Shaddup Already!


Emotional Day

Ms. Brazil asked for a link to the story and I thought it was a reasonable request :o) So, you can find the story here.

There is more information on the boy than what I knew last night. However, they still aren't talking about his condition, other than to say he was on life support. __________________________________________________________

There was an incident at a middle school about five miles from my house. I still wonder if it's made national news, it was the only thing on TV for a while here, but by this evening, I couldn't find any updates, except on the Internet.

Apparently an 8th grader brought a pellet gun to school. He took the time to paint it black and make it look like a semi-automatic hand-gun. He had it in an open backpack when two students saw it.

One student went to get a teacher and the other confronted him. The one that approached him was forced into a closet and then the young man with the gun ran.

The school was put on lock-down and security and the SRO ran after him. They managed to corner him in a restroom and, within moments, police and the SWAT team arrived. They tried to talk him out, at which time he made statements to the effect of either I'm going to kill myself or I'm going to die in another way today. Basically trying to force the police into shooting him--suicide by police.

He came out of the restroom and pointed his gun at his neck, then when the officers tried to calm him down and get him to hand over the gun, he turned the gun on the officers. Now remember, this looks like a semi-automatic assault weapon. So the officer shot him.

The reports are conflicting constantly--to the point that I'm not sure the story I told you is completely accurate, but it's the one I've found most often. At any rate, what has been said more often than not is that this young man is on life support at a local hospital.


My reaction has surprised me. I'm very angry at this young man. I'm defensive and ready to jump on anyone who attacks the police for their actions today. Fortunately, that isn't happening too much. But I was very angry at the reporter who was interviewing the sheriff:

R: How long did the officer try to talk to the suspect before he shot him?
S: Maybe two or three minutes, as long as it took to become necessary

It may have been some other diplomatic comment, but my brain was overwhelmed by my comment:

Like there is some standard time that one should talk to a clearly irate and dangerous person.

Well, I should probably shoot him before he pulls that trigger, but I haven't given him the benefit of the FULL 20 minutes of negotiation.

Yep, wonderful.

This child had just run through the school containing some 1100 students. Not only did he do that, he was brandishing a gun in a threatening manner. I'm sorry, but you do what you have to do to save the 1099 students who didn't do anything so colossally dangerous and stupid.

Anyway, back to my rant about this obviously troubled child, and I don't doubt that for a moment, he had some issues that were probably not of his making.

You are about to read my opinions on suicide. If you are or have been suicidal, you might find this offensive. I never want to intentionally hurt people, but dammit, I've gotta get this off my chest.

I want to preface this with the fact that I have been in the depths of dispair. I am clinically depressed and I suffer from panic disorder. Some days it is a struggle to get from my door to my car, so I'm not unaware of what depression feels like. I am truly and eternally grateful that I have not been suicidal. I don't know what makes some people suicidal and other not, but I don't think it has anything to do with the character of the person.

That said, I will never forget what a psychology professor said, "Committing suicide is one of the most selfish things you can do."

And it's true, it may sound harsh, but it's true. When one commits suicide, they leave behind a trail of grief, guilt and destruction. They don't have to deal with it.

I have compassion for people who are suicidal. I know that often it is a cry for help and not a serious intent to die. What I lack patience for is people who force others to do their dirty work.

There are a number of people tonight who probably can't sleep for the guilt they feel.

First and foremost would be the police officer that had to pull the trigger. I've known many a cop and I know that they are basically good people. I know that most cops get into the profession in order to help others and maintain the peace. They hope that they are in the majority of officers who never have to fire their gun at someone. I cannot imagine the burden of being put in the position of shooting someone who you know is in desperate need of help, not a bullet. And in this case, a kid too.

Then there are all the people who tried to stop him when they discovered the gun. I imagine they are all playing the "what if" game.

What if I had seen it earlier?
What if I had taken him seriously a week ago?
What if I fought harder?
What if I screamed louder?
What if I ran faster to get an adult?

These are just children. I know it's easy to pass off middle school students as something evil or unfeeling, but they're kids. They do everything intensely--which means they feel and care with an intensity that often adults don't remember.

I know why this is so raw for me--it's because I came back from lunch (after getting the news of this) and I looked at my kids and I saw the incident replayed with them. In my mind, I could easily place my children in this situation and it broke my heart. This whole thing hit really close to home, literally as well as figuratively.

We expected our kids to be buzzing with the news by the time lunch was over, but they never found out. It was really best that way. But it left me looking at these kids who were acting like kids while this really-big-bad-crap was going on just 15 miles away. I wanted to simultaneously hug them all and bite their heads off for just going on with life.

And now, in addition to the sadness, nervousness and empathy I feel, I am also engulfed with guilt for thinking these things about a child.

It doesn't make logical sense to me that I can talk about the innocence and kindness of these middle schoolers and then turn around and call one of them selfish in a cruel way.

I know this young man must have been suffering in a horrible way. I know that this was a huge cry for help that has ended up in a hospital bed connected to a ventilator--a cry for help that could end in his death. So I feel guilty for being angry with him.

I'm just going to have to get through this jumbled mess of emotions I have and hope for the healing of everyone involved.

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