I swore I wouldn’t write another article about a school shooting and bring attention to what seems to be a growing epidemic in our country. However, here I go again and if by chance you are a puritan and have sensitive eyes, a warning, I am not going to filter my language, not this time.
As with many events of this nature, there are dozens of stories circulating about the facts surrounding the latest school shooting, that happened Friday morning. This time it was a high school in Sante Fe, a small Southeastern Texas town, when a 17-year-old student walked into an art class and started shooting. He was wearing a black trench coat, toting a shot gun and a .38 caliber hand gun and when he surrendered 10 people were dead and 22 were wounded; these are the facts that seem to be unanimously agreed upon.
Initially when I heard the first reports I was perplexed at the number of dead and wounded. I couldn’t determine how this little son-of-a-bitch could do that much damage with a shot gun and a hand gun. Then after more time elapsed and further details were revealed, his rampage lasted 30 minutes; plenty of time to do that much damage. Further details revealed homemade explosive devices including pipe bombs, at least one Molotov cocktail and pressure-cooker bombs similar to those used in the Boston Marathon bombing, were also found in the high school and the surrounding areas.
Obviously, this creep spent time planning his attack and mirrored some of his actions after the Columbine massacre: the trench coat, shot gun and explosives. Although some of the stories circulating don’t really foretell his intentions, many are blaring out exactly what he was capable of at least writing about on his facebook page.
“He was sort of a quiet guy and stuck to himself.” “We played junior varsity football together, he was cool.” “He just didn’t seem like he would do a thing like that.” “He was sort of shy.” These are a few of the statements made by fellow classmates and they sound so familiar. Reports also say that he didn’t shoot people he liked so they could tell his story. This may or may not be accurate, however one mother reports that her daughter had rejected his advances and even made fun of him in a class; she was one of his victims.
The Columbine school shooting happened in 1999; 141 kids, educators and other school staff have been killed and 284 injured since that senseless massacre. This is the 16th school shooting this year alone, that surprised me, I wasn’t keeping score, but I’d like to think I was at least aware of how many school shootings there had been. But then again, all the media wants to do is cover stories that really don’t make any difference in the light of eternity when we compare them against our kids being gunned down at school.
I guess I should have also warned you that this would be more of an opinion piece versus an informative one. I admit I may be a bit prejudice as I am a retired school teacher, but I hope every human being feels the way I do. Enough is enough, let’s cut through all the bull crap, I don’t give a flying fig if you agree with the second amendment or not, I don’t care if you like the president or not, I’m tired of hearing and reading who is to be blamed for another school shooting. It is time to stop pointing fingers and do something besides wagging tongues.
When I retired over 30 years ago, I remember talking to some parents and other school educators about the safety of our kids at school. I taught in San Francisco in a pretty tough part of town; some even called it the ghetto. My kids attended the school, so I was doubly invested in the safety issues that confronted us. We were a parochial school so not bogged down with politicians or political correctness. We initiated the following: locked all the gates surrounding the school when there were children in the school grounds; limited the entrance to the school to two doors that were patrolled by volunteer parents; and no one, adult or student got through those doors without a laminated id badge with their picture.
Remember, this was 30 years ago, and I take extreme pride in initiating at least two of those safety measures. As I said before, I was doubling invested. These safe guards didn’t happen overnight, but it only took one school year to put them all in place. One school year, that’s nine months for you guys that may have forgotten.
I can already hear some of you saying yeah, sure, 30 years ago it was possible to do things like that. We have more kids now and things are different. We had over 800 kids attending our grammar school. There are always going to be excuses as to why something can’t be done. Bottom line is, we made it work, we staggered the starting times of the classes, so yeah there were lines to get into the building, but guess what our kids were safe. There are always going to be challenges, but you figure them out.
How many kids have to die? How many parents will never ever by the same, because the loss of a child is never reconciled or accepted no matter how it happens? How many politicians do we have to listen to blaming whoever or whatever is their target this election year? How many marches with signs that read “#Never Again” do we have to see? How many kids do we have to see hugging and consoling each other as their friends lie dead nearby?
Wake the freak up people, start demanding more safe guards at schools. I don’t care if you have kids in school or not. These kids that are being gunned down are supposed to be our future. How many doctors, scientists, inventors, philosophers, educators, first responders, soldiers, sailors, Marines, researchers, are among those kids that have been killed since Columbine? Think about that, sobering isn’t it?
It’s time, hell, it’s way overdue. Get a pen out, get your computer fired up, make a phone call, do something to let your local politicians and decision makers know that you are demanding change. Then do the same thing to your national politicians, demand change. I don’t care if you are Republican, Democrat, Independent, Green, Libertarian, or nonpolitical, everyone needs to demand change. Do it now, stop reading and do it now! You can make a change, together we can all make a change.