Nashville School Shooting is 13th This Year

Yesterday on March 27, 2023, yet another devastating mass shooting was carried out in an American school. Three precious 9-year-old children were shot to death in the place they should be safest, never to return to their parents arms again. Hallie Scrugs, described as “a gift” by her parents as well as Evelyn Dieckhaus and William Kenney. Three brave adult staff members lost their lives trying to stand between a deranged shooter and the kids they’re tasked with protecting. Mike Hill, 61, was a custodian who loved his job and sang at last year’s graduation ceremony for the children. Katherine Koonce, 60, was the head of Covenant Christian Academy and had dedicated her life to her passion of educating young people. Cynthia Peak, 61, was a substitute teacher.Once again, we the people are left trying to make sense of the unthinkable. The public is not safe and neither our leaders nor our masses can come to a consensus on how to stop the rain of bullets that are drowning our nation’s sense of security.

This shooting, while gut wrenching, is not unique. Yesterday’s incident was the 13th school shooting to take place since the first of the year- that’s just school shootings. If you look at mass shootings in general, America has already had 130 mass shootings at the time of this article being written, with more likely to follow before many readers will have a chance to see this.

”There have been more mass shootings than days in 2023” –Kiara Alfonseca, writer at ABC News

Gun violence is now the leading cause of death for American children, surpassing illness and car accidents. How many more children will bleed out in the floor of their school as their friends watch in horror? What effect will the fear have on the long-term mental health of today’s children? These are questions nobody can answer, deepening the despair of every household in our country.

The suspect in this latest elementary school shooting was a 28-year-old named Audrey Hale. Details are still emerging on this person’s motivations, but it is known that they had previously attended the school that was targeted and may have held some sort of resentment towards the school due to it being a Christian academy. It is likely that this person’s experience and memory of attending the religious school conflicted with their more recent self-perception and identification as a transgender male. A manifesto was found, detailing Audrey’s plans to carryout this heinous attack. At 10:14, a gun was used to shoot the glass out of a schoolhouse door before it was breeched by the shooter. Five officers arrived on scene within minutes and ran to the sound of gunfire on the second floor where they found and killed the 28-year-old gunman. Five of the six victims were transported to the hospital before being pronounced dead.

While gun access continues to be hotly contested in the court of public opinion and on the floor of congress, an important factor to consider is the mental health crisis. Gun violence is one symptom of a much more insidious problem. We can see evidence of social unrest in air travel, across all social media platforms, on our roads and highways, in the growing number of people becoming homeless on our streets, police brutality, unwavering suicide rates and the raging opioid crisis.

Gun reform is not the only frontier upon which we can fight against this tragic epidemic. In the interim of comprehensive gun laws, we can all play a small role in counteracting violence by spreading kindness, being conscious of our role in spreading hate online and notifying authorities of threats made by people you may know- no matter how idle those threats may seem.