The Only Thing More Horrifying Than A School Shooting Is One That No One Can See Coming

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Jaylen FrybergGia Soriano, 14 passed away late last night. She was the second victim to succumb to gunshot wounds sustained this past Friday when classmate Jaylen Fryberg shot a group of his close friends during lunch at Marysville-Pilchuck High School in Washington State, before committing suicide. As with all senseless tragedies, people seek answers to try and understand what happened and why. As details emerge, Fryberg’s actions may have been the result of a teenage love triangle, as if parents of now and future teens don’t have enough to worry about.

Fryberg was a popular freshman. On Friday he entered the school cafeteria during lunch and used his father’s gun to open fire on a table full of his close friends. Andrew Fryberg, Nate Hatch, Shaylee Chuckulnaskit, Gia Soriano and Zoe Galasso were all wounded before Jaylen Fryberg turned the gun on himself. Both Glasso and Jaylen Fryberg died on scene. Andrew Fryberg, Nate Hatch and Shaylee Chuckulnaskit remain in the hospital.

According to the Daily Mail, Jaylen Fryberg and Andrew Fryberg were cousins and close friends. Jaylen had a crush on Zoe Galasso and was extremely upset when she started dating his cousin Andrew.

Jaylen Fryberg’s Twitter account supports this theory, as a stream of tweets from September until last week hint that the teen was upset by something:

tweet 1

tweet 2

new tweet 3

tweet 4

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  1. alexesq33

    October 27, 2014 at 10:02 am

    I know there were a couple of times in HS (and college) where if there had been twitter I probably would have tweeted very similar things to this. Maybe more explicit (“he broke up with me, I wish I was dead, etc. etc”). I would never see this as a red flag in itself, and that is so super scary. It’s especially hard with teens who hold their emotions inside and may seem like they are handling things or letting things slide off their backs but they really aren’t. We would like to think as parents we would know if our kids reached this type of decision, but would we always? *shudder* those poor people.

    • guest

      October 27, 2014 at 10:11 am

      I’m sure I would have written horrible things as well. Its much like the kids with suicide…its like they haven’t learned that they can move past the hurt and that it isn’t the end all be all.(Obviously in some cases it is untreated mental illness but I don’t think it is all of them.) I just don’t know how this many kids are missing that though. Is it because they’re too coddled and its the first time everything in their life didn’t go their way? Hard to say and hard to know how to fix it.

    • Assasymphony

      October 27, 2014 at 11:34 am

      This is the kinda stuff I wrote in my journals.. suicide, wanting to die, etc, but of course no one read them and they probably shouldn’t be red flags.. It is pretty scary..

    • SunnyD847

      October 27, 2014 at 3:58 pm

      My daughter has written some pretty dark stuff and it disturbs me but at the same time I want her to be able to express her feelings and vent. One of her elementary teachers was really bothered by it and I think she thought we didn’t take it seriously enough. I try not to freak out when I read it so I can discuss it with her and not make her hide it from me, but of course I worry. She does see a therapist as well.

    • j

      October 28, 2014 at 5:41 pm

      So sad your blind to life…

  2. SunnyD847

    October 27, 2014 at 10:20 am

    This is so horrible and I just don’t understand. What makes these kids kill? Is it this whole sense of entitlement that makes them believe they have the RIGHT to get what they want? Is it just that adolescents aren’t capable of understanding the permanence of their actions? Just….why?

    Another of the victims passed away. My heart goes out to her family.

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    • Dave

      October 31, 2014 at 9:00 am

      Same thing that has happened throughout time–love, loss, jealousy, envy. School shootings are actually DOWN from the level they were at in 1992. Way down. Think on that.

  3. Jen TheTit Whisperer

    October 27, 2014 at 10:29 am

    I know adults who put this type of stuff on FB or Twitter so I wouldn’t have been alarmed that he was becoming violent. There aren’t always videos and signs for months that something is wrong.

    • Courtney Lynn

      October 27, 2014 at 4:02 pm

      This. I see this kind of thing every day on my feed.

  4. OptimusPrime*

    October 27, 2014 at 10:49 am

    While the exceedingly vast majority of the mentally ill are not violent, this case reeks of undiagnosed or improperly treated mental illness. This case is a tragedy, but the lack of quality mental health services and the continued stigma are also tragedies–ones we can do something about if our political leaders would get their heads out of the sand.

    • Jessifer

      October 27, 2014 at 11:25 am

      While we certainly don’t know the complete details of this kid’s past behaviour, I definitely agree that in many cases with these sort of shootings, there is a long-standing history of mental illness (whether diagnosed or not). Even here in Canada, in light of the so-called “terrorist” attacks last week, it was found that at least one of them was suffering from some form of severe depression after losing his business, while the other had long-standing drug dependency and had begged the courts to send him to jail 3 years ago so that he could get clean (but they didn’t!) Had these people been given the help they needed, maybe these senseless deaths wouldn’t have occurred.

    • guest

      October 27, 2014 at 11:39 am

      Why would you not send someone to jail who wants to go to jail?

    • Alex Lee

      October 27, 2014 at 11:40 am

      A mentally-ill individual would not be getting the proper care in prison and could serve to destabilize the other inmates.

    • guest

      October 27, 2014 at 12:46 pm

      Well I would certainly agree with that but I didn’t see anyone sayin ghe was put in a psych facility? Did they just say no jail, sorry, go home?

    • Jessifer

      October 27, 2014 at 2:27 pm

      But surely some alternate arrangements could have been made to give him the help he needed. He was clearly asking for it. The problem, at least in Canada, is that with our socialized health care system, implementing quality mental health care programs means requiring more public funds. And the majority of taxpayers and politicians, sadly enough, are not willing to allocate more resources to help people with those sort of problems.

    • guest

      October 27, 2014 at 4:00 pm

      This is the part that is crazy to me. We are always looking for signs and such on how to prevent something. If someone comes up and says “I need help” get them some help for crying out loud.

    • KarenMS

      October 27, 2014 at 11:41 am

      That’s not an appropriate place to get clean.

    • Alex Lee

      October 27, 2014 at 12:08 pm

      All I’ve read about Jaylen is that he was well-liked by his peers (enough to be voted Homecoming Prince), no prior incidents with police, and that he suffered a teenage break-up.

      There’s only so much you can expect from a qualified psychiatrist.

      That, combined with the fact that Jaylen’s family was part of a Native American tribe – and recommendations from outside medical practitioners become even more discounted.

      So, I googled Tulalip Tribes and, just to get an idea of how close-knit they are, they exercise their own jurisdiction on crimes of domestic and dating violence. In short, they have the right to try any offenders in tribal court:

      I do think the OP got it right and that the culture of entitlement has to end. Grooming yourself to homecoming royalty status doesn’t win you a trophy girlfriend or boyfriend, and it’s not the end of the world. This is eerily similar to the Stanford, CA shooting – which was perpetrated by another individual who just couldn’t understand being single – except he was able to hide his illness from his psychiatrist.

    • Maggie

      October 27, 2014 at 2:32 pm

      This reminded me of the Stanford, CA shooting, too. I was waiting on more details before drawing a definitive conclusion. While it’s generally considered to be a crappy friend move to start dating the girl he liked, she doesn’t owe him her affections. Kids are all just figuring this stuff out and making some bad decisions and hurting people inadvertently. It happens.

      And, when I was dating, I always figured that it was shitty if you told your friend you were into someone and they made a play for him before you had a chance but if it’s already clear that nothing is going to happen between the two of you but this person is into your friend, let it go. Give them your blessing and move on. People like who they like. You can’t control that. Unrequited love is really hard. But it’s a fact of life and for all of the guys I liked who didn’t like me back and it hurt, I moved on and am happily married now.

      I wouldn’t make the jump to mental illness. More like raging hormones, teenage angst, and being years from having a fully developed brain.

    • Andrea

      October 27, 2014 at 1:18 pm

      Just curious, how does it “reek” of it. I see nothing on those Tweets other than teenage angst. I would have posted stuff like that had there been Tweeter when I was a teen and it never occurred to me to take a gun and shoot down my classmates.
      What am I missing?

    • OptimusPrime*

      October 28, 2014 at 1:44 pm

      The extreme emotional response and the escalating possessiveness/aggressiveness plus taking the step of taking a gun and shooting “the offenders” and himself are signs of mental illness, not teen angst.

  5. Ashley Austrew

    October 27, 2014 at 11:04 am

    I would’ve put the same dramatic crap on Twitter if it existed when I was a teen. You’re right, there was no way anyone could’ve known. I don’t know what drives these kids to the edge, and it all just makes me so sad. My heart aches for every one of their friends and families, the shooter’s included. These things don’t have to happen and I wish we had a solution.

  6. EX

    October 27, 2014 at 11:15 am

    This is, of course, a heartbreaking tragedy. But this headline is, frankly, silly. If people could see a school shooting coming (WITHOUT the benefit of hindsight) they’d be able to stop it.

    • KarenMS

      October 27, 2014 at 11:36 am

      I don’t think it’s silly. Obviously you’re technically right, but I think she’s referencing the fact that even with the benefit of hindsight we wouldn’t have seen it coming. In so many other cases, we’ve been able to go back and sift through a hundred red flags. Those flags aren’t present here.

    • EX

      October 27, 2014 at 1:25 pm

      I understand the point she’s making and have no problem with the article, but I still don’t like the wording of the headline.

    • guest

      October 27, 2014 at 11:41 am

      Well exactly. And like the crazy guy who had it out for women in California…his family knew and tried to do everything they could and it still ended the way it did.

    • LeggEggTorpedoTits

      October 27, 2014 at 11:59 am

      I don’t think the headline means what you think it means. It’s a bit deeper. When it is an adolescent who is bullied, abused or otherwise troubled, we can assume that there is — at least — hope for us to learn how to identify early warning signs before this kind of tragedy happens again.

      However, when it is the young person that is mostly friendly, outgoing, and merely experiencing normal adolescent drama, it means that maybe there are no early warning signs and that, even the most well adjusted kids can snap and do the unthinkable. It is about removing a sense of security (as false as it may be) from our collective consciousness and that is really scary.

    • EX

      October 27, 2014 at 1:22 pm

      I get that. The thing is that sense of security you’re talking about is false, which you’ve acknowledged. It is impossible to predict with accuracy who is going to behave violently. Yes, we find it reassuring when we can identify red flags because then we can say “I would have noticed,” etc. And I get that it is more alarming when those red flags appear to be absent, but I still find the wording of the headline silly. I don’t have a problem with the article.

  7. jen

    October 27, 2014 at 11:44 am

    Didn’t the kid’s Dad keep the gun in a safe, or locked away? 15 is a hard year for boys, and the social media they now use seems to exacerbate their problems.

    • Maggie

      October 27, 2014 at 2:36 pm

      I agree that social media exacerbates their problems. High school was hard enough. I can’t imagine adding social media to the mix. I don’t think it has been around long enough for parents or administrators to really understand how to deal with it. Heck, even the police aren’t sure of how to deal with the things that go on on the internet.

  8. LaughingRat

    October 27, 2014 at 11:58 am

    Well, his social media history doesn’t show red flags, but that doesn’t mean there were no flags at all. We’ll just have to wait and see what further investigation finds out about this kid. It’s entirely possible there were no clear warning signs, which on some level is more frightening to me than those kids who do show signs because there’s no chance to intervene if you don’t know an intervention is needed.

  9. ActionComics25

    October 27, 2014 at 12:40 pm

    This is part why a gun will never be in my household.
    I feel so bad for the shooter’s parents though, stuff like this probably make them think that they could have seen it coming when that kind of crazy just can’t.

  10. ActionComics25

    October 27, 2014 at 12:40 pm

    This is part why a gun will never be in my household.
    I feel so bad for the shooter’s parents though, stuff like this probably make them think that they could have seen it coming when that kind of crazy just can’t.

    • Andrea

      October 27, 2014 at 1:20 pm

      See THIS right here.

      All I see on his social media posts is teen angst, and I had plenty of that. So did you. So do most kids.
      I don’t know what promoted that kid to gun down his classmates, but I do know one thing: if he hadn’t had access to guns, he couldn’t have done it.

    • B

      October 29, 2014 at 5:57 pm

      What about the hundreds, thousands of people who save their lives and their loved ones, because they had a gun to defend themselves?

    • WeThePe0ple

      November 4, 2014 at 9:57 pm

      Given the reasonable assumption that he was deliberately targeting a small group of 3-4 people, rather than everybody, and that he was clearly capable of luring his victims he could have easily done the same with any variety of weapons.

    • leahdawn

      October 27, 2014 at 1:28 pm

      Same for my household, we will never EVER own a gun. My husband suffers from depression, most of the time he’s OK but when he’s low… a gun would be far too fast and accessible.

    • ActionComics25

      October 27, 2014 at 1:35 pm

      For me it’s just to much of a risk. Even if no one in the house was depressed people do stupid things when mad, add teenage hormones to that and you have a terrifying combination.

  11. ActionComics25

    October 27, 2014 at 12:40 pm

    This is part why a gun will never be in my household.
    I feel so bad for the shooter’s parents though, stuff like this probably make them think that they could have seen it coming when that kind of crazy just can’t.

  12. mamaduck_75

    October 27, 2014 at 1:49 pm

    I think it’s just straight up narcissism. There’s a whole generation of kids out there who cannot handle not getting what they want. It’s really becoming an ‘everybody is a winner’ society and we’re creating kids who cannot emotionally deal with rejection. You have to teach your kids they will face rejection in life. They will be rejected by people they love at times…they will not always ‘get the girl’. They will be rejected by jobs. They will be rejected, at times, by friends. It’s life. We’re doing our children a great disservice by being their constant cheerleader, by jumping in and taking over whenever they experience anything unpleasant. This is happening from the playground up. There was a time not long ago my daughter came crying to me because a kid at Chuck E Cheese’s didn’t want to play with her. I comforted her, but did not coddle her. I told her point blank that the child not only had the right to make that choice, but that she needed to accept it and deal with it, and find someone else to play with. Of course, I did this in ‘kid speak’, using words appropriate for her age (she was almost 4). She got over it, and found someone else to play with. So many parents jump to their kids’ defense to protect their emotions, which I do understand, but in the long run, I personally believe it does more harm than good. While preparing them for the wonder and joy that is life, we have to also prepare them for the heartbreak, for the occasional pain, for the occasional lost love. This whole situation is just incredibly sad, from the shooter and his inability to deal with emotional pain to the victims.

    • guest

      October 27, 2014 at 2:05 pm

      I would tend to agree with that. I also think parents seem to be less charitable, build less empathy, and instead focus on me, me, me and how to get what they want at any cost. If these kids threw their problems in a pile with kids from all over the world they’d probably grab theirs back in a heartbeat. I don’t know how people are letting them miss that important life lesson.

  13. Sharon

    October 27, 2014 at 2:19 pm

    Thank you! I am so irritated with the media pouncing on his Twitter feed and spinning it like someone should have done something–probably because the police are doing their best to not feed the media frenzy so it’s what they had available. It all looks like pretty typical high school stuff. Sure, if I were his parent and I saw that Twitter feed, which was easily available by just Googling his name, I would have been talking to him because I cared that he was so upset. Would I have thought that he was going to go shoot people? Never. At most, I would think that he might deck the other boy. Which is also unacceptable.

    It’s pretty easy to just say “Oh “someone” should have done “something” and to blame it on the fact that they had guns in the home. Yes, it does make it quicker and easier. But here’s the thing. I grew up around guns (which were kept in a safe to which I did not have the code) but it never crossed my mind to try to get one to do such a thing. I never considered killing anyone to be an option. That’s the hard question and the one that we need to focus on. Why do kids (and adults) actually want to kill other people? Why is that even something that crosses their minds?

    Shit like this won’t stop until we can get to the root of the problem. Limiting the availability of weapons will slow them down and require more planning and it might prevent some shootings. So, lets start with responsible gun ownership (or keeping guns out of your home) but we really need to work on why people want to do things like this.

    • WarriorMermaids

      October 27, 2014 at 3:39 pm

      Yeah, I really hate the way the media, after a school shooting, looks at everything the kid has done and says that people should’ve seen it as a “red flag”. Lots of teenagers get into relationship drama. Lots of teenagers play violent video games, or write depressing stories or make weird drawings. Can you imagine if we went after every teenager who did those things?

      Agreed on the guns thing. It certainly is a factor, (with some shootings where the signs were more obvious, I think “why the hell did the parents let the kid have gun access?”) but there are other places where guns are easily available but don’t see shootings like this.

  14. PAJane

    October 27, 2014 at 2:32 pm

    Why does it seem like it’s always boys doing this? Have there been any school or mass shootings carried out by girls?

    • LeggEggTorpedoTits

      October 27, 2014 at 2:52 pm

      I was thinking the same thing…kind of…I was wondering if girls are more likely to turn in on themselves while boys are more likely to direct their anxiety outward?

    • Rumaikiyya

      October 27, 2014 at 3:21 pm

      There have been at least two famous ones by women (Laurie Dann and Brenda Ann Spencer) but it’s much rarer. The overwhelming majority are boys or men. As a general rule, males are more likely to direct violence outwards and females are more likely to do self-harm. I think this has a lot to do with how boys and girls are socialized; there’s cultural variance.

    • SunnyD847

      October 27, 2014 at 3:34 pm

      Brenda Spencer’s dad bought her a gun AFTER refusing to get her recommended treatment for mental illness. That’s one case where blaming the parent seems entirely justified.

    • Rumaikiyya

      October 27, 2014 at 3:44 pm

      I didn’t know that part of it! I didn’t even realize Spencer had documented mental illness; I thought she was a drug addict who was high at the time of the shootings. Why on earth would you buy your mentally ill, untreated daughter a gun? I agree that he definitely deserves blame for that.

    • SunnyD847

      October 27, 2014 at 3:49 pm

      I don’t believe there’s any evidence she was on drugs or alcohol. She was supposedly depressed and suicidal and had been arrested for some stuff like vandalism which is when treatment was recommended. I worked briefly at the school she targeted (long after the incident) and everyone still talked about it. Her house is across the street, also.

  15. momma425

    October 27, 2014 at 3:36 pm

    My husband’s coworker has a son who goes to school in Marysville and was in the cafeteria when the shooting happened. He saw the whole thing- he was luckily able to escape without being injured.

    The whole thing is SO sad. Everyone interviewed said that there were no warning signs. He was an average freshman boy, not unpopular. He played sports and had friends and didn’t seem like a super angry kid. I don’t understand how anyone could shoot their own family members. Jesus! It makes me so angry to think about, and scared that this happened so close to home. This morning, I hugged my daughter a little tighter and said a prayer for her as I got on the bus.

    Further proof, in my mind, that we need more outreach to teens and young adults and make them comfortable talking to someone if they are having any depression or feelings like that. And further proof that guns ought to be much more controlled, because you just never ever know.

  16. WarriorMermaids

    October 27, 2014 at 3:48 pm

    The whole “typical school shooter” profile is just something people try to come up with to make themselves feel safer. But there aren’t always warning signs, at least not obvious ones. Hindsight is 20/20. People find out a school shooter wrote violent stories and go “Oh, someone should’ve seen this and intervened!”, except, lots of kids write such stories and it’s not really feasible or wise to go after them. Replace writing with drawing, playing violent video games, having certain life issues… I don’t think there’s a single cause for school shootings, and there aren’t always clear warning signs either.

    I think what might help is creating more of an environment where teenagers, specifically teenage boys, can have more freedom to express emotions and seek help when they need it. Modern backlash against feminism further promotes the whole alpha male mindset. Considering how rare female shooters are, I think gender in our society is a factor.

    That’s all I got, anyway.

    • Courtney Lynn

      October 27, 2014 at 4:04 pm

      I think you nailed it when you said that people want to construct a stereotype to feel safer. Even the boys at Columbine, so many people said they were nice boys and well-liked. Not the most popular, but definitely not disliked.

    • WarriorMermaids

      October 28, 2014 at 3:03 am

      Yeah, the whole “bullied outcasts” thing was disproved pretty quickly, but lots of people still held onto it. If there are obvious, clear signs, then school shootings will be easier to prevent. Instead of trying to see if there are societal aspects that contribute to school shootings, we can just go after the kids who wear trenchcoats or listen to death metal or whatever and be done with it.

      Lots of people are good at hiding their thoughts and feelings, so these incidents often didn’t have as much foreshadowing as people are led to believe. Not all of these kids write murder fantasies for their creative writing assignments. Many of the most successful criminals in history got away with what they did for so long in part because they knew how to look “normal”. The stereotypically super creepy, shady, suspicious guy isn’t usually going to get many murders in before he’s caught.

  17. mamaduck_75

    October 27, 2014 at 5:53 pm

    I think more than the gun debate, the issue of raising kids who cannot handle rejection and the issue of mental illness should be forefront. I said something similar last night in a different thread : with technology advancing the way it is, my guess is that in 10 – 20 years, guns won’t even be an issue. There will be far more advanced ways for hackers and kids and angry, mentally ill people to get their hands on weapons of all kinds, and far more creative ways to take out large groups of people. If these issues aren’t addressed and dealt with, in 20 years it’s just going to be the same story but with different weapons. I’m not completely unbiased, as we are gun owners (just a few months ago, I was able to frighten away someone trying to get into our home after my husband was gone and it was just my daughter and I, so owning a gun has really helped my sense of security), and my daughter knows how to use her BB gun and cricket at the gun range, and is learning responsibility regarding guns. But even if I weren’t a gun supporter, I’d feel the same. The only things that will change over the years is the type of weapon used by people who WILL get their hands on weapons no matter the control in place, be it control regarding guns, or some future advanced weaponry.

  18. Marisa Quinn-Haisu

    October 27, 2014 at 6:30 pm

    What’s interesting about this event is that it has disproved the theory that the people who do these things are either mentally ill or social outcasts. The truth is anyone can snap like this kid did.

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  22. Mom of 2

    November 3, 2014 at 2:33 pm

    I am so sad for the kids that have to return to their school today. I can’t imagine what they are going through. I hope that everyone following this tragic event, will take away something positive. We don’t know why Jaylen made this choice. Did he think he could shoot them, and live himself? It is too late now, but i hope that this situation has helped others. Helped some kids realize that there is more to being a teen, than relationships. Friendship is number one! School is for learning. I wish there was more control over phone usage at school and with kids in general. Parents should be monitoring these things..until they are at least 18. After that you have done everything in your power to bring up respectful and mindful kids, into adulthood. Right?

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