The shooting at Timberview High School in Arlington, Texas on Wednesday afternoon has led to a flurry of calls for more gun control, including from the heads of the two biggest teachers unions. But despite the demands for new laws, I’ve noticed a strange silence from the anti-gun unions and their allies in the gun control lobby about how the state’s existing laws are being enforced, including the fact that the 18-year old accused of firing at a classmate and a teacher has already been released on bond.
Timothy George Simpkins faces three counts of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon. He was released after paying a $75,000 bond. He is represented by Dallas attorney Bret Schmidt, Arlington police spokesman Tim Ciesco told NBC 5.
As part of his bond conditions, Simpkins is on house arrest on a GPS monitor, cannot possess a firearm and cannot have contact with any of the victims.
If convicted, he could face up to 20 years in prison.
Given the circumstances of the shooting, I’m shocked that the suspect’s bond was set so low, but I doubt we’ll hear any similar expressions of surprise from the teachers unions who are stumping for things like universal background checks and red flag laws. They would rather pretend that incidents like these can be prevented with a few more restrictions on the right to keep and bear arms when the evidence indicates that the real issue is an unsafe and insecure environment within the schools themselves.
Investigators said there was a fight between students in a classroom on the second floor of the school when Simpkins pulled out a gun, Arlington Assistant Police Chief Kevin Kolbye said Wednesday prior to Simpkins’ arrest.
… His family claims he has been the victim of bullying by more than one person, they say, because Simpkins has nice things and has more than others.
The family claims they reported the incidents to school officials and nothing was done about it.
In no way does that justify Simpkins’s alleged actions, but it does raise some questions about the school and its disciplinary system. How bad is bullying in the high school, and what exactly has the school been doing about it?
Of course, there are also plenty of questions for Simpkins’ family as well. If you were aware that your son was being bullied, how did you encourage him to respond? Was there any discussion about retaliation? And how exactly did he get ahold of the gun that he allegedly brought to school?
I suspect that this story is soon to fade from the national spotlight, and answers to those questions aren’t likely to be found until or unless Simpkins goes to trial on charges of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon. Rather than mindlessly calling for more gun control, however, these are things that we really should be talking about; what exactly are schools doing to keep students safe and to prevent not only shootings like the one that Simpkins is accused of committing, but stabbings like the one that took place in a high school library in the Bronx on Thursday (a crime, by the way, that’s received no national attention at all) and massive brawls involving dozens of students?
As I said yesterday, it would be a terrible mistake to let the gun control lobby frame the issue as one of “guns in school” when the real issue is violence. It sure looks to me like we’re seeing more of it in our schools this year, but as long as the focus is on guns and not school safety the teachers unions, administrators, school boards, and politicians can avoid any inconvenient questions about policies and practices that are enabling and exacerbating the violence in classrooms, cafeterias, and campus libraries.