Last month a 9-year-old brought a .45-caliber handgun to his elementary school in Washington. It discharged by accident, critically wounding an 8-year-old girl.
Then on Monday morning, 17-year-old T.J. Lane opened fired with a .22-caliber handgun in his high school cafeteria — he also had a knife — firing 10 rounds at random victims. Three are dead.
What’s with all these school shootings? What ever happened to teachers worrying about Pokemon cards and cheating on trig exams? Even marijuana is a better problem to have. (Hide the Cheetos, though.)
I can’t imagine sending my kids to school and telling them to be careful, duck when you hear the click, don’t be afraid to run.
School has always been a safe haven, a place where people flock during natural disasters, a place of innocence and childish enthusiasm. It’s not a place of violence and fear and terror.
Believe it or not, school shootings are far more frequent in American than in other countries, though there have been awful massacres elsewhere. Why? And what can we blame? We like to blame the media, violent movies, Facebook. But really, is that where the system has failed? Shouldn’t we be talking about upbringing and values and compassion?
Or it is about access — to guns, to bullying, to drugs, to violence?
It’s scary to think how easy it is for kids to grab a handgun, post some vague threat on social media, and open fire in a classroom or cafeteria. Weren’t there signs? Didn’t someone suspect?
It’s such a tragedy for both the gunmen and the victims. No one wins. We have all lost.