Americans must address public health crisis of gun violence before more children die | Opinion

An American crisis

What is it about school shootings that divides people rather than brings them together?

Keeping students safe and allowing teachers to do their jobs educating and developing future leaders of our own communities should be something that everyone can agree on, not argue about.

We have had another tragic and senseless loss of life at The Covenant School in Nashville. There have been 376 school shootings in the 24 years since Columbine – and more school shootings occurred during 2022 than any other year before.

The problem hit very close to home recently with threats of violence targeting Midlands schools occurring multiple days in a row in the past two months alone.

During those times, I observed reactions by parents and youth ranging from shoulder shrugs and eye rolls to real fear and emotional breakdowns.

School administrators are hyper vigilant to such threats and have well-oiled response and communication systems in place, but one crucial piece seems to be missing. What is being done to prevent real or threatened school violence?

We are at a crossroads in this country in our need to address this uniquely American public health epidemic that is negatively impacting and threatening the lives of one of our most vulnerable populations.

Lana Cook, Lexington

Will next child be yours?

A well-regulated militia does not kill its children.

An assault rifle such as the AR-15 is not used in hunting for sport. Mentally-ill and mentally-challenged people do not need guns.

The Second Amendment has been turned into a license to kill anyone, anywhere at any time.

If we are to survive in a safe environment, we must have responsible gun control.

If not, the next child killed may be yours.

Elizabeth Jones, Columbia

Allow needed care

Sometimes I really wonder about our state legislators.

Now I read that “SC senators consider ban on transgender care for children.”

Do they think a ban will make this situation disappear? If it is that simple, I urge them to ban poverty, contaminated drinking water, etc.

But I doubt a ban will prevent children from needing care. The kids will still need help through a very confusing time in their lives.

If a child of a state senator were to find himself or herself in need of transgender care, would that senator be so heartless as to refuse assistance? Should our state senators refuse other people’s children this care?

I urge our legislators to be kind to others and not try to make these children suffer for their sexuality.

Please, allow them to receive the services they need.

Elizabeth A. Russell, Columbia

Book offers answers

Educational agencies at all levels are concerned about low test scores post-COVID.

While academic losses are evident, I am more troubled by lingering bad habits from pandemic learning. That’s why I’ve turned to the book, “Habits of Mind Across the Curriculum” by Arthur Costa and Bena Kallick.

Remaining persistent, managing impulsivity and communicating with clarity are just some of the habits mentioned that I’ve found to be underdeveloped or missing in the classroom.

Too often students search for solutions online before they’ve taken adequate time to do their own thinking, make choices without pausing to consider the consequences or struggle to articulate ideas thoughtfully.

Classroom teachers can only do so much. They need the help of families and administrators.

Virginia Woolf said, “The skeleton of habit alone upholds the human frame.” While those in power worry about the outside appearance of assessment scores, those in proximity to students must unite to address what is inside and unseen – the bones of habit.

For more information check out

Danielle Ann Verwers, Columbia

Do unto others

It saddens me to see so many people, especially faith-based groups, marginalizing those who are different from the majority – LGBTQ+ people, Black, Hispanic and Asian people, members of other faiths and those who are physically or mentally challenged.

Did Jesus have some sort of litmus test before he associated with people?

I suspect most believe that God created each and every single human being.

If they find other groups to be worthy of discrimination, I see three options:

1. God made a mistake in creating people with differences. Seriously, they are telling God he was wrong?

2. God intentionally created groups of “others” so that “perfect” people would have someone to look down on and discriminate against. Not the Divine Spirit I’d believe in.

3. God created all races, beliefs, sexualities and abilities and provided us with guidance on how to behave towards one another. “Do unto others as you would have done unto you.” Remember that?

Mr. Rogers used to say: “I like you just the way you are.”

I’m betting Fred Rogers would go with option #3.

Louise Plodinec, Aiken