Oct 052006
Authors: Anne Farrell

With three school shootings in less than a week, one must question what exactly is going on in the world we live in. What, if anything, has happened recently to provoke so much violence? Since 1997 there have been 14 shootings at schools across the country, resulting in 41 deaths. Of those, including last week’s incident in Bailey, two have taken place in Colorado.

To what extreme must we go to to protect students and children in this country? Do these recent events prove that is it necessary to have armed guards and metal detectors at the entrance of every school in the nation?

After Columbine, schools throughout the nation implemented plans that required visitors to enter through the front entrance and sign in, but it’s very obvious that after what happened last week in Bailey that’s not exactly an effective method of protecting anyone.

At my high school, several campus monitors patrolled the halls hollering at girls with bare shoulders and ticketing those who were parked improperly. I doubt seriously they would have noticed if someone who didn’t belong was in the building.

They annoyed me only because they were grumpy, not because they could actually prevent anyone from doing anything.

At some schools students are required wear their student IDs around their necks, therefore proving that they attend the school, but how does that stop any of them from having an unexpected outburst?

Following the Columbine tragedy the media was blamed for the behavior of the troubled students who took their anger out on classmates and teachers. Aggressive TV programs and bullying in school were given as one possible justifiable explanation.

Today, however, it doesn’t seem as though there is any one reason three shootings have taken place so close in time to one another, two of which were perpetrated by adults.

Maybe these are copycat events, where one twisted personality is inspired by another’s horrific actions. That still doesn’t answer why all three events took place. And in both Monday’s one-room school house shooting and last week’s Platte Canyon shooting, there’s no way to find out what caused such anger that has resulted in so many deaths.

These events force me to wonder to what extent any of us are safe. Many of the nation’s large corporations have better security methods then public schools. How many deaths must there be before someone steps in and protects citizens?

I don’t think there’s any one answer to preventing events like these from taking place. Parents can choose to home-school their children, but that’s honestly not a feasible option for many people.

More rigid gun control laws can be put into place, but if someone really wants to get their hands on a gun, it’s possible in a number of ways. Or, as the most extreme option, the members of the National Guard can be posted at every public school institution across the country. None of these are feasible options and I don’t know what is.

The only solution I have to offer is vigilance. Pay attention to what’s going on around you, and to who the children around you are associating with, even if they are not your own. Be careful what information you post on the Internet, and if someone seems like a sketch-ball, chances are they aren’t.

But it’s better safe than sorry.

Anne Farrell is a junior technical journalism major. Her column appears Tuesdays in the Collegian. Replies and feedback can be sent to letters@collegian.com.

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