By Zarin Siddiqua
August’s series of alleged hate-crime shootings have left Lehman students feeling sadness and panic about lack of adequate gun control.
Most recently, on Aug.31, sevenpeople were killed and many injured by a shooter in Odessa, Texas. Four weeks earlier, shootings in El Paso, Texas and Dayton, Ohiotook place less than 24 hours apart. On and off Lehman’s campus, these tragedies further sparked the continuing debate about gun laws and other initiatives that can prevent massshootings.
Many students agreed that recurring violence has increased their levels offear; “Every time I am in the classroom or at a mall, I fear something terrible is about to happen,like someone is about to burst through and that will be my last day,” said Miguel Batista, a Lehman junior and accountingmajor.
“I worry about my little brother and sisters whenever I drop them off at school,” said Brecenia Diaz, a Lehman student majoring in Psychology. “School should be a fun and safe environment, and I feel scared for them.”
“My college campus is beautiful. I love it, but it is an open campus just like every other CUNY and I fear something might happen any minute,” said English major, Roxann Turner.
According to the U.S. Department of Justice, there have been 32 mass shootings in 2019, but the number of gun attacks exceeds 250. According to a report from Vox Media there has been a total of 2,184 mass shootings in the U.S. since Sandy Hook.
To try to address the ongoing threat of shootings, organizations around the country are taking various initiatives.
Parkland students started a protest for a better gun law to make students feel safe by enforcing stronger background checks. According to the Washington Post, the Trump Administration has recommended arming staff. Some Lehman faculty, however, think the solution to campus security lies in better laws.
“School should be a safe learning environment. Arming teachers would not solve the gun problem in the United States. As Martin Luther King Jr.said, ‘don’t fight violence with violence.’ Instead of having more guns, we as a country should focus on reducing them,” said William Fisher, Lehman professor of English.
Voters are now looking to 2020 presidential candidates to provide a definite solution.
“I will be able to vote this year.I always listen to what each candidate has to say about the gun control in America, and I want the next president to take serious action against gunviolence. We can’t be living in fear,” said Kayla Bennerd a Sociology major at Lehman.
But with elections still over a year away, anxiety about gun violence is driving businesses to make profitable offers now.
Retailers such as Office Depot, Office Max, and Macy’s are now selling bulletproof backpacks as a back-to-school supply, with prices ranging between $150 and $200, according to CBS News. The backpacks are advertised as protection forstudents if they hold it in the right position.
At least one Lehman student scoffed at this marketing ploy. “We need stronger gun laws, not a backpack. How would we know where to place the backpack during a panic?” said Psychology major Brecenia Diaz.