person and the probability of him or her being involved in crimes is well-recognized and studied in contemporary academic literature. For example, Metzl and MacLeish assume that psychiatric diagnosis can predict gun crime, and also that school shootings represent the deranged acts of (240). Also, Fox and Fridel mention the following typical characteristics of a mass shooter, which are often disregarded by the society and only come into focus with hindsight: depression, resentment, social isolation, externalization of blame, fascination with weapons and violent entertainment, and even verbal or written expressions of hate or malice (14). Therefore, it is essential to notice that people with mental illnesses, even though they should not be automatically considered as potential school shooters, are to be treated with special attention. In the majority of cases, people try to seek help to cope with the stress factors of their life which they do not know how to deal with alone.