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We Shouldn’t Have to Fear Going to School

Fibonacci Blue/Creative Commons

On Jan. 10, Culver City High School held one of their school-wide assemblies. Not thinking much of it, I reluctantly followed the rest of my class into the Robert Frost auditorium, wondering what the point was of even coming to school that day. After all, I wasn’t going to get much from the assembly and having an assembly made the rest of the day into, frankly, a joke. Periods other than the assembly would be only 30 minutes. What was the point of that? Still frustrated about having to be there, I took my seat and listened to the obligatory greetings. However, I noticed something a bit different about this assembly. Instead of the usual counselors or administrators, it was the Culver City Police Department, or CCPD, on the stage. While I had been informed that this assembly was about safety, I didn’t expect it to be on the topic of school shootings, although they were never referred to explicitly by that name. 

The assembly itself was a slog. Just one slide after another, the presentation was filled with information that had been drilled into my head thousands of times before: stay quiet in the classroom, turn off the lights, lock the doors, all told through the usual corporate videos with their fake actors and low production quality. However, I was taken aback when the police officers began speaking about their responsibility to take down a shooter and save as many lives as possible. The fact that it is conceivable that armed police could potentially even have to come into a school and take down a gunman is awful. Why is it that such assemblies and their related announcements are necessary? Is it really fair that I should come to school with the possibility of not going back home? Is it right that we have a culture in which these kinds of incidents take place? In 2023 alone, there were 40 mass shooting incidents in which four or more people were killed. That number when four or more were injured is 656. Is it really right that someone can very easily go buy a gun and take lives with it?

When I walked to elementary school, every day I would pass by a gun store. Glancing through the door, I could always see people in there, admiring these cruel machines. As a 5th grader, I didn’t quite appreciate the magnitude of this, but the fact that two blocks away from where I learned was a store that traded in lives now disgusts me. In the United States, there are 16,586 gun stores. These 16,586 stores caused nearly 43,000 deaths in 2023 alone. Because these stores are allowed to exist, almost five people are killed by their wares per hour. That is five needless deaths every 60 minutes we live. The sad truth is that these 43,000 deaths are enshrined in our Constitution. When our country was made, these lives were lost. 

The data is staggering. In 2023, the United States had the 3rd most gun deaths in the world per 100,000 people, beat only by Brazil and Mexico. Both of these countries rank well below the United States in their GDP per capita. In fact, the closest countries to the United States in GDP per capita, Denmark and Switzerland, had 64 and 230 gun deaths respectively. The United States had 40,043. 

The issue of guns in the United States is incredibly complex and has many factors influencing it. There is no easy or simple solution, and calling for an outright ban on guns would never work. I hope something eventually will be done, and I hope that it will happen sooner than eventually. It is simply not right that assemblies like this have to happen. It is not right that when in school, students are also in danger.

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Leo Marcus, Staff Writer

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