Opinion: The Violence Crisis In the United States

My+peers+and+I+should+not+have+to+go+to+school+every+day+fearing+for+our+lives.+School+is+an+environment+that+is+supposed+to+keep+us+safe.+If+we+don%E2%80%99t+stop+this+problem+now%2C+we+are+all+in+danger.+

Chicago Tribune

My peers and I should not have to go to school every day fearing for our lives. School is an environment that is supposed to keep us safe. If we don’t stop this problem now, we are all in danger.

Grace Mulroy, Freelancer

At least once a year, if not more, since April of 1999, the administrator of your school will inevitably come onto the loudspeaker and announce the following: “Lockdown! Lockdown! We are in lockdown!” 

You and all your teachers know this is a drill, though that’s not the dark absurdity of this situation. Each year, the number of violent crimes in the United States climbs higher and higher, especially in schools. 

Why should students fear whether they live or die in an environment that is supposed to keep us safe? Why are violent crime statistics climbing higher and higher? And how can we stop them from doing so? 

My peers and I should not have to go to school every day fearing for our lives. School is an environment that is supposed to keep us safe.”

— Grace Mulroy

First off, what does violent crime mean? A violent crime is when the perpetrator of a crime uses or threatens to harm the victim. Examples include but are not limited to murder, gun violence, and assault. In the State of New York, you could spend 20 years to life in prison for committing this Class A Felony.

Violent crimes are a problem everywhere, though they are especially problematic in the United States. 

Research has shown that, in the United States throughout the year 2020, approximately 3,980,000 violent crimes were committed. Research has also shown that Canada had approximately 20,000 violent crimes committed in 2020. Canada is our neighboring country; why then does the United States have such a drastically higher rate? 

Our neighbor to the north has a lower crime rate than the United States because they have a uniform national criminal code, unlike the United States, where there exists both federal and state criminal laws. So what’s the difference between these two kinds of laws, and why does it make the difference? 

A uniform criminal code means that a country’s federal government creates the laws to be enforced in all corners of the country. Therefore, in Canada, the provinces cannot find any loopholes to add or opt-out of certain laws. 

In the United States, federalism has it that individual states create their own laws. Because of this, certain states can add or opt-out of certain federal laws in the United States. When states are able to add and opt-out of laws at their will, it makes it far easier for people to commit violent crimes. 

The United States also has easier and more accessible access to guns. In the United States, all you need to purchase a firearm is a state government-issued photo ID and a short background check. 

To purchase a firearm in Canada, one will need a firearm license, a restricted firearm license, a safety course completion for restricted firearms, pass the Canadian Firearms Safety Course Exam, get a Possession and Acquisition License, wait for your application to be processed, and get Authorization to Transport (ATT). After all this, you then can legally get a firearm in Canada, though you still have to get it registered.

It’s no wonder that in 2018, there were only 249 violent crimes committed in Canada using guns. Meanwhile, in the United States, there were over 10,000 violent crimes committed utilizing the same weapon. The fact that the United States has such a short process to get a firearm adds to the reason there is a surplus of school shootings. 

In the United States, there have been over 288 school shootings since 2009; in Canada, there have only been 2 school shootings since the same year. 

CNN

Even though it is absolutely indisputable that the violent crime rate is getting out of hand in the United States, the government has still done nothing. So, what should they do, and what can we do? 

The one thing we can’t do is ban guns and other weapons used to commit violent crimes. Based on what history has taught us regarding other bans in the United States, such as Prohibition in the 1920’s and the recent abortion ban in Texas, getting rid of the entity will not stop its use whatsoever. Also, we cannot simply bypass the entirety of the Second Amendment. 

If we cannot get rid of guns then, what should the government and its people do? I say we need to crack down on gun laws. It is far too easy for people to obtain a gun. There should be more tests, regulations, and background checks if someone would like to own this weapon.

As well, there needs to be more education on gun safety and handling. If we can stop the problem at its source and simply teach people how not to hurt anyone with this deadly machine, it could save millions of lives. 

My peers and I should not have to go to school every day fearing for our lives. School is an environment that is supposed to keep us safe. We do not want to live in fear that each day will be our last, simply because the government has recklessly abandoned the number of people who die each day from gun violence. If we don’t stop this problem now, we are all in danger.