Compass Student Editorial – In Light of the Texas Shooting


On May 21st, 2022, a photo of two AR-15-style rifles was posted on an Instagram account based in Uvalde, Texas. Three days later, 18 year old Salvador Ramos walked into Robb Elementary School wearing body armor and wielding a long rifle and murdered 19 students and two teachers. 

There’s a school shooting epidemic in the United States that needs to be addressed. This epidemic is propelled by a lack of gun laws, improper mental health resources for the people that need it, and passive government officials. 

Ramos further highlighted the troubling trend that many mass shootings are being perpetrated by teenage men. While stats focused particularly on age are scant, of the 274 mass shootings in America since 2009, 98% of them were perpetrated by a man according to The complete overrepresentation of males in this demographic has led to many conversations regarding why. Psychologists have commonly suggested that men are simply just more prone to violence. However, consensus is rare, but ignorance towards men’s mental health as well as feeling the need to conceal emotions has led many to believe that pent-up anger and sadness could be a contributing factor towards the issue. It seems short-sighted to simplify the current status-quo for men and expression of their emotions to feeling as if they need to hide them, but noticing and bringing awareness to the issue is an important start in the long journey of making men as a whole feel comfortable with sharing their feelings. Unfortunately, none of these assertions explain or justify how someone can reach a point as low as they frequently do in America, and attempting to provide reason to such horrific acts remains futile and dangerous. Normalization and explanation of mass shootings is a surefire way to cement them as inescapable, which every other developed country in the world has proven demonstrably false.

Levels of gun violence within the United States greatly exceed those of other countries. In the United States alone more than 110 people die per day at the hands of a gun. Whether that be suicide or homicide there is an incredibly obvious problem that has only been getting worse as the United States continues to point blame. With an annual average of 19 mass shootings, the United States skyrockets over other high-income countries. With so much debate from the left and right regarding the ‘proper action’ we are to take to prevent the steady rise in gun violence, often people find themselves lost. What are we as Americans not doing right? What laws need to be passed to make it safe for children to go to school? Republicans believe it is a product of a mental health crisis, and think strengthening our resources for those people will begin the decline. But all countries have people who suffer from mental health issues and it is not uncommon. What is uncommon in said countries is mass shootings in which the United States is all too familiar with. When comparing the United States’ gun control laws to countries around the world we find the inconsistencies our country suffers so greatly from. 

The gun control laws in place in the United States originated from the second amendment that was put into place after the United States claimed independence from Britain.” The second amendment reads, “A well regulated militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed.” A battle over what specifically the “right to bear arms” entails in today’s world is a political argument that has plagued the 21st century. It is that phrase that has been used to deny the implementation of stricter gun laws. Bills that would increase the waiting period to get handguns, require handguns to be stored disassembled or nonfunctional, and require handguns to be registered, are all examples of potential steps towards less gun violence that were stopped from passing due to claimed violation of the second amendment. As of 2021, there were no federal laws banning semi automatic assault weapons, military-style, .50 caliber rifles, handguns, or large capacity magazines. There’s also no federally mandated universal background check for people trying to purchase a gun. These laws, and lack thereof, are what set the United States apart from other developed countries. In Canada, the United States’ northern neighbor, the gun control laws of the current day were inspired by similar tragic mass shootings that the United States goes through, but in Canada there were big changes made to prevent it from happening again. A mass shooting in 1989 is widely credited for the passing of major gun reform that imposed a 28 day waiting period for gun purchases, mandatory safety training courses, detailed background checks, bans on large capacity magazines, and bans or greater restrictions on military-style firearms. In Canada, in 2022, there have been 0 school shootings, while in the United States, there have been 27. 

An even stricter case is Japan. Japan as a Country is known for having an extremely low gun violence/homicide rate, which is believed to be the result of their incredibly tough and thorough gun restriction laws. It is almost impossible to own a gun in this country, as most are illegal, resulting in low ownership rates. Japan’s Firearm Sword law allows people to own shot guns, guns with specific research purposes, guns for competitive use, and air guns. But even then the access is not immediately given. A person must first obtain formal instruction and pass a mental health, drug, and battery of written test. Background checks are required as well. Said person must inform authorities about how the ammunition and weapon are held to prevent them possibly falling into the wrong hands, and must also provide their firearms for annual inspection. The people of Japan have such a low crime rate they see no need for guns. And the record shows that the extreme precaution has paid off, putting them at the lowest gun homicide rate in the world with only one death in 2017 (which is the latest year that the record shows). 

With what we know about the United States, the actions that Japan has taken to insure safety among its people would be seen as a violation of the second amendment. Do the statistics of their incredibly low crime and gun violence rates out way the hoops one must go through to have access to a firearm? That is the question that American people have to consider. Does the ability to purchase a gun any time and at any place outweigh the importance of not only keeping children in schools safe, but keeping everyone safe. 

This morbid and benign cycle that has become a part of American culture always ends in mere conversation, rather than immediate action. We do not believe that the right to bear arms should be recalled, but rather, reformed. We do not believe that a person who cannot legally drink yet should be able to purchase a gun, and we do not believe that it should be as easy as it is to get one. As teenagers, the future belongs to us. We will live in it longer than any generation above us–including the politicians and authorities that we have been constructed to believe have more capability for change than we do. There’s a belief that our age group can do little to break the cycle, but the reality is that change will happen when we do the little things. One way we can get the laws that we want to see passed is by voting properly; voting for politicians that will pass common sense gun laws and laws that will protect people throughout the country. 

The cycle of school shootings followed by fighting, debates, and little action has to change. In order to protect people as life continues, we need to make these changes happen, even if it means we have to drastically change the way our government, politicians, and laws function. It is way past the time that members of Congress do something about this –  so we demand change. No more thoughts and prayers.  It’s time for what is needed to end the senseless deaths across our nation.