1) It's Columbine all over again, in the sense that nobody seems to have taken this boy's social isolation and desperation seriously. News stories reported:
Friends, neighbors and fellow students described the boy as quiet and polite, but also said he was mercilessly teased about his weight, his glasses and his clothing.School is tough, and it's especially tough in the tony exurbs where, if you don't fit in, you will be mericlessly exiled by your peers. There's a quote from My So-Called Life that always stuck out in my mind:
Angela: My parents keep asking how school was. It's like saying, "How was that drive-by shooting?" You don't care how it *was*, you're lucky to get out alive.When you spend most of your life in a hostile social situation where you're on the outside looking in, it's hard to remember that real life isn't like that. This boy probably felt trapped in an awful situation for what seemed like an eternity, and in his mind the only way to escape that situation was to violently lash out at his enemies.
2) And here in America, of course, we solve all our problems by shooting at them. Guns are lethal and wonderfully dramatic, and they give you that macho, psychological edge that can turn even an oppressed weakling into a homicidal bully. Dare I mention the fact that NRA headquarters is a short drive east on I-66 from Bull Run Middle School? Or are we in an irony-free zone today?
I suppose it doesn't matter, since nothing could be more ironic than the month we spent being cut down by sniper bullets in 2002, to which the NRA of course responded by lobbying against a national database of ballistic fingerprinting (apparently successfully, since I haven't heard a damn thing about the issue since '02). I suppose the fairly good probablility that at least one child of an NRA employee attends Bull Run will have to be enough irony for me.
3) According to the Post, reaction to the presence of the gun was swift and effective.
Police officers from all areas of the county responded when the emergency code was broadcast as part of a comprehensive response plan the county implemented after the Columbine shootings. Police officials estimated that more than 100 Prince William police officers and sheriff's deputies and officers from nearby jurisdictions responded to the scene. They said the first entry team approached the school about 10 minutes after the 911 call was received.Over one hundred law enforcement officals responded! That's an incredible and timely turnout by the police, which of course brings to mind the completely opposite response we'd be likely to see in the District. D.C. has had its share of school shootings in the past year, and I can't even imagine 100 police officers in D.C. responding (or, for that matter, that many who aren't on their coffee breaks at any one time). And can you imagine neighboring jurisdictions helping out the District? Me neither. Hate to bring up the separate-and-unequal gap between D.C. and its suburbs again, but there you go.
Now watch this drive.
(Hmm, I can open that <liberal-ranting> HTML tag, but I sure can't close it.)