2018-05-23 / Editorials

Student speaks out

By Cristian Spariosu

Citizens across the United States are scared about the recent school shootings in our nation. Sadly, these incidents have caused millions of Americans to mourn the deaths of innocent people including children. Schools across the United States are panicking over the safety of their students and employees. Many students and teachers fear a potential shooter in their midst. The question is “what is the true issue” behind these horrendous shootings? Is it guns? Is it the school’s fault? I strongly believe it is rooted in serious mental health issues relating to a shooter's family and social life.

It is not normal for a person to come to a school and shoot people with a firearm. No normal person wakes up one morning and has a desire to commit mass murder, let alone plan out an organized attack like many of the shooters. It is quite scary to think that any mentally unstable person who may be violent could possibly commit these atrocities.

According to NAMI, approximately one in five Americans are diagnosed with a mental illness each year. The term “mental illness” is such a broad topic it’s hard to address. For example, someone suffering from anxiety may not be as likely to shoot up a school as someone with more serious and abnormal mental illnesses that may anger or cause hurtful actions to the person suffering. A child’s household life may even trigger the negative effects of their illness. A child raised in a dysfunctional household with little or no love and care is more prone to become violent as they grow up compared to a child who grows up with caring parents. An article by Harvard Medical School states, “A 2006 national survey found, for example, that 60% of Americans thought that people with schizophrenia were likely to act violently toward someone else, while 32% thought that people with major depression were likely to do so.” A child growing up in an abusive household may even develop mental illnesses such as depression due to past traumatic experiences such as child abuse. Abusive households may cause children to suffer both physically and psychologically which can result in them having a violent mindset which can be stimulated even further if drug or alcohol use is involved in the child's life. It is important for community members to identify children living in abusive households since it is likely they could be suffering and may need help.

Having a happy and healthy family life is a key for the future success of a child. A responsible parental figure is essential for a child's mental growth. Among mass shooters, 26 of the last 27 had no parental figure to support them through their childhood and teenage years. Peter Hasson author of “Guess Which Mass Murders Came From a Fatherless Home,” stated, “Not only were Adam Lanza’s parents divorced, but he hadn’t seen his father in the two years before the Sandy Hook shooting. Jeff Weise, the 16-year-old school shooter who killed ten people, came from a depressingly broken home: his parents separated before birth and both his parents were dead before he was even a teenager.”

Mark Meckler author of the article “Of the 27 Deadliest Mass Shooters, 26 of Them Had One Thing in Common” says, “Indeed, there is a direct correlation between boys who grow up with absent fathers and boys who drop out of school, who drink, who do drugs, who become delinquent and who wind up in prison. And who kill their classmates.” A teen who gets no love or attention by their parents is way more likely to abuse substances whether it is alcohol or drugs which can lead to abnormal thoughts. No parental figure in these shooters’ lives is a big reason to why they ended up committing these heinous crimes.

In conclusion, there is a huge mental health issue in our country that must be addressed quickly. It is very important that we recognize a shooter’s mental health is the key factor to why he or she decided to commit mass murder and we should do our best to institute mental health programs and resources to help kids and adults who may be mentally unstable. More government funding should be focused on mental health treatment. As a high school student I’m proud to express my voice on this important issue and hope that tele-medicine and other social work services provide kids with the help that they need. Lastly, I hope that mental health awareness will gain more attention as our nation progresses and that more mental help resources will decrease the amount of school shootings in our great nation.

Cristian Spariosu,

EDITOR’S NOTE: The writer, a student at Roxbury Central School, originally wrote this letter as a researched essay of more than 1,200 words, not including bibliographic entries. He submitted it to the News last week and has asked that the News print this abridged version of his original work. The essay is longer than our usual word limit of 500 words for several reasons. The News wants to encourage young people to think and write about issues of the day. Cutting it further would have changed the nature and meaning of Spariosu’s work. The fact that yet another school shooting occurred before we could even print an essay about the last one heightened the importance and timeliness of this work.

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