AS I SEE IT
By Neal A. Shipman
In what has become a very unsettling trend, one student was killed and another eight students were injured in a school shooting at the STEM school in Highland Ranch, Colo., on May 7.
Just one week prior to the incident in Colorado, there was another shooting at the University of North Carolina Charlotte campus that left two dead and four injured.
School shootings have been all too common so far this year as, according to news reports, there have been at least eight shootings that have taken place on high school or college campuses that have seen four people killed and another 17 wounded.
As a nation, we will always struggle to understand why people choose to take out their anger by attacking students who are most vulnerable in a school setting. But what has become crystal clear is that in virtually every situation, the shooter is suffering from some form of mental issues when they target the vulnerable students. In some cases, they know the students that they are attacking, while in other shootings, the attacker has picked that school for no apparent reason.
But as we have seen in both the North Carolina and Colorado shooting, the number of students that could have been killed or injured could have been much higher if it had not been for the rapid response of law enforcement, as well as the heroic actions of students in the classrooms.
While law enforcement was rushing to the schools, it was the response of several of the students that changed the course of events.
As the gunmen were shooting students, some students decided to act against the aggression. At the University of North Carolina at Charlotte, 21-year-old Riley Howell charged the shooter in order to save the lives of fellow students. And at the Highlands Ranch school, 18-year-old Kendrick Castillo and two other students chose to charge the shooter rather than be a passive victim.
In both cases, Howell and Castillo gave their lives to protect fellow students. These two heroes, as well as the other students who chose to attack their attacker are being credited with preventing other deaths and injuries.
No one, other than those involved in law enforcement or the military, ever wakes up in the morning and says that they are willing to risk their life protecting the lives of others. It is doubtful that either Howell or Castillo ever thought much about it either. But when their classrooms and schools were attacked, they responded without hesitation.
For their quick and selfless actions we, as a nation, should be grateful.
So long as schools become targets for those people who seek to kill or injure our children, perhaps it is time that our nation’s schools adopt an Active Shooters training class for students, as well as teachers. While there may be pushback to incorporating that training into school systems, as we saw in North Carolina and Colorado, taking the fight to the attacker does work.