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Local Students on School Shootings, Unabridged 

Page 5 of 8

My Stance on School Shootings

My name is Cian Ferguson and I am a junior at McKinleyville High School and a strong believer in safe schools and the Second Amendment. As a high school student, I tell myself every time one of these tragic school shootings happens, "Oh, that won't happen here, not at McKinleyville." For the longest time, I believed myself. When I was a little kid getting dropped off at school, I was always told by my teachers that  it was a safe place and I didn't have to worry about anything, and I believed them. As I got older and started becoming more aware of the outside world and saw all of these different cases of school shootings, my mind set still stayed the same: "Oh, that won't happen here." It took until last year, when Fortuna High School had bomb threats, for me to realize that school is not a safe place and I hated the feeling that just anyone could come shoot up the school and we would be completely helpless of the situation.

About twice a year we practice for an active shooter and that just means that we turn off the lights, shut and lock the door, and pull the blinds shut and keep quiet and pray the shooter will just pass by. It absolutely angers me that that is all we can do when an active shooter is on campus. We live in a world today where every kid has a computer in his pocket and we have had men walk on the moon, but our safety drills for schools only include locking the doors. Are you kidding me? In my eyes, I feel like schools should arm the majority of the staff and/or have armed security on campus, along with lockable fences around the school.

A lot of people in society today want to blame the firearm, which in this case, is not the problem. The problem is people with a sick train of thought, sick enough to murder children. They are the problem. Some states think the solution is to raise the eligible age to buy a firearm to 21 but a lot of these active shooters or "school shooters" are already over the age of 21. The ones that weren't already 21 may have gotten their hands on the firearms by theft or illegally purchasing one. By the act of raising the legal age to 21 to purchase a firearm, I believe that is would hinder our Second Amendment and is in violation of the constitution.

I don't understand every time a tragic shooting happens, the extreme left is always so fast to blame guns and not the mental health of the shooter. For example, days following the shooting in Las Vegas, extreme leftist Hillary Clinton was very quick to blame the National Rifle Association in numerous news interviews. I feel like the left preys upon this subject of school and mass shootings  to find an excuse to take action on exterminating our Second Amendment and it is wrong. I think it was also a very brave and bold act of the NRA in suing Florida to repeal the eligible age back to 18 from 21. Why should the law-abiding citizens of the USA be penalized because of one person's sick act of firearm abuse? Schools would also no longer be targets of mass shooting if staff was armed. Shooters are looking for big crowds of people that are not armed and this is why concerts, rallies and schools are so targeted. I believe if we take these actions then school shootings will be history.

— Cian Ferguson, 11th grade

My Thoughts on Gun Control

I have been pondering this subject for some time now. I've done immense research, as well, so I could fully understand what it is that everyone is so hyped up about. I have come to realize that banning our guns is useless. Everyone is worried that guns kill people. That statement is overused. Anything can kill people: a pen, a knife, a piece of plastic. It's the human mind. If someone is mentally ill, their fight or flight is elevated. For example, for a child who is being bullied, their response is kill or be killed. The problem isn't the gun or the gun holder, it's the people who drove that person off the edge. There's a monster in everyone scratching to get out. Other people make it easier to let the monster out, but those people don't want to take responsibility for letting the monster out. It's easy to play the victim.

We don't need stricter laws or banned guns. We need better mental health plans and stricter consequences for bullying and abuse. That's the cause of school shooting and public outbursts. People want to be taken seriously and to be respected. Sometimes respect comes from fear. There are three groups of people. There are those who have been pushed over the edge and perform the shootings. There are those who push and then cry about the action that has been carried out. And there are those who use guns as protection from break-ins, or they use guns for sport, like hunting or gun range competitions.

For the group who are like me and love and respect others along with my guns, the government cannot take our guns. The Second Amendment of the United States Constitution 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." I've done a lot of research on this topic, trying to find out if the government can really take your guns and they can't. We the people have more power than we think. Fear is taking away our ability to look at this situation as a whole and not just the tool. The second group of people I identified are afraid so they want to take the tool, but if we all are able to have a calm discussion on this we could see just respecting each other and taking bullying and harassment, etc. more seriously it would make the U.S. a lot safer and less problematic.

My final comment is that all we should do to regulate guns is to enforce background checks, mental health tests and enforce gun safety classes. Schools should have safer protection, like push locks, metal or steel window covers and door covers, and an officer on campus. Small adjustments like these will help. Like I said earlier, people who want respect sometimes have to demand it, so they use fear to gain the respect. These shooters are driven to these actions for the desire for respect.

— Angela Price, 11th grade

Protecting our future

Our future is in jeopardy with the current system and policies in place by our government and the way they are going about change. Our government wants to completely ban guns, however the Second Amendment is made for us to defend ourselves from our government if corrupted or other enemies. Now I agree the Parkland incident was a terrible tragedy and strikes fear into me as it should strike fear into anyone in schools who is part of our nation's future. I'm a junior in high school and all these kids my own age are now dead, gone from existence. They were our future and they are gone. Their voices will never be heard, their lives never experienced and their emotions never felt.

Incidents like these need to be prevented and stopped, but that is a very general statement. We don't need a huge ban on guns as opposed by many, what we need is better policies. I propose that we make it harder to get guns but not take them away. I propose we start with making a better mental health check for anyone who wants to own a gun. A large majority of shootings have been by those who are mentally unstable. Mental health is a very underfunded and ignored problem in our nation and both it and gun violence need to be better addressed. Next, we need to shut down gun trade fairs that allow people to just show up and buy guns at the fair with ammunition. Gun fairs allow criminals or the mentally unstable to get guns without any check on their background. From there, we should make a mandatory one-month waiting period for guns once the purchase has been made before you can receive it. This would make it an extra step of security so that if any new found evidence of the person was brought up it could be revoked.

Now lets look at the fact that the these aren't the policies our country is pushing forward, our country wants an outright ban on guns. As stated above, I disagree with this route and don't believe that the we should lose our Second Amendment right. Gun violence needs to be approached with a manner like the steps that I have laid out,; we can't go to an all out ban over fear because if fear wins we're all sheep to it. Letting the violence and fear cover our eye won't save our future, but only make it weaker. I'm saying this quite scared myself as my school has a 100 percent open campus, but I won't be brought down by fear. I will back and support of policies like mine and hope for a better and safer future for the youth like me.

— Trent Padilla, 11th grade

School Shootings are Normal

I am a student attending Mckinleyville High School in the small county of Humboldt. I don't generally watch the news. They always talk about sensitive topics that I do not want to be involved in. I'm one of those people who doesn't exactly like politics, which is all they ever talk about on the news prior to this year. Doing this, I will hear about only the main events from friends and family who do, in fact, watch the news.

Therefore, I heard about the shooting in Parkland, Florida, from my friends and family. All I knew at the time was 17 people were killed and 17 more had severe injuries. I thought nothing much more on the topic. Shootings and such horrific things I have grown accustomed to. But we have to face the fact these events are slowly increasing in happening, becoming so common it's almost normal.

On March 14, 2018. Kids in my high school, ninth through 12th graders, gathered outside of class in 17 minutes of silence for the 17 adults and children that lost their lives on that day a month before. I still don't understand what they are trying to solve. It definitely opened my eyes to the fact of how devastating the whole thing really was. Innocent kids losing their lives to who they once may have even seen as their friend. What is shocking me the most is how some teachers decided to give these kids standing in an oath of silence a cut from the class they missed. Overall, it was a brave and kind thing they did. Whether it was to protest or just to honor the 17 people who lost their lives.

The parkland shooting killed 14 teenagers along with three adults. Adults who all died protecting students full heartedly. Fourteen kids working to get their degrees, some on there last year of high school waiting, stressing the day they graduate, only to have their near future taken from them by a peer they all neutrally trusted. If the school was more prepared, would it have made a difference? That's the biggest question I have. Even if kids were armed, it's not certain their own bullets would have hit the perpetrator.

Take another shooting outside of school for example, say at a mall or in the middle of a small town, or even a massive city like New York. I'm sure a few people may have a gun. Have you ever heard of the shooter being taken down by an armed citizen? Even if you have, it doesn't happen often. The few that have done such a honorable thing most likely are considered heros.

This brings me to the kids who died trying to save their friends and peers in the Parkland shooting. A 15-year-old boy died trying to save as many peers as he could. Because of his heroic acts, he had military honors at his funeral. Along with two other students said to have died protecting or helping peers, these are true examples of real life heros you'd see in a marvel movie.

Reflecting on this whole school shooting ordeal, I think something should be done to keep schools more safe so a teacher can teach without these terrible worries and their students can learn.

— Kalissa Schuchard, ninth grade

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