The Decade of School Shootings


Photo courtesy of David Walter Banks from the New York Times

A memorial was held the Friday after the shooting at Saugus High School to honor those who's lives were taken.

On November 15th, two victims, a 16-year-old girl, and a 14-year-old boy died following a school shooting at Saugus High School in Santa Clarita, CA. The suspect, Nathaniel Berhow, was said to have pulled a pistol out of his backpack on Thursday morning, shooting five classmates and himself (CNN). Throughout the past 10 years, Gen Z has been in the spotlight of school shootings. Generation Z’ers are the ones hiding in the corner of the classrooms, speaking out on national television and rallying following the death of friends. They are the ones learning that schools can so easily become a battleground.

Generation Z is the generation of many things: social media addicts, activists and the most pressing: school shootings. An American student has less than a one and a million chance of getting shot in a school shooting (SandyhookPromise). An initial light was shone on the issue in December of 2012 at Sandy Hook Elementary school in Connecticut when 26 people were killed by a gunman, 20 of the victims were between the ages of six and seven. This uniquely American epidemic has only worsened over the years. “The U.S. has had 1,316 school shootings since 1970 and these numbers are increasing. 18% of school shootings have taken place since the tragedy at Sandy Hook Elementary School ” (SandyhookPromise).

It is becoming more common to hear news of yet another child being shot in the safety of their school. The duck and cover drills that were implemented during many of our grandparent’s generations for fear of World War 2 bombings have now become lockdown drills in preparation for school shootings. Students are used to practicing locks, lights and out of sight, where we all hid behind the walls of our classrooms practicing for the day a gunman walks into our school. This should not be normal.

The news of another shooting soon becomes such a distant thought, an unfathomable concept that we are untouchable from the terror of a school shooting. Every time another shooting occurs, our generation does what it does best. Social media floods with thoughts and prayers, reposts of victim’s speeches. And then what? We have become numb to the idea of a school shooting because its occurrence only increases, becoming normal for our generation. Names of towns such as Parkland or SandyHook sparks an immediate relation to the tragic events that occurred there due to school shootings.

We can only hope that the next decade will result in policy changes to decrease the number of school shootings in America, in the hopes that the children of Gen Z’ers won’t live with the school’s shootings that they lived with.