North Texas Daily

School shootings: ‘See Something, Say Something’ is not enough

School shootings: ‘See Something, Say Something’ is not enough

School shootings: ‘See Something, Say Something’ is not enough
February 15
18:26 2018

We’ve all seen it 100 times before. And at this rate, probably another 100 times before it ends.

Columbine. Sandy Hook. San Bernardino. And now — Parkland.

Getting on any social media on Wednesday was like going through the five stages of grief, each and every time. Graphic videos posted by screaming students. Fake Instagram accounts politicizing the tragedy. Breaking news, some new piece of story-changing information every few minutes.

Because I come from Broward County, I have friends and family in the area. My social media feeds carry the weight of the experiences and the feelings of those local to the situation — the heartbreak. The terror. The anger.

And in Florida, we have a saying:

“The farther south you go, the further north you are.”

It’s a play on the more urban liberal demographics of South Florida and the distance between the region and the stereotypical South. Instead, those who have lived in Florida understand a more accurate description.

The more “northern” parts of the state tend to dress the coastal regions, leaving the inland swamp lands an almost entirely different universe: a universe made up of airboats, alligators and vast swathes of citrus groves.

As I waded through the thick muck of jarring news posts on Facebook, I noticed one thing above all else: people are mad at each other. Liberals call for gun control, conservatives push back against it.

But what conservatives fail to offer in return is a solution of their own. Beyond the thoughts and prayers, which do no good for any involved — except patting oneself on the back — the Right pushes a message of “See Something, Say Something.”

They emphasize the necessity to report suspicious activity to the authorities. This sounds great. Authorities can’t possibly catch everything. But what they fail to recognize is that this simply does not work.

There’s a concept in psychology that anyone who’s taken an introduction to psychology class would recognize: the bystander effect. The bystander effect is a phenomenon where in public settings, the average person assumes that someone else will speak up and so elects not to do so themselves. What results is a situation where nobody reports anything.

This is not a problem unique to gun violence, but rather is noted as a facet of human nature.

According to the Giffords Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence, Florida law does not require licenses for firearm owners; the law does not prohibit the quantity of firearms that can be purchased at one time; firearm dealers are not required to be licensed.

But most of all, Florida state law does not regulate assault weapons, .50-caliber rifles or large capacity ammunition magazines.

Nikolas Cruz used an assault rifle, an AR-15, to murder 17 students and teachers, injuring 15 others. He purchased the weapon from Sunrise Tactical Supply in Florida and broke no laws in its procurement.

Had anyone seen him carrying the weapon he used to murder 17 people, nothing could have been done. Up until the moment Cruz entered the school and opened fire on the students, he had broken no laws. What would authorities have been able to do about a law-abiding 19-year-old carrying an AR-15?

Nothing.

And this is the problem with the lack of a bipartisan solution to gun violence — an issue that knows no party lines.

It’s truly sad every time we come face to face with a mass shooting, The Onion posts the same satirical article with the headline, “‘No Way To Prevent This,’ Says Only Nation Where This Regularly Happens,” and each time it rings more and more true.

I think we can all agree that Cruz is a sick, vile man who deserves every ounce of punishment he will get. We can all agree that mental health is a huge issue rearing its big ugly head on our society.

But when we say the only way to solve our problem is through minor vigilantism, then we can make no progress in the fight against gun violence.

Jake King is the Visuals Editor for the North Texas Daily.

Featured Image: File 

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Jake King

Jake King

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1 Comment

  1. UNT Senior
    UNT Senior February 16, 12:45

    Well, guns are already not allowed in High Schools anyway. Shootings like these pretty much only happen in “gun free zones.” So do you think the solution is to create more gun free zones? It’s really more like an “unarmed victim zone.”

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