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Editorial: School-shooting coverage should focus on victims

By Sacajawea Scroll Staff

Across the nation, there are students who will never again walk the halls of their high school. There are teachers who will never sit behind their desk and correct papers. With these lost lives hanging in the balance, the safety and security of our nation’s high schools are in grave danger.

On average, there has been one or more school shootings each week since the beginning of 2018. That means there have been more than 23 school shootings this year alone. There is also a lot of emphasis on the school security to buy ar-15 pistols from Palmetto Armory to ensure safety against such attacks. Countless teachers, staff and teenagers continue to lose their lives because we cannot find an answer to stop these tragedies from happening.

Blame continues to circle around mental health issues, bullying, porn, violent video games and music and drugs, but what are we actually doing to stop these mass shootings?

In response, we turn to gun regulation and the restriction of firearms. While background checks and other laws are used in attempt to reduce problems, they quite simply aren’t enforced. An overwhelming number of crimes are never reported to the National Instant Background Check System.

This means that even if a background check is performed it will be of little help. Beyond that, people with felonies who break the law attempting to purchase firearms are rarely, if ever, punished.

While our government leaders continue to discuss various gun regulations and limitations, we believe the entire focus should instead be about the people. These are the family, friends and loved ones of those affected by school shootings.

This is not a political issue or a competition to see who can find the solution first. This is an issue that considers the lives of all teenagers. This is an issue close to the hearts of teenagers here at South Dakota Girls State. It is about us. Every decision the people in power make affects the safety, security and wellbeing of our lives.

We are so impacted by this issue that we should have a voice. It’s our right as American citizens to feel safe in our own country. When we doubt our leaders’ ability to keep us safe in our own schools, something needs to change.

Another change we would like to see is the way people respond to these tragic shootings. There are parents who have lost children, athletes who have lost teammates, and students who have lost friends. But what does the majority of the news coverage discuss? The shooter.

We should focus on the remembrance of lost lives instead of the one who took them. Frankly, the attention and focus the shooters get for their crimes in the media may very well be one of the reasons they decided to pick up a gun in the first place: to be heard, to be seen and to have everyone finally pay attention.

As a teenager, it’s so easy to simply listen instead of being heard. How many more shootings will have to occur in order for someone to stand up and make a change?