One week in February: Another cataclysm of gun violence in American schools
This may have been one of the bloodiest weeks for violent incidents at schools within my memory. The sad litany:
February 7: A teacher is shot and stabbed by her estranged husband in an Ohio elementary school classroom.
The man who allegedly shot and stabbed his teacher wife at a Catholic elementary school in front of her students Thursday is dead of what police believe is a self-inflicted gunshot wound, Portsmouth, Ohio, Police Chief Charles Horner said.
The man, whom the chief identified as William Michael Layne, barricaded himself in his home after apparently going to Notre Dame Elementary School in the morning and shooting and stabbing his wife, fith-grade teacher Christy Layne, authorities said.
February 8: A female student at Louisiana Technical College kills two other students and then herself.
A female student shot and killed two classmates and then herself this morning in a classroom at Louisiana Technical College’s Baton Rouge campus, United Press International reported.
Police officers responding to a 911 call around 8:30 a.m. found the three already dead. Twenty other people were in the classroom at the time, the police said. The women’s identities have not been released, but the shooter was 23 years old, while the victims were 21 and 26.
February 11: In Memphis, the second shooting in EIGHT DAYS:
Memphis City Schools administrators and board members pleaded for the community's help in curbing school violence in the wake of the second school shooting in eight days.
A Mitchell High School student was in critical condition Monday night after he was shot multiple times during a gym class in the cafeteria at 9 a.m.
Police arrested a Mitchell student who gave a pistol to teacher and coach Darryl Montgomery right after the shooting, saying, "It's over now."
"We have to answer: 'Why are our kids so angry?' " said Memphis Board of Education president Tomeka Hart. "It's going to take a total community effort."
Board members met Monday night, and after a moment of silence they took up their scheduled business, the new budget.
Corneilous Cheers, 17, a sophomore at the Southwest Memphis school, has been charged with attempted first-degree murder, reckless endangerment, unlawful carrying or possession of a weapon and carrying a weapon on school property.
On February 14, Valentine's Day, we have TWO deadly incidents: First, In California, one middle school student shoots another student in what may be a hate crime:
Ventura County prosecutors charged a 14-year-old boy with the shooting death of a classmate Thursday and said the killing in an Oxnard classroom was a premeditated hate crime.
Senior Deputy Dist. Atty. Maeve Fox declined to discuss a motive in the shooting or why prosecutors added the special allegation of a hate crime against Brandon McInerney, who was charged as an adult.
But classmates of the slain boy, Lawrence King, said he recently had started to wear makeup and jewelry and had proclaimed himself gay. Several students said King and a group of boys, including the defendant, had a verbal confrontation concerning King's sexual orientation a day before the killing.
Then, the same day, at Northern Illinois University, a former student opened fire on a geography class and killed 5 others before killing himself.
If there is such a thing as a profile of a mass murderer, Steven Kazmierczak didn't fit it: outstanding student, engaging, polite and industrious, with what looked like a bright future in the criminal justice field.
And yet on Thursday, the 27-year-old Kazmierczak, armed with three handguns and a brand-new pump-action shotgun he had carried onto campus in a guitar case, stepped from behind a screen on the stage of a lecture hall at Northern Illinois University and opened fire on a geology class. He killed five students before committing suicide.
University Police Chief Donald Grady said, without giving details, that Kazmierczak had become erratic in the past two weeks after he had stopped taking his medication. But that seemed to come as news to many of those who knew him, and the attack itself was positively baffling.
Why are guns so readily available for those who are unstable? And more important, why don't we have the will to declare an end to the madness?
Labels: violence in the schools