Security won't prevent devastation
"No matter how much we prepare for bad things to happen, like placing security or policemen in schools, if someone really wants to do something bad, they are going to do it," explained high school parent Janet Whittington.
Due to the recent massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn., school safety has been talked about more and more lately. People argue that if the school was more prepared, the shooting would not have happened or it would not have had such a major impact.
However, the school was prepared: It had many a security measure to guard against disasters, which were prompted by school shootings that happened before this one.
In 2012 there were more than a dozen mass shootings that took place worldwide. Not all of them received a lot of media coverage. Possibly the most devastating of school shootings that we have come to know in recent history were the Columbine massacre in 1999 and the Virginia Tech massacre in 2007.
"You can bet that almost every one of the shooters had lost hope, which means they had no God in them," Whittington said.
Indeed, it seems that every single shooter had lost hope at some point of their lives. Why else would they feel the desire to relentlessly shoot their peers and, ultimately, themselves? If the shooters had anything in common, besides the fact they held the gun, it would be their hopelessness.
"We should be looking at families and how broken they are and what's driving them to do these things instead of covering the problem with school security like a Band-Aid covers a cut," Whittington said.
Most of the shootings — even minor shootings in which people were merely harmed rather than killed — involved some sort of brokenness. In one such incident, an 18-year-old boy shot and killed another boy three days before he was to graduate because the victim was dating his ex-girlfriend.
In other incidents, shooters felt moved to shoot due to bullying — and being regarded as outcasts — by their fellow classmates. Thus, I do believe, as Whittington said, studying the reasons why the individuals did what they did will help fix the problem; more security measures will not. If there is no more brokenness, shouldn't it be safe to say that no one will feel the need or desire to cause such destruction?
"We shouldn't have to prepare for such horrible acts (such as school shootings)," said Michelle Hansen, a parent to elementary, middle and high school students.
If schools, family and the community made individuals a priority, we wouldn't have to. But how do we help prevent — or mend — brokenness in individuals?
Whittington said that hopelessness comes from being God-less. What is God if he is not love? Perhaps it is the act of loving one another that we humans have lost what we were made for.
Perhaps we need to incorporate more love into schools so that God may be instilled deeply into the hearts and minds of students, allowing them to know there is hope. For if they have hope, they won't need murder or suicide to fill the void.
Jacqueline Mullen is a senior at Live Oak High School. Her column appears every six weeks in Education.