As Meredith noted earlier, Omaha, Nebraska police found 17-year-old Millard South High School student Robert Butler dead today after shooting his principal, Dr. Curtis Case, and assistant principal Vicki Kaspar. Case is in serious condition and Kaspar is in critical condition. Millard South High School will be closed tomorrow.
Meanwhile, in Chandler, Arizona, “400 students and 48 staff at Kyrene del Sureno Elementary School were placed on lockdown about 12:50 p.m.” today as a result of an armed standoff at the Chandler Fashion Center. The gunman, Adam Hernandez, let off several shots as he entered a Baja Fresh fast-food restaurant, where he remained for several hours. He surrendered at 3 p.m. and no one was injured. The East Valley Tribune reports that “Another 60 students from Aprende Middle School who would normally be bussed into the neighborhood by the mall were kept at their school and supervised by staff.”
Meredith noted in her post about the shooting at Millard South High School, “the school district plans on investigating how Butler was able to bring a gun to school.” No one under the age of 21 is allowed to own a gun in the state of Nebraska, and given that Butler essentially warned his victims via a grimly cryptic message on his Facebook page this morning, something should have been done to stop this shooting.
As I stated less than a month ago in response to the Florida school board shooting, beefed-up security measures in schools are “just a stop-gap measure, a band-aid trying to heal the much larger wound inflicted by lax gun laws in the United States.” It appears that Butler stole his firearm from his police detective father, though this has not been confirmed. Butler should never have had access to a gun.
It’s worth emphasizing that this is the third school shooting we’ve written about in as many months. It’s been less than three months, actually, since the Marinette stand-off, and only just over two months, in fact. I’m concerned not only about the isolation students in American schools are feeling, coupled with the bullying they receive, but how that’s impacted by our culture’s glamorization of violence combined with the unfortunate access these students (and in the case of the Florida shooting, ex-cons) have to firearms. Put simply, I don’t know what this world is coming to.
This is an epidemic. It’s time to do something. At the very least, stop and take a moment to talk to your children about the social climate at their school and about avoiding violent conflict. As a parent, I know I can’t heal the world, but I can do everything in my power to keep my child safe and feeling whole. Like my colleague John, I’m praying tonight that every parent out there feels the same, so that kids like Robert Butler feel enough love from somewhere to think twice before going anywhere near a gun.