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Some questions, some answers: A high school sophomore’s take on school mass shootings in America

WSPN’s Kally Proctor discusses the Uvalde shooting and steps schools and policymakers could take to decrease the number of mass school shootings in the United States.

High school sophomore says she's afraid for herself and the country in wake of Uvalde shooting; asks questions, proposes answers...says time to take action.

It’s become normal for people to walk into a school and shoot kids and teachers. This is why I’m scared: It could happen here. It could happen to me. It could happen to you. It’s time we change that.”
— Kally Proctor, Wayland High School Sophomore

WAYLAND, MA, USA, June 1, 2022 / -- This editorial was published today on the Wayland Student Press Network. Excerpts are reprinted here up 1,000 characters due to press release limitations. An ellipsis ("...") below marks a discontinuation and continuation of the actual editorial. The full story can be viewed using the link below.

By Kally Proctor

"I’m a sophomore in high school and I am afraid. I’m afraid for myself and afraid for my country.

I go to school every day, I work hard, I take it seriously, I generally have fun, and yet, I am afraid. It used to be that I was afraid of chemistry tests. Now, I am afraid for my life.

As we all know, this past week, 19 children and two teachers at the Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas were killed in a mass shooting by an 18 year-old that barricaded themselves in a fourth grade classroom with an assault rifle...

The numbers are shocking, but so are the circumstances that have led to these deaths. In the aftermath of yet another tragic school shooting, I am left wondering how did we get here, and what can we do that will make a difference?...

I have more questions than answers. But I also have some suggestions that can get us going in the right direction. Like most complicated subjects, the “answer” is complex and likely involves multiple strategies at multiple levels, from in-school programs to federal and state policies.

Is the answer increased training and security for students and teachers? Maybe...We do need more and better security at our schools...People at last week’s NRA convention argued for “arming the good guys,” providing teachers and administrators with weapons to combat active shooters. I have a hard time believing that more guns at schools is the answer...

But while I don’t want to politicize this terrible event, we just can’t escape the elephant in the room. Shouldn’t we do something about guns, more importantly, about assault weapons? These weapons of war should either be banned or made much harder to get...

It is unclear if these mass shootings could have been totally prevented without the access to assault weapons. However, the number of deaths and injuries likely would have been minimized if the shooters didn’t have rapid-fire, semi-automatic shooting capabilities.

Indeed, the easy availability of assault weapons is one thing that’s different in the U.S. from most of the world on this matter. That is, besides the number of mass shootings that occur. There’s just no arguing that these two facts go hand in hand.

Now, I’m not seeking to repeal the Second Amendment. Approximately 32% of adult Americans are estimated to be gun owners, and repealing or even revising the Second Amendment is just not practical at this time. So, as much as I may dislike guns personally, I’m not proposing banning small, non-automated, non-extreme caliber weapons like conventional pistols and rifles.

But it wouldn’t be trespassing on the American Constitution, a precious document if there ever was one, to conclude that the Second Amendment doesn’t give us the right to bear any and all arms, just some arms.

The Second Amendment doesn’t say anything about the right to own assault weapons which really only have one purpose—mass murder. Creating restrictions on the types of weapons people can purchase, in addition to the types of people who can buy and possess them, now that’s wholly within the Constitution...

Of course, most constitutional “originalists” claim that limiting assault weapons, or making it harder for people to get guns—like increasing the age limit or instituting pre-license mental health checks—is a slippery slope where the outcome becomes a massive infringement on the Second Amendment. But, to me, that’s a ruse. It’s no more of a slippery slope than a hard line, a hard line at outlawing war weapons to protect against more mass murders and more people getting guns that shouldn’t have them. It doesn’t need to be a political or philosophical thing. It’s a practical thing. A big one. After all, we already banned assault weapons for 10 years under Bill Clinton in 1994, and the Second Amendment survived just fine.

Along the same lines, so many of these school mass shootings are done by students. In Uvalde, the suspect was 18 years-old, the legal age limit for purchasing firearms. And yet, the legal age limit for smoking and drinking is 21 years-old. Why not the same requirement for buying a gun? Do policy makers really believe we are safer with more 18-21 year olds running around with guns than without? Sounds like a disaster waiting to happen, and guess what, it is.

What else needs to happen before I can feel safe at school again? I don’t know. Again, I have questions and I have answers, but none of this is perfect. I’m just trying to take a step in the right direction. I’m trying to protect myself and my fellow classmates across America.

We can start with constraining war weapons and making it more difficult for young people to get guns. Then, we can take it from there. Because in the end, this is about Americans being killed at an alarming rate in everyday schools across America.

This is about how it’s become normal for people to walk into a school and shoot kids and teachers. This is about how it’s become normal to hear about events like this in the news. This is about how it’s become normal to read about more and more deaths in our classrooms, something that should be far from normal.

The biggest problem isn’t that this is happening here and there. It’s that it’s happening everywhere and much too frequently for anyone’s peace of mind.

This is why I’m scared: It could happen here. It could happen to me. It could happen to you. It’s time we take action to change that."


Kally Proctor is a staff reporter and the incoming co-Features Editor for WSPN.

Jonathan Slater
Personal Representative for Kally Proctor
+1 617-216-4000
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