Texas College Shooting Prompts Look at Gun Control Issue


Map locates site of Lone Star College North Harris campus near Houston, Texas, where a shooting incident took place. (MCT 2013)
Map locates site of Lone Star College North Harris campus near Houston, Texas, where a shooting incident took place. (MCT 2013)

Like many aspiring journalists with the desire to stay informed, I signed up for news alerts to be sent to my phone. Before my afternoon classes begun on Jan. 22, I had some time to waste- why not catch up on the latest news stories? However, my heart immediately dropped as I caught a glimpse of the latest headline: another school shooting.

According to The New York Times, at least three people were injured from a shooting at Lone Star College in Houston, TX. At around 12:52 p.m., the community college called for an evacuation in response to gunshots and sightings of “a couple of armed suspects.”

Sadly, this isn’t an unfamiliar headline. In 1999, it was Columbine High School. In 2007, it was Virginia Tech. Last winter, it was Chardon High School outside of Cleveland. Last month, it was Sandy Hook elementary school in Newtown.

Notice a pattern? Occurrences of school shootings aren’t spanning over years and years anymore; it seems that a new shooting is now happening every few weeks. This horrifying trend has sent the nation into a heated debate over gun control.

Unfortunately, no one seems to have the right answer. Some suggest arming principals and other school authorities with guns of their own. I’m hesitant to support this “solution,” because these frequent shootings have turned me into a distrusting person. It seems as though I can’t go to the movie theater, the mall or even school without running the risk of becoming caught in a mass shooting. Many of the gunmen involved in these shootings lived normal, noncriminal lives… and then all of the sudden, they snapped. How can I fully trust that a faculty member would stay sane? Just because they have positions of power does not mean that they aren’t capable of falling victim to moments of insanity.

Since gun control seems to be a never-ending battle between conservatives and liberals, maybe we need to shift our focus onto bullets rather than the guns themselves. Although he stated this as a joke in one of his comedy routines, I think Chris Rock was onto something when he said, “You don’t need no gun control, you know what you need? We need some bullet control… I think all bullets should cost five thousand dollars… five thousand dollars per bullet… You know why? Cause if a bullet cost five thousand dollars there would be no more innocent bystanders… People would think before they killed somebody if a bullet cost five thousand dollars.”

He might’ve just been trying to get a laugh or two, but I honestly don’t think this is such a bad idea. The Newtown shooter proved how easy it is for unregistered people to get their hands on a gun. But if you raise the price of bullets, getting ahold of enough bullets to kill dozens of people would be quite difficult and very costly. If we tried raising the cost of bullets rather than abolishing gun ownership entirely, both sides of the gun issue could win: people could keep their guns, but there’d be far less bullets in circulation.

In the end, I’ll support anything that can realistically put an end to this trend. As my class begun, I couldn’t help but wonder: what if my school was next? What if a gunman entered my classroom right now?

It’s a sad day when you wonder if your own school will be the next headline to pop up on your phone.