School Shooting hits home in Arkansas
(KATV) The numbers are staggering; at least 26 victims shot and killed, 20 of those children at an Elementary school in Connecticut. The gunman, 20-year-old Adam Lanza opened fire Friday morning inside a school where his mother worked. He blasted his way through the building in Newtown as young students cowered helplessly in classrooms while their teachers and classmates were shot. And then killed himself.
This appears to be the nation's second-deadliest school shooting, exceeded only by the Virginia Tech Massacre in 2007.
In 1998, Arkansas joined the list of school massacres. A 13 year old and 11 year old shot and killed four students and a teacher, nine others were injured. The tragedy in Connecticut, doesn't just affect Arkansans because we've had a similar tragedy, but because there isn't a parent out there not touched by this.
Understandably, in the aftermath people want answers and they want to give solutions from changing gun laws to violent video games and music. But like officers and therapist tell Channel Seven, these mass shootings are unpredictable and many times, each case is distinct from the last.
Becky Whetstone, Ph.D, family therapist says, "Some people take comfort to know that these things rarely happen. When it happens it is big news all over the country but there are more than 100,000 public schools and this happened at one of them and it almost never happens so it is extremely rare."
Reports flooding radio, TV and the internet are stealing a bit of our kids innocence. "You want to tell them the truth at an age appropriate level. You don't want to tell them things that are half truths or make up a story."
Doctor Becky says no matter how much you try, some questions don't have answers because there is no way to rationalize the behavior. "Most people that talk about it don't do it; most people that don't talk about it do it. So there is no sure fire way to predict someone is actually going to take the action and do something like this."
Derek Scott says, "You can never be too safe." Scott is the Chief of Operations and Security for the Pulaski County Special School District (PCSSD), for all 37 schools and 18,000 kids. He can't divulge emergency policies and procedures. He says staff goes through training annually, schools have resources officers, those who are armed rotate between schools, more cameras were put in place last summer and daily all exterior doors remain locked except the one to the office.
Because the 1998 Jonesboro shooting, PCSSD and many district in Arkansas adopted the Watch D.O.G.S volunteer program. He explains, "We have parents in our schools that do the program that know who is suppose to be in the schools." Today, more than 2276 active programs in 41 states participate in the WATCH D.O.G.S. Program. Fathers, grandfathers, step-fathers, uncles, and other father figures who volunteer are assigned to a variety of school activities and assignments by a school principal or administrator.
In the courtyard behind Cabot City Hall, a group started a candlelight vigil at 6 p.m. Friday night.
For a list of ways to talk to you kids, click here.
Some School Related Mass Shootings:
University of Texas, 1966: After murdering his wife and mother, Charles Whitman killed 14 people from the clock tower. He murdered his wife and mother and wounded nearly three dozen people.
California State University, 1976: Edward Charles Allaway, killed seven people in the library.
Cleveland elementary, 1989: Patrick Edward Purdy killed five kids. Injured 29 children and one adult.
University of Iowa, 1991: Gang Lu, killed five people on campus.
Westside middle school, Jonesboro,AR, 1998: Andrew Golden, 11, and Mitchell Johnson, 13, killed four students and a teacher. Nine were injured.
Columbine high school, 1999: Eric Harris, 18, and Dylan Klebold, 17, killed 12 students and one teacher. 24 people were injured.
Red Lake high school, 2005: Jeffrey Weise killed two relatives, five students, a security guard and a teacher.
Nickel Mines, 2006: Charles Carl Roberts killed five girls in an Amish schoolhouse before. Five others were injured.
Virginia Tech, 2007: Seung-Hui Cho, killed 32 people and wounded 17 others.