Mass shootings at schools aren’t common occurrences, but they’re random. We simply have no way to tell when one will take place and, if we did, we’d simply stop it. Because it’s random, though, we have to take a broad approach to the problem. That means treating every school as a potential target for a maniac.
One idea that’s gained a little bit of traction is the idea of trauma kits in schools.
In the wake of at least 45 school shootings in the U.S. in 2019, as of November, thousands of schools are stocking up on bleed control kits and training administrators and teachers how to treat gunshot wounds. Public schools across the country are getting free training and bleed control kits through a program called Stop the Bleed, which aims to teach more people how to treat blood loss from traumatic injury until first responders arrive.
The nationwide Stop the Bleed program began after the Sandy Hook School shooting in 2012, where 20 young schoolchildren and six school staff were shot and killed. Stop the Bleed Georgia has already placed kits in 2,156 public schools across the state, according to Billy Kunkle, who helps run the state’s Stop the Bleed program and serves as deputy director of the Georgia Trauma Commission. Kunkle expects that by early 2020, all public schools in Georgia will be equipped with kits and trained staff.
Kunkle says that initially, the program got some pushback in Georgia because of the implications of bringing gunshot wound care into schools. “Initially people said ‘no, if we do that, it’ll make people feel like our kids aren’t safe,’” he says. However, Kunkle says schools saw the benefits of placing kits outweighed these hesitations.
Stop the Bleed was eventually able to implement their state-wide program, and Kunkle says they even got requests from private schools seeking to purchase the kits and training. Since the state’s program launched in 2017, there have been seven incidents where school staff have had to use the bleeding control kits — none of which were the result of gun violence. That’s part of the reason why Kunkle believes these kits are so important, even beyond the scope of school shootings. “These are things that can be used in everyday life,” he says, pointing to the fact that trauma is the number one cause of death of people up to the age of 44.
Frankly, that’s fantastic news.
Then again, I’m a little biased. You see, I live in Georgia and my daughter still attends public school here. The idea that if something happens to her, there are trained individuals and the necessary supplies handy to deal with that is very reassuring. While I’d obviously prefer nothing happen to her, stuff doesn’t always go the way we plan.
Yet, not everyone seems willing to celebrate this.
Enter Shannon Watts.
While proponents of the initiative see it as a way to stay prepared and save lives in an emergency, Shannon Watts, a gun-control activist and founder of the advocacy group Moms Demand Action, says initiatives like this only address the symptoms of a nationwide problem, not the source.
“I think it’s incredibly dystopian that the federal government wants to fund a program that forces children to treat other children’s gunshot wounds,” Watts tells Bustle.
For Watts, initiatives like Stop the Bleed are like putting a bandaid over what she sees as a national epidemic of gun violence. “I would say that we are failing our children if the best we can do to protect them is to give them gauze,” Watts says. “If we are serious about keeping children safe, then we have to intervene long before an emergency occurs.”
Watts takes issue with this because it isn’t gun control. The more cynical side of me thinks the reason she doesn’t like it has more to do with the fact that should there be a mass shooting, training and resources like this will reduce the body count and give her fewer corpses to use as a soapbox.
Her apparent opposition to this is perfect evidence of how she doesn’t like any approach to reducing the loss of life that isn’t gun control. They’re not about reducing fatalities, they’re about reducing guns, plain and simple.
As noted above, the efforts here in Georgia aren’t just about shootings. Thing happen. The same trauma kit brought in should there be a mass shooting is the same trauma kit that can save lives should there be something like a gas explosion in the chemistry lab or a fight that leads to a busted piece of glass and a serious laceration.
How could anyone argue against these?
Yet look at Watts’s comments. Bustle isn’t exactly the NRA’s blog here. They’re a left-leaning website that are sympathetic to her cause, yet the quotes they publish all certain suggest Watts opposes these kits, at least on some level. Not a single word of support, even if she also continues to think we need gun control as well.
That really tells you all you need to know about the gun control side, though, doesn’t it?
You see, this isn’t the only matter they’ve opposed. They stood against the idea of hardening schools following Parkland. David Hogg and the rest of his crowd were outraged over requirements they had to start using clear backpacks to ensure they weren’t carrying a firearm. The anti-gun crusaders aren’t anti-violence, they’re anti-gun. They don’t want solutions outside of that very narrow focus.
As a result, it’s time we call them out over this and demand people simply stop taking these people seriously.
We’re not backing down on guns, so why not look at solutions outside of that? Watts won’t do it because she doesn’t actually care about human life. She only cares about disarming the American people and screw lives being lost because of her myopic focus.