September 12, 2008

With the school year barely begun, there has already been another school shooting to report. This time, at South High School in Willoughby, Ohio. Fortunately, this time, no one was shot. However, the close call sent shockwaves of fear throughout this suburban Cleveland community.

I doubt this latest school shooting received more than brief news coverage because no one was injured or killed—this time. I happened to be in Cleveland at the time of the shooting, and it dominated the local news.

This shooting could have easily been tragic, and could have happened in any school in America. A 15-year-old student walked into school with a loaded .40 caliber handgun, with 30+ rounds – intending to kill himself. But first, he decided to fire two rounds in a school hallway. One bullet shattered a trophy case; the other was embedded into the ceiling.

Police were called, and two school administrators managed to talk the 15-year-old out of killing himself with the pistol he held to his head. Police arrived and took him into custody, eventually transporting him to a hospital for observation.

The school went into immediate lockdown, with police conducting a room-by-room search of the entire school and escorting students to a designated meeting spot at the school ball field. Word of the shooting instantly spread throughout the school, followed by students with cell phones notifying parents, friends, etc. Parents raced to the school to pick up their sons and daughters. While orderly, fear was the predictable reaction by students, parents, and the entire community.

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