While details are still very sketchy at the time of publication, we know that authorities in Arizona have put Independence High School in the Glendale Union High School district on lock down following a shooting incident that has left two teenage girls dead.
What makes this shooting a little different, at least from the first reported details, is that this was not an “active shooter” incident, as the police on the scene said.
As The Huffington Post reported:
Two 15-year-old girls were found dead by an administration building under a patio at the school, Glendale Police spokeswoman Tracey Breeden said at a press conference. They each had a single gunshot wound, and a weapon was found beside them. The nature of the two girls’ relationship is still unclear. (source)
It would seem that the two girls found were either part of a murder suicide, or a double suicide. This of course is a much different scenario in terms of motive from other high profile school shooting incidents. Police on the scene, according to the HuffPo report, knew right away they weren’t looking for an active shooter still on the loose.
“This was not an active shooter situation,” Breeden said. “We realized that when we got on the scene.” She said police arrived on the scene within two minutes of receiving a call about a possible shooting. (source)
These kinds of shooting incidents expose another problem that our gun culture in this country has helped foster — just simple access to guns. Sometimes I wonder if the most feverish of gun nut doesn’t ever think about the fact that every illegal gun once was a legal gun, provided it wasn’t boosted from the back of a truck on its way to a gun retailer. But somehow, the victims in this story got their hands on a gun, despite being minors.
It does no good to comment on the individual merits of this incident yet. We don’t know if either girl was in therapy or counseling, was on any prescribed medications, or what the relationship between the two girls was. Instead, the only thing we can say with any amount of confidence is that this is yet one more story that you just don’t hear about happening in other countries where guns aren’t treated like they are here. In America, we’ve created an environment where the gun itself is revered, almost like a symbol of what true liberty and freedom looks like, rather than what it is — a deadly weapon that should be used only when non-lethal force isn’t an option.
We think of shooting incidents in this country as these moments out of movies, where there’s a bad guy assaulting good guys. But gun violence also looks like this. It looks like an unspeakable tragedy that may very well have been avoided if we lived in a country where counseling and mental health help were as readily available as a firearm. The NRA, once again should be asked how they feel about helping to foster a feeling in the country that guns are supreme and everything else is good because a gun was involved somehow. They’ve made guns more ubiquitous schools, and so I guess none of us should be that surprised anymore when even our classrooms and quads aren’t safe from the encroachment of the gun lobby anymore.
We could find out that the gun used was purchased legally, but even if we did, we have to ask ourselves how the girls got it. Somehow, some way either the gun wasn’t secured, or it wasn’t secured in a way that would prevent them from obtaining it. This is why people like me advocate things like insurance and mandatory safety training for all gun owners. We stopped seeing the number of people dying from car fatalities plummet when we stopped pretending freedom is more important than logic, and it’s high time we took the same approach with guns. You don’t have to ban them to make access to them much more logical and safe.
…or we can just keep pretending that dead Americans is the only price worth paying for our Second Amendment, of course.