Thursday, September 14, 2017


It happened again. Another school shooting. The 31st one for 2017. All keeping up with the average of one per week.

This one was a bit closer to home. Grey's parents live in Eastern Washington and MIL works in the elementary schools. She's okay, though a bit rattled. But we know people in the region and there are childhood memories of the area for Grey.

All of this leaves me both sad and angry. 31 school shootings in 2017 alone. 31.

I don't care which side of the gun rights argument your on, there's something seriously wrong when it's become expected, yes expected, that one day a young kid is going to pull a gun on his/her classmates in a setting that is meant for learning and growth. There's something seriously wrong that these shooters even dreamed this was an option for dealing with all the fuckery that's going through their heads.

And there's something seriously wrong with our society that there's the assumption its just going to magically stop without doing some serious overhaul.

Guns are not going away. Anyone who believes that laws and regulations alone are going to "cure" society only needs to look at abstinence programs for sex education as a comparison about how that one is going to work out. The truth is we need to talk about guns. People need to learn about basic gun safety, types of guns, uses of guns and how guns are acquired. Parents need to start having that oh-so uncomfortable conversations with family/friends/children's friends about whether they keep guns in the house and if there are guns, how are they stored and secured.

We also need to start interjecting ourselves into other people's lives. We need to know the friends of our children and know what's happening with them. Both to be sources of support but also to celebrate with them for the good times. Community needs to be built, to the point of nosiness, because so many of these kids/families are struggling silently.

Finally, we need to have serious conversations about mental health. Posts about depression and anxiety are not a joke and shouldn't be ignored. Even if the person posting is normally happy and easy going.

Today, a mother and a sister are grieving the loss of their son/brother on the heels of grieving the death of their husband/father. A preventable tragedy. It's time we prevent more of these. We're overdue.


  1. Yes to all of this. I hadn't heard of this shooting, but it is beyond upsetting to me that there have been 31 school shootings this year and it's NOT news enough to come up on my radar, it seems to be "oh, another one." I am a couple weeks away from our Safety Week drills, where we practice for active shooter situations in my middle school, and I find myself I a teacher or a Seal Team member? I didn't sign on to teaching with school shootings in mind, but they exist and I have to know that while those students are with me, they are my responsibility in every way and I have to put them first in that kind of situation. Which is TERRIFYING, and sad to me that it is unlikely, but a real possibility. Education about guns like sex education is a very interesting idea -- I think it would be amazing to talk about guns and gun violence bluntly in schools. The comparison to abstinence education is brilliant. And the friends' parents, your own family members, the thought of all the firearms that could be lurking if you don't's scary and a little awkward but SO NECESSARY. Such an important post. I'm so sorry about the losses this family endured, and that it was so close to your MIL, both location and psychologically with her being a teacher nearby.

  2. That's awful. Like you, I'm shocked it barely makes the news. Although maybe less notoriety is good? Since perhaps the promise of fame is maybe partly what motivates shooters? It's messed up; I don't like to think of such a thing ever happening at my school but I know it can and I do think about it. So much of my sense of safety comes from simply trusting people. Society changes do drastically when you can't do that anymore. Violence changes everything; it can't be underestimated.

    1. One thing the Washington Post did that I need to praise them for is the didn't name the shooter, but instead focused both on the 15 year old who confronted him (Sam Strahan) and the custodian who disarmed him (Joe Bowen). They promoted both of them to hero status. That I agree with.

      But yes about media coverage being too much. Often it's fake and notoriety these kids are looking for (and they are kids because there is nothing mature about these selfish acts).

  3. You are absolutely right. Nothing is going to change unless all these issues are looked at. I wish the gun lobby wasn't so strong over there as it seems like whenever there is any attempt to bring in a new policy, it doesn't stand a chance of getting through.

    1. Honestly, it's beyond the gun lobby. In many parts of this country, guns are a way of life. This idea that somehow we're going to eliminate access for those who are mentally unstable solely by restricting access is on the same level as assuming kids won't had sex as long as you don't talk about it. It's insanely easy to get a gun illegally. And with almost all these shootings, the guns were acquired from a family member (thisbrecent shooter had access to his father's safe).

      Have you ever fired a gun? Do you know where the safety is on a handgun? A rifle? A shotgun? What does a 5-7 round magazine look like? How do you clear a chamber? What is the proper etiquette for holding a gun? How do you clean and care for it? I ask all of this because most of these shooters also have zero clue and their motivating factor is to feel powerful over the fear caused by the unknown. This recent one demonstrated that he had zero gun safety training nor knew how to properly use this weapon (he jammed the rifle while loading it) and he never should have had access to the safe combination let alone knew where the ammunition was. It was also insanely easy to disarm him.

  4. The gun culture in the U.S. is a puzzling thing for those of us who live elsewhere. Of course, school shootings (& stabbings) happen here too. One of the very first such incident in modern times was at a high school in Brampton, Ontario (not far from where I live now) in 1975. One of the women I worked with was a student there at the time. It was huge news then because it was so rare. Sadly, they have happened much more frequently in recent years, although nowhere near to the same extent that they seem to happen south of the border.

    My cousin was a teacher in a small community in Minnesota where there was a major school shooting 10+ years ago... she taught at the elementary school & the shooting was at the high school -- but they were still on lockdown & of course, everyone knew everyone, including the shooter. She still posts on social media on the "anniversary" of that event & whenever there is a school shooting somewhere... I know it affected her deeply.


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