In various places around the world, there is a rising trend of gun violence, usually focused around young people – often in school and other places where they have every right to be safe, secure, and protected.
This is especially prominent in the United States, where this year alone there have been over 250 mass shootings on school campuses.
But what exactly causes this phenomenon, and what measures can be taken to solve this continuing problem?
Why Has Gun Violence Increased?
While there is no definitive answer as to why gun violence has increased – especially amongst (and towards) the young – there are certain markers that can provide some indication.
First and foremost, there have been more guns produced in recent years, and the statistics widely show that, when there are more guns produced, the level of gun-related violence has been known to sky rocket.
The lives we lead nowadays are also quite stressful, and for those with preexisting mental or emotional conditions, or those pushed to breaking point, this could go some way to explain why there has been a rise in violence.
Following the COVID-19 pandemic, during which people became desperate and money became tight, there was a distinct upturn in mass shootings, seemingly suggesting that financial and environmental stressors could be a factor.
Politics in the US, as well as around the world, have become noticeably more tribal and intense in recent years, and there is undoubtedly a connection between this rise in tribalism and the increase in gun related violence.
Heightened political situations, fuelled by 24 hour exposure to the internet, could be a reason why we have seen an increase in mass shootings, and why there have been so many people militarized in such an extreme way as to cause direct and deliberate harm to innocent people.
Social isolation is known to negatively influence mental health, as well as other related conditions.
As such, this could definitely be a contributing factor as to why there has been an increase in gun violence – especially perpetrated by, and directed towards, young people.
With social media, we have the illusion of inclusion – a guise of sociability that gives only a hollow surface image of friendship and companionship.
With social media, there has come the ‘potential’ for social interaction – and when this 24 hour availability we now have is not characterized with regular check-ins from friends, family, and prospective love interests, then this can become a lonely existence.
There is also an argument that, as a society, we have become less connected – despite our 24 hour electronic availability.
There are entire generations of children and young people who have never known a life without the internet, and can only function within this (at times) hellish and dark place.
Is it really too much of a jump to question whether a wider, generalized disregard for human life could happen as a result?
Not just in the US, but abroad as well, the attitudes and resources directed towards mental health (and mental health problems) still fall short of being adequate for the growing problems experienced within our society.
We have the constant advertising banners commemorating mental health, and numerous pushes from companies and celebrities to seek help, but that help, in many cases, is lacking at best, and completely absent at worst.
This is especially true in less affluent areas, where funding cuts, and stretched resources mean that people who desperately need help wind up falling through the cracks – something that, when combined with the other factors on this list, can be a recipe for disaster.
Wider, more generalized desperation could also be a contributing factor to violence – especially seeing as, perhaps now more than ever, the gap between the richest and the poorest is wider than ever before.
This could be enough to drive desperate and angry people to commit violent atrocities – either as an attempt to destroy the existing system, or to make their voices heard in some warped, misguided way.
Why We Need To Protect Young People
The fact of the matter is that we should be protecting everyone from violence, and this very much starts with the most vulnerable in society.
What’s more, schools are continually the targets for these violent attacks, and something desperately needs to be done to quell the continuation of these horrific acts.
How Can We Help Young People?
It can seem like an overwhelming task, and one that is hard to manage, but something needs to be done, and there are things we can do right now.
Education & Care
Proper education, opportunities, care, and protections are needed – and they need to be started at a young age.
This is not so much to prepare teens for the event of a mass shooting, but to mold them in such a way that such violence never seems like a viable outlet for them.
This involves both treating the problem before it happens, and helping people who have issues to ensure that they do not become a danger to themselves and others.
Currently we are treating the symptoms, when as a society we should be attacking the rotten heart of the problem.
And there we have it, everything you need to know about teens, and the need to protect them from gun violence.
It is a saddening fact that the past couple of decades have been some of the bloodiest we have ever experienced as supposed ‘civilized’ societies, and due to a number of factors, the trend seems to continue to grow and become more horrific with each passing instance.
This is why change is important, both to existing gun laws, mental health care, and numerous other factors. Without these, how can we possibly keep our children and young people safe?
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