Wednesday, May 08, 2019

Is This Your Child's Next School Day?

APTOPIX School Shooting Colorado
David Zalubowski / AP
This week's school shooting at a Colorado school marks a number of strikingly sad events.

- First charter school shooting
- First K-12 school which means - look to the right - very little kids.  (Not that teens are any better equipped but that face says it all.)
- Second time in recent weeks an 18-year old student sacrificed his life to stop a shooter.
- There were two shooters and one was a female student. 

The first 18-year old killed was Riley Howell at the University of North Carolina Charlotte .  He took two bullets and tackled the shooter before the shooter fired into his head. But the shooter didn't hit anyone else after that.
Lauren Westmoreland, Riley's girlfriend, said she and Howell had discussed marriage. She said she was devastated by his death.

"Just tell people you love them," she told "Today." "The last thing that I got to say to him was that I loved him."
Now, it's Kendrick Castillo who was days away from graduation.
"Kendrick lunged at (the gunman), and he shot Kendrick, giving all of us enough time to get underneath our desks, to get ourselves safe, and to run across the room to escape,” senior Nui Giasolli told NBC News on Wednesday morning. Other students helped Castillo tackle the shooter, classmates said.
Do something.  Do it today.  Because for our nation, there IS nowhere safe at all. 

I volunteer in a kindergarten class and I have a plan if someone comes to our school with a gun.  It likely means I will die but I'm 60 and have had a life so giving it up for 5/6 year olds doesn't seem like a bad trade-off.  And teachers and administrators and staff have to worry every single school day.

But why do I or anyone in any school building have to worry about this? 

Wear Orange on June 7th for National Gun Violence Awareness Day

Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America 
The Coalition to Stop Gun Violence
Everytown for Gun Safety
March for our Lives


Anonymous said...

Mass shootings can be reduced. They did not exist in our past at the prevalence level of today, despite the fact we have the second amendment. It has nothing to do with the second amendment. Reasonable limitations on access to semi-automatic weapons would reduce the violence. It is far too easy to get a gun that can do great harm in seconds.


Melissa Westbrook said...

Mom, we do need to do something. Your suggestion is a start.

What I would like is that gun owners have to get insurance and anything that happens with their guns (if not stolen by someone they don't know), they are liable for.

I suspect people would be a lot more likely to lock up their guns so at least kids can't get at them.

Anonymous said...


Semi automatic weapons have been widely available to the public for over 120 years. Why are they suddenly a problem? How in the world would you collect up the tens of millions of them that are owned by US citizens?

I think you need to look elsewhere for the root cause of mass violence in America.

Civil Rights

Melissa Westbrook said...

Again, make people financially responsible for their guns and you will see a sharp drop in gun violence.

seattle citizen said...

Both Mom and Civil Rights are right: Semi-auto guns have been around for while (the Colt revolver of Western lore, the gatling gun...But the access to semi-automatic weapons has become vastly easier recently as some Americans have become gun-crazed and have driven the massive increase in availability of all sorts of these weapons. There are hundreds of millions more semi-auto weapons out there than there were just, oh, fifty years ago.

It's the culture of these guns that's partially responsible for the belief that guns actually solve problems. "Self defense," "personal protection," "defense against tyranny" blah blah blah as thousands die each year, including our children in our schools.

I agree with Melissa - registering guns, their ammo, creating smart guns, and holding owners responsible for the murders their guns commit would help.

Anonymous said...

You have no clue what you're talking about. Please show the data!


Melissa Westbrook said...

Libs, of course there is no data; it's never been done.

However, we do require insurance on cars because they can be deadly vehicles. Owning a gun may be a right but rights come with responsibilities.

As the NRA is slowly losing ground (thanks for March for our Lives), I think state-by-state, it's quite doable.

Anonymous said...

There are already 1000s of gun laws across the USA. There are more people murdered by people using cars as weapons then murdered in mass shootings. Those people are prosecuted for murder and an insurance policy did not stop them from mowing down people.

When will people understand that criminals do not follow laws.


Anonymous said...

If you graph states requiring background checks by gun deaths per 100K residents, you can see that simply requiring background checks (a basic form of gun control) correlates to a huge reduction in gun deaths without impinging on anyone's "right" to own firearms.


While the average gun death rate nation-wide is "only" 11.8 deaths per 100K people, the range is actually dramatic: from 3.4 deaths in Massachusetts or 4.5 in Hawaii to 21.3, 21.5, and 23.3 in Louisiana, Alabama, and Alaska.

Human beings are far safer in terms of gun deaths if they are living in states with even minimal gun control laws. Gun control makes human being safer and it doesn't impact any mentally healthy person's "right" to own a firearm.

Of course, these are data scientifically collected from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and analyzed by Axios, which is a centrist news source that has never failed a fact check by FactualSearch.news. I therefore expect none of this information will be persuasive because:


Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Anonymous said...

I support licenses for guns (although that would require a constitutional amendment), strong enforcement of existing gun laws, background checks (of course - I've had 'em), and fiscal owner responsibility for gun crimes. Also strong laws for gun storage - these laws are fairly strong in WA (I voted for them) but not in Colorado.

Not all gun owners are big babies like the NRA trolls.


Anonymous said...

We don't have to reinvent anything as there are countries in the world where they already solved the high number of gun ownership/mass shootings problems. Iceland, Switzerland, Australia and just recently New Zealand comes to mind.
Not doing anything means we are supporting the killings.

- Wecanstopthem!

Anonymous said...



Melissa Westbrook said...

When will people understand that criminals do not follow laws."

Many of the school shootings are done by kids with mental health issues. That's something that needs more help and fast. But how do those kids get the guns?

The comment about criminals, sure that's true. But if you make the owners of the guns financially liable for outcomes, well, those gun owners will snap to. Nobody has to go to jail but they will get a huge fine.

NOTHING gets people's attention like threatening their bottom line.

Anonymous said...

A conversation I had with a few others centered on that being a teacher today means you have to decide how you will react, will you kill a gunman if you can, will you die sheltering students with your body hoping that your flesh will absorb that violence? I know teachers who've left the job over this.

It's sobering.

Mr. Theo Moriarty

Let’s talk said...

When I heard about this latest school shooting, part of me was immediately thinking “oh no - what were the circumstances and why??” And the other part of me - if you want me to be honest - was reacting with some “numbness” to it all, knowing that what had happened in Newtown, Parkland and Las Vegas still hasn’t brought resolution to these issues as mentioned by everyone in this blog. I am a parent of a 7th grader and I’m not wanting to be “numb,” to these incidents. That reaction kind of scared me. Instead, what I am wanting for us to talk about are the mental health supports (or the lack of??) that our youth should be receiving. What are those supports? What should those look like? What are we doing about the shortage of counselors that I’m hearing about in the media? What kind of “emotional baggage” are our kids bringing to school?

I have not heard about the personal profiles and backgrounds of the two suspects in Colorado, as I don’t think those details are yet known. But one of them did obtain two weapons from his parents, who had supposedly purchased them legally. That was from a CNN article today.

Signed - Let’s talk

Unknown said...


Have you considered taking this post down after the kids' walk-out last night, stating that they don't want to be used as pawns in a political debate?


Anonymous said...

I have owned many guns, but once I had children those guns were either sold or dissembled. The parts are locked up in two different storage boxes.

Would you expect me to go to jail if a person broke into my house and grabbed my car keys then used my car to murder someone?

The odds are much grater that my car will be stolen and crashed killing someone than my guns being used in a shooting.

Oh and the vast majority of gun deaths are from self-inflicted injuries.


Melissa Westbrook said...

SP, my snarky friend, of course I'm not taking the post down. The students at walked out of a vigil, in their town, that they thought would relate directly to their experience and it, sadly, did not.

Libs, I said if your gun is used by someone you know (meaning, not stolen) so naturally, you are not responsible if either your car or gun is stolen.

"Your odds are grater" - well, that would certainly hurt more if you used a grater.

And again, if gun owners lock up their guns - fewer suicides and fewer small kids killing each other because mom and dad are less than careful.

Anonymous said...

NPR radio had an interview today with a lawmaker from Tennessee. They were reporting on the sharp increase in gun thefts from vehicles over the past 10 years leading to an increase in minors getting their hands on guns and gun violence. The lawmaker said he was in part responsible for changing laws about ten years ago, eliminating the need for permits etc to make it easier for people to carry weapons in their cars.However, he now regrets passing that legislation as he feels it is responsible for the sharp increase in theft of guns as so many people leave their guns in unlocked cars. He said "I can't believe people are that stupid". His words. I like melissa's suggestion about accountability.

Fact is it is far too easy for anyone (including teens with impulsive brains that don't mature until age 25) to have access to a type of weapon that can kill many people in seconds. That is very dangerous.


Melissa Westbrook said...

Mom, I heard the same interview.