Thursday, January 04, 2007

The Forgotten School Shooting

There was a time in this country when school shootings were back-page news. They were occurring in inner-city schools and no one really paid attention. And then the unthinkable happened. No one thought that school shootings would become an all too common occurrence in almost any school. It seemed no school was immune to an incident. It seemed that the unprepared were an easy target. But now we have returned to an apathy for school violence. Are attention has been swayed by lesser events. We need to wake up and pay attention. I think it should be obvious by now that ignoring a problem doesn't make it go away. But it is happening even today.
Tacoma, Washington became the newest member in the school shooting family. The scene of it all was very familiar. A student entered Foss High School with a gun. He then shot and killed one of his classmates. No motive is known. It seems there never is. It seems that killings like this are as senseless as the people that ignore them. The familiar tone of the tragedy is there.
"At first, it sounded like a book dropped, and then two more followed," said one student. Another student remarked, "It sounded like fire-crackers." These types of comments have been heard over and over again in shooting after shooting. But this school was prepared. Teachers immediately went into lock-down mode. All students were herded into classrooms and the shooter was caught without incident. But most people probably had no idea this even occur ed.
I saw this story yesterday in a sub-menu on CNN's website. It was not a lead story. It was not a frequent read online. It was ignored. Why? Are school shootings so common that they are no longer news? Was there not enough death? Or is the Democratic takeover of Congress so involved that other news was overlooked? I think all three are pretty good reasons. Stories like this are ignored because they are too common. People, I guess, are thought to be tired of hearing about it. But you shouldn't be. You should care that students have died in school. You should want to get action on this. School violence is a problem and has been a problem for years. But we are ignoring it. And so it will only get worse.

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