United States rocked by gun violence once again

Buffalo, Milwaukee and Laguna Woods are among the eight cities recovering from an incident of gun violence between May 13-15, while Texas is reeling from the nation’s second-deadliest school shooting in the last 50 years.

By Edward Segal, Valley Life Editor

Twenty-one deaths at a school in Texas, as well as eight shootings throughout the country in a span of three days, brought about calls in the United States to find a solution to the problem that has plagued the country for decades.

Nineteen children and two teachers killed at Robb Elementary in Uvalde, Texas filled the news over the past week. Eight other shootings from Friday, May 13 through Sunday, May 15 that left 17 dead and 65 injured rattled the United States and put one of America’s core issues on full display once again.

According to Penn State Health, gun violence increased during the pandemic, rising by 30 percent.

“Researchers said that stress, domestic violence, lack of social interactions and greater access to firearms might have contributed to the increase,” reads the article.

California is one of only seven states completely banning assault weapons, according to the BBC. Despite this, the hate crime at the Taiwanese church in Laguna Woods — which left one dead and five injured — involved two 9 mm semiautomatic pistols, according to the LA Times.

The CDC reports that from 2014 through 2020, only Texas had more deaths from gun violence per 100,000 people than California. And according to U.S. News, 12,000 more people were injured or killed due to gun violence in the United States from March 2020 to March 2021, than from the year before. Shooting injuries and fatalities have only risen during the pandemic, and California has one of the worst rates of any state.

The Valley College website contains a pamphlet with instructions on what to do in various emergencies, including earthquakes, fires and even terrorist attacks. Shootings are listed separately from the brochure, requiring an extra amount of vigilance and safety precautions.

If an active shooter is present or gunshots are heard, students and staff are asked to use their instincts and do one of three things per the Valley website.

Those who are outdoors and can safely escape should do so, finding a secure location where they can stay until law enforcement clears the campus. For those who are unable to escape, hiding or locking down in a room are the safest options. People must get far from the shooter, conceal themselves and put barriers in front of the door if they are inside. As a last resort, students and staff must be prepared to fight.

Valley is currently in the process of negotiating a new contract with the sheriff’s department. President Barry Gribbons emphasizes the importance of not only having the sheriffs prepared in the event of an active shooter, but everyone on campus having the proper training.

“Valley College has a contract with the LA County Sheriff's Department,” said Gribbons. “The sheriff's department would be the lead entity responding to any similar issues at Valley College, as is true with any community college in the district. While the sheriff's department has a long history with training for a variety of incidents, we should always look for opportunities to continue to evaluate our processes and ensure that we’re continuing to train on a variety of incidents.”

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