What is the Difference Between An AR-15 and a Gun?
Parents across the nation are receiving calls about scary situation at their child’s school, and many of these calls are alarming. In fact, school shootings are not uncommon. One especially disturbing one happened last week.
A 14-year-old student in Pennsylvania used an AR-15 to open fire on his school, injuring 6 people. The gun man, who did not live at the school, pulled out the gun as the school bells rang. The bullets smashed through the school’s window and went straight into the crowd of students gathered in the hallway. The shooter then fled the scene and hid until a passing security officer discovered him.
Thankfully, these situations are rare. A data set that studied school shootings has only dealt with 1,224 incidents. Out of those, 119 of those involved guns, of which only 10 involved an AR-15. Since a gun doesn’t have to be pulled out for this to happen, we can assume that such an event is extremely rare.
Only 28 students have died from shootings in public schools since the start of the Trump administration, and 16 of those deaths have been on school grounds. When taken together, while these are a scary statistic, they also don’t involve a weapon like an AR-15.
On the other hand, even when firearms are not used, there are a plethora of steps being taken that require the threat of violence, and if it does occur, many tragic consequences can follow.
Some school shooters have mental health issues. In their analysis of school shootings, Brandon Segal found that 50% of incidents involved at least one attempt by a shooter to get into a school to commit violence, which was mainly through the threats of violence.
The other 60% of cases were linked to two elementary school-aged children. These children might have been bullied, been troubled by their peers or family or simply suffered from anxiety.
To combat these mental health issues, school shooting survivor Stephanie Williams set up the Trevor Project to work with the mental health professionals in the area to provide help to those in need.
Role of the Community
School shootings take place where there are mental health professionals and early intervention resources. The Pulse nightclub shooting in Orlando, FL led to a renewed commitment to mental health counseling and support services. Across the country, school resource officers receive training to identify at-risk students or individuals and work with school administrators to address those issues.
Schools are not the only places where violence can occur. This is where environments where violent attacks are not prevalent can be monitored. Typically, these schools are large communities with over 100,000 residents or more.
According to SOS is Not a Killer, small schools and towns are located in communities where violent incidents or threats to their safety are not common. Because of this, they tend to have a bigger presence at local high schools and elementary schools to keep a close eye on the community and prevent future violence.
It is important for the community to keep watch and talk to their children about their own perception of the world, or view of the world that their school could be a place that could lead to a school shooting.
This article was written by Ki Sung Jung with reports from FIVVE