Teenagers these days are no strangers to guns.
They see them in movies and on TV. They see them at school sometimes and, on rare occasions, they see one pointed at them.
“My friend and I were walking down Monroe throwing rocks and accidently hit a car with one,” said a Glover Middle School student. “The car turned around and they started shooting at us. We ran like hell.”
Nationally and locally, guns are becoming more a part of kids’ lives. Gunfire is the second-leading cause of death of kids ages 10 to 19 and, in Spokane last year, weapons cases in schools increased.
When a Moses Lake student was arrested in February for shooting three people in his algebra classroom, members of Our Generation’s Teen Advisory Council decided to survey their peers about weapons and safety in school. What they found was the vast majority of teens in the Inland Northwest don’t feel unsafe in their schools, even though many of them have seen schoolmates with weapons.
Ninety teens from 11 area high schools answered the unscientific survey. Sixty percent of the respondents had seen a weapon at school; 85 percent of those people said they’d seen kids with knives, 37 percent had seen a gun at school or in the parking lot.
The vast majority - 80 percent - of the kids questioned said the Moses Lake incident didn’t make them nervous about going to school.
“I think it’s really a shame how our schools have to actually have metal detectors and police officers,” said one respondent from Central Valley. “Students shouldn’t have to be in danger to receive an education.
Here are two commentaries from Spokane teens about guns and violence.
MEMO: See 2 related stories under the headlines: 1. Focusing on the real problem 2. Guns only give a false feeling of control and security