School shootings raise debates

Posted February 28, 2018 at 10:14 am


by Brooke Wright,

Recent school shootings raise debates on gun control

Jerry Hester, a 64-year-old retiree from Bowling Green sat outside JC Penney in Greenwood Mall talking to a group of friends. He reminisced on hunting when he was younger.

Hester said he has always been familiar with guns in his lifetime.“When I grew up, we had BB guns at about seven,” he said. “At 11, we had a .410, and after that we had a 12 gauge or a 20 gauge.”

In wake of the recent school shootings in Marshall County and Parkland, Florida, the ongoing controversy of gun laws and potential gun reform has resurfaced in Kentucky. Seventeen people were killed at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland on Wednesday, February 14. The shooting at Marshall County High School on January 23 left two students dead and several injured.

Alderson Clark, an 85-year-old retiree from Bowling Green, said he feels terrible about the shootings.

“I think they were both tragedies,” he said. “There’s not a lot you can do about something like that.”

Clark grew up around guns and owns five of them today. He said he has a conceal carry license and doesn’t see anything wrong with gun laws.

“I don’t think we need any change,” Clark said. “I think they’re good enough as is if they’re properly enforced.”

There have been 290 school shootings in the United States since 2013, according to Everytown Research. Clark said he doesn’t think the ease of getting guns has any correlation with these school shootings

“A lot of homes have guns,” Clark said. “Children have access to these guns. I think parents need to keep a closer eye on their children and put their guns in a safe place.”

Gov. Matt Bevin said he doesn’t blame the ease of getting guns for school shootings in a recent YouTube video. He said school shootings are more of a cultural problem than a gun control problem. Bevin blamed video games, movies and television kids watch and said they were the root of the violence.

Kendal Livingston, a 22-year-old Dietary Aid at Greenview Hospital, said she doesn’t necessarily agree with Gov. Bevin’s statement.

“I don’t think video games are the sole reason behind the school shootings,” Livingston said while sipping her tea. “I feel like it’s more of a bullying problem. These kids might not know how to express being bullied or they might feel like they have no one to turn to, so they go to extreme measures to make the bullying stop.”

A study done by Pew Research Center said 67 percent of gun owners have a gun for protection purposes and 94 percent of gun owners view owning guns as a personal freedom.

Ben Roy, a 21-year-old dairy farmer from Russell Springs, Kentucky said he wants gun laws to stay the same.

“It’s my right to own a gun,” he said. “I think the laws are adequate. They don’t affect me, so why should I have extra limitations on something that is my constitutional right?”

Julia Brown, a 70-year-old retired instructional aid for a special needs student from Albany, Kentucky said she thinks there’s an underlying problem.

“I think it’s a mental illness problem,” Brown said. “These kids don’t just wake up one day and say, ‘I think I’ll go kill some people today.’ No, something is going on with their mental stability.”

Brown said she never once felt threatened while working in the school system, but she does remember seeing bullying occurring in the halls.

“That’s what school principals and counselors need to look for,” she said. “Guns are not the problem.”

Brooke Wright

Albany, Kentucky