The media has been going on about school shootings since the massacre at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida. It seems to be one of its favorite topics these days.
With that in mind, it’s no surprise that high school kids are focused on it. It’s been sufficient to send many into the streets–and even the grocery stores–to protest. As annoying as that’s been, it hasn’t been potentially dangerous for the most part.
However, it seems high school kids in an Orlando-area county are doing something very different.
The 14-year-old boy is one of more than 30 Volusia County students who have been charged with felonies related to false reports of school violence since the Feb. 14 shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland.
The Deltona student sent a message to a friend that said, “Schoil (sic) shooting much scared plz (sic) pray,” according to the Volusia County Sheriff’s Office. He told a school resource deputy he did it as a prank, and he didn’t want to dispel the rumor for several hours because he wanted others to think the supposed shooting was happening in real time.
It’s a stupid prank, but if more than 30 students are pulling this stuff, there’s a problem.
As The Truth About Guns‘ Dan Zimmerman noted, “Thirty in Volusia County alone. It seems a good bet that it’s happening in other counties in the Sunshine State, too.”
I’d put money on it. But I’d also suspect it’s happening elsewhere throughout the country. Some kid is going to think this is funny and try it at their school as well.
The problem, of course, is that this has the potential to be very dangerous.
On the one hand, if the police are going to respond to an active shooter, they’re going to go into the school with weapons drawn and will be… let’s just say they’ll be a bit jumpy. A wrong move by a student or staff member, something that looks different in the wrong light, and someone dies.
Then there is the human response to repeated calls of anything. Think “The Little Boy Who Cried Wolf.”
After a time, the officers will stop taking the calls seriously. They’ll respond because that’s their job, but there will be a part of their mind that won’t believe it. Maybe they won’t drive as fast, or maybe they’ll be a bit lax as they enter the building. Whatever. Either way, the potential for more people to die because of those repeated calls exists.
But it’s not surprising. There’s been an awful lot of talk about school shootings, and kids hear it. It is bombarding them. They hear it all the time, often to the point when it’s now something to mock. For every kid CNN wants to show who is terrified of dying at school, there’s at least one more who thinks all the freaking out is stupid.
When it gets to that point, people are going to do stupid things. After all, this is why we don’t allow kids this age to make life-altering decisions without parental consent.
Something like this was bound to happen because the media crams it in everyone’s face. Kids, being kids, are going to try and have a little fun with it.
But that’s also the danger, and it needs to stop.