This year, Dripping Springs ISD implemented a clear bag policy in Tiger Stadium for varsity football games. All bags larger than 4.5’ x 6.5’ must be clear. DSISD writes that the change was made in order to make students and patrons safer.
This policy is ineffective in the true scope of gun safety and is a product of a society that is broken. Principals and superintendents should not have to make their students and patrons sacrifice their privacy in order to be safe.
Clear bags won’t stop school shootings. People who want to do harm will still do harm, and clear bags will not deter them. You could just as easily put a gun in another container or a case that is not required to be clear, like music cases. Clear bags aren’t bulletproof either, just filmy, often smelly, plastic. At Tiger Stadium, a shooter could still easily mow down patrons and students at entrances before being apprehended. An organized plot to get in the stadium wouldn’t be stopped by clear bags either.
Clear bags are an excellent example of a collective fear fostering in the United States. In less than 24 hours, two shootings occurred, one in El Paso and another in Dayton, Ohio, which in total left 31 dead. Since Sandy Hook, there have been 2,225 mass shootings that have left 9,305 wounded and 2,510 dead, according to Vox. A motorcycle backfiring in Times Square caused people around the world to flee for their lives.
“I find myself thinking, not just what if this happened to me but visualizing if someone came in, what class would I be in, where would I go, what if the shooter came into my classroom, how would I react to that, and it’s something that I think about a lot,” senior Kiara Bobb said.
It’s not DSISD’s fault that they have had to implement ineffective clear bags, but they are only trying to do something when the government is doing nothing.
“I’m originally from California, so when I first moved here I was very shocked how much guns were apart of Texas culture. Just seeing so many was very odd and I was very uncomfortable with it,” senior Taylor Waters said.
Clear bags in Texas are just a roundabout way of not doing anything to combat gun violence. According to The Dallas Morning News, 1.2 million Texas residents have concealed handgun permits, along with not requiring universal background checks on all gun sales, which included private sales at gun shows. Texas is also a “shall issue” state for gun permits, which means you have to meet the basic requirements to get the permit. New laws were also just changed that would allow open-carry of firearms in schools, churches, apartments, and disaster zones. Clear bags are not what needs to change, but the laws in Texas.
Of course people will argue that clear bags are a necessity to keep the public safe and mass shootings are not from poor gun laws but from bullying and mental health. In reality, the US has the highest rate of gun violence behind any other developed nation. Mental health problems and bullying are not problems only in the US, but only in the US do we allow people incapable of safely having a firearm, to own a firearm. Clear plastic bags are not something seen in regulation in other nations either, because gun violence and chances of mass shootings are much lower.
The answer is not to redacte the clear bag policy DSISD has implemented because it is ineffective. It is simply a response to citizens trying to keep themselves safe when the government fails to do so. Comprehensive laws, like universal background checks, need to be put in place that protect people rather than the NRA and the lawmakers who take their money.
By Cady Russell, Online and Social Media Editor