The aftermath of Columbine, 15 years later

By Shivani Patel, Staff Writer
@shizupates

Fierce debate surrounds the gun control issue./ PHOTO VIA Flickr user Josh Lopez

Fierce debate surrounds the issue of gun control./ PHOTO VIA Flickr user Josh Lopez

This past Monday marked the 15th anniversary of the shootings that took place in Littleton, Colorado at Columbine High School. Two high school students, Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold, opened fire on their school, killing twelve people and wounding over twenty. They then committed suicide in the school, leaving the tragedy that is Columbine behind them.

Since then, a total of 29 notable shootings in schools have occurred across the country from 1999 to 2012.

Let that sink in for a moment.

These 29 shootings span 13 years — U.S. citizens have witnessed this many tragedies.

The ages of the shooters themselves range, but what I find incredibly disheartening and tragic is that one shooting (although less fatal than some) involved a six-year-old boy shooting one of his classmates.

There are two sides to the issue of gun control. There are those for increased restrictions on gun usage, and there are those against adding restrictions to gun usage. The latter is spearheaded by the National Rifle Association (NRA).

With recent shootings, like the one that took place just last year at Sandy Hook Elementary, the NRA has been criticized for its support of the use of firearms. In their defense, they claim that in pushing for more gun control, the Second Amendment right to bear arms will be put in danger.

According to their website, the NRA has implemented programs such as the “Eddie Eagle GunSafe Program,” which is designed to train kids from K-6 to not touch a firearm if unsupervised and to alert an adult immediately, or the “Refuse To Be A Victim” seminar, designed to teach anyone how to attain personal safety at all times.

Remember that six-year-old boy I mentioned earlier? He did the exact opposite of what the program preached, and the boy’s relatives were convicted of leaving a firearm where it was easily accessible for children. With this situation in mind, it is difficult to trust the effectiveness of the program, when it has proven not to reach its entire intended audience.

At the same time, by instituting gun control laws, the purpose of a firearm for use of self-defense is defeated when there are so many rules and regulations.

I find the debate interesting, but with the ever-increasing worry about future shootings, it is necessary for both sides to come together and figure out a solution before the situation becomes even worse.

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