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home : most recent : statewide implications June 22, 2018

6/1/2018 3:32:00 PM
EDITORIAL: Tackling the scourge of school shootings


Despite similarities in school shootings over the years, subtle differences in details are what dictate the end results.

Last week’s incident at Noblesville West Middle School was a terrifying episode for the largely affluent Hamilton County community north of Indianapolis. A female student and a teacher were injured when a student was excused from a classroom to use a restroom, then came back to the room with two handguns and began firing the weapons.

The female student was critically injured but is reportedly in stable condition and recovering. The teacher, Jason Seaman, was shot three times but managed to tackle and subdue the shooter before more damage could be done.

As terrifying as this incident was, it is fortunate that no one was more seriously injured or killed. It could obviously have been worse, as Americans well know. Just this year, 17 people were killed in a mass shooting at a high school in Parkland, Florida, near Fort Lauderdale. Just two weeks ago, 10 people were killed at a high school in Santa Fe, Texas, near Houston.

The Noblesville shooter, a middle school student, used handguns in his attack, rather than an assault-style rifle and a sawed-off shotgun used in the Florida and Texas attacks. But a key factor in limiting the carnage was that Seaman, a science teacher in the shooter’s classroom, was a relatively young man and athletic coach who not long ago was playing defensive end for Southern Illinois University’s Division I football team. Seaman, although struck by three bullets, confronted the shooter physically, knocked a gun from his hand and wrestled him to the ground, subduing the boy until more help arrived.

The courageous, heroic teacher was clearly in the right place at the right time. There could have been a different outcome if a teacher with lesser physical abilities had instead been in the room.

There are many questions to be answered about the Noblesville shooting, but everything we know to this point underscores the belief that this trend will continue. To address it, resources must be allocated to make schools safer and more secure, guns must be kept out of the hands of inappropriate or unstable individuals, and communities must face the fact that this phenomenon isn’t going away on its own.

Indeed, adults have a responsibility to confront it and seek solutions. Jason Seaman used his physical abilities to stop what could have been a massacre. He showed courage and did his part to protect kids. It’s time for the rest of us to do the same.

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