The Santa Clarita shooting echoes the need for gun reform

Photo courtesy of Fibonacci Blue, Flickr

Another mass school shooting took over headlines on Nov. 14. Saugus High School in Santa Clarita, California, had an active shooter come onto the campus, causing fear and panic amongst students for a total of 16 seconds.

Two students died, Grace Anne Muehlberger, 15, and Dominic Blackwell, 14, and three were injured in the attack, which took place in the quad of the high school. The shooter, a 16-year-old classmate, Nathaniel Berhow, was later found with a self-inflicted wound in his head and rushed to the hospital, where he later died the next day.

According to authorities, no motive has been found after they searched Berhow’s house and scoured social media. 

“I would have never expected anything like this,” Brooke Hougo, who was the shooter’s classmate, told the Los Angeles Times, “He was just a quiet kid.” 

It is heartbreaking to see another school shooting. Sadly, news like this has started to become a norm. But what measures are being taken to prevent such actions and to ensure safety to elementary and high school students? How can we protect our sisters, brothers, nieces and nephews?

Personally, my nephews are going to grow up in a culture where they have to learn lockdown drills, something I wasn’t familiar with when I was in high school five years ago. I don’t want to imagine a day when another child’s life is claimed by a gun, or when my nephews will need to perform a lockdown drill “just in case.” Children are supposed to be the dreamers and believers, giving us hope for the future. Instead, they are faced with brutality like mass shootings, forcing them to age far beyond their years. 

“I saw the headlines on the news briefly,” said senior Katie Kazla. “It was honestly hard for me to watch. It makes me very worried. A part of me just wants to ignore these headlines because they seem to happen more and more frequently."

"At the same time, I need to face the reality that everywhere I go, I need to be aware of my surroundings," she continued. "I have started to mistaken balloons popping for gunshots, which may seem a little extreme but it’s better to be overly aware than under aware.” 

“It’s really sad to keep seeing incidents like this happen,” said Isaac Wong, a Robert Morris University freshman. “What’s more sad is that it’s not as surprising anymore when something like that happens. When my friend told me about it, the first thing I said was, 'Another one?' As a college student, it’s quite disheartening to know that something like that could happen here at my school." 

"I’ve always heard these stories on the news and viewed them as something that happened at other schools and not something that could happen at mine even though I know deep down that it very well could happen here. I bet the kids at that school had the same mentality that I had, that school shootings were always stories they heard on the news and not something that actually would happen to them," he said. "The fear of something devastating happening at my school is always a lingering thought in my mind, but I try to keep in the back of my mind and pray that it’s only something that I’ll hear on the news and not something I’ll ever have to experience.”

The Never Again Movement was founded nearly two years ago after the Parkland shooting and since then, gun reform has been slow. It is time for lawmakers to wake up to see the devastation and heartache young people in our country are facing. How many more lives must be taken before they are moved to action?