Fifteen years ago, two seniors opened fire at Columbine High School. They killed 12 students and one teacher, in what remains the deadliest mass murder committed on an American high school campus. The unprecedented event shocked, saddened, and horrified people across the nation. While every school shooting since has induced the same feelings of sadness and horror, the shock seems to be fading.
That’s because a school shooting is no longer an anomaly. From the Wikipedia page dedicated to listing these events, I count 66 incidents in this decade. And we’re not very far into this decade. The latest addition comes from Roswell, New Mexico. It was breaking news last Tuesday: 12-year-old in custody after 2 students shot at New Mexico middle school. For a moment I thought the list was incomplete when I didn’t see the Arapahoe High shooting that took place in Colorado last month listed directly above it. I didn’t realize three shootings had occurred in between.
My school has responded to each event with increased security measures. We’ve started locking the doors at the bottom of the school, for example, forcing everyone to use the main entrance for much of the day. While this is often inconvenient, at least I can take consolation in knowing any potential shooters would be thoroughly thwarted by this ingenious tactic. After the Arapahoe tragedy, swift action was taken again. In a cunning gesture of decisive practicality, the school procured a very large desk. It now sits awkwardly in the hallway at the top of the school, manned by a security guard who watches people as they come in. Safety attained!
There is certainly more to the story. I know my school has worked very hard, as have schools around the country, to find solutions to this immensely complex and terrifying issue. I am deeply grateful for all the people working to keep me safe at school, and I appreciate the difficulty of finding suitable actions. But the locked doors and the desk just don’t make a lot of sense to me.