Thursday, January 04, 2007

Tragedy close to home

On their first day back at school after the holidays yesterday at 7:25, an 18-year-old high school student shot another 17-year old student in a hall at Foss High School. I was just there a month ago substituting for an art teacher. If the police have the correct information, they found the shooter just walking around in a nearby neighborhood a couple of hours later. Why?

Yesterday at about 9:15, I was returning from my morning walk and there was a helicopter hovering overhead in the area of the school, but I thought it must have been a traffic thing on Hwy 16, which gets way too much. Later, around noon, I made a quick trip in to Fred Meyer to pick up a few things. I did notice that it was strangely devoid of the usual Foss students grabbing snacks on their lunch break, and one of the top managers was helping return carts to the covered storage area. I thought, "Why is she doing that? Hmmm." Turns out they were recovering from what must have been chaos in their parking lot earlier, when students and parents were wandering around trying to find one another after lockdown was lifted.

Then when I got home I had a text message from my mom in NC that simply said, "Are you ok?" I called her back and that's when I found out about the shooting. I assumed it must have been one of the rougher schools, and was quite surprised when I found out it was Foss. I have always felt safe there--as safe as you can feel around sometimes angry teens--because the school has a healthy staff of very responsive security. As one of the officials said, though, if someone really wants to commit a crime, there is little anyone can do to prevent it.

Am I afraid to go back there, or any high school, for that matter? Not afraid--just cautious. High schools are, after all, just a microcosm of society. Are we afraid to go about our business in the world because people have been killed out there? No. It seems that this was not a random shooting, but one kid, who for some reason or another, thought it was his only option to kill one other kid. He didn't try very hard to get away, and he did not resist arrest. He was on suicide watch last night. I feel sorrow for him and the family of the one who died. His young life just closed up around him.

...more knitting next time.

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