Thursday, November 14, 2019

School Shooting at California High School: One Dead

Update: there are now two high school students who have died in this incident.  The shooter killed himself.  Yesterday was his 16th birthday. 

From the New York Times:

Not that details are not important but there are key facts in this story about the whole picture of guns and school safety in our country.
Sheriff Alex Villanueva of Los Angeles County told NBC in Los Angeles that all of the victims were students and that the gunman was also a member of the student body.
Please send a prayer or comforting karma to all the students at Saugus High School.
California has some of the toughest gun laws in the nation. But like many places with strong firearms restrictions, its laws are often undermined because guns can easily be brought in from states where the laws are weaker.
California became the first state to ban assault weapons in 1989. It was also an early adopter of a so-called red flag law that allowed family members and law enforcement officials to petition judges to temporarily take weapons away from people who appear to be a danger to themselves and others.

Other firearms restrictions that help set California apart from many other states include:
  • a 10-day waiting period for buying a weapon
  • limiting people to purchasing one handgun per month
  • and making gun buyers pass a written test and obtain a safety certificate.
  • The state also gives local police the authority to reject applications to carry concealed weapons.
  • And it recently increased the age for buying rifles and shotguns from 18 to 21.
The state took another big step in 2016, when voters approved Proposition 63, which requires background checks not just for guns but also for ammunition sales.
 I think all of this should be a national law.  Why do we have a test for driving a car but not buying a gun.

To note, last night Tacoma's City council passed a tax on guns and ammo.  From the News Tribune:
Tacoma City Council voted 8-0 to approve a firearms and ammunition tax Tuesday night.

The tax is $25 per firearm sold at retail, $.02 per round of ammunition that contains a single projectile that measures .22 caliber or less sold at retail, and $.05 per round of ammunition for all other ammunition sold at retail. 

The tax goes into effect on July 1, 2020 and is expected to raise $30,000 annually to fund violence prevention programs.

Read more here: https://www.thenewstribune.com/news/local/article237251479.html#storylink=cpy
What are some districts doing?
Lockdown drills to prepare for shootings or other disasters have become ubiquitous in American schools; 95 percent of schools held them in 2015-2016, according to the federal government.

Mental health experts have begun to raise concerns about the potential of such drills, some of which are eerily realistic, to scare or even traumatize children.
At Glencoe High School in Alabama this week, the sound of gunshots rang out and students jumped out windows in a mock escape. Student actors were strapped to stretchers and loaded into waiting ambulances.
In Jefferson County, Colorado — home to Columbine High School — teachers were recently given buckets and kitty litter, which could be used as toilets in the case of an extended lockdown.
Teachers in West Virginia have reported that so-called “code red” drills are sometimes held without their or their students’ prior knowledge — so that they are never sure whether the terrifying threat is real.
Nothing but sad, sad, sad.  What other country has to do this?

I always see this thought that comes with every story:
But despite the crushing tragedy of what seems like an endless string of school shootings, schools remain among the safest places for American children, who are less likely to die there than at home or in their neighborhoods. School safety experts say the most important emergencies for schools to prepare for are those that are more regular occurrences: traffic accidents, weather disasters, thefts, assaults and child abductions linked to custody battles.
What some electeds have to say:
Gabrielle Giffords, the former congresswoman from Arizona who was shot in the head by a gunman in 2011 and has since become an advocate for stricter gun-control laws, called on President Trump and Republican lawmakers to take action after what she said was the 366th mass shooting so far in 2019.
“Americans have had enough of living in fear that today gun violence will change their lives,” Ms. Giffords said in a statement, adding that national leaders “can’t ignore the nightmare this public safety threat creates any longer.”

Ms. Giffords called on the Senate to pass a background checks bill approved by the House in February. The bill, which would require background checks for all gun purchasers, including those at gun shows and on the internet, was the first significant gun control bill to clear the chamber in a quarter of a century.

Former Rep. Katie Hill, who graduated from Saugus High School in 2004, said Santa Clarita has higher number of gun owners than average across the country. During her tenure, she told MSNBC, the House of Representatives had passed four piece of gun control legislation that were awaiting attention from the Senate.
“This is something that my colleagues and I talked about all the time,’’ she said from her backyard, as helicopters searching for the shooter circled overhead “When you go back to your communities, people want to know what you’re going to do, and we’re really stuck.’


Anonymous said...

This has hit kids at RBHS really hard today since one of their students was shot - caught in crossfire - Tuesday after school.


Anonymous said...

I have friends in Santa Clarita. Reading the texts they got from their kids that the were safely sheltered in place was heartbreaking.

So sorry that RBHS is going through some of the same crap too. The city really needs to do more keeping those kids safe.


Anonymous said...

Long time reader and occasional poster who now lives outside the PNW -

My office is in Santa Clarita, about three miles from this high school.

Police cars were flying by me on the freeway coming from all over SoCal to support the sheriff's office up there (I was going 80ish in the left lane and they passed me on the shoulder easily doing 100).

My colleagues have children that go to school there; as far as I know, they are all okay but many of my coworkers were pacing around the floor this morning on the phone trying to make sure their kids were okay.

I've had enough of this.


Anonymous said...

Northwesterner says “I’ve had enough of this.”

OK, what do you propose?


Melissa Westbrook said...

DJW, if you read the entire post, there are many things that California has already done that other states - including Wshington State - should do. Tacoma just passed a gun/ammo tax. There's another good one.

Anonymous said...

I did read the entire post. You point out what California has done, but the shooting occurred in California, so obviously there is still more yet to do.

PS- Thank you for this blog! Not many people would have the strength and perseverance to deal with the trolls that post here. This blog is an invaluable resource!