Opinion & Advice

A sign hangs near a cemetery where shooting victim Jessica Rekos was to be buried on Dec. 18 in Newtown, Connecticut. Funeral services continue to be held for the 20 children and six adults killed at the school on Dec. 14. PHOTO/GETTY IMAGES

The tragic events of the school shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn. have been weighing on our minds for the last few days. We asked a few of The Mash’s reporters to talk about their thoughts on the subject and whether they feel safe at school after hearing the news about the 20 children and six adults killed at the Connecticut school.

By Barbara Cruz
Hancock

As a student who wonders about what goes through the mind of the perpetrators of massacres such as Sandy Hook, I must say that this was a tragedy, plain and simple. I hold many opinions as to what happened during the Sandy Hook incident, circling around gun control, the mental state of the killer, and most importantly, the victims. This tragedy happened because of many preventable factors, but the fact of the matter is that it happened.

I don’t feel as if I am in any danger at my school, however. My school may not have the reputation of being one of the safest schools or communities, but I am very confident that if someone attempted to enter the school, our security guards and police officers would be able to do something to prevent entry. The difference between a school like Sandy Hook and a school like Hancock is that Hancock has far higher security actively in place. It has security cameras, metal detectors, police officers and security guards constantly on guard. My parents know they don’t have to worry that much about my safety at school.

Again, being classified as one of the CPS high schools with at least some level of tension, my school has taken extra precautions to make sure that no one who shouldn’t be inside of Hancock is there. Uniforms, IDs with visible lanyards, book bags that are all the same; these are all simple things that may not make much difference now, but may save some lives in the future.

In my opinion, I don’t think we need to focus too much on gun control. I think it’s time to talk about the mental illness part of this issue, and about how tragedies like this one are covered by the media. People like James Holmes, responsible for the Colorado movie theater shooting, Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold, responsible for the Columbine school shooting, and Seung-Hui Cho, who was responsible for the Virginia Tech shooting, have celebrity-like name recognition; they’re not looked upon as heroes, of course, but their names are far more well-known than the names of their victims. If killers like these aren’t given so much media attention, then there’s no reason for anybody to want to one-up these people. The ultimate punishment for the perpetrators, in my opinion, isn’t getting caught or dying; it’s forgetting about them.

By Raul España
Lane Tech

The Sandy Hook school shooting tragedy really sparked a sad reaction from people around the world. Every parent hugged  his or her child a little bit tighter after Friday. The shooting was a catastrophe that left children and school staff dead, parents worried, and a country that is saddened, angered and left with many questions.

When I first heard about the shooting while I was in class on Friday, I first thought how much of a tragedy it was to have students being killed while at school. As I got home Friday evening, I turned on the news and learned that the shooting took place in an elementary school and that the casualties were mostly young children. I was deeply saddened to the point where I imagined myself in the shoes of a parent and what it would be like to lose a child. I almost cried at the thought. I personally feel safe at my school and my parents are not too worried about me, but anything is still possible and any school can become a target, evidenced by schools such as Columbine and Sandy Hook.

A school is a place where both parents and children think students should be safe; the elementary school shooting made many children and parents realize that anything is possible to happen whether it is at school or in their homes, and in even the “safest” of communities. Although many are worried about the safety of their children, many are blaming guns and the right to bear arms the problem to not only this shooting, but other mass shootings as well.

Are guns really the target to blame in tragedies and massacres? Some believe so, but others could argue that it was a mental illness situation, such as the Colorado movie theater shooting this summer. Regardless, many people are outraged from the school shooting this past Friday and want action to be taken place.

In the world, anything is possible no matter how much you prepare. Stricter gun policies might help prevent the problem of violence in America little by little, but anything could still happen. But for now, we remember and mourn the twenty-six lives lost in Connecticut and begin the healing process.

>> Do you have thoughts you want to share about the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting in Newtown? Leave a comment below or email them to us at themash@tribune.com.

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About The Mash

Maura Wall Hernandez is digital editor of The Mash.

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