Lots of kids are going back to school this week, and the shooting of a 17-year-old boy on opening day is definitely not the kind of news to put moms at ease. The unidentified student from Perry Hall High School in Maryland was shot in the back while in the cafeteria. He is in critical condition after being flown by Medevac helicopter to a trauma center, so it sounds like he's in the best possible hands. The 15-year-old shooter is in custody, which is also excellent to hear. At least he didn't get away, shoot himself, or harm even more people.
Now we wait for the details of who and what while pondering the big WHY and HOW. WHY did this shooter do it and HOW ON EARTH did he manage to smuggle a gun into school? On the first day no less?
Police say this shooting was random, the injured student was not targeted. Apparently the shooter fired a second shot that did not hit anyone else by the time a teacher and guidance counselor tackled him, so this situation could have been a lot worse.
Perry Hall is Baltimore County's largest public school, with 2,300 students. That is like a small city compared to where I went to high school. You would assume there are some weapons controls in place for a school of that size (even though shootings can happen at schools of any size).
Whoever the shooter is, he's obviously very sick, troubled, and in need of serious help. Unfortunately, he is also pretty resourceful. If you are planning to smuggle a gun to school, doing it on the first day is probably the best time. Who expects a shooting to take place on opening day? Not me. My biggest worry is making sure the camera is fully charged and that I've packed all the required school supplies. Teachers and administrators are busy just getting the ship up and running. They are greeting new students, ironing out schedules, dealing with all the chaos and commotion of the first day of the new year. Everyone is obviously a little distracted.
These shootings that are "random," like the Colorado shooting, meaning the victims aren't specifically targeted, are just scary on top of more scary. They are always so unexpected, no one can plan for or prevent them. As rare as they may be, you just never know when you are going to walk into a public place and become a victim of circumstance. Not to mention that the whole tragic incident casts a dark, ugly cloud on what should be a joyous time of year, at least for moms.
Does this story freak you out about your kids going back to school?
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