I hate mass shootings. I particularly hate school shootings because they cause me to go into a state of depression. My long time readers know about my close encounters with school shootings. This one is particularly hard for me to swallow because the young man in question also killed his mother before going on a school shooting rampage like the one I experienced as a teen. When I heard that bit of news, all I felt like doing was ignoring the world and hiding in my bed...with chocolate.
I wonder sometimes if victims and community members (like myself) feel the echoing effects of the shootings they encountered decades later. How does this effect their relationships with people? How does this affect their children especially when their children have to go to school?
Not long after the Pearl Shooting, Pearl Highschool's numbers dropped. Despite it being highly unlikely another shooting was going to occur, students had too many memories to haunt them and parents felt that it wasn't a safe school anymore. I actually met a student whose mother moved him to my highschool (a school that she taught at) because she didn't feel that Pearl was safe anymore.
Pearl is literally 15 minutes away from my school. It's why I knew so many stories from so many friends about what happened that awful day. Just like 9-11 we ask ourselves "where were you that day when you found out?"
But the media doesn't interview us. They don't seem to care as much when they start ticking off the list of school shootings because there were only three people dead. They also don't mention Paducah or Jonesboro either. Maybe it has something to do with the geographic area or the number of people killed versus injured. Maybe it has something to do with being so far in the past even though I'm sure that those victims are like me, raw every time we see this happening and feeling lost as to how to help especially to prevent. Maybe it's because even though school shootings and mass shootings are rare they have happened since the founding of our country and will continue to do so. Have we become numb?
I have no answers. All I know is that I feel that I can't be helpful to anybody. That I can't prevent this from happening. The only thing I can do is put myself out there and tell my story over and over and over again and hope that others who actually were present (not just the affected community) share as well. I hope for stricter gun control (I mean why do we need semi and fully automatic weapons anyway.) I hope that in some way people start talking. That when they hear a student talking about killing people take it seriously especially if the student in question has a history of mental illness.
Otherwise you'll here from me again...under my covers....craving the world's largest block of chocolate.
My deepest, sincerest condolences to the community of Newport. I truly hope that your young ones don't have any residual memories of this nightmare decades later. And I am truly thankful that the teachers got training in this area. It's unfortunate that they had to use it. It's also unfortunate why it was developed in the first place. But I know that it's probably saved many many lives and prevented many many injuries. Teachers, you are the heroes in this tragic tale. I have no parting words of wisdom. No comforting thoughts to offer. As they say, only time can heal. My prayers are with you all tonight.