It seems almost unreal. I cannot believe that I am here, writing about another shooting. The national nightmare of gun violence simply does not seem to be slowing down. Today, it comes from Perry Hall High School in Baltimore County, Maryland.
Police report that a 17-year-old male was shot in the back while eating lunch in the cafeteria on the first day of classes. The shooter has been taken into custody and the victim is said to be in critical condition.
The incident is still swarming with rumors. Some parents have told local news that there may have been a threat of violence on Facebook saying, “First Day of School, Last Day of Life.” Kids are saying that the victim and shooter argued in the cafeteria before the shooter returned from his locker with a gun. Other kids have simply said that the situation stemmed from bullying.
For me, one of the most disturbing parts of this tragedy is that the shooting doesn’t feel like a big deal. The major news websites are still dominated by Hurrican Isaac and the GOP convention. The shooting hasn’t made the main page of CNN or the New York Times websites, even though it’s been up on Gawker for over an hour.
I can almost hear the apathy now. The unspoken excuses that it was just one kid. No one even died.
And yet, we’re still talking about a shooting in the middle of an American high school. We’re talking about 2,000 students whose education has now been tinged with violence. Kids who might not feel safe going back to school. A student could still lose his life, or at the minimum have his life forever changed. We’re talking about tragedy.
This summer has seen such an insane level of high-profile shootings, are we really not going to bat an eye when a teenager takes a gun into school and attempts to murder one of his classmates? After James Holmes and the Sikh temple shooting and the Texas A&M shooting and the Empire State Shooting – not to mention all the gun violence plaguing major American cities – are we just going to be complacent when faced with yet another innocent victim of gun violence?
I hope not. I hope we’re all going to stop and take notice. Whether there was a threat that went ignored, a bullying situation that got out of control, or a mental health issue that needed to be treated, no matter what on earth caused their horrible crime, we need to be looking in to it. We need to be thinking about how to prevent it in the future. And we need to honor the victim who went in to his first day of school for a new year and left lunch in stretcher because his classmate somehow got a gun into the school building.