On January 31, 2013 youth from across the country came together in a discussion to search for solutions to gun violence. The chat was hosted by Radio Rookies and Youth Radio to discuss the growing concern of gun violence and the way young people feel about guns. This discussion couldn’t have come at a more critical time: During the chat, a student at an Atlanta middle school was shot in the neck. Just the night before, a shooting broke out near a basketball game at Bullard High School in Fresno. This is in addition to the shooting in early January at Taft High School and the Newtown, Connecticut elementary school shooting.
Various youth from across the country participated and provided numerous points of view. A quote from Bianca Brooks, 17, that summed up how she felt about guns was shared. “As a young person, it feels unfair to see so much death. It totally changes our outlook. A lot of the young people I know don’t expect to live that long. The source of that feeling? Guns. It’s not drugs, it’s not car accidents. It’s that fear that every second could be your last. No one should have to live with that feeling.”
Various people in the conversation shared their experience with guns which ranged from never touching a gun to frequently using one for fun or even for protection. Some people even suggested possible solutions to the problem, like metal detectors, increased police presence on campus and armed teachers.
According to a recent survey released by The California Endowment, 31% of California voters support allowing teachers trained in firearms to carry guns on school grounds (16% strongly). Many of the young people in the web discussion expressed their concerns on this topic, some stating armed teachers shouldn’t happen, while some others felt otherwise. “I definitely think that guns in schools as a security measure is too much. It just simply does not make sense to me to want to scare away a threat using the same scary tool that the threat is using…” said Joey from the Appalachian Media Institute.
Many of the people in the discussion also raised the idea that violence is the true problem – not just guns – and in order to have a positive outcome school climate and culture needs to be addressed.
Perhaps we really need to help our young people by increasing community involvement and reducing violent behavior through positive means. Maybe then we can prevent tragedies like people all over the country losing their lives unnecessarily.