Sandy Hook Elementary school shooting

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Shootings have become increasingly common, varying in nature, from terrorist attacks to robberies. Since 1853 when the first incident of a school shooting was experienced, the issue of school shootings has become a common phenomenon. Schools are often considered a haven for students from elementary up to high school and beyond, but this insecurity has changed that perception. A generation of students has grown up with an unknown amount of trauma that manifests later in their lives, for instance, the students who witnessed the Sandy Hook shooting. According to REMS (n.d.), when students feel safe, they record outstanding academic achievements since they are better positioned to focus on their education. The issue of insecurity in schools needs to be addressed via proper policies as it results in adverse consequences such as loss of life and long-lasting psychological effects on the affected.

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School shootings

December 14, 2012, was a dark day for Sandy Hook Elementary school. The children were in their respective classes when Adam Lanza forcefully gained entry into the school and was confronted by the staff. Adam shot the two staff, later stormed into one of the classrooms, and began by shooting the teacher, then later the students. Afterward, he headed to another classroom and shot six more children as well as their teacher, who tried to distract him, making the total number of students shot 20 while the adults were 6. After the shootings, Adam shot himself. Before heading to Sandy Hook, Adam stole his mother’s gun and fired four bullets at her. It is unclear what made Adam carry out the shooting. Langman (n.d.) states that Adam had schizophrenia and psychosis. Additionally, he had pedophilia and envied the social ease of children, while he sought comfort in social inadequacy.

Shootings are always tragic. Worse yet, when young lives in schools are cut short, it becomes horrifying and significantly impacts society. In addition to Sandy Hook, some other schools in the last ten years have also been affected. For instance, on May 24, 2022, Salvador Ramos fired aimed and shot a firearm at 19 children and two adults in Robb Elementary school. Before committing the atrocities, he had killed his grandmother (NYT, 2022). Another instance is the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High school shooting. This particular incident occurred on February 14, 2018, leading to the loss of 17 people, including staff members. Nikolas Cruz, who had been expelled from the school, was behind the execution. NYT (2018)  reports another case that occurred a few months after the Marjory shooting. Per the source, Santa Fe High school also experienced the same fate when Dimitrios Pagourtzis smuggled a gun into a school and killed ten people, including eight students and two teachers.

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Shootings and policies

Safety is one of the top priorities for the government. However, the epidemic of mass shootings implies that the current policies are insufficient or do not address the root cause of the problem, causing a lasting consequence for Americans, specifically children. Understanding the root cause of the shootings is vital since it helps determine policies. According to Metlzt and Mecleish (2015), people who conduct mass shootings fall outside the bounds of sanity. This means that policies regarding students and people with mental health issues who show signs of violence must be tightened, and treatment should commence immediately. For instance, Langman (n.d.) reports that Adam Lanza had already shown signs of mental illness, but his mother did not address it in time.

Gun control is also another policy that should be tightened. Firearms should be prohibited for high-risk groups, and petitions and restraining orders should be allowed if anyone with a gun is involved in violent behavior. Nicholas Cruz, responsible for the Marjory shooting, had a history of violent behavior, yet he was legally allowed to purchase his gun. Guns should also be stored in a secure place far from access by unstable individuals. Additionally, only well-trained teachers should carry firearms. Training should also be expanded to students on how to handle themselves in case of a shooting. Finally, security should be improved at school entry points to detect guns and unwanted material.

Conclusion

School shootings in America have become very rampant, with the Sandy elementary school shooting being among the worst shootings of all time. Twenty-six people lost their lives, and Adam, the shooter, executed himself. As much as Sandy school created some reactions in society, not enough measures were implemented because other schools such as Robb elementary school, Marjory Stoneman, and Santa Fe high school also suffered the same fate. New policies need to be put in place to curb this shooting epidemic.

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  1. Langman, P. (n.d.). The Enigma of Adam Lanza’s Mind and Motivations for Murder. NCHERM. https://cdn.nabita.org/website-media/nabita.org/wordpress/wp-content/uploads/2016/02/JBIT2015_Article1.pdf
  2. Metzl, & Macleish. (2015). Mental illness, mass shootings, and the politics of American firearms. PubMed Central (PMC). https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4318286/
  3. NYT. (2018, November 14). In Texas school shooting, 10 dead, 10 hurt and many unsurprised (Published 2018). The New York Times – Breaking News, US News, World News and Videos. https://www.nytimes.com/2018/05/18/us/school-shooting-santa-fe-texas.html
  4. NYT. (2022, June 7). What to know about the school shooting in Uvalde, Texas. The New York Times – Breaking News, US News, World News and Videos. https://www.nytimes.com/article/uvalde-texas-school-shooting.html
  5. REMS. (n.d.). Student Perceptions of Safety and Their Impact on Creating a Safe School Environment. https://rems.ed.gov/docs/Student_Perceptions_Safety_Fact_Sheet_508C.pdf
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