Spring tragedy encourages needed changes
In the past year alone, America has seen countless acts of gun and domestic violence. Many opportunities change the laws have not been taken. However, a gruesome murder that occurred in July may just be the catalyst that brings about the needed change.
According to click2houston.com, Ron Lee Haskell entered the residence of his ex-wife’s sister in Spring, Texas. In order to gain access into the home, he disguised himself as a FedEx worker, and when 15-year-old Cassidy Stay opened the door, Haskell forced his way in. He then proceeded to tie up the family and shoot them; of the seven Stay family members only Cassidy survived.
The Houston Chronicle reported that the shooting occurred after an argument broke out between Haskell and his ex-wife. This tragedy, along with the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting or the shooting in Aurora, Colo. may cause one to wonder why stricter gun control laws were not put into place.
To Beverly McPhail, adjunct faculty at the Women’s, Gender & Sexuality Studies Program, the focus of this tragedy should bring attention to our masculine-dominated society, as this tragedy may be seen as a result of domestic dispute.
“When an event such as this one occurs, everyone looks at it through their own individual lens. As a feminist, my lens is masculinity,” McPhail said. “We need a societal change, where men don’t feel like they are entitled to power and control over women. I think these guys feel entitled and believe that they should have power, women and good things. And when they don’t, they just get enraged. They feel powerless, and one way for them to feel powerful is to pick up a gun.”
However, the students and staff of Lemm Elementary School — a local school in Spring — were not going to let the death of Mrs. Stay be in vain, yourhoustonnews.com reported. Mrs. Stay had been a strong supporter of the battered Women’s Shelter in and around her area. Lemm Elementary, with the help of The Klein Collins Tiger Band Student Council and Klein Collins Band Association’s parent organization, came up with donations to provide to the Women’s Shelter — items which they were in high need of.
“Places like these need steady supplies of things,” said Women’s Resource Center Director Malkia Hutchinson. “(It’s great that) if you give financially the money can be allocated to whatever their needs are, but — as the website said — donations of specific materials are going to have be ongoing because they are getting used and depleted.”
While the actions taken by Lemm Elementary and Klein Collins were admirable, people should not wait for a tragedy to occur before initiating these acts. As a society, we are always quick to help people when a tragedy occurs, but we seem to forget that there are people and organizations, such as the Women’s Shelter, who constantly need support. As a community, it needs to be realized that if one is lucky enough to have the resources to help those in need, it needs to be done on a regular basis.
“We seem to be a culture that responds to specific tragedies,” McPhail said. “Domestic violence is happening every day, but because this event was so tragic it got more people’s attention. Students can think ‘Oh, it happened to someone over there,’ but it can happen on campuses as well.”
Shooting sprees on college campuses are not rare in our country. In fact, according to The Huffington Post, 27 shootings were reported on college campuses in 2013, and this is not even including shootings which may have gone unreported. Accounting senior Christina Nguyen said she believes the focus of these tragedies should be placed on gun control.
“It’s not a matter of having gun control on campus, it’s a matter of having it nationwide,” Nguyen said. “I sometimes fear a shooting occurring on campus, based on the location and because there is no gun control. I think some laws need to be implemented.”
The Stay family murder should never have occurred, but it should be taken as America’s wake-up call. Stricter gun control laws need to be implanted immediately, and the attitude of society towards women needs to change as well. In doing so, we can prevent such a terrible tragedy from ever occurring again.
Opinion columnist Trishna Buch is a print journalism senior and may be reached at [email protected].