Mass shootings: our new normal?

Since the Sandy Hook massacre, there have been at least 1,904 mass shootings with 2,164 people killed and 7,987 people wounded, according to Vox.

So far in 2018, 318 mass shootings have occurred with 355 people killed and 1,265 people wounded. This number is accurate as of Nov. 21. Since reporting on this topic, these numbers have been adjusted about 10 times.

The number of mass shootings that happen in America is not decreasing and as the years go on, more and more people are affected. This is bringing up the question about whether mass shootings are becoming a regular part of our daily lives.

Nowadays, upon hearing about a mass shooting many people aren’t surprised. This raises an alarm for many students, especially here at H-F where a social media threat of violence was made a couple of weeks ago and a student brought loose bullets to school last week.

Although these two incidents caused no one physical harm, it was still concerning for many students. The Voyager surveyed about 80 students and 57.9 percent of them said they only feel somewhat safe at school.

“H-F’s security is abundant yet at times ineffective and there are a lot of threats like this at the school, whether they are all taken seriously or not,” junior Benjamin Hamer said. “considering that there have been numerous threats to H-F, we are still here and safe. This shows that maybe the security is doing its job perfectly.”

In America today, some students believe that mass shootings can happen anywhere.

“School shootings are the reality of America. The fact that it could possibly happen here is eye opening. When something like this happens, it just makes the reality kick in that school shootings can happen anywhere,” junior Sarah Chevalier said.

Math teacher Paul Fasse said when he first heard of the social media threat to the school he was concerned, but with the “diligence” of the administration, the Flossmoor Police and the FBI, he felt just as safe coming to school on the following Monday as any other day. He also said it is important that mass shooting aren’t accepted as normal.

“[Mass shootings] are tragic and unacceptable, and I think it is of utmost concern for our populace and political system to look at other countries and the policies they have implemented that has significantly reduced the occurrence of mass shootings in their countries,” Fasse said. “Australia, in my opinion, is a great model for us to consider in terms of their policy on assault weapons they enacted after a mass shooting that occurred in the 1990’s.”

Chemistry teacher Rick Pavinato said just the thought of a potential incident can be damaging to someone’s mental health because “this constant sense of potential danger can disrupt a person’s sense of security and cause undue stress on themselves.”

This school year H-F implemented a new ID policy in an attempt to make the school safer. In addition to this, more doors are being locked across campus and security presence has been heightened. However, with the openness of the path between the North and South buildings, many students are concerned for their safety.

Principal Dr. Jerry Lee Anderson said it is important that the school has adequate communication and support for students who may need help.

“School safety is always everyone’s responsibility. It’s really not just about a moment in time about where you are, it’s about the things you do ahead of time when you have information,” Anderson said. “For example, when you know someone’s particularly stressed or angry, or when you know someone intends to do harm. It’s about communication.”

As previously mentioned, last week a student had loose bullets in their possession at school. According to the school, the student’s parent said the student had no access to any weapons. The student was arrested by the Flossmoor Police Department and since then the investigation has been completed and charged have been filed.

In reference to the situation Anderson said, “What I am going to do is continue to encourage students to make good decisions. There was no threat, there was an investigation.”

Incidents like this that happen in our community and country is furthering the debate over whether mass shootings are becoming normalized. 84.2 percent of students in our survey said they agree with the statement mass shootings are in fact normalized.

“Before it seemed like the whole world stopped, now we don’t blink twice,” junior Temi Oduwole said.