I’m not going to write much of a story this week. What can I say? For the 18th time this year, there has been another gun incident involving a school. This time 17 innocent people lost their lives.
I am a proponent of the 2nd amendment. I believe that responsible, mentally stable adults have the right to own firearms as long as it is done safely. But at what point is enough, enough? When do we figure out commonsense gun control that allows citizens their 2nd amendment rights without endangering innocent people?
Sending thoughts and prayers to the families and victims is never wrong, but quite frankly it’s not enough. We have to figure out a way to affect real change. More required safety classes, stricter and more stringent background checks, ready access to mental health care, etc.
I ask you to read about each of these incidents and ask yourself how this happens EIGHTEEN TIMES in less than eight weeks and we are seemingly doing nothing to stop it.
January 3rd, East Olive Elementary School, St. Johns, MI: A 31-year-old man pulled into the parking lot of East Olive Elementary School and called 911, saying he was suicidal and had a handgun. For several hours a negotiator, dispatched to the scene, spoke with the man, who was a military veteran with PTSD. But the man shot himself and died from his injuries. The school was closed at the time.
January 4th, New Start High School, Seattle, WA: Shots were fired by an unidentified shooter into the main administrative office of New Start High School. At least one bullet went through a window into a filing cabinet. The school went into immediate lockdown, though nobody was injured.
January 10th, California State University, San Bernardino, CA: Gunshots, which most likely originated off-campus, hit a window of the visual arts building at California State University, San Bernardino. Classes were immediately canceled as the university went on lockdown, though a police search failed to turn up any shooter on campus.
January 10th, Coronado Elementary School, Sierra Vista, AZ: Using a gun from home, a 14-year-old seventh grader shot himself in the head inside the bathroom at Coronado Elementary School. The shooting was initially reported as an active shooter, bringing local authorities to campus after it was locked down. Police later announced that no charges are pending against the family member who owned the gun.
January 10th, Greyson College, Denison, TX: A criminal justice club student picked up a loaded gun, belonging to an advisor, which the student thought was an unloaded training weapon. She then shot at a wall target, unintentionally firing a bullet, which went through the wall and broke a window. The advisor was a licensed peace officer permitted to carry a firearm on campus.
January 15th, Wiley College, Marshall, TX: A vehicle thought to be occupied by two people drove into the parking lot at Wiley College. Gunshots were fired, one of which hit the window of a residence hall. None of the three people inside were injured. The driver left the scene before police could arrive.
January 20th, Wake Forest University, Winston-Salem, NC: Najee Ali Baker, 21, a student at Winston-Salem State University, was attending a sorority party at Wake Forest University when he got into an argument with another person. The argument escalated, the other person fired shots, and Najee Ali Baker was critically hit. The shooter then left the campus. Police announced that they are investigating the incident.
January 22nd, Italy High School, Italy, TX: A 16-year-old male student opened fire in the cafeteria at Italy High School, hitting a 15-year-old girl in the neck and abdomen. After taking aim at a second student and missing, a school staff member confronted the boy. He was apprehended before he could leave the campus. The injured student was airlifted to an area hospital. Police announced that they are continuing to investigate.
January 22nd, The NET Charter High School, Gentilly, LA: An unknown person in a pickup truck drove past The NET Charter High School and fired shots at students standing in the campus parking lot. An unidentified boy, 14, was injured with an abrasion, though police said that it was not a gunshot wound. Police also discovered that another student had gunshot residue on his hands, while a third was carrying live ammunition and was later arrested. They are continuing to investigate the situation.
January 23rd, Marshall County High School, Benton, KY: A 15-year-old male student opened fire on other students at Marshall County High School, shooting continuously as people attempted to flee. Bailey Nicole Holt, 15, was killed at the scene, while Preston Ryan Cope, also 15, died a short time later at a hospital. Preliminary reports suggest that 14 other students were also shot, some sustaining critical injuries. An additional four people sustained other injuries as they tried to escape. Police have not yet released the name of the shooter, who was apprehended and are continuing to investigate.
January 25th, Murphy High School, Mobile, AL: A disagreement between two 16-year-old students escalated when Jonah Neal pulled out a handgun. School administrators noticed the weapon and tried to calm him; Neal then fled across campus. He was pursued by staff until he fired the gun four or five times into the air. Nobody was injured. Neal was taken into custody and charged with multiple offenses, including possession of a weapon on school property.
January 26th, Dearborn High School, Dearborn, MI: Two individuals became involved in an altercation during a basketball game at Dearborn High School. School officials removed them from the building, but one of the individuals was then shot at from a moving vehicle in the parking lot. No injuries were reported.
January 31st, Lincoln High School, Philadelphia, PA: A fight began in the school parking lot outside a basketball game, and the school went on lockdown after shots were fired. A 32-year-old male was transported by private vehicle to Nazareth Hospital with two gunshot wounds in his leg. He was transferred by helicopter to another hospital but died from his injuries. Police announced that they are searching for an adult male suspect.
February 1st, Salvador B. Castro Middle School, Los Angles, CA: A 12-year-old female student unintentionally discharged a handgun in a school classroom. A 15-year-old boy was shot in the head, and a 15-year-old girl was shot in the wrist. Police arrested the female shooter and charged her with negligent discharge of a firearm. The source of the gun and why she had it on school grounds remains under investigation.
February 5th, Harmony Learning Center, Maplewood, MN: A school liaison officer was sitting on a bench talking with some students when a third-grader pressed the trigger on the officer’s holstered weapon, causing it to fire and strike the floor. The holster was equipped with a trigger guard designed to prevent such accidental discharges, so the department is reviewing the circumstances surrounding the event.
February 5th, Oxon Hill High School, Oxon Hill, MD: A 17-year-old male student got into an argument in the school parking lot and was shot twice in the chest. He walked into the school building, seeking help, and was transported to the hospital in a critical condition. Police said a preliminary investigation suggested robbery was the motive. They charged Zanaya Bryant, 17, and Anthony Hollingsworth, 18, with attempted murder.
February 8th, The Metropolitan High School, New York City, NY: A 17-year-old male student fired a gun, hitting the floor of a classroom. No injuries were reported, and police took the student in custody for questioning.
February 14th, Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, Parkland, FL: Armed with an AR-15, Nikolas Cruz, 19, returned to the school that had expelled him the year before for disciplinary reasons. He opened fire, killing at least 17 children and adults. At least an additional 15 were also injured during the attack. Cruz blended himself into the student crowd to escape; he was taken into custody an hour later. Authorities immediately charged him with 17 counts of premeditated murder.
In case you lost count, that’s 18 shooting incidents involving schools, and twenty-two innocent lives lost. We have to do better. We have to pray, but we also have to act. Now.