Letter to the editor: Focus gun laws on prevention

As I sat in the auditorium of Middlebury Union High School last week for the A.L.I.C.E. training, I watched peers tremble as they watched a video about what to do when an armed aggressor tries to shoot people in school. I tried to steady my pounding heart as MUHS students asked the faculty and resource officer what they were supposed to do if an active shooter came into the lunch room or if it happened while they were in the bathroom.

Although the method of Alert, Lockdown, Inform, Counter, Evacuate is much better than sitting in the corner of a dark, locked room, it is incredibly sad and disheartening to have to know and practice what to do in those horrid situations. This was the second time I sat through the school’s shooting protocol and I couldn’t help but wonder, why do we have to learn to do this? Why can’t there be stricter gun laws to protect the most vulnerable people? Why can’t children learn in a place where they don’t have to worry about being harmed or killed in a shooting? 

Our world has so many problems — poverty, gender inequality, climate change — that my generation will soon inherit; we need to be educated and critical thinkers. With stricter gun laws, background checks, etc., children can learn how to better the world during class rather than practicing barricading a classroom door, searching the rooms for items to counter with, and talking about what to do if a gunman was on the third floor, the English wing. 

A few weeks ago, while back-to-school shopping, I saw bullet-proof backpacks for sale. This absolutely horrified me. This is one more example of how we concentrate on finding more ways to protect ourselveswhenit happens rather than making sure it doesn’thappen again. Can’t we shift the focus to removing guns from retail stores, having background checks, and pursuing other gun reform to prevent shootings from occurring?

I hope lawmakers will choose to protect future generations by taking away the weapons for we are the future of the country, of the world. It is our right to be educated without the threat of being killed at school. 

Mary Nagy-Benson

MUHS senior


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Addison County Independent

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Middlebury, VT 05753

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