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By Sarah Waters

Warren Fitzgerald High. William Dick K–8 School. McNair High. Montgomery High. Roslindale Middle School. Gibbs High. Luther High. Dunbar High. Jim Hill High. Automotive High. What do these schools have in common?

They have all experienced a school stabbing since the start of the 2018-19 school year.

10 schools, 10 stabbings. As of September 24th, a child has been stabbed at school in America once every two days since the beginning of the school year. Some have died, others have been hospitalized. Friends and families grieve, students fear walking the hallways and riding the school bus, teachers are in shock.

And you? You didn’t say a word about it. No outraged social media posts. No walkouts. No moments of silence. No marches. Nothing. Not a single peep. You were too busy demonizing gun owners to pay attention to the violence erupting in our schools.

It’s time somebody exposed the cold, hard truth: You don’t care about dead kids.

You only care if you can exploit their suffering and deaths to push your own, selfish political agenda.

If you actually cared about stopping violence in schools, you wouldn’t be pointing fingers at semi-automatic rifles while most school shootings involve handguns. You wouldn’t be focusing on a single type of weapon used in school violence. You wouldn’t be acting like curbing our Second Amendment rights was the solution to students killing one another. You would be out there marching for the students in those 10 schools, and the hundreds more before them. You would know that school stabbings are about as common as, if not more common than, school shootings. If you actually cared about dead and injured kids, you would fight for all of them.

In the 2017-18 school year, 35 students were killed in school shootings. To put that in perspective, in 2016, there were an estimated 147 stabbing deaths among school-aged children, and an estimated 60,000 nonfatal stabbing injuries among the same age group, according to CDC data. The latter figure is four times the total number of shooting incidents among children ages five to nineteen that year. And while weapon tracking in school violence incidents is not great, school stabbings are hardly unheard of, and it is estimated at least a full quarter of all student slayings are accomplished with a blade or puncture instrument, such as a screwdriver. And those are just deaths. If stabbing survivors are included (and they are not included in most government data), the numbers are much higher.

School stabbings, coupled with the fact that stabbings are at record highs in countries with strict gun control like England, prove that gun control laws will not stop violence. Victims attacked with knives and other weapons do not at all benefit from gun control. Guns are just one single weapon. To actually address violence, we cannot focus on a narrow category. We have to address all school violence. Because the bone-chilling truth of the matter is, students don’t need access to guns if they have their sights set on murder. They will find a way. Just ask Joao Souza and Haley Anderson.

According to the Michigan Education Association, educators are looking to address the root of school violence. Retired teacher Jim Pearson says that educators “want more funding for mental health counseling to prevent tragedies from happening in the first place,” not Band-Aid solutions that still leave children vulnerable. We cannot feasibly save every child with counseling, but we sure as heck can save a lot more with it than by banning semi-automatic rifles, which are used in only a tiny fraction of all murders and school shootings.

The value of a child’s life lost nowadays is measured in likes, retweets, reblogs, and political brownie points. A shooting garners far more attention and outrage than a stabbing. A child killed by a scary, black, loud machine is worth more to the media and the gun control crowd than a child stabbed to death in front of her class with a kitchen knife. You’re jumping on the anti-firearms bandwagon because it’s popular, because it’s what all your friends are doing. You don’t want them to think you support the Other Side, heaven forbid. That would be social suicide. Maybe part of you feels fearful, due to skewed statistics and biased media blowing shootings out of proportion. But you don’t really care about those kids, deep down. You’re simply virtue-signaling.

Guns are not the problem. Yes, it is easier and more comforting to blame the violence on a single tangible object and pretend that getting rid of that object will be the end of it. But we live in a harsh and frightening world, where answers are more complex and murders are not monolithic. The truth is messy and uncomfortable. If you care about stopping school violence, you will face the complexity. If you care about victims, you will fight for those murdered with weapons other than firearms. But if you don’t, at least stop pretending to care. You’re not helping anyone.

You’re just exploiting dead kids.

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