Gun violence has continually been a major issue in the United States. In 2017 alone, there were 39,773 gun-related deaths, marking the third consecutive year of increase. Current lawmakers are trying to solve this problem, but are doing so by pouring funds into a cause that will not tackle the root of the issue. Instead, it will merely teach kids how to respond the next time a mass shooting occurs.
This cause is called the School-Age Trauma Training Program. The Department of Homeland Security, the Science and Technology Directorate, and FEMA gave the National Center for Disaster Medicine and Public Health a $2.3 million grant to implement a program in select high schools and youth-oriented non-profit organizations across the country.
This program will teach students survival strategies in the event of a mass shooting. It will show students how to perform medical triage and bleeding control in order to save victims who have been shot. The department and administration’s hope is that when school shootings occur, students will be ready and able to help their peers. They will also grow up having the skill set to save lives no matter what the circumstance or location. Experts have compared the program to preparing students for fire drills, as it may provide necessary skills for survival both in school and later in life, and training from a young age can make these actions instinctual. Homeland Security cited the number of school shootings as a reason why this training is necessary, and the program could become a graduation requirement in participating schools.
However, this approach is not a solution to the real problem. The problem is a lack of sufficient, strict background checks required before purchasing a gun, as well as the state of school safety as a whole. U.S. civilians account for 393 million, or 46%, of the worldwide total of civilian-held firearms. Guns are a big part of our society; therefore, sterner policies must be enacted to ensure that they are not getting into the hands of those that should not be equipped with a gun. Critics of this program and gun control advocates call on the administration to spend the money they are using towards funding this program, as well as other resources they may have available, to instead fund research on how to better prevent mass shootings and implement policies that protect our students. Young children trying to get an education should never have to be tasked with the responsibility of saving the lives of their peers.
Education Secretary Betsy DeVos has been assigned to oversee the Federal Commission on School Safety. The commission was formed after the Parkland shooting with a focus on addressing school safety and the culture of violence. However, she has stated that the group will not be investigating the role of guns in school shootings. This statement proves that the administration does not care about questioning the root cause of these issues, or even considering guns as a possibility. They would rather protect the NRA than students, teachers, and American citizens.
It has been almost a year since the Parkland shooting at MSD, and little legislation has been passed to make sure that nothing like that ever happens again. The fire that we ignited in March of 2018 with the March for Our Lives and National School Walkout can not be left to sputter. We must ensure that our actions towards gun regulation go beyond words and lead to positive action and law making.
The Stop the Bleed training programs are not a solution to the problem and should not be treated as such. Rather than simply teaching children how to treat gunshot wounds, we must make certain that our government focuses on implementing gun regulation that will ultimately reduce the number of school shootings, saving countless lives and saving children from the trauma of having to treat their peers.