What's truly disturbing about the fatal school shootings in Santee, Calif., is that the post-shooting ritual is becoming all too familiar to us.
Each time the bullets fly we see the horror that propels students to flee from what should be a safe haven. There are news photos of disconsolate mourners trying to comfort one another. Makeshift memorials of banners and flowers to honor the dead are set up at the school.
Tuesday's Brainerd Dispatch editorial page featured a cartoon on the topic of school shootings, not because the artist was particularly quick but because the drawing had been filed away after an earlier school shooting. How far are we from the day when newspapers have standing logos for school shootings?
Monday's shooting claimed the lives of two students and injured 13 in the middle-class, San Diego suburb. Who knows if some sort of intervention would have prevented the 15-year-old from committing this heinous act?
Certainly there were warning signs. In addition to repeatedly threatening to shoot people Charles Andrew Williams had consistently demonstrated that he was very much at-risk. He had been shooed away recently by police after being caught with beer, had broken up with his girlfriend, was the object of ridicule, had been beaten up by other students and had sprayed urine-filled water pistols at students in the school hallway as recently as last week.
The moral of the story for adults and students is that if someone is threatening violence -- take it seriously. Tell school officials. Tell the police. Tell someone who could possibly get some help for the troubled individual.
The second lesson to be learned from this tragedy is that guns should be locked up and kept away from unsupervised minors, particularly those who demonstrate the sort of behavior that the Santee shooting suspect showed.
The good news is that many people are taking violent threats seriously. Recently, authorities successfully intervened after tips led them to young people who were planning violence in Fort Collins, Colo., Hoyt, Kan., Elmira, N.Y., and Cupertino, Calif.
It's better to risk being labeled a busybody than to take no action and allow another school shooting or bombing.
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