A March Without a Shooting

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The Crime Report

Students hold a sign explaining that they rather read books than eulogies. They're aware of this issue, and they demand change.

By Emily Ito, Yorba Linda High School

The conclusion of the month of March was a momentous occasion. Why? Because it is the first March, in nearly two decades, that our country did not suffer from a school shooting. We should be celebrating. We should be proud of this enormous accomplishment. 

But I’m not celebrating. I don’t feel an ounce of pride for this supposed victory. 

Sure, the absence of a school shooting at any time is something that we should feel pleased by. I’m ecstatic that I did not see any news report detailing someone opening fire on a room full of students. I’m so glad that we got through the month of March without the appearance of this type of tragic event. 

Yet these feelings of glee are diminished by my feelings of disbelief and shame. Of course there wasn’t a school shooting. How can there be a school shooting when there is no school? 

Thus, this statistic of no March school shootings is no accomplishment nor triumph. It is merely a victory by default. ”

It took a quarantine, school closures, a Shelter in Place order, and a global pandemic to prevent the occurrence of a campus massacre in the month of March. And many students, like Jacob Viveros (12) take note and criticize this, pointing out that “we didn’t eliminate gun violence, we just unintentionally decreased opportunity.” Thus, this statistic of no March school shootings is no accomplishment nor triumph. It is merely a victory by default. 

Not to mention that while we haven’t had the traditional definition of a school shooting, seven shootings still took place on school campuses during March 2020, as reported by Everytown for Gun Safety. Four were unintentional, one was over the weekend between two adults, and two of them took place on college campuses and involved no students. Yet regardless of the fact that they differed from what we imagine when we think of school shootings, they are still indicative of an unnecessary amount of gun violence. 

I was born in June of 2002. For the duration of my life, not a single year has gone by when March does not bring grief, suffering, and disbelief to our nation. As illustrated by the National School Safety and Security Services, for 18 consecutive years, the month of March included at least one incidence of a school shooting. 

I am in disbelief when I consider how long this horrible phenomenon has gone on. Our nation has watched as countless lives have been stolen by gun violence. Watched as families grieved the sudden loss of their loved ones. Watched as America’s youth was corrupted by the trauma and fear of entering a classroom. We watched and we allowed our education system to become synonymous with tragedy, violence, and terror.  

I’m heartbroken that this is the reality we live in. That we’ve permitted the recurrence of this for so long. Let this be a wake up call. Let the fact that this is a legitimate problem. It shouldn’t take a quarantine to prevent school shootings. 

This story was originally published on The Wrangler on April 2, 2020.