Bowling Green residents grapple with recent school shootings


Illustration by Hannah Good

Karen Simpson, a 72-year-old from Tulsa, Oklahoma, bought her first and only gun after she divorced her husband and he began trying to break into her house. Simpson recalled the story as she browsed cans of peanuts in a Bowling Green Walmart at about 10 p.m. on a Monday night.


“My gun’s name is Betsy,” she said with a smile.


Simpson said the recent mass school shootings in Benton, Kentucky, and Parkland, Florida, are a “sign of the times.” A semi-retired author’s assistant with a background in education, she called for more education of children, particularly about responsibility with firearms with an emphasis placed on the value of life.


“A lot of things go back to bullying, and bullying goes back to parenting,” she said.

Simpson is one of many Americans grappling with the complex causes of gun violence in America following the recent school shootings. These incidents are among the 34 mass shootings that have occurred since the start of the year as of Feb. 21, according to the Gun Violence Archive. This count defines a mass shooting as an incident in which four or more people are injured. Four of these mass shootings have taken place at schools.


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