For all the talk about gun control following something like the Parkland shooting, there’s also a lot of thinking about whether there was any way to know something like this would happen. Were there red flags that should have been noticed?
It seems that this time, there may well have been.
We don’t know his motives, but what we do know is that [the shooter], a former student at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida ventured back onto campus and started shooting killing 17 people. At least a dozen more were wounded. Broward County Sheriff Scott Israel described the scene as “catastrophic” and it’s been classified as a mass casualty event. [He] was taken into custody earlier this afternoon.
One student interviewed said, “everyone predicted this,” noting that the student body used to joke that [he] would be someone to attack the school.
“He knows the school layout; he knows where everyone would be at,” said the student.
Now, the Miami Herald is reporting that a teacher flagged [the shooter] as a potential threat, but this has yet to be confirmed:
A teacher at the school told the Miami Herald that [the shooter], 19, had been identified as a potential threat to fellow students in the past. Gard says he believes the school administration had sent out an email warning teachers that the student had made threats against other in the past and that he should not be allowed on the campus with a backpack. Another student interviewed on the scene by Channel 7 said the student had guns at home.
“We were told last year that he wasn’t allowed on campus with a backpack on him,” said math teacher Jim Gard, who said the former student suspected in the shootings had been in his class last year. “There were problems with him last year threatening students, and I guess he was asked to leave campus.”
A Broward schools spokesperson could not confirm any information about the shooter, and said Runcie [Robert Runcie, superintendent of Broward Schools] was currently meeting with the Broward Sheriff’s Office.
The shooting began just before dismissal, after someone pulled the fire alarm. Students and teachers were puzzled because the school had already held a fire drill that day.
This is rather troubling, if accurate. The claim that such an email was sent out isn’t unique to the Miami Herald either, which lends credence to the claim.
In other words, officials knew this kid was a problem. They saw the red flags. They even tried doing something about it by warning teachers.
Yet it still happened.
I’ll be honest, I’m not sure how this needs to be handled. We know that more gun restrictions won’t cut it. We know that the school had at least one armed school resource officer on hand, though what role the officer played in this remains unclear. While I feel armed teachers and staff would have made a massive difference, that would still only work at responding to the threat after things have already kicked off.
This is a case where we need some kind of preventative efforts in place, but what?
Maybe that’s the debate we should be having, not the one about what new restrictions we can place on law-abiding gun owners.