At least eight people died Friday morning when a gunman opened fire at Santa Fe High School in Santa Fe, Texas, creating a horrifying scene that has become all-too-familiar in the United States.
Indeed, according to CNN, the incident was the 22nd school shooting in 2018 — a year marked by demands for stricter gun control legislation from teenaged school shooting survivors who want these reoccurring tragedies to come to an end.
The school shootings in 2018 so far have ranged from mass casualties seen in Santa Fe or Parkland, Florida, to shots fired in college residence halls. Days before the May 18 shooting at Santa Fe High School, a 14-year-old boy brought a semiautomatic rifle to his Palmdale, California, school, shooting one student in the shoulder. In March, a gunman shot two students, one of whom later died, at Great Mills High School in southern Maryland before an armed school resource officer responded.
And three months ago on Valentine’s Day, 17 students and faculty members at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School died when an expelled student opened fire with an AR-15 assault rifle. The shooting incited a number of Parkland students who survived to demand action — leading the March for Our Lives in Washington, D.C., and in hundreds of cities around the world and becoming national figures in the movement to end gun violence in America.
CNN measured the number of school shootings in 2018 by listing those that occurred on a school campus — from elementary schools to universities — and involved at least one person getting shot. Some nonprofit groups dedicated to ending gun violence have provided higher estimates. For example, Gun Violence Archive, which tracks shootings across the country, counts the Santa Fe incident as the 34th school shooting this year. The Washington Post, which tracks the number of students impacted by school shootings since 1999, said there have now been 16 school shootings this year — all of which occurred on K-12 campuses, and not on college grounds.
On the 19th anniversary of the mass shooting at Columbine High School, thousands of students around the country participated in the National School Walkout — an initiative launched after Parkland by a teenager who lived 20 miles from Sandy Hook Elementary School. One of this year’s school shootings occurred on the same day, when a 17-year-old student at Forest High School in Ocala, Florida, was shot and injured on campus by a gunman. The school was then evacuated and the district went into lockdown.
“We urge those reading this not to sweep it under the rug and forget,” the students behind the March for Our Lives organization tweeted following the Santa Fe shooting Friday. “This is not the price of our freedom.”
Since Parkland, there has been some movement on the issue of gun control. Federal and some state governments have initiated new policies to address the issue, including an omnibus spending bill that improves the existing background check system. Still, student activists have been met with backlash and some have received threats from conservative commentators and opponents, as well as the subject of conspiracy theories.
At a listening session days after the Parkland shooting, President Donald Trump suggested arming teachers could help lessen the impact of school shootings.
On Friday, Trump said he and his administration are “determined” to “protect our students, secure our schools, and to keep weapons out of the hands of those who pose a threat to themselves and to others.”
“Everyone must work together at every level of government to keep our children safe,” he added.