Find The Difficult Balance Between Civil Liberties and Public Order


Paulina Prechtel, Reporter

Today, June 1st, 2022 marks the 150th day of the year. In the United States, we have already hit the 213th shooting where four or more people have been killed. That’s over 900 people that have died due to the lack of gun control our country. Just in the past couple of weeks, 31 people have died, about half of those being young innocent elementary students.

But what can we do? What can we do as a country? What can we do as a community? What can we do as individuals?

After several discussions with Blanchet’s own students, I gained some very valuable insight on how these tragedies have affected others, and what we can do as a school to prevent this from happening in the future. Frances Horey, a freshman at Blanchet expressed clearly that gun laws are simply not strict enough. 

“The translation of gun laws in the modern age,” said Horey, “has only caused more death and destruction than good.”

Horey began to brainstorm with me what we could do as a school. Her ideas consisted of locking the doors throughout the day, needing your student ID to be able to get into the building, and having teachers by every door during every break. 

Thinking back to the ideas we made, I started to think about how downhill our country has gone. Have shootings just become so normalized that instead of creating stricter laws or requiring stricter background checks, we just have to know how to save ourselves? As a senior in high school, I shouldn’t have to live in fear every day that one day this could happen to me. As a senior in high school it befuddles me that I am allowed to buy a murder weapon before I am allowed to buy alcohol. 

One of our biggest problems in the gun control system is how loose background checks are, as we’ve seen proven in the recent Buffalo tragedy. The 18 year old gunman was in the hospital for a couple of days last year for a mental evaluation after expressing thoughts of suicide and murder in a high school project. 

Meanwhile, the gun store owner who sold the semi-automatic used in the attack,” reported  a May 16 BBC article,  “told several US outlets that no alert came up when he ran the suspect’s name through a government background check system.” 

Therefore, the Buffalo incident possibly could have been prevented if there had been a stricter background check in the system. If an individual is ever sent to a hospital for a mental health evaluation, especially after expressing thoughts of suicide and murder publicly, that should be entered into their background check immediately. There are far too many mentally ill teenagers who are not fully conscious of their actions, yet cause harm for dozens of families, and ultimately themselves.

Sometimes I sit and reflect on how all these shootings are a severe problem unique to only the United States. I wonder what other countries think about when they see shooting after shooting on the news, as we accept another one has happened and move on without change. It’s honestly kind of embarrassing at this point. 

In an NPR article, reporter Jaclyn Diaz said, “Leaders from around the world spoke out. Pope Francis called for stricter gun control in the United States. Others, including Ukrainian leaders, sent their condolences.” 

Ukraine, who has been suffering in a war against Russia for the past few months, still sends their condolences. For a country who is in the middle of a war to reach out to send condolences to another country must mean whatever happened is a big deal. And this is all a big deal, but some people just cannot see the damage and mental strain these tragedies are putting on the lives of thousands of Americans nationwide.

Supporting, understanding, and working together so the next generation of kids doesn’t have to go to school fearing for their safety is only possible if we push for change,” said senior Owen Duffy. “And if we push hard and long enough, our voices will be heard, and it’s my hope that the change will finally happen.”

As Duffy said, nothing will change or happen unless we gather as a nation to address the need for stricter gun control, and push for change. Sadly, our country has become increasingly divided over the last few years, and it might seem impossible to gather everyone together, but it’s the only way we can achieve progress. The depressing part is that most people don’t recognize the need for stricter laws until they are affected themselves. Although it is difficult to balance public order with our civil liberties, I believe that we can come together to recognize the damage our country is undergoing, and support each other to achieve the ‘impossible.’