With the gun violence erupting both in the country and in the minds of American society, many different things have been said. Restrictions on who can own a gun and why will make our America a safer America--these types of restrictions certainly make other countries safer. UrbEd made a statement about gun control that I unwaveringly stand behind.
But I want to tell you why education--better education--can mitigate this violence we’ve been facing.
The recent Florida shooting was done by a Nikolas Cruz, man who was just barely that--19 years old. And while crimes like that are inexcusable and devastating, they all stem from a place of ignorance. Ignorance in our world and our system, to the fact that so many people lack sufficient education, economic support, healthcare, and other necessary aspects of society. Cruz was an orphan who was in the foster system and, at the time of the shooting, was living with a couple who revealed that they allowed him to keep weapons, including the assault rifle used in the shooting, as long as these weapons were in a locked safe.
It’s abhorrent for young people of color. Recently police from the Baltimore police department were caught carrying around toy guns to plant on innocent black victims of police shootings. Just in case a police officer was caught, in a moment of ignorance and hatred, having shot a black person unwarranted. Just so they could save their own asses, even though they have the upper hand. There are police officers and politicians and teachers and people upon people who keep their jobs after having done unspeakable things.
Why are young people without parents being put into systems where they are made to fail? The system values grades over morality. Students would rather go against their values and cheat, simply because our system thinks a GPA is a value of your worth. Some people say that it’s not about guns; it’s about morality. Even if that were true, schools don’t encourage morality. Due to a lack of funding in Philadelphia public schools for air conditioning or heating, students either swelter inside classrooms or are shivering in their layers. Lockers are small, bathrooms are dirty, lunch is rudimentary. Public schools do not create learning environments where either students or teachers can reach their full potential! Teachers are so grossly underpaid that some of them are not motivated to teach well. Teachers are also not always given the resources they need to teach--the books for their students to read, the printer paper for handouts, the laptops for essay-writing?
Who gets all these resources? The private schools. If there were systems in place to make it so that every school was public and the money that went towards funding private schools instead was put towards bettering public schools, education would be accessible and engaging and a tool wielded to its full potential. And then the students would grow up to their full potentials, to become what they are. Good education--or lack thereof--is just part of the reason that people like Nikolas Cruz are driven to shoot up schools. All these systems are interconnected, and it will take a lot more posts, marches, laws, policies, and movements to fix them.
Mayana Ashley-Carner, Student at Central High School