Imagine: You’re sitting in class and there’s been a school shooting that day somewhere in America. The professor asks the question: Why do you think school shootings happen?
All across the room you hear uproar. A quarter of the class screams it’s a lack of gun control. A quarter defends that guns aren’t the problem, that the focus should be on mental illness. The remaining half of the class is mute, some are rolling their eyes because this has become common discussion topic, heard again and again.
The fact of the matter is, school shootings are too common. One school shooting that struck the hearts of Americans nationwide is the Sandy Hook Elementary shooting in 2012. Adam Lanza, 20, shot and killed 20 children and six adults.
There has been approximately one Adam Lanza per week. In other words, on average there has been one school shooting per week since 2013, according to everytownresearch.org.
“Somehow this has become routine. The reporting is routine. My response here at this podium ends up being routine… We’ve become numb to this,” President Barack Obama stated after a recent school shooting.
In October alone, there have been three school shootings.
On Oct. 1 at Umpqua Community College in Roseburg, Oregon, Christopher Harper-Mercer killed nine and wounded an additional nine people, according to ABC News.
On Oct. 9 a gunman, suspected to be Steven Jones, shot and killed one and hospitalized three others at Northern Arizona University, according to ABC News.
In addition on Oct. 9, a gunman at Texas Southern University shot and killed one person and wounded another, according to BBC.
After each school shooting politicians, eyewitnesses and average people alike made speculations regarding the leading cause of such a heinous crime. Republicans pointed out mental illness as the culprit, while Democrats placed a blinding light on gun control laws.
But some people cited violent video games for a possible explanation for a rise in school shootings.
Chris Mintz, an army veteran who was an eyewitness at the Oregon shooting stated the gunman acted “like he was playing a video game.”
Are video games a determinant in school shootings? Indeed, they are common in popular culture; however, does that make them a culprit?
According to the study findings of Christopher Ferguson, a psychologist and professor at Stetson University in Florida, there is no clear proof that there is a correlation between violent media and violence. In fact, Ferguson went as far as to question the methods of studies that have proven the correlation between violent media and violence.
Video games are a stress release for much of the population. Yes, there are games that revolve around shooting and killing people. But does that mean everyone who picks up a video game is going to kill someone? In my opinion, no.
People have different predispositions, different morals and definitions of right and wrong. There is a certain concoction of personality, development, psychological and circumstantial elements that create a killer.
So does that bring mental illness into question? Certainly, people with mental illnesses have a different perspective on the world and may create false realities and preconceived notions of the circumstances that surround a situation. However, do not fall into the fallacy that all shooters are mentally unstable because they’re not and shouldn’t be treated as such.
As for gun control, suppose gun laws are stricter. Does this solve the problem? A common criticism for the change in gun law policy is that it doesn’t change the possibility of a person stealing a gun from a family member or someone within proximity and committing a crime.
In any case we need to stop talking about what ifs and possibilities and lock down on the problem, because this problem is becoming a norm.