from the world's big
There’s one way to stop school shootings without taking away anyone’s guns
One achievable solution can stop the epidemic of school shootings in the United States without restricting the guns of law-abiding citizens.
Another day, another horrible school shooting in America. This time 17 kids were ruthlessly gunned down at the Majory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida. By now, we have all gone through this nightmare many times and know the cycle that will follow. There will be blame thrown around, some will try to understand why the gunman did it, people will argue about guns, Congress will get pilloried, but nothing will change. We'll just have to wait until the next shooting to do this all over again.
Or we can say that we won't take it anymore. Outside of countries in war zones, the United States is the only place in the world that has school shootings on a regular basis. Why can't we pull ourselves together as a civilized society and fix this?
One way is to stop the arguing. We all can agree that we love our kids. So let's not make this about gun control or anything else that we can't agree about. Let's solve this by doing what Americans do: we throw money at the problem.
Kristi Gilroy (R), hugs a young woman at a police check point near the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School where 17 people were killed by a gunman yesterday, on February 15, 2018 in Parkland, Florida. (Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images)
What would it cost to put metal detectors, security guards and a police officer in every public school in America? Let's do the unthinkable: in this case, some math.
The U.S. Department of Justice estimates that while metal detectors may vary in price range, from $1,000 to upwards of $30,000, a reasonably-priced model of around $4,000 to $5,000 would have the features and reliability for a school environment.
How to avoid long bottlenecks in the morning, with students waiting to go through the detector? The experience of the New York Board of Education, with operates such programs successfully in about 50 inner-city high schools, shows that staggering the first period start times works to alleviate the problem of lines.
An additional cost of the detectors is the salary of the people who operate them. On average, NYC school officials have to fund an additional 100 security officer hours a week to run the detection program for a school of about 2,000 students. The hourly rate for such personnel ranges from $12 to $20 an hour, according to Glassdoor. So at the maximum rate, we are looking at an additional $2,000 per week for the requisite school staff. With about 36 weeks of instruction time per year, we are looking at an estimate of an additional $72,000 per year total in extra money that a school the size of a large high school would have to pay.
Students react at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, a city about 50 miles (80 kilometers) north of Miami on February 14, 2018 following a school shooting. (Photo credit: MICHELE EVE SANDBERG/AFP/Getty Images)
Now let’s try to extrapolate this to the whole of the United States. According to the U.S Department of Education, there are about 100,000 public schools in the country, including all elementary, middle, high and vocational schools. There are also about 33,000 private schools.
At the rate of $5,000 per unit, it would cost about $500 million to equip all of the public schools with a metal detector.
If we take $72,000 per year in extra security guard pay as the base (and it's likely to be lower as not all schools are as large as a 2,000-person high school), we are looking at $7.2 billion per year in guard pay.
Another factor that could help increase security is having a police officer specifically assigned to each school in the United States. With the average police officer salary being around $61,000 per year, according to the U.S. Department of Labor, we would need another $6.1 billion to accomplish that goal.
So for about half a billion dollars in initial investment, and a total of about $13.3 billion in additional expenses every year, we can get our kids much better protected than they currently are. And the numbers are likely to get lower if we focus on this issue as a society, improving metal detectors and other technology that can keep the kids safe.
Fire Rescue personnel work the scene at the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School after a shooting at the school that reportedly killed and injured multiple people on February 14, 2018 in Parkland, Florida. (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)
Is $13.3 billion a year a large number? Sure, but if there's money for the kinds of changes President Trump proposes in his new budget that favors military and infrastructure spending, there could be money for this. Let's just say if there's a will, there's a way. We are a rich society that can afford to re-orient our priorities and funds to safeguard our kids.
Not to mention the actual monetary costs of gun violence. One estimate puts that number as high as $229 billion per year, which includes $8.6 billion in direct expenditures, such as imprisoning people convicted of homicide or assault, and $221 billion from indirect costs, such as lost wages. These numbers are not just for school violence expenditures, but you get the idea. We would very likely save more than we will spend. And we'll have kids who are alive to enjoy life in what is supposed to be the greatest country on Earth. At least that's what the politicians keep telling us.
Wondering how much it costs to protect a University? For about $2 million per year, the University of Kansas would get all primary athletic facilities secured (plus the cost of staff). That’s $2 million total to protect 50,000 spectators per event. The University of Arkansas’s main stadium would cost about $500,000 to outfit with metal detectors at the cost of $6,500 per metal detector. Installing 70 mobile detectors at two sports stadiums for Kansas State University in Manhattan would cost about a $1 million.
In Idaho, buying 54 metal detectors for Boise State University cost $250,000. It also costs $20,000 per game to set up and staff them, while renting tents to cover them runs another $3,500, with the barriers to guide fans towards the detectors running another $2,500.
Again, these might seem like large numbers but these universities have the budgets that can afford it. The University of Kansas, for example, has an annual budget of about $630 million.
You might think that installing metal detectors sends the message to the students that they are not safe, ruining some idyll of childhood they should be enjoying. But let’s face reality. They are not safe. Better to prepare them and protect them than see them carried out in body bags.
Join The Daily Show comedian Jordan Klepper and elite improviser Bob Kulhan live at 1 pm ET on Tuesday, July 14!
The team caught a glimpse of a process that takes 18,000,000,000,000,000,000,000 years.
- In Italy, a team of scientists is using a highly sophisticated detector to hunt for dark matter.
- The team observed an ultra-rare particle interaction that reveals the half-life of a xenon-124 atom to be 18 sextillion years.
- The half-life of a process is how long it takes for half of the radioactive nuclei present in a sample to decay.
Gender and sexual minority populations are experiencing rising anxiety and depression rates during the pandemic.
- Anxiety and depression rates are spiking in the LGBTQ+ community, and especially in individuals who hadn't struggled with those issues in the past.
- Overall, depression increased by an average PHQ-9 score of 1.21 and anxiety increased by an average GAD-7 score of 3.11.
- The researchers recommended that health care providers check in with LGBTQ+ patients about stress and screen for mood and anxiety disorders—even among those with no prior history of anxiety or depression.
Study findings<p>For the study, <a href="https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s11606-020-05970-4" target="_blank">published in the Journal of General Internal Medicine</a><em>, </em>Flentje and her team evaluated survey responses from nearly 2,300 individuals who identified as being in the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer (LGBTQ+) community. Most of the participants were white, while nearly 19 percent identified as a racial or ethnic minority. Multiple genders were represented with cisgender women (27.2 percent) and men (24.6 percent) making up a majority of the participants. Sixty-three percent had been assigned female at birth. For the most part, participants identified their sexual orientations as queer (40.3 percent), gay (36.5 percent), and bisexual (30.3 percent).</p><p>The JGIM study participants were recruited from the 18,000-participant <a href="https://pridestudy.org/" target="_blank">PRIDE Study</a> (Population Research in Identity and Disparities for Equality), which is the first large-scale, long-term national study focusing on American adults who identify as LGBTQ+. It conducts annual questionnaires to understand factors related to health and disease in this population. </p><p>Participants filled out an annual questionnaire (starting in June 2019) and a COVID-19 impact survey this past spring. Flentje noted that on an individual level, some people may not have experienced a big change in anxiety or depression levels, but for others there was. Overall, depression increased by a <a href="https://patient.info/doctor/patient-health-questionnaire-phq-9" target="_blank">PHQ-9 score</a> of 1.21, putting it at 8.31 on average. Anxiety went up by a <a href="https://www.mdcalc.com/gad-7-general-anxiety-disorder-7" target="_blank">GAD-7</a> score of 3.11 to an average of 8.89. Interestingly, the average PHQ-9 scores for those who screened positive for depression at the first 2019 survey decreased by 1.08. Those who screened negative for depression saw their PHQ-9 scores increase by 2.17 on average. As for anxiety, researchers detected no GAD-7 change among the study participants who screened positive for anxiety in the first survey, but did see an overall increase of 3.93 among those who had initially been evaluated as negative for the disorder. </p>
Risks among gender and sexual minorities<span style="display:block;position:relative;padding-top:56.25%;" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="fc3fd1ae68b77bbbf58a6995638d6d65"><iframe type="lazy-iframe" data-runner-src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/EnUqDjCqg0A?rel=0" width="100%" height="auto" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" style="position:absolute;top:0;left:0;width:100%;height:100%;"></iframe></span><p>The LGBTQ+ community is a vulnerable population to mental health concerns because of their fear of stigmatization and previous discriminatory experiences.</p> <p>Previous research by the Human Rights Campaign has found "that LGBTQ Americans are more likely than the <a href="https://medicalxpress.com/tags/general+population/" target="_blank">general population</a> to live in poverty and lack access to adequate medical care, paid <a href="https://medicalxpress.com/tags/medical+leave/" target="_blank">medical leave</a>, and basic necessities during the pandemic," said researcher Tari Hanneman, director of the health and aging program at the campaign.</p> <p>"Therefore, it is not surprising to see this increase in anxiety and depression among this population," Hanneman said in the release. "This study highlights the need for <a href="https://medicalxpress.com/tags/health+care+professionals/" target="_blank">health care professionals</a> to support, affirm and provide <a href="https://medicalxpress.com/tags/critical+care/" target="_blank">critical care</a> for the LGBTQ community to manage and maintain their mental health, as well as their physical health, during this pandemic."</p>
What should health care providers do?<p>The authors of the study recommend that health care providers check in with LGBTQ+ patients about stress and screen for mood and anxiety disorders in members of that community—even among those with no prior history of anxiety or depression.</p><p>As cases of COVID-19 continue to mount, the sustained social distancing, potential isolation, economic precariousness, and personal illness, grief, and loss are bound to have increased and varied impacts on mental health. Effective treatments may include individual therapy and medications as well as more large-scale coronavirus support programs like peer-led groups and mindfulness practices. </p><p>"It will be important to find out what happens over time and to identify who is most at risk, so we can be sure to roll out public health interventions to support the mental health of our communities in the best and most effective ways," said Flentje.</p>
What we know about black holes is both fascinating and scary.
- When it comes to black holes, science simultaneously knows so much and so little, which is why they are so fascinating. Focusing on what we do know, this group of astronomers, educators, and physicists share some of the most incredible facts about the powerful and mysterious objects.
- A black hole is so massive that light (and anything else it swallows) can't escape, says Bill Nye. You can't see a black hole, theoretical physicists Michio Kaku and Christophe Galfard explain, because it is too dark. What you can see, however, is the distortion of light around it caused by its extreme gravity.
- Explaining one unsettling concept from astrophysics called spaghettification, astronomer Michelle Thaller says that "If you got close to a black hole there would be tides over your body that small that would rip you apart into basically a strand of spaghetti that would fall down the black hole."