Wednesday, January 24, 2018

23 Days 11 Shootings

It will be the next movie starring Frances McDormand as the Teacher who saves lives and Woody Harrelson as the School Principal struggling with violence and Sam Rockwell as the Security Guard who is a tad racist but comes round after the kids die.

Here in Nashville  the local news is nothing more than a crime report  as violence and crime is their singular role of information in the community.  I have seen more mug shots and shadowy surveillance videos on the news than I have heard actual news but need to know about the local ZMart robbery, the armed robbery on the Pike, the shooting at an apartment complex and so on. I call it the black people round up as that is the largest of the perpetrators of crime here so race matters when you are pointing fingers at who are criminals in the area.  Subtle no, racist yes.

When the Vegas shooting happened it was ground zero for hysteria as it was connected by the event type, something tells me had it been any event Nashville would have found a connection as they love guns and violence here it is the base for all county music.   The other day in response to the MeToo movement they had a special on how women to stay safe.  This from the State where they are number one for Domestic Violence I found that ironic but that was not about that issue it was about what to do if you are being stalked by a harasser.  The solution - get a gun.  My favorite example was that you are at the mall you see a man watching you, following you and you then scream out him and whip out your pistol.  Hey here is an idea - go to mall/store security. Try that!    Being followed in your car? Drive right up to a Police Station and lay on the horn, flash lights to draw attention to your vehicle.  Or try this cell phone thing attached to your wrist and call 911 and alert the Police to the vehicle or individual lurking in the shadows.   After watching women do target practice at ladies night shootings I changed the channel.   Being informed, being misinformed are the oxymoron's of our local news.

Right now I am watching the news and they are showing a grainy video of a store surveillance in Clearwater Florida of a man stealing fish from the tank in store and leaves.  And the point is what?  He has a lovely mug shot and this is relevant to my daily life I am sure. Oh he appeared Latino so I think I found the point.

Yesterday I subbed for a Teacher attending a funeral for a Student who died from a gun shot wound. He was in a car searching for cars to rob or steal in the area (I live about 10 minutes away) and in turn during the planning of this crime he was shot accidentally by literally his partner in crime and fellow studnent (a 16 y/o girl) who took him to the closest hospital dropped him off in the driveway and split.   The teacher told me she wanted to go, he was her former student from last year, he was a problem student and he was challenging as most English language learners are but she felt that she needed to put that aside and attend.  Only she and the School Counselor were going, there was little else addressed by any of the students or faculty there and that did not surprise me in the least.  Live by the sword die by it.  In Seattle the histrionics surrounding school deaths/shootings were always big news as they were rare and we in the liberal white people way clutched pearls and carried on as if it was a patron saint who died.  Schools had assembly's, grief counselors, staff meetings to plan and discuss how to handle the fall back.  Here it is business as usual as it is the usual business here as every day yes every day some student is involved in some criminal activity.  And people wonder why I am afraid here.

So when I heard the news about the Kentucky School shooting I thought the schools here would go on high alert and no.  But I recall the day of Sandy Hook and I was having the worst day at a very acclaimed white high school in Seattle when that happened and I was the only one who seemed to know about it.   Since that time that school had a shooting down the street at a local coffee shop and that was the start of when Seattle decided to go into overdrive over shootings.

 Marysville a town up north was the closest high school shooting that parallels the one in Kentucky and in turn became an issue that I followed as a Substitute claimed to have known tried to inform the school which was never substantiated and in turn she was sued as a part of the lawsuit against the district.  As a Sub she was not an employee and in turn found herself alone in attempting to settle and defend herself.  She in turn had to sue the district.  And ultimately it was determined she was an employee and the case settled. But this elderly woman who was already confused, felt the need to be a part of something and may have lied to gain attention or believe it regardless it was a shitstorm.  Again, you wonder why I am afraid?  I want nothing to do with these kids and nothing to do with any of it.   I don't write my name on the board anymore, I avoid heavy communication with kids and I try to leave the door open at all times.  Yesterday in this class I was talking over them as I always do and the Counselor in the office adjacent called on the phone, I answered, said my name, she goes who? I repeated it  and she then said "Please shut your door." She was clear about asking my name, she did not identify herself nor ask if there was a reason I was loud.  Nope.  Funny how the educated elite behave here, rude, arrogant and utterly impolite.  This is support in Nashville Public Schools or their version of it.  Again I see all of this as heavily based on race, as I saw the woman earlier when I came in and she was Black, the students are all Latino, and I am white.  And that may have been part of it as I see everything here in the race prism it is impossible to not.

But I cannot overlook this one of the schools that had a predator as a Teacher and another Teacher informed on him and the Principal informed the staff to not gossip and no charges were filed, both Teachers transferred so what.ever. And yet staff say, "You should have been a few years ago." Again, what.ever.

In any of these discussions gun control is never mentioned. The endless coverage here in Nashville will go on for days as someone knows someone from there or something but guns are not the problem in the least.  It is sick they way they almost fetish-size this and I have frequently said it is almost auto-eroticism when the kids finally get you to express your anger.  They literally get off on rage as it is the only emotion they connect to.   And Nashville cannot wait to be the center of a massive expression of this. And they are currently at a record with 36 Metro Students killed this year, marking a decade record.  And you wonder why I am afraid?

I think the title of this piece from The Times says it all about the number of shooting this year, 23 days in.  Well its early days yet.

School Shooting in Kentucky Is Nation’s 11th of Year. It’s Jan. 23.

JAN. 23, 2018

ATLANTA — On Tuesday, it was a high school in small-town Kentucky. On Monday, a school cafeteria outside Dallas and a charter school parking lot in New Orleans. And before that, a school bus in Iowa, a college campus in Southern California, a high school in Seattle.

Gunfire ringing out in American schools used to be rare, and shocking. Now it seems to happen all the time.

The scene in Benton, Ky., on Tuesday was the worst so far in 2018: Two 15-year-old students were killed and 18 more people were injured. But it was one of at least 11 shootings on school property recorded since Jan. 1, and roughly the 50th of the academic year.

Researchers and gun control advocates say that since 2013, they have logged school shootings at a rate of about one a week.

“We have absolutely become numb to these kinds of shootings, and I think that will continue,” said Katherine W. Schweit, a former senior F.B.I. official and the co-author of a study of 160 active shooting incidents in the United States.

Some of the shootings at schools this year were suicides that injured no one else; some did not result in any injuries at all. But in the years since the massacres at Columbine High School in Colorado, Virginia Tech and Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn., gun safety advocates say, all school shootings seem to have lost some of their capacity to shock.

Shannon Watts, the founder of Moms Demand Action, a gun safety group, said that’s because in 2012 in Newtown, “20 first graders and six educators were slaughtered in an elementary school.”

“The news cycles are so short right now in America, and there’s a lot going on,” she said. “But you would think that shootings in American schools would be able to clear away some of that clutter.”

Gov. Matt Bevin of Kentucky said the gunman who opened fire Tuesday morning at Marshall County High School in Benton, near the western tip of the state was a 15-year-old student. The authorities said the student entered the school just before 8 a.m., fired shots that struck 14 people, and set off a panicked flight in which five more were hurt.

One girl who was shot, Bailey Nicole Holt, died at the scene; a boy, Preston Ryan Cope, died of his injuries at a hospital.

Bryson Conkwright, a junior at the school, said he was talking with a friend on Tuesday morning when he spotted the gunman walking up near him. “It took me a second to process it,” Mr. Conkwright, 17, said in an interview. “One of my best friends got shot in the face, and then another one of my best friends was shot in the shoulder.”

He said he was part of a group of students who fled, kicked down a door to get outside and ran.

The suspect, who was not immediately identified, was taken into custody in “a nonviolent apprehension,” Mr. Bevin said, and officials said he would be charged with two counts of murder and several counts of attempted murder. But the authorities had not yet decided whether to charge the suspect, who was armed with a pistol, as a juvenile or as an adult.

Of the 18 people injured, five remained in critical condition, law enforcement officials said on Tuesday night.

“This is something that has struck in the heart of Kentucky,” Lt. Michael B. Webb of Kentucky State Police said at a news conference. “It’s not far away, it’s here.”

Not for the first time. The region was scarred about two decades ago by a deadly school shooting in West Paducah, about a 40-minute drive away. Three people were killed when a student opened fire into a prayer circle, and five more were injured.

Benton is a small town about 200 miles southwest of Louisville, and its high school serves students from all over Marshall County, which has a population of about 31,000.

John Parks, who owns the Fisherman’s Headquarters store about a mile from the school, described the area as a “very close-knit community” where just about everyone would have known a student at the school. “It’s personal when it’s a small town like this,” he said.

About a mile from the high school, a large American flag flew at half-staff over a Ponderosa Steakhouse on Tuesday night. Taylor McCuiston, 21, a manager at the restaurant who graduated from Marshall County High School two years ago, was working when the shooting occurred down the road.

“It was very scary because, like, 90 percent of the staff that works here goes to that school,” she said. “So for the first hour we were just scrambling trying to make sure they were all O.K. and accounted for.”

The town of Italy, Tex., is not any bigger than Benton. On Monday, a 15-year-old girl there was hospitalized after she was shot by a 16-year-old classmate, according to local news reports. That suspect, a boy, was taken into custody by the Ellis County Sheriff’s Department. The authorities said on Tuesday that the victim was recovering.

The F.B.I. study that Ms. Schweit helped write examined active shooter episodes in the United States between 2000 and 2013. It found that nearly one-quarter of them occurred in educational environments, and they were on the rise.

In the first half of the study period, federal officials counted 16 active shooter incidents in educational settings, meaning instances of a person “actively engaged in killing or attempting to kill people in a confined and populated area.” In the second half, the number rose to 23. (Many, but not all, of the school shootings tallied by advocates so far this year meet that definition.)

“Any time there’s a school shooting, it’s more gut-wrenching, and I think we have a tendency to react in a more visceral way,” Ms. Schweit said in an interview on Tuesday. “But I really don’t think as a whole, in society, we’re taking shootings more seriously than we were before — and that’s wrong.”

Even so, jarred and fearful school administrators across the country have been placing greater emphasis on preparing for the possibility of an active shooter. According to a report issued by the Government Accountability Office in March 2016, 19 states were requiring individual schools to have plans for how to deal with an active shooter. Only 12 states required schools to conduct drills, but two-thirds of school districts reported that they had staged active shooter exercises.

School safety experts say steps like the drills are crucial, if imperfect, safeguards.

“I think we’ve become somewhat desensitized to the fact that these things happened, and it takes a thing like Sandy Hook to bring us back to our senses,” said William Modzeleski, a consultant who formerly led the Department of Education’s Office of Safe and Drug Free Schools.

“My fear is that if you don’t hear about a school shooting for a while, educators move on to other things,” he said. “Principals are busy. Teachers are busy. Superintendents are busy.”

In Kentucky, lawmakers have grappled with how to address the risk of school shootings. Last year, state legislators considered, but did not pass, a bill that would have allowed people with concealed-carry permits to bring weapons on to public school campuses, where proponents argue they could be used to respond to active shooters. A similar bill, limited to college campuses and certain other government buildings, has been introduced this year. It was not immediately clear how the shooting in Benton might affect the debate in Frankfort, the Kentucky capital.

But in Benton, “this is a wound that is going to take a long time to heal,” said Mr. Bevin, the governor, “ and for some in this community, will never fully heal.”

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