On Tuesday, Jan. 23, 2018, the country’s 11th school shooting occurred within the first month of 2018. In Benton, Kentucky at Marshall County High School, two 15 year olds were shot and killed by one of their classmates along with 18 others being injured.
The girl who was killed, Bailey Nicole Holt, died at the site of the shooting. When her mother caught word of what was happening at her daughter’s school, she continuously called Bailey’s phone to make sure she was okay. As one of the young girl’s last acts before she died, she called her mother back, but was unable to speak. Her mother described her as having a “goofy and funny and super sweet” personality.
The boy who was killed, Preston Cope, was shot in the head and hands. He was escorted from the school to Nashville’s Vanderbilt Hospital via helicopter. Luckily, Preston’s parents were able to say goodbye to him before he was sent away in the helicopter, but he unfortunately died on the way to the hospital. Preston had a younger brother who looked up to him, affectionately calling him his “hero, [and] his idol.”
In the Kentucky shooting, these two kids had their lives stripped away from them after only 15 years because of senseless gun violence done by an unidentified suspect, whose name has not been released due to him being a juvenile. He has been charged with two counts of murder and 12 counts of first-degree assault. The Kentucky State Police Commissioner said the suspect walked into the school with a pistol and immediately opened fire.
All of these facts seem to be pretty normative in the current environment America has created for itself. Despite this being the first fatal shooting of the year, it is still cause for concern that there were 10 before it that could have had the same fate. Former Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords, who survived a shooting herself, called for stronger gun laws after the fatal Kentucky Shooting, saying, “It’s horrifying that we can no longer call school shootings ‘unimaginable’ because the reality is they happen with alarming frequency.” Americans react to tragedies, such a school shootings, in a visceral way, but they are still not taking these issues as seriously as they should.
Gun control advocates say that since 2013, school shootings are happening at a rate of about one per week. This fact has caused society to become desensitized to the ramifications of these shootings in local communities. Lawmakers and citizens alike have begun to care less and less about gun control in schools, and how to stop gun related violence because it is happening so much. It has become a much bigger job than any lawmaker wants to take on and a more controversial topic that Americans have started to soften their reactions to.
Along with becoming desensitized, Americans have begun to overlook the root cause of gun violence: guns. The Governor of Kentucky, Matt Bevin, claims that the root causes of gun violence is a “cultural problem” and that we cannot “celebrate death in video games…TV shows…movies…musical lyrics, remove any sense of morality and any sense of responsibility to higher authority, and then expect that things like this are not going to happen.” The governor, like many American citizens, has completely disregarded guns as the one essential cause of gun violence.
The facts are that since 1968, more Americans have been killed by guns than those who have died in combat in all wars in American history. Also, the United States makes up about less than 5 percent of the world’s population, but also makes up of 31 percent of the world’s mass shootings. The Las Vegas mass shooting was the deadliest in United States history, which was only a year after the last deadliest mass shooting at the Pulse nightclub in Florida.
It would be nice to never hear about another school shooting, but until laws and regulations are put into place, kids, teens and grown adults alike are going to have the ability to senselessly murder mass amounts of people.
The father of the 15 year old boy who was murdered in the Kentucky shooting, Brian Cope, described the shooting as “Just senseless. It was just senseless.”