Forget political affiliation, discuss ending shootings

Grant Beltrami, Staff writer

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There are famously more guns in the United States than there are people. Implementing effective gun control in the United States is a daunting task.

However, that doesn’t mean that we shouldn’t try and it doesn’t mean that nothing can be done about the increasingly common mass shootings that occur in this country.

The problem with many solutions that have been proposed is that they act on the problem when it’s too late.Arming teachers with pepper spray, Tasers, or handguns so they could stop a shooting in progress is absurd.

Installing metal detectors in school entrances is absurd. Giving children bullet-proof backpacks is absurd.

When someone decides that they are going to shoot up a public place, it is already too late. Society has already failed and in all likelihood people will die.

I think the root cause of this problem is unfounded hate.

Politicians and political pundits are constantly bashing their opponents and blaming them for every problem in the country. The two political parties are growing further apart and more extreme.

Judging by what is on the internet, every liberal wants to take away everyone’s guns and outlaw heterosexual relationships. While every conservative wants to deport all brown people and make Jesus president.

Each side has effectively demonized the other and lionized their own. From the outside looking in, our society seems like it’s in civil war.

People pick sides; I know I’m guilty of it. When I hear someone say that they’re conservative, I instantly make a bunch of assumptions and I lose a lot of respect for them.

However, actually discussing things with people uncovers a lot of common ground. It’s hard to hate someone if you can listen and understand where their ideas are coming from and hear a bit of their story.

I’m not saying that children are shooting up schools because of their political views, but I think some similar principles apply.

Children who are isolated or picked on are going to get angry at their classmates. They’re going to blame their problems on others and, over time, if left unchecked, their anger is going to grow into hate. Every so often, one child will snap.

I think the solution to the mass shooting epidemic, at least within schools, is pretty simple: don’t let anyone feel alone.

At my middle school, we had listening groups. Every few weeks, students would be randomly placed in groups of four or five plus a teacher for an hour.

Basically, we just went around and shared whatever was on our minds.

We talked uncensored about our problems, our achievements, our likes and dislikes, we told jokes or whatever else we wanted and it was supposed to be confidential. Teachers weren’t allowed to share with parents or other teachers.

I think implementing a similar program in high schools could be effective and give children who are isolated an outlet for their thoughts and emotions.

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Forget political affiliation, discuss ending shootings