Opinion: School shooting in Michigan further proves the need for American gun control


Credit: Selena Liu

WSPN’s Selena Liu and Tina Su discuss the aftermath of the Michigan high school shooting, and how it proves that it is time for America’s policies to change in terms of gun control.

On Tuesday, Nov. 30, sophomore Ethan Crumbley of Oxford High School in suburban Detroit, Mich., brought a handgun to school, killing four students and injuring at least seven more, including a teacher. This was the 28th school shooting of the year in America.

Four days prior to the shooting, Ethan and his father had purchased the gun together. It was kept in an unlocked drawer in his parents’ bedroom, and he was bragging about it on his Instagram account, encouraging fellow students to “ask any questions.”

A day before the shooting, a teacher caught Crumbley searching up firearm ammunition during class and contacted his mother. Jennifer Crumbley did not respond and instead texted her son, “LOL I’m not mad at you. You have to learn not to get caught.” On the day of the shooting, another teacher noticed Crumbley’s drawing of a gun, which was pointed at the words, “The thoughts won’t stop. Help me.” A person was drawn between a bullet and the gun, who was seemingly bleeding. The words, “Blood everywhere,” “My life is useless” and “The world is dead” were also found on the note.

The fact that a 15-year-old kid can get their hands on a gun and cause deathly damage is incredibly scary to think about. School is one of the few places where many students find safety and comfort in their lives. There, they are surrounded by their friends, trusted teachers and an amazing opportunity to advance their education. However, now with the chances of being injured, or even killed in their safe haven, students no longer feel protected, and instead, vulnerable and defenseless.

Although many argue that the right to own a firearm is one of our Constitution’s most important amendments, and a right they pridefully hold, restrictions must be put into place to make America a safer place.

To be clear, those who are pro-gun control do not argue for the complete ban of guns, but instead, additional screening before allowing someone the privilege of owning such a powerful weapon. Stricter protocols prevent people who are clearly incapable of such a big responsibility from obtaining a gun with ease. People should not be able to walk into a store and buy a gun, just like they would walk into a grocery store to buy groceries. This is what happened with the Crumbley’s. There were so many red flags, but nothing was done to stop it. Teachers should have been more firm with Ethan’s troubling behavior. For example, they should have removed Ethan from school when his mother continuously refused to address her son’s behavior. If more of these restrictions were put into place, the entire shooting could have been prevented.

President Biden responded to this tragedy by saying that his “heart goes out” to families affected by the Michigan school shooting, sending thoughts and prayers to the community of Oxford. However, these so-called thoughts and prayers are once again, not enough. The government seems to be keen on using words and not actions to mend difficult situations.

A gunman attacked two mosques in Christchurch, New Zealand on Mar. 15, 2019, killing 50 people and injuring many more. A few days after these attacks, New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern announced a new ban on semi-automatic weapons and high-capacity magazines. Additionally, there were several other steps taken to encourage gun owners to dispose of their firearms. Despite having an average of 59 gun deaths per year from 2000 to 2016, compared to 30,205 in the United States, New Zealand saw the need to take action after just one mass shooting. At the very least, the United States needs to put a similar ban into place.

The topic of gun control is not one to be taken lightly. Our country’s failure to change our policies to save lives is astounding and hurtful. Gun violence has taken 41,836 lives in this past year alone. Most recently, those lives were Hana St. Juliana, 14; Madisyn Baldwin, 17; Tate Myre, 16 and Justin Shilling, 17, in Oxford. They were daughters, sons, friends, athletes and students with bright futures. It is time that we make a change in honor of them and the tens of thousands of others that we have lost because of gun violence.