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Impacts Of The Arkansas School Massacre

1161 words - 5 pages

Imagine the fire alarm going off at a school. Following the typical, pre-planned guide to a fire the children and teachers inside of the school begin to line up and file out the doors of the school and into a nearby safe zone. Then, unexpectedly, as the children and teachers reach a safe zone they are met with a downpour of bullets. Imagine the feeling of being pinned down in the open with nowhere to go and not knowing what could possibly happen to you next. This is the exact feeling that the students and teachers of Westside Middle School in Jonesboro, Arkansas experienced. The shooting, nicknamed the Arkansas School Massacre, started a violent trend across the United States. This shooting, ...view middle of the document...

Since the law specifically states that it is in direct violation to possess a gun within a thousand feet of a school, it is nearly impossible to legally handle a weapon in any city or dense living area in America. This could obviously lead to any citizen, law-abiding or not, to be unfairly arrested and jailed for an unintentional crime. The law also states that no one other than an on-duty police officer or a security guard is legally able to fire a weapon on school grounds for any purpose. This would make it illegal for a bystander to help prevent a school shooting, if it so occurred (Oklahoma 1). Clearly the addition of this law has caused nearly as much trouble as it has helped protect.
The occurrence of a school shooting in combination with the rapid growth of nationwide media continuously allows the country to gain a nearly instant knowledge of a school shooting. This system is clearly disadvantageous, mostly due to the fact that this leads to an innumerable amount of pressure being placed on the victims and witnesses, who are clearly already bearing an enormous amount of emotional, and possibly physical, trauma from the shooting. This exposure from the media can also lead to multiple other negative outcomes. Media tends to spotlight the more sensational and less common massacres, which leads to a nationwide fear that is not fully irrational or completely unnecessary, but has led to people believing that shootings are more prevalent and successful than what is actually true (Domenech 3). Benjamin Domenech notes, in his article on mass shootings, James Alan Fox’s research in criminology. Domenech states that, “His own research (referring to Fox) shows that the numbers of mass shootings and mass-shooting victims in America have been remarkably consistent: roughly 20 shootings a year, with an average of 100 deaths…the average has held for 30 years” (qtd. in Domenech 3). This clearly shows that media overexposes mass killings, including school shootings, which leads to an overall deterioration of America’s sense of security and mental well-being.
Media exposure in turn directly affects the reaction of the general public to a school shooting. When the media over exaggerates and over exposes the public to a single event, this tends to send a ripple effect across the nation. This ripple effect strikes great fear into the homes of families nationwide, which leads to the public demanding increasingly stronger...

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