Don’t even get me started on Columbine.
Or Virginia Tech.
*takes a moment of silence for all those lives lost.*
A few weeks ago, another school shooting occurred. It hadn’t made national news yet when my parents called to tell me. My brother told them about it. He knew right away because it was in his own backyard.
It was the high school we both graduated from.
Some news hits way too close to home.
With over 2,000 students, Perry Hall High is a school so big it could be its own small town. On August 27, 2012, the first day of school, one of those students, a 15-year-old boy, walked through the doors with a loaded double-barrel shotgun in his pants.
A double-barrel shotgun.
He walked out of a bathroom, pulled the gun from his pants, walked into the cafeteria and shot a fellow student in the back.
I’ve heard, and read, reportings of these types of things before. They are always horrifying. I always tear up (I’m very sensitive and emotional.) But this one hits so close to home because I’m not imagining those hallways, or that cafeteria. I can clearly see them in my mind. I spent years walking those halls and eating lunch in that cafeteria.
That was my school.
When I read about the heroic guidance counselor, Jesse Wasmer, who immediately pinned the gunman against a vending machine and stopped the boy from shooting anyone else, I could see it all much too clearly. I shook as if I was in that cafeteria with all those kids who heard the gunshot and saw the blood. I pictured every doorway, and visualized all the paths students must have ran when teachers shouted, “Get out of the building! Get out of the building!” I could hear the crackle of the intercom system as they announced, “We are in Code Red” then put the school on lockdown.
These quotes were reported in newscasts and articles, but I could see, hear, and feel it as if I was there.
That’s always what comes to mind when tragedies like this occur.
Why do such horrible things happen? How can a kid become so angry, upset, or mentally unstable that he takes a shotgun to school with the intent to kill? Some reports say the shooter had been bullied. It wouldn’t surprise me. Bullying is awful. It hurts. It leaves scars. (Emotional scars are sometimes much worse than physical ones.) Sometimes, bullying breaks people down so badly that they do something sad and tragic, like commit suicide or murder.
Yet bullying continues to run rampant in our world. And it’s only getting more common, and easier to do, because of sites like Facebook and Twitter.
It should be stopped.
But I don’t have a magic cure.
I don’t know how or what to say to make people STOP bullying others.
I don’t have any clue how to figure out who is out there getting bullied, or what I’d do to help them even if I did know who and where they were.
I wish I could wrap my arms around every kid, teen, and adult who feels hurt, lonely, abused, neglected, abandoned, bullied, or like they don’t belong. I wish I had some awesome superpower that would instantly heal them, assure them that everything will be okay, and make them feel wanted, important, special, and loved.
What a kickass heroine I would be.
While we’re at it, this giving ourselves superpowers, I’d also like to go back in time. I’d help, and stop, all those kids who were responsible for school shootings, or were killed or injured during one. Lake Moses. Dunblane. Bethel. Yemen. Pearl. West Paducah. Stamps. Jonesboro. Edinboro. Fayetteville. Springfield. Richmond. Columbine. Taber. Conyers. Deming. Ft Gibson. Veghel. Savannah. Lake Worth. Gary. Caro. Erfurt. New Orleans. Red Lion. Montreal. Bailey. Virginia Tech. Dekalb. Winnenden. Azerbaijan. Huntsville. Columbus. Rio de Janiero. Walpole. Chardon. Oakland. My beloved Perry Hall.
And sadly, that list isn't all of them.Not even close.
What a busy heroine I would be.
But imagine all the tears and heartache that would be spared.
Help stop bullying.