How many more lives will guns claim in schools?
"Run, hide, fight". That's what one could hear in a video showing a dozen police cars in Michigan State University's East Lansing campus in Michigan on Monday. They were there to arrest an armed man who was on the loose till he was found dead of self-inflicted wounds on Tuesday, after gunning down at least three people and injuring five others.
Some also reported calls for "Shelter in place immediately" from the site. Students and youngsters in the United States must be familiar with such instructions because shootings are a regular feature in schools there. As early as 2017, the "active shooting drill" had almost become a standard across the US.
It wouldn't surprise anybody if soon US schools equip students with bullet-proof vests, or maybe impart battlefield skills.
All these are good measures to save young lives, but they are still not addressing the root problem — the easy availability of guns, meaning the convenience with which one can legally obtain firearms. Reports show that there are at least 393 million guns in civilian hands in the US, which is around 120 guns for every 100 people; in 2021 alone the domestic gun market was worth $70.5 billion.
The Gun Violence Archive pointed out on its official Twitter account that mass shootings account for 5 percent of all gun violence incidents and 6 percent of victims. That shows how grave the gun problem is.
Unless the problem of so many guns in people's hands is addressed, preparing people to avoid getting hit during shootings can achieve little. To curb gun violence, the US needs to control guns, not just prepare unsuspecting targets.
The shooting in Michigan came a day before the fifth anniversary of the mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Florida, in which 17 people were killed.