Violence affects a significant proportion of our population, threatening the lives of millions. Aside from death, significant consequences of non‐fatal violence are injuries, disabilities, mental health and behavioral issues, reproductive and other health-based problems, as well as the overlying impact of violence on our social fabric.
While it affects people everywhere, those living in low and middle‐income regions are at a substantially greater risk to experience multiple forms of violence, and by no surprise, over 90% of violent deaths occur here. What’s shocking, is if you research where mass school shootings are most likely to occur, you will be directed to small-town and suburban America, not to low- or middle-income communities experiencing the highest violence rates.
These small-town communities are seemingly idyllic places to grow up. Typically, they have low crime rates, good school systems and a sense of community where everyone seems to know your name. The phenomenon of these areas becoming targeted acts of violence is due to a variety of factors that include easy access to guns and the copycat effect of disturbed suburban and small-town teenagers emulating each other. Active shooting violence is also blamed on the pressures of living in small towns that make it harder for disgruntled teenagers to adjust. “In small-town America, it’s said everybody knows everybody, and that’s well and good except when you don’t want everybody to know what’s going on with you,” said James Alan Fox, a professor at Northeastern University who has been studying mass shootings for decades. “If things are going downhill for you, you did something wrong or someone did something wrong to you and some girl dumps you, everybody knows. So, it is much harder to get away from it. Experts say its attributes like these that cause small rural and suburban towns to be a breeding ground for the next school shooter.
In Force Technology, Inc prioritizes its efforts around rural school districts who make up (28.4% of the total school population and receive 45% grant funds with 26% spending on services like IFT).
Since the beginning of 2021 and as of April 20th there were over 150 mass shooting events according to Gun Violence Archive – an independent data collection and research group with no affiliation with any advocacy organization that monitors and records incidents from over 7,500 law enforcement, media, government and commercial sources daily in an effort to provide near-real time data about the results of gun violence.
The psychological, emotional and social health ramifications associated with the pandemic lockdowns have been significant and will take years to measure. Numerous studies have attempted to gauge the well-being of various age groups, with the most dramatic impact on children and young adults, who are more likely to develop PTSD, anxiety, depression and other symptoms of distress. According to Johns Hopkins All Children’s Hospital, from April through November of 2020 there was a 35% increase in children who needed mental health assistance compared to 2019 and an uptick in suicide attempts as well.
Unfortunately, social distancing and heightened security measures have negatively affected relationships among people as well as their perception of empathy toward others. According to L1ght, an organization that monitors online harassment and hate speech, cyberbullying has increased 70% over the past few months. The emotional and physical abuse children endure can result in emotional trauma and often lead to disruptive behaviors in school, including bullying, aggression and risk-seeking behaviors.
And history has shown that these above factors combined with family dysfunction, lack of supervision, access to firearms and mental illness has been the catalyst for countess acts of school violence in the past.
Our nation’s schools should be safe havens for teaching and learning, free of crime and violence. In Force Technology’s mission is simple and clear, we want to protect kids and school staff members by providing them with the ability to quickly notify and clearly communicate with law enforcement and first responders in the event of an emergency. With access to building schematics, safety procedures or any other pertinent information, so school staff will be empowered to make better decisions during such an extreme act of violence.