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Beating a Dead Horse: Gun Control

Ben Germinara, Staff Writer

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To say guns and schools have been a hot button issue is like walking up to someone and saying “Did you hear that half of the Kardashian family is made of plastic?”: You’d be stating nothing new and most likely get a similar ambivalent roll of the eyes. With the nature of modern politics, when school shootings are more frequent than ever and the death count racks up, the Liberal and Conservative do what they do best: Nothing. Absolutely nothing. You have Liberals proposing gun control plans with no room for compromise that no legislature would dare pass for fear of a second Civil war, while the conservatives want to simply pass off any attempt at discussion. Conservatives will as they do take every liberal extreme and counter it with a cheaper, equally extreme dismissive rebuttal that leaves everyone sitting around playing pocket pool, while more kids die. We see this in practice with left-wing “Walk Out Movements” being countered with a dismissive, arguably downright insulting “Walk Up Not Out” right-wing movement that does nothing but leave the conversation at a stalemate all while nicely blaming the victim. Lovely.

So now, in these fine months of March and April, we see the most recent instance of the parties playing as apes and throwing their own feces at each other hoping for it to stick in the current debate over guns in school. Liberals of course take a very extreme end of wanting very tight restrictive gun control, even banning and retaking hundreds of said weapons and making restrictions that would do little to stop a shooter while the conservatives wave off any conversation or possible compromise with the ‘one size fits all’ argument with “Just put Officers in the school, or arm teachers, whatever gets this to die down.”

“Well what’s your problem? It sounds like at least one side is pushing to get something passed that might actually change things!” To be truthful, this is a reasonable assertion. While a vast majority of the student populace I have talked to have universally said they would feel a touch uneasy with the presence of armed guards within school premises, the same majority also say that it may be the only way. In theory, having a officer on premises, armed and ready to engage any shooter who would set foot on school grounds. Simple right? Wipe your hands clean and keep walking cause issue solved right?

Well… no. Now that’s not to say that I don’t believe that this would be a good measure, in fact I agree with it for the most part. The problem is that in most larger schools, even in local schools like Oswego have decided to station a state trooper on the premises serving the same purpose for in some cases decades now. To act like they never existed is… well once again simply a distraction from a actual conversation.  

What conservatives are actually proposing is to expand upon this, and introduce more federally trained resource officers, 1-5 depending on school population. Now consider that each officer is given an average salary of around $100,000, which does not include the cost of their equipment and squad cars. How many police stations in larger towns are proposing chipping in to help take off from taxpayers, but were still looking at around 100,000 per officer. Now consider that nationwide there are over 160,000 public and elementary schools that would require multiple officers, assume a average of 3 for sanity’s sake, and do some rudimentary calculations, it’s a lot of money per year, every year, ignoring startup costs. “Are you saying kids aren’t worth that much?!?!?” well no, but the money has to come from somewhere for a very expensive band aid solution.

What do I mean by that? Well the simple fact that these resource officers are intended only as the first line of defense and often only secure the perimeter and simply wait for state officers to arrive. While their have been a couple cases held up as one officer bravely engaging and taking down a shooter, let’s keep in mind that in these cases they not only broke their training and protocol to do the right thing, in those cases its one officer out of five who actually took action and saved lives. One out of five may be fantastic gambling odds, but in ratio of trained professionals doing their tax paid job is terrible in terms of the protection of the lives of children.

So what needs to happen? I don’t know. I’m a teenager. I’m not going to be narcissistic enough to say that I know what has to be done and everyone else is wrong, but here’s the facts. The U.S has the most mass shootings of any first world country, and the numbers are only rising. It’s a cultural issue that has increased with the rate of teen suicide who now have the ideology of “Take a few down with me”. When a issue this large, with this many deaths goes without any serious action from either side shows that there’s a problem. The answer isn’t with the left or the right, but somewhere in the middle, and we need to push to get this conversation to happen, to find a agreement somewhere in the middle fast to actually fix this issue instead of just hastily coming up with random fix all solutions like resource officers.

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Beating a Dead Horse: Gun Control