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Parents at Florida High School Shooting on Valentines Day

Yes, it is Valentines Day, 14 February 2018.  Happy Valentines Day to all.

Unfortunately, there will be at least 17 families not celebrating as this day comes to a close.  17 is the number of dead victims at a school in Florida where a 19-year-old young man entered the location and killed children.   This was an “Active Shooter” incident.  This means that police responded to the shooting as it was in progress.


The preliminary information is that the shooter was a former student that had been expelled from the school.  Further, there was some form of administrative action taken referencing this young man.  Reports are that he was directed to not bring a backpack onto school grounds prior to his being expelled.  Some students reported that he had a fascination with guns and showed photos of them on his cell phone to other kids.  There are so many issues to consider in this scenario.

Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, Parkland, Florida

There will be many questions about why this happened.  Why did this person decide to do such an evil thing?  The good news and there is not a lot of that, the shooter is still alive.  The reason that this is good, is that law enforcement can question him.  Maybe, just maybe we can get some answers.  Answers are what we always seek in the aftermath of these many events.  We always want to make sense of things like this.  It won’t bring back the dead, but answers are what we seek.  But will there be logical and reasonable actions taken based on the answers we hope to get from this suspect?  Answers without follow-up actions…what can be the point.


Next, along with the investigation, will be continuing questions.  Why him, why there, why now?  What was his target, or was just indiscriminate killing his goal?  How did he plan it all?  Was there someone else involved?  And many more questions.


There will be questions about how the school handled the school leading up to the shooting.  Were adequate safeguards in place prior to him coming on campus?  Now obviously the immediate answer is, no, he did, in fact, get onto campus and we have no information telling us that he was confronted prior to the shooting.


What was his process in entering the school on this day of the shooting?  Then there will be the questions about the weapon(s).  What were they, how many were there?  What other materials did he have?   How did he have access to weapons?


We are learning that among the things he did in carrying out the crime, indicate his familiarity with the school, and perhaps the school’s reaction protocols.  He is reported to have set off the fire alarm system inside the school mid-shooting.  The effect of setting off the alarm was to cause students to exit their classrooms, adding to his potential targets.  Earlier in the day the school had, in fact, practiced a fire drill, using the same alarm system.


On any day of the year, this is a terrible thing to happen.  On Valentines Day…if it can be made worse, that might be the case here.


I will be following this event and looking at what and how we as a country can respond further.  Along those lines, I spoke with a former colleague and friend, and now Ohio State Senator, Frank Hoagland.  We discussed the matter of preparing and training schools to make these kinds of events more difficult, if not preventable.  Senator Hoagland expressed the difficulty he has experienced working with local and state governments in getting school officials to come together and set in place smart training and protocols and preventative measures for these kinds of emergencies.  We will be speaking further.  Something must be done.  Something can be done!


God Bless the families of the dead and injured children.