Photo by Alex Yom

According to a 2015 Forbes article, over 32,000 people in the United States are killed by gun violence each year, which means approximately 88 deaths per day. Although some students may see gun violence as a distant issue, for junior Ji Eun “Jane” Yu, gun violence struck close to home when it killed a close family friend.

“He was trying to chase down this one guy who robbed a store,” Yu said. “He witnessed a group of young men robbing a store, and he tried to help the store owners by chasing them down, but he got shot.”

Yu said the incident made her realize how prevalent gun violence actually was.

“I was kind of shocked that this can happen to anyone,” Yu said. “It kind of hit me hard because it showed me that (gun violence) really wasn’t a light issue. It was a very serious issue that can really ruin a family and even a community.”

Phil Hobson, school resource officer and sergeant, has also seen incidents of gun violence.

“I have been in several situations involving guns, including bank robberies, a few shootings and suicides,” Hobson said. “A couple of the shootings I’ve been in have also been domestic. We had a wife shoot her husband in the chest when I was a younger officer, and we also had a husband shoot his wife and kill her at a bank here in Carmel.”

Hobson said he believes violence has been increasing over the last several years.

“It always seemed to me that our society as a whole has become more violent over the span of my lifetime and career,” Hobson said. “Watching the increase in overall violence in our society is saddening.”

Junior Joseph Bloom has similarly witnessed violence throughout his entire life. Bloom grew up in Mechanicsville, VA, where he said gun violence was an ever-present part of his life.

“It was always a factor of life, but I knew how to avoid it,” Bloom said. “I just sort of got acclimatized to it.”

Bloom said that shootings would generally happen in bursts of three to four incidents every few weeks.

“The worst part was that they would always clump up around Christmas,” Bloom said.

Despite growing up around this violence, Bloom said he does not believe guns should be banned.

“He witnessed a group of young men robbing a store, and he tried to help the store owners by chasing them down, but he got shot.”

Junior Ji Eun ``Jane`` Yu

“I grew up in a place where there were hunters alongside gun violence, so I saw people using guns responsibly, and I saw people using them irresponsibly,” Bloom said. “My stance on (gun control) is that there should be stringent background checks and strict laws but not necessarily complete banning of anything.”

Yu said she also believes strict background checks are needed.

“I definitely feel like there must be stronger restrictions or regulation of guns,” Yu said. “I mean, it really can happen to anyone. You might feel like ‘Oh, it’s not going to happen to me, it’s not going to happen anytime soon,’ but it really can happen. There really are people around us who can possess guns relatively easily, and one of them might have some terrible plan; they might just decide to come out and start shooting people.”

However, Hobson said he thinks guns are not necessarily the problem.

“I think for some reason the gun issue is a hot issue for people to really look at and say ‘Let’s take that away,’ when I don’t think that solves the issue that is lying underneath,” Hobson said. “I think sometimes the focus can go straight in on a weapon or a gun when the real issue is people’s willingness to commit violence and hurt other people whatever the means may be.”

Yu believes that people need to understand how each incident of gun violence has a profound impact.

“We don’t realize it because it doesn’t happen to us,” Yu said. “One victim of gun violence has a huge impact not only on that person but on his family, community and everywhere that he was involved in.”

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Emily Worrell