Omar Bonilla" />
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Thursday, September 21, 2023


School shootings should not alter our lives

Once again the college community has become the focus of mainstream media, and once again it has not been for the most desirable reasons. Latina Williams, a student at Louisiana Technical College in Baton Rouge, shot and killed two fellow students before killing herself.

Of course, after last year’s Virginia Tech massacre, the headline may seem insignificant. However, it does serve as a reminder of the security issues that remain at schools around the country.

Here, like before, the police have not yet finished their investigation nor have the families come to terms with the losses when self-appointed defenders of the weak started inquiring about the authorities’ response, calling for measures that range from the sensible, such as more counseling or follow up for troubled students, to the ridiculous, such as arming the teachers.

All that fuss and concern may be necessary and justified; however, it could do more harm than good if we let it reach levels of paranoia.

The very effort to ensure a safe and secure environment where our children can grow and enjoy the best of this society has become our weakness. We get easily offended and even more easily scared, and we are inundated with such an unfortunate state of mind from an early age.

A little kid fell from the swing at school once; the parents of course raged and threatened to sue, and now the swings are gone or the kids are not allowed to use them. Another kid brings a knife to school somewhere, and the authorities panic and now there are metal detectors across the country and students are subjected to random searches. Somebody used a slur that, for some reason, some lawyer saw as derogatory, and now we watch our backs and avoid even making eye contact with those that might get offended for little less than the logo on a T-shirt.

What should we expect now from this most recent shooting? More police on college campuses, a drop in enrollment, less people living in the dorms, people afraid of going out or making new friends, calls to the police for the slightest comments or lack of them by the shy boy, or we could simply quit school and go hide under the bed.

Wouldn’t it be nice to be able to go out again and enjoy our lives without worrying about if or how they are going to end? It is time we put things in perspective and keep the uncertain where it should be, away from our reality, for it is not affecting us yet, and it may never even happen.

Some people get hurt, and some people die. That is life, and it does not make sense to punish and deprive a whole generation of kids from all those fun, maybe a little irresponsible, but certainly not very safe little adventures we now remember with joy – and maybe even some pride – just because some of us may have suffered unfortunate accidents. Why not climb that tree, play on the street or explore that old abandoned house?

It is also a proven fact that cars kill more people than guns, but I do not stop driving or see a ban coming on cars. The fact that somebody got shot 1,000 miles from here, no matter how sad it may be, should not affect my life, and I hope the authorities see to it that my tuition money does not get wasted on an expensive security or contingence plan that would surely not deter the next determined shooter. If somebody wants to hurt me, there is always a way, and I certainly do not want to be treated like a baby.

Let’s take care of ourselves, be safe, but do not let fear guide our steps. Life, as we can see, could be too short for that. Understanding and accepting that bad things happen, even to good people, can be a rather liberating experience.

Bonilla, a computer-engineering technology senior, can be reached via [email protected].

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