‘It’s like they’re everywhere,’ Richfield shooting sheds light on the increase of school shootings

Lex Li, Lexi Han, and Elizabeth Yao

On Feb. 1, 12:30 p.m., police responded to a shooting outside South Education Center in Richfield. Out on the sidewalk of the school were the two victims: one fatally shot and another currently in critical condition. Six hours later, two suspected shooters were caught. 

“I think there’s a lack of information on school shootings in general just because it’s so normalized…at this point, it’s a crisis,” junior Ellie Mullen said. 

Though thoroughly covered in the news, the Richfield shooting proves that school shootings are no longer shocking to the public. “I didn’t hear about it until just now. It’s terrifying to know that it’s not getting out there faster,” freshman Phoebe Price said. 

“These are just horrible things that are going on in our country… it’s not such a crazy thing to happen anymore, it’s like they’re everywhere,” junior Joey Matysik said. 

In September 2021, the Center for Homeland Defense and Security reported 55 school shootings, more than double in past years. Given the last decade’s dramatic increase of gun violence in schools, it has decreased the impact and shock they carry. “I’m beginning to really question my own normalization [of school shootings]; where we’re at, it happens so often, it seems like it happens every day,” assistant principal Jenny Johnson said. 

“School shootings, mass shootings & gun violence happen far too often — and we must never become numb or desensitized. We must hold our hearts open to all the outrage and hold our minds open to all the solutions for ending it. We must not accept any more death and lives torn apart,” said Keith Ellison, Attorney General of Minnesota in a Twitter statement. Since the Columbine High School Shooting in 1999, 292,000 students have experienced gun violence at school. As the years have progressed, frequent school shootings and gun violence have shown that as they happen more often it’s essential to not become desensitized to such a severe issue.