Thursday, September 28, 2006

School Siege Ends in Violence

I am a product of public schools. My father was a career military officer and we moved around the country on average every 2-3yrs. I've been to public schools in New York City, Omaha Nebraska, Key West Florida and countless other places in between. The longest stretch was three years in Leavenworth. No...this wasn't a prison sentence, it was high school.
After college and seven years the Coast Guard, I got my master's degree in education at Florida International and taught at inner-city public schools in Miami for several years.
I've seen the pressure kids are under. Peer pressure, grades, relationships, acne-you name it.
But I still don't understand why our country seems plagued with school violence that often leads to so many needless deaths.
The circumstances seem a bit more bizarre than usual but still why are our schools the scene of so much violence?

BAILEY, Colo. — The Colorado school where a gunman took six girls hostage remained closed Thursday as students gave details of the incident that left one teenager and the hostage-taker dead.

Authorities were investigating whether any of the girls were sexually assaulted, said Lance Clem, spokesman for the state Department of Public Safety. The Rocky Mountain News — citing a "knowledgeable law enforcement source" — reported that the gunman did sexually assault some of the hostages during the four-hour standoff with authorities. Another local news station was reporting similar accounts.

The gunman began the takeover by ordering students to line up at the chalk board as he tapped each with his gun and told them to stay or go, said 16-year-old student Cassidy Grigg. He said the man walked in, fired a warning shot at the floor and ordered the students to line up. He told some to leave and others — all girls — to stay.

"You could tell that he wanted the females," Cassidy said on NBC's "Today" Thursday. "He tapped me on the shoulder and he told me to leave the room. I told him, 'I don't want to leave.'"

"He told me that if I didn't go then he would pretty much kill me," Cassidy told ABC's "Good Morning America." "I noticed that he wanted to keep the females in the class. That's the main reason why I didn't want to go because I'm sure the girls would have felt more support if there would have been some males in the class with them."

No one recognized the man, who seemed to be dressed as a student, Cassidy said.

"He was just an old guy who came on a mission, and I think he got what he wanted," he told "Today."

Authorities said the gunman is between 30 and 50 years old.

"We are a community in mourning," schools superintendent Jim Walpole said. "Our thoughts, our prayers are with our students, staff and their families. Especially the family of the student we lost."

The dead victim was identified by acquaintances and a co-worker as 16-year-old Emily Keyes, shown in a yearbook photo as a smiling blonde who played volleyball and was on the debate team at Platte Canyon High School. She was pronounced dead at a Denver hospital hours after the standoff.

Grigg described Emily as one of his first friends when he moved to the area in 6th grade.

"She was always sweet," he told "Today." "She was just friendly. She was just a good person in general."

There was no known link between Keyes and the gunman, who was not identified by authorities. Park County Sheriff Fred Wegener, who had a son in the school as the drama unfolded, was at a loss to explain a motive.

"I don't know why he wanted to do this," Wegener said, his voice breaking.


At 9:54 AM, Blogger FreeCyprus said...

AC, you may have heard that we had our own Columbine recently:

I'm the product of public schools. It isn't the public schools that are responsible for these devils and their kiling sprees.

This guy was mentally unstable and wanted to kill, to experience the "thrill" of killing and taste it. A school, with so many young people in the prime of their life, sitting around with their gaurd down, seemed the best place to kill as many people as possible before he lost his life.

It's not the schools, heavy metal, violent games, or my dog sending out satanic messages. Those are all excuses.

The guy was a nutjob. There were things that obviously must have happened to him when he was younger, but there in his past we'll find some of the answers for the terror he would grow up to be.

But the problem isn't the public school system...

My two cents

At 10:24 AM, Blogger Brooke said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

At 10:25 AM, Blogger Brooke said...

Although it may be little comfort to the victim and her family, and the other victims, THANK GOODNESS HE'S DEAD!

It saves us the 30 years it takes to execute the piece of offal; that, and it is nearly impossible to be sentanced to death in Colorado.

Coward, Rapist, and Pedophile. Good riddance.

At 2:06 PM, Blogger American Crusader said...

brooke...I'm glad that he's dead but I wish they had killed him before he was able to kill a young girl and then himself. He was a coward as well as a child molester.

freecyprus...this guy was obviously a nutjob. This was apparently a random act unlike Columbine type incidents. But I still feel that there is something going on in American schools that brings out violence from students. I think TV and video games have desensitized our students...there are even Columbine games online...but these are only contributing factors.

At 8:02 AM, Anonymous prying1 said...

Hugh Hewitt's Radio Show had a man come on the air who was a police chaplain at the scene. He told Hugh's listeners (this was the day after) that intel from those released was that the man had a bag filled with sex toys.

The police had to move in sooner than they wanted to. They did it the right way I think. Tragedy about the innocent girl though. My heart breaks thinking about her loosing her life that way...

A lot of words I feel like using to describe that punk guy but 'dead' is the best one.

At 11:48 AM, Blogger Elmer's Brother said...

this indeed was a tragedy. We homeschool and our small group at church we were talking about all that goes on at the public school. While I don't hold the public school responsible in this case the other parents told me of the bullying that goes on. It's not the normal kid kind of picking on others that we may have went through. One parent told us his 7 year is punched in the stomach nearly every day as he gets off the bus. This is while there are teachers on the bus to prevent such a thing.

Parents need to be held accountable as well. If their kid is a jerk, kick them out of there. Sooner of later they'll get the message that Johnny needs more than to learn how to read and write and that the school is not responsible for teaching them right and wrong.

At 8:05 AM, Blogger Brooke said...

Now they say he wrote a suicide note before doing this.

How evil, not only to take your own life, but to rape and murder; to take someone with you!

I wish they HAD shot him before he got the chance to do this!


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