New Mexico School Shooter Is A 12-Year-Old Boy, A Numb Nation Is Probably Not Even Surprised

119818994A 12-year-old walked into his middle school gym today, pulled out a shotgun and opened fire on fellow students who were waiting for class to start. A 12-year-old boy is in critical condition and a 13-year-old girl is in serious condition in a hospital in Lubbock, Texas, according to New Mexico Gov. Susana Martinez.

From CNN:

A staff member at Berrendo Middle School disarmed the student after he “walked right up to him and asked him to put down the firearm,” Martinez said.

“We have a 12-year-old and a 13-year-old who were simply shot in the gym waiting for class, and one is in surgery,” Martinez said, urging prayers for them.

The boy was disarmed when a teacher walked up to him and “asked him to put down the firearm.”

Do you know what I really, really want? To be more surprised and disturbed by these stories. Of course I’m disturbed; it’s disturbing when a child brings a gun to school and shoots his classmates. But I’m not surprised, and that disgusts me.

Last month, I read a story about how people of Iceland were mourning the first man ever to be shot by police.This stuck with me; I couldn’t get the story out of my head for weeks:

“The nation was in shock. This does not happen in our country,” said Thora Arnorsdottir, news editor at the Icelandic National Broadcasting Service, to PRI.

The 59-year-old man was shot when he started firing on police who entered his apartment building. Police have apologized to his family, without admitting any wrongdoing.

Gun violence is so rare there, that a nation mourns when someone wielding a gun and firing it at police gets shot. And I’m so conditioned to hear about gun violence in this country that I don’t even flinch when I hear a 12-year-old brought a gun to school and opened fire on his peers.

Something is very, very wrong here.

(photo: Getty Images)

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  • Ashley

    I don’t know what to say other than to nod in agreement. Our nation is fucked up.

    • Fuzzy Dolphin

      Sheesh relax the fuck up!

      we don’t have kids in suicide vests blowing shit up… yet

      we don’t have a ridiculously high teenage suicide rate as many asian countries

      every country has fucked up kids too.

    • Ashley

      Oh, I forgot that other problems make our problems unimportant, and that caring is a finite resource. My bad, carry on.

    • AlbinoWino

      Acknowledging our own problems in our nation is allowed, even if they might not seem as big as other nations. They’re still problems and they should still be addressed. If you had your kid off themselves, would you just think oh well, could be worse. I’m not going to try to make things better where I live. I doubt it.

    • A-nony-mous

      You don’t need children in suicide vests. You have children shooting each other as young as six years old. Technically you have children (underage minors) committing mass murder. Dylan Klebold, of Columbine, was 17 and thus a legal minor when he helped kill 13 people.

      Asia has high suicide rates because they have a population many times that of the US. Larger population = higher rates. If you balance for population it might tell a different story.

      Sorry but other countries don’t have children that are doing this. Canadian schoolchildren aren’t shooting each other every 2-3 weeks. Nor are English or Australian or French schoolchildren. In fact the only areas where you see this kind of youth crime tend to be third world areas or wartorn areas like Liberia or parts of Iraq.

  • Rachel Sea

    Academically I understand, but I just can’t comprehend the series of events that leads up to this. How do we let it happen over, and over, and over? Why do people buy the NRA line?

    I know that it is a result from our normalization of firearms, lack of cohesive community, and piss poor education, but I don’t understand.

    • AmazingAsh

      There are lots of people who use their guns correctly. They keep them in safes, away from their children. Guns terrify me and I don’t want them in my house, but I’m secretly thankful that my neighbor is packing heat in case I ever need help.

      The answer isn’t to take away all the guns- then only the criminals have them.

    • Rachel Sea

      That’s gun-lobby hooey. For one thing, no one is talking seriously about taking away all the guns, and secondly, if there were a ban on all the guns whose sole purpose is killing humans, within a couple generations they would be virtually non-existent. If there were vastly fewer guns in this country, there would be vastly fewer shootings.

      I’m a gun owner, I keep my guns and ammunition triple locked in a hidden location, and the keys hidden separately, which means it is wildly unlikely that a burglar or visiting child will ever get a hold of them. It also means that they are totally useless in the event of home invasion, as well they should be, because if there is a criminal desperate enough to break into my house while I am home, they are desperate enough to be armed, or to attempt to wrestle my gun from me when I fail to hit them (as shooting accuracy, even by law enforcement professionals, goes down the toilet when under extreme stress), which means the only safe thing for me to do in the event of home invasion is to jump out the window, and run to call the police. There is no such thing as a defensive weapon.

    • Alexandra

      Sorry but this kid used a sawed off shotgun. Shotguns are used for duck hunting, skeet shooting, etc. It wasn’t a handgun. It’s purpose was not to kill people.

    • Rachel Sea

      It wasn’t once it was sawed off, then it becomes a gun for killing humans. But that’s irrelevant. Most murders don’t happen with hunting weapons. Not all shootings can be prevented, not in our culture, but if people were motivated to effect real change, getting rid of the guns meant to kill humans would make things better for our great-grandkids. But that doesn’t matter either, because it’s not happening.

    • Blooming_Babies

      Add the retired police officer who killer a father for texting his daughter during the previews of a movie this week? I’m really glad that “good guy” had a gun.

      The answer isn’t really about taking away the guns, nor is that even a suggested solution.

    • A-nony-mous

      Why not? Some people don’t deserve to have a gun, PERIOD. Some people who have guns who clearly don’t keep them locked up so 6 year olds and 12 year olds and mentally disturbed teenagers can have access to high powered weaponry should probably lose their guns and right to have guns.

      A very large portion of gun violence has nothing to do with “thugs” or “bad guys” who, more often than not, confine their killings to each other. A lot of the issues, at least the ones that the media portrays, are morons who think leaving a loaded shotgun in a closet or a loaded handgun in a nightstand drawer is “securing it”, especially when they have children and/or mentally disturbed people in the home. Why do these people deserve to have a gun that’s been proven time and time and time again to be used against innocent people when their child gets ahold of it?

      This kind of thinking that “removing a single gun is not the answer!” is EXACTLY why America will continue to have school shootings every couple weeks.

    • Gangle

      I live in a country where guns are seriously restricted. I know almost no-one in my area that owns a gun. I feel safer knowing that people can’t go out and get a gun just because of some false sense of entitlement. I feel safe knowing my neighbours do not have guns. Guess how many mass shootings we have had in the last 13 years since those laws came into play? Zero.

    • Alfreda Wells Morrissey

      I agree that most people in the US do store and keep their guns safely and enforcing that safe storage should work to keep people safe; however, how are we suppose to monitor that? Should the NRA perform random checks of every house to ensure guns are stored safely? If caught not storing them safely then revoke right to carry? That would be impossible to keep up. The other option, rat out your neighbors if they are not safe. Or wait until a kid or kids get shot, then remove that person’s guns? By that point it is too late. If you could find a way to police everybody, then maybe this would be a viable option. I am not in the US so I don’t really know the rules but in the columbine movie they said some kid walked into walmart asked for a gun, got it on the spot. Is this true? Do you not need a license of some sort to wield a weapon?

      Here in Canada if you want a gun, you need to pass a course that teaches safe handling and storage, provide references to your character, and jump through several hoops. When you buy a gun you need to show this license. If you want a hand gun there are several more hoops to jump through. If you are transporting it, you need to inform the police. It is set up for people who want to shoot recreationally or hunt can, but there are restrictions in place to keep people safe. Automatic weapons are banned. We do have occasional shootings but they are usually gang related, one gang member killing another. From time to time somebody will get hurt by a stray bullet as collateral damage from a gang fight. This is rare.

    • Rachel Sea

      In many states anyone can go to a gun show and buy as many guns as they want, provided they have the cash. You don’t even need to show ID.

  • AmazingAsh

    I hate admitting it, but I skipped over the article on my newsfeed because there were no listed fatalities. Now that I’ve read it, the whole situation just makes my heart hurt.

  • SC Belle

    In Switzerland, there is a mandatory gun law. Every home must own a gun and the adults must know how to use it. Guess which country has the lowest murder rate? If the kid knew there was a possibility that someone else at the school was armed, would he have brought the gun? I think probably not.
    And Rachel Sea, obviously you don’t need a gun. If you needed it, there would be no way you could get to it in time. My neighbor recently stopped a home invasion because he was armed. When criminals know they may be walking into a gun fight, they typically find someone else to victimize. We have guns in our house because I would rather go down knowing I tried to defend myself, my house, and my kids instead of waiting for the cops who might not get there in time. At least by arming ourselves the playing field is leveled just a bit

    • Mel

      Yep, if all those 12 year olds were carrying guns, this would never had happened. Because 12 year olds are responsible for protecting themselves by being armed, and armed criminals always think things through rationally and only attack where they know people are unarmed. More guns surely will lead to fewer gun deaths.

      You’re gross and you terrify me. Next time you feel the urge to post, just stop and walk away.

    • Rachel Sea

      The Switzerland comparison is bullshit. Every Swiss man between the ages of 18 and 30 is a standing militiaman. They all go to boot camp for 3 moths where they are trained in the use of their firearms, and they go to regular refresher courses. Their population is also roughly that of New York City, and they have virtually none of our major social ills, and a completely different culture.

      If we want Swiss murder rates, we FIRST need to drastically lower poverty, provide military training to our entire adult population, do away with institutionalized racism, and sexism, provide an extensive social safety net, provide low-cost higher education, raise taxes on the wealthy, improve literacy, resolve southern border issues, bring red and blue states to a high level of political agreement, reduce social aggression, reduce entitlement, reduce unemployment, fix our prison system, and treat our drug problems. Then MAYBE it will be reasonable to arm the entire adult population.

  • Mel

    I realize this is radical and completely unachievable, but my answer to those who claim that “only criminals will have guns” is to say that if we stop manufacturing guns and bullets, then there will be NO ONE with guns. Or we can adopt a policy like Australia and other countries who actually do regulate guns to the point that they are basically only allowed at gun clubs and for hunters who use them to kill food. Logic dictates that fewer guns = fewer gun deaths. I do not accept the NRA and other gun lobby propaganda that “the only thing that stops a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun.” Second amendment be damned. The framers couldn’t possibly have imagined a society in which citizens are carrying concealed handguns into restaurants and movie theaters. The Constitution should be a living document who’s interpretation evolves to meet the needs of modern societies.

    • A-nony-mous

      We certainly don’t have these problems in Canada. But Canadians also accept that not everyone needs or deserves to have a gun, and will remove guns from people. Something 99% of America seems absolutely unwilling or unable to grasp it seems.

    • Allyson_et_al

      Most Americans believe in gun control, but the NRA is incredibly powerful. It’s disgusting.

  • Afton

    I’m having a hard time typing out my thoughts on this or even knowing how this whole thing makes me feel.

    Mostly I’m disturbed by the fact that this child had access to a gun. Growing up I knew my dad and a closet full of guns in the basement, but the door was locked, the key was hidden, and the ammo was in a safe that only he and my mom knew the combination too. Nothing wrong with that, but leaving your guns out in the open (I’m assuming he got them from his parents since he is you know 12)

    At the same time this isn’t just about him having access to a gun I think that the most important part of this whole thing is that this boy felt comfortable doing this. He treated it like a toy. His teacher asked him to put it down and he just did. Clearly something is wrong here. Part of me feels like we need to take a look at how we handle stories like this when they are being reported. You hear about these all the time and I feel like they are becoming more and more common. Now yes it is good to know what is going on in the world, but I can’t help but feel like the way news stations drag out the coverage on events like these don’t have something to do with the fact that a child was desensitized enough to think something like this is okay.

    • pixie

      Yeah, the whole part where he just put it down when the teacher asked him to kind of struck me as odd. It’s good that he listened and gave it up when asked instead of turning it on someone else. Reading a news report it says that while the motive is still unknown, the boy who was critically injured was the target, so maybe that’s why he gave it up? He’d done what he planned on doing.

      It’s sad and I hope the two injured kids are ok, especially the boy.

  • Byron

    How does a 12 year old sneak a freaking shotgun to school? Nobody noticed him carrying a gun half his size? Also, that teacher deserves a medal for actually getting him to put it down. They usually end up killing themselves in this situation. Now we can know a bit more about the killer and not blame it on videogames or music or whatever the NRA chooses this time.

    • Rachel Sea

      It was in a duffel bag, which many kids carry for sports.

    • Alexandra

      It was a sawed-off shotgun.

  • SA

    I’m in amazement at the teacher who talked the child into dropping their weapon. Such bravery. Also busts to hell the theory that the only thing that stops a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun. I’m glad this didn’t end in a suicide or the child being shot by the police. Hopefully questions can be answered. Maybe we can start finding out why these children do such things and what goes wrong.