Editorial – More than a Fine Line

Despite increased measures to limit the frequency of violence that occurs throughout our nation, instances of violence are still evident; some for reasons of religion, racism, sexism, or domestic violence, and others without a clear motive. In this day and age, it may seem like we, as a society, should be able to move past gun violence, but it jumps back into our minds every so often, a reminder that there is still plenty of work left to do.

Killings in South Carolina and Virginia, where nine and two people were killed in June and August, respectively, are the most recent examples of this senseless violence. This has been happening for decades, though many measures have been put in place. Is there more we can do, or are we really at the extent of what we can do to try and limit the violence here in the United States? There’s much more than just a fine line.

Looking at a specific portion of the United States, according to the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES), access to a loaded gun without adult permission for students aged 12-18, either at school or away from school, has dropped consistently since 2007. About 6.7 percent of these students had access in 2007, but that number dropped down to 3.7 percent in 2013. These numbers look promising on paper, and it does shows that plans set in place have made an impact, but it doesn’t always tell the entire story.

Another side of the story besides age and access to weapons comes from mental disorders. The danger of one who holds a gun is increased exponentially if the holder suffers from a serious mental disorder, as demonstrated over the past decade with some of the major acts of violence that we as a country have witnessed. These mental disorders can be readily masked when buying weaponry. Unless a system is implemented to look more closely at all possible purchasers, these acts will remain the norm. The uphill battle to placing tighter restrictions on the purchase of guns undoubtedly grows more urgent.

Now, with all of this going on, shootings have become more ingrained in our minds, partly due to the emphasis that our media gives it. Not much time passes before you receive a CNN alert on your phone saying how there has been a shooting or some sort of violence, either locally or nationally. Media plays such a vital role in this entire process, as our country’s tolerance for acts of mass violence has become incredibly high.

Still, people outside of the major media outlets can still make an impact. Here on campus, any student, staff or faculty member, or professor can play a role and has the right to voice his or her opinion, whether it’s about gun violence or any other current important issues.

Shootings can be covered in a fury, without much focus into every single fact of a story, which is why it’s as important as ever to ensure that the stories that we do cover are accurate while still being timely. The reader has just as much power to bring his or her voice to the forefront, and that can keep things such as gun control sustained and in the conversation for months to come, allowing positive changes to be made, whether on campus or around the country.

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