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Train In Vain: Can We Ever Stop School Shootings?

Columbine, 1999

There is a note.

Of sorts.

It’s rambling and darkish and dumb. Ending with the unsettling sentence: “Die, all of you,” it’s high school kid writing at it’s worst, really; some of the ghastliest poetry you’re going to read this week.

Or next week, while we’re at it.

Through his good deeds, the rats and the fleas. He will have for what he pleads, through the eradication of disease. So, to the castle he proceeds, like an ominous breeze through the trees.

See what I mean?

But what elevates it, what scrapes this particular cyber-gunk from the millions of others corroding on the vast bottom of the information barrel is that, sadly, it came true.

TJ Lane, the 17 year-old alleged lone gunman in yesterday’s latest American high school shooting, seems to have posted the thing on his Facebook page about 8 weeks ago, before he showed up in the school’s cafeteria yesterday morning with a loaded gun and the desire to use it.

It’s all over the place today, Lane’s ugly post. With the squeeze of his trigger, a tiny wave once surfed by a just a scattered few, is now gushing all over by the masses: from TV’s beyond their morning coffee; from computer screens in their cubicles or at their desks; from voices emanating from the radio in this morning’s traffic.

And so what do we make of it all? Could he have been stopped? Or is this candid peek at someone’s personal internet post just a passing glance into the mind of a psychopath and nothing more?

I’m trying to make sense of even a smidge of all of this today. As a dad with two kids who will someday soon hoist their little legs up the steep steps of a yellow bus driven by a stranger and disappear down around the corner, I am trying to come to terms with a world where the realities have changed so drastically at times, that they seem beyond the realm of possibility.

And I keep asking myself some questions here.

Beyond the glaring fact that young kids have always talked smack, is the world different now?

In a country founded and pushed forward on the back of it’s Freedom of Speech, have we hit a proverbial wall when it comes to simply ignoring the cyber-words of our kids? Or for any of us?

It’s difficult to even pattern the words that begin to imagine how some certain parents in Chardon, Ohio are feeling today. There loss is so invasive/so hellishly real and complete that it is impossible to summon the depths they now know. But each of us, as parents in America, has to come as close as we can.

There is evil. There has always been evil.

We have to ask ourselves, what can we do?

What could have been done in the days before yesterday? Is there something? Anything within the realm of justice and freedom?

Or are we fooling ourselves by thinking we could ever possibly stop certain locomotives with nothing but our weary eyes?

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