Last year was dubbed "the worst year in the US for school shootings." With 23 incidents which resulted in the loss of life or injuries, 2019 is almost ready to surpass the worst year for school shootings as the total is 15 incidents currently. One writer, Sean Coughlan of the BBC, has set a ratio based on a 180 calendar school year as having a shooting every eight school days. (bbc.com)
In the past year, however, the United States has seen the growth of activism from youth but, no real change when it comes to gun safety and according to the numbers no decrease in events. The lesson plan has changed. From when I was in high school and elementary school and the mantra was hide and stay silent, then to flee or hide in place, and now the new plan is a simple, "Run, Fight, Hide." Similar to the one devised after Columbine in 2002 by the Civilian Response to an Active Shooter of, "avoid, deny, defend." As in run/ flee from the scene if you can but stay aware of all possible exits. If running is not possible then hide as best as you can and remain as calm as possible and silent. If the other two are not possible then fight and defend.
In this new era in which students and all persons in this society as a whole much remain vigilant to the extreme possibility of a shooting in any public place, it is a devastating subject to look upon especially for today's youth and see that this is a new normal for them. Four years ago, I was in high school and lockdowns were frequent, I was, however, lucky in the fact that I never had a shooter on my campus directly. It was in the back of my mind as a possibility and in that time the statistics were not as startling and the death toll not nearly as high. With the exponentially rising numbers, it seems as though thoughts and prayers have run dry. The Stoneman Douglas and Parkland kids proved last year that they would not be complacent with thoughts and prayers and sought out to become activists and have continued to do so. So far there have not been any new proposals on how to combat the rising statistics.
So is this the new normal?
Will we continue to hear of brave youth that is being taken before their time for their heroics?
While the efforts of Kendrick Castillo and the other three classmates that came and subdued the shooter at the STEM shooting Tuesday are valiant and should be celebrated it has only been a week since Riley Howell at the age of 21 also was killed by the shooter he was taking down. These young ones are heroes. It takes a true hero to walk in front of a loaded gun and attempt to subdue someone on the edge and be willing to die for others. It is heroic but not something our youth should have to learn about at an early age. There is always a matter of should and what is. Sadly it appears that this is going to become the new normal unless some lawmakers actively can come together and device a solution that works for all parties but more than that all people. Hopefully, that will change this new normal world we live in today.