April 9, will be recorded in the history books as another day of violence at an American school.
This morning, shortly after 7 a.m., a sophomore at Franklin Regional Senior High School, just outside Pittsburg, Penn., yielded two kitchen knives, injuring 19 classmates and an adult. The investigation is still ongoing, so no motive is currently known. The stabbings were described as random and fast. A lot is unknown right now, but what is known is the attack came with an ending much unlike others of a similar nature.
The suspect is alive.
It is almost commonplace in incidents such as todays the suspect becomes a victim of their own choosing. They either commit suicide, which seems to be the most likely ending, or they are taken down by first responders or the inevitable “hero.”
But these “heroes” are simply acting on survival instincts. They have a clear mission to live and ensure others do the same. Most of them, if not all, would rather live without the praise as the praise brings up memories they’d like to forget. But they receive the shining star because they saved a life or stopped more lives from being taken away.
In 2013, the Center for Disease Control conducted a study on school violence. More than seven percent of youth, between 10 and 24 years of age, reported being threatened with a weapon while on school property. The majority of those were males. The weapons, according to the study, involved guns, knifes, or clubs.
There seems to be a more rampant problem on school grounds aside from funding or education. That’s violence.
Many institutions do have resource officers or efforts in place to help prevent, or at least proactively halt the spread of violence when it occurs. The problem is its occurrence in the first place.
Why didn’t this happen in the 18th century?
Well, technically, it did. However, the shootings were usually on a very minimal scale. It usually involved suicides or disputes between faculty and parents. No mass killings like Sandy Hook or Virginia Tech.
There were no senseless rampages; just scuffles that ended in gunfire.
While that may have sounded off putting, my point is there was little worry about someone going postal. While today’s incident involved a knife, not a gun, it is the same relative concept. Violence happened at schools, but not on the same plane as it does today.
Why? Think of the ease of access when it comes to obtaining a weapon. A child can raid his grandfather’s arsenal in a heartbeat. An 18-year-old can buy a knife at a flea market. A college student can purchase a gun at a gun show as long as they have a (somewhat) clean record.
Never mind the difficulty in anticipating violent behavior. While historically many of these attacks have been premeditated, they are rarely ever foreshadowed to the public. Journals are found afterward. Neighbors recall there was “always something strange about him.” No real warning signs until the moment of action.
We live in a world where there is so much negativity coming from so many facets, many young people feel the only answer is to take a life while becoming a martyr for their personal vendetta. It’s extremely sad that we, as a developed nation, have arrived at this.
We’ve accepted violence in our schools, but what can be done about it? Metal detectors could always miss something. Armed guards will sometimes let their guard down. Even a watchful eye of a camera cannot focus on everything. These measures may even be harmful.
It seems the only answer is the institution itself. Better education and acceptance has to be taught. It’s nearly impossible to determine the cause of violence. So much goes into that definition. The only real solution is a well-tapped discipline system. And that starts with society. Teaching right from wrong. Teaching a life is precious. Teaching a school is a sanctuary, not a place for violence.