Everyone is very familiar with the school shooting spree in Chardon, Ohio that took place a few days ago. It’s a tragic event, yet another school shooting, something that nobody wants to ever see happen… but yet it keeps on happening. Between the Columbine shooting and today, this has happened numerous times across the country. Everyone talks about putting in metal detectors, frisking the kids as they enter the building – taking the measures that could stop the weapons from entering the building. But the real ‘weapons’ we need to focus on are these childrens minds.
I’m not even talking about TJ Lane himself (the shooter who killed 3 and wounded others). We all know by now that TJ’s father has a pretty lengthy criminal record including physical abuse and assaulting a police officer. TJ clearly didn’t have the best upbringing, and was a troubled teen. There were warning signs there. But the biggest warning signs were the ones that TJ’s friends received.
When I was in the 10th grade, I was good friends with a kid who was considered slightly troubled. He had a history of getting into fights, was generally a downer of a kid and had this aura of constant angst around him. He had a similar interest that I did, and that was of computers and at the time, we both used a bulletin board system (online BBS) that I hosted. At some point this kid decided that his life was no longer worth living and began to tell me and his other friends that he would kill himself on a specific date, but before he did that, he would come into school and kill several people and teachers that he didn’t like. He had the means, as his parents owned guns, and he repeated this to us several times as the date drew nearer. I personally didn’t think he would do it, but I wasn’t willing to take the chance that he might. I didn’t want anyone to die and I didn’t know if he was serious or not. Not only did he verbalize that he would do this, he posted it on my BBS. Label me a snitch, but I felt like it was the proper thing to do to alert my parents and the authorities at my school by printing up what he wrote and bringing it to them. He was suspended and would never speak to me again except to tell me that I was an idiot for thinking he would really do it, and to tell me that I ruined his life. Well, I would much rather “ruin” one kid’s life than potentially allow several people to be killed in a shooting spree.
Back on track here – I took a stand (and some abuse from his other friends) and stood by what I did. But the simple fact is that I may have saved some lives. I will never know, but that’s the price I pay for being ‘a snitch’. I would gladly do it again today if presented with the same opportunity. The kids who were sitting with TJ Lane at the table he stood at before he went on his shooting spree undoubtedly knew about what TJ planned to do. Not only that, but they left the room before he did it, because he spared them. What made those kids think that the other children in the cafeteria he shot up didn’t deserve to live as well? When are the kids in today’s society going to stand up for what’s right? Those kids at that table that knew what he was going to do, or even had an idea that he might do it, should be prosecuted almost as harshly as TJ will be. Until people in society start doing the right thing and protecting one another, we will continue to see these unnecessary death tolls rise and shooting sprees in schools continue to happen.
TJ Lane is a worthless piece of crap for doing what he did, but he was also a victim. He was a victim of his parenting being horrendous, but he was also a victim of society not helping him cope with what is acceptable and what isn’t.
My thoughts and prayers go out to the families of those who were affected by the shootings in Chardon this week and I pray that maybe, this shooting spree will open all of our eyes and convince parents tell their kids to do the right thing and protect their fellow students so we can stop the madness.