Thursday, February 15, 2018

Another day, another school shooting...

Last night, I read about the school shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida.  At the time I read about it, there were fourteen victims, which at that point, hadn't been confirmed dead.  By the time I woke, up, news reports confirmed seventeen people dead.  Twelve were killed in the school, two were killed outside, one died in the street, and two more died in the hospital.

My reaction to this latest shooting was, at first, numbness.  It's gotten to the point at which school shootings have become so commonplace that I almost don't even react to them anymore.  I can remember the horror of Columbine back in April 1999.  In those days, school shootings were completely foreign.  There were days and days of news coverage about Dylan Klebold and Eric Harris, the two young men who went on a shooting rampage and murdered twelve students and one teacher, injuring another 21 people.  Those who survived that horrible day are now in their late 30s.

These days, schools are taking a lot more security measures to protect students against gun toting lunatics.  Unfortunately, despite all the precautions, young people are still being killed at an alarming rate, simply for being at school.  I never thought I'd be a proponent of homeschooling, but I can really see why so many people are opting to do it nowadays.  Schools have become truly dangerous.  You never know when someone is going to snap and just flip the fuck out.

The suspect from yesterday's shootings is one Nikolas Cruz, who is just 19 years old.  He was once a student at the high school, but reportedly expelled for disciplinary reasons.  Peers who remember him have said that Cruz didn't have any friends.  He was verbally combative and got into verbal altercations with others and some students even predicted he would be the one to perpetrate a school shooting.  It's hard to tell what caused him to lose it yesterday and go on his murderous spree.

Donald Trump, not surprisingly, issued a trademark tone deaf statement about the attack.  One of my former English professors noted yesterday that Trump had not made a statement about the attack, so at least one network was showing past comments made by former President Obama.  I think Mr. Obama will go down in history as an even better president than he actually was, simply because his successor has proven to be such an enormous disaster at the job.

Really Trump?  Well no child, teacher or anyone else should expect to get SHOT in an American school, either?  What do you plan to do about it, Mr. MAGA?  Prayers and condolences do not solve the problem.

I grew up in a time when it was not unusual for kids to bring guns to school.  In the 80s, in my rural Virginia county, a lot of boys had guns in their trucks.  They went hunting before and after school.  As long as they didn't bring their firearms into the classroom, no one cared.  I have at least one Facebook friend who was a teacher at my high school and is now the president of a college.  Every once in awhile, he tells the funny story of a young man who did bring a rifle to class.  It was the first day of dove season and the kid remembered he had a test.  His truck didn't lock effectively and he didn't want to leave his gun in the unlocked vehicle, so he brought it with him to class.  He took his test, grabbed the rifle, and left campus to go hunting.  It was fine.  People barely batted an eye at it.

Nowadays, kids practically have to go through airline style security to go to school.  I'm probably only exaggerating a little bit.  Policies have been made.  Safeguards have been enacted.  None of it's enough.  We are a mere 45 days into 2018 and there have already been 18 school shootings.  Something has to be done.  I tend to be fairly gun rights leaning, but I'm changing my mind now.  There's way too much violence in the United States.  Way too many people are dying simply because they chose to go to school on a day when someone decides to open fire.  I have many friends who are teachers and I know this trend scares the ever loving shit out of them.

What is going on today that so many young men are choosing to be violent?  It was bad enough in the pre-Trump era, but it seems to be getting worse now that he's in office and emboldening uncivilized and uncouth behavior.  We're seeing a lot of people losing their empathy toward others and resorting to killing and injuring people rather than seeking real help for what's bothering them.

I can't even begin to wrap my head around it.  All I can do is sit here helplessly and watch.


  1. I think It's too late. Pandora's box is open and there are pistols and assault weapons everywhere. The culture promotes violence and everyone has guaranteed access or underground access to any kind of weapon they want. The only way out is for a drastic solution (bans and confiscations) and that isn't going to happen. It's just part of the American way of life now. I used to shoot competitively when I was young and hunted when I was older, but no longer have the time or inclination.

  2. I don't know the answer. I'm not pro-gun, but the right to bear arms is somewhat foundational to our governance. Maybe HIPAA regulations should be changed. As it is, practically all health care providers and mental health care providers CAN reveal is info related to child abuse. In my world, they would also be able to reveal info related to individuals in whose hands guns would be dangerous. I also think there's no reason for a private citizen to own a semi-automatic or anything even more powerful.

    I'm getting tired of hearing about how the shooter was bullied. Even if it's true, once the shooter has chosen to take a gun into a school or other public place and start spraying bullets everywhere, I don't really care about his status as a bullying victim anymore; it's now a moot point to me. If a person wants to talk about having been bullied instead of committing mass murder, I'm all ears. Once he's emptied a semi-automatic in a public place, I don't care anymore if he has been bullied or not. The Sandy Hook shooter was a troubled little soul, but once he decided to kill a pack of innocent children, I ceased to care about his problems and to worry about his status as a victim. (And what the fuck was the mother of such a kid doing with cabinet full of powerful weapons [cabinets obviously can be broken into], and taking the kid out and teaching him to shoot? I understand that she, too, paid with her own life, but that doesn't bring back any of those precious children If educators or others need to discuss the subject of bullying in a general sense just as a way of trying to piece the puzzle together and to see what we as a society can do differently to prevent future acts of senseless violence, I can understand that. but as far as discussing the shooter as a 'victim" because he has suffered at the hands of bullies, I just don't care anymore about what his suffering was.

    What's the gender connection here? In that one case (Arizona, maybe?) a woman may have been a co-conspirator. in the Orlando shooting, it too a while to rule the ex-wife out as a co-conspirator, though I think she eventually was. by and large with the school shootings, though, it seems to be a male thing. Females kill themselves over brutal social media attacks. Males sometimes show up to school with multiple semi-automatic weapons and gun down everyone in sight. (Obviously most males do not engage in this behavior, but when it does happen, in the vast majority of cases, it seems to be males doing the shooting.) Why is this? Is it simply because girls are less aggressive. We've seen plenty of YouTube videos to indicate that females as a whole are not necessarily incapable of acting out in aggressive ways. Yet, for the most part, they're not toting powerful weapons to school and firing bullets all over the place. Is it because parents don't help their daughters to access weapons. Is it because, on average, girls don't have quite so much experience with guns and don't shoot as well? Or are girls both by nature and nurture less aggressive for the most part? We all know of exceptions to every rule.

    I don't know the answer. If we ever get to the point where girls are perpetrating school killings with the same level of frequency as are males, we'll, logically speaking, have twice as large a problem on our hands as we presently have.

    Jono, I really hope you're wrong, but I'm not saying that you are.

    1. Ugh... I'm glad I was distracted by travel over the weekend.


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