Mass shootings often seem to happen in bunches. You get a cluster of two or three, then months with nothing happening. That is if you use a definition beyond the Gun Violence Archives’.
Yet there are numerous other incidents we often don’t hear about. That’s because those incidents are stopped before a single shot is fired.
One is making headlines in light of Nashville.
Law enforcement officials arrested a transgender person they believed was plotting a mass murder attack on schools and churches in Colorado Springs.
The 18th Judicial District Attorney’s Office said on Thursday that a family member of a teenager named William Whitworth, who identified as “Lily,” contacted law enforcement because of a threat Whitworth made “to shoot up a school.”
Whitworth allegedly told police that Timberview Middle School was a target, as well as some churches.
The charging document also says that Whitworth allegedly admitted to writing a manifesto and going through “active firearm planning” in addition to mapping out the school.
Now, a lot of people are focused on the trans aspect of this, and that’s the wrong thing to focus on. I get why people are focused, mind you. A trans shooter in Nashville, then another trans-identifying person arrested planning a similar attack? Yeah, people are going to raise an eyebrow.
Yet during this time, an untold number of other trans people did no such thing. Many of them are lawful gun owners who would never harm a soul.
No, the takeaway here really needs to be the fact that a potential mass shooting was stopped without the use of a red flag law or some new gun control regulation. Someone realized something was up, then notified the police who investigated and found evidence of the plot.
The suspect was then arrested and will have an opportunity to defend themselves in court.
That’s much better than talking about how people in a school or church were unable to defend themselves, now isn’t it?
One of the best ways to stop mass shootings from happening is to take threatening comments or actions seriously. If you’re aware of them, notify the authorities and pray it’s a mistake.
Hopefully, it will be and you’ll feel a little silly. But what if it’s not? What if that person really is considering a mass shooting and you chalk it up to some sick joke instead of a serious threat?
Now tell me, which would you rather feel, a little silly or the sickened realization that you could have prevented it?
Kind of a no-brainer in my book.
Even if you take the impact on gun control arguments off the table, it’s still the right thing to do. The fact that it may relieve the pressure on our Second Amendment rights, however, makes even more reason to take threats seriously and to notify the authorities.
And I hate having to write that. I really do. We shouldn’t need that.
But until someone out there decides to actually look at why people become mass shooters in the first place, this is the best we have.