Once again, we have experienced the tragedy of another shooting. This week, a student in Freeman High School near Spokane, Washington pulled out a gun and when another student attempted to subdue him, he shot that student and three others, leaving that student dead and the other three wounded.
We are saddened
Our hearts go out to the family who lost their son and to the family whose son committed this act. I am sure no one who knew him expected he would do such a thing.
However, it heightens our awareness of the potential thinking of some of our students.
We can predict there was something going on in his private world, something with outward symptoms left unchecked and unreported.
One of his friends stated he was obsessed by public shootings.
I realize our media is teeming with acts of violence, and some students find that intriguing. But that friends knew of his fascination with gun violence indicates something happening in his life that may have altered the course of events if reported.
We may think this is an isolated incident.
But according to Everytown for Gun Safety, this is the 31st shooting in America in the year 2017.
Individuals who shoot others so often exhibit some mental health issues.
I would assume there were some disconnects in the life of this young man. The fact that some students knew some of his obsession and told no one rings of problematic issues that had dire consequences.
That students are walking onto their school campuses with loaded guns and destructive intentions…to shoot or kill people…is more than frightening. It is a red flag, symptomatic of the traumatic struggles faced more and more of late by our students.
There is much more to know about this situation.
We may never possess all the facts.
However once again, it is clear that parents, educators, peers and friends need to take seriously these messages and observations. They need to question the seriousness of what they see and hear that sound like threats of self-harm or harm to someone else.
It is my hope that a tragedy like this one will remind us of our responsibility to provide safe environments for our students, and to be engaged with them so we have prior knowledge of situations that feel suspicious.
It may save a life as well as tremendous grief and loss.
Gerry Vassar, President/CEO, Lakeside