Earlier today a 17-year-old gunman opened fire at West Liberty High School in West Liberty, Ohio. The school is actually known as West Liberty-Salem Middle /High School but for the sake of convenience I’ll use the former.
The as yet unidentified gunman is said to have fired several shotgun rounds through walls and windows of the school. A few of those shots struck 16-year-old Logan Cole who is said to be in stable condition. Cole was not the intended target according to police but no motive has been released as of yet. School staff were able to pin the shooter to the ground until police arrived. Police also searched the home of the shooter but it has not yet been reported if anything has been seized. So far the suspect has been charged as a juvenile with felonious assault.
As I was reading the reports of the shooting I kept running across one particular quote that always seems to make it into articles regarding the initial reports of a school shooting…
“Especially in … such a small town like this, where you pretty much know everyone who lives in the town, you just never think that stuff like this is going to happen,” she said.
I guess we have to go over the list again don’t we? Did anyone ever know about Littleton, Colorado, before Columbine or Newtown, Connecticut, before Sandy Hook? Even in Ohio, did anyone ever heard of Chardon before the shooting at Chardon High that left three dead? There is no ‘it can’t happen here’.
I’ll post more details as they become available and as time allows.
UPDATE 1/21/2017:The shooter has been identified as Ely Ray Serna. He is facing charges of attempted murder, felonious assault, improperly discharging a firearm, inducing panic and bringing a deadly weapon into a school safety zone. Prosecutors are saying that he may be charged as an adult. In my opinion he should be absolutely charged as an adult.
Also, it seems the school with many names is mostly known as West Liberty-Salem High School which is how I will refer to it going forward.
15-year-old Federico Guevara opened fire earlier today at Colegio Americano del Noreste, or American College of the Northeast, in the Mexican city of Monterrey. The shooting was caught on security camera footage, which then found its way onto social media, then traditional media. Guevara was said to be in a sitting position when he produced his pistol shooting the student in front of him, then his teacher. He then fired more rounds into the classroom striking two other students. He turned the gun on himself, pulled the trigger but missed. The gunman then said something to his classmates before shooting himself in the head. Guevara died later from his wounds at a hospital. The gun was a .22 that he had brought from home. The three victims are alive, but suffering from grave injuries.
No motive has been reported, but many reports say that the teen was being treated for depression. While many who commit crimes like this usually suffer from mental illness, is this really necessary to report? Many people suffer from depression, including myself. The way it’s being reported in this instance feels like it’s labeling people with depression as potential killers which further adds to the stigma of seeking mental healthcare. If history is any indicator the true motive will probably have something more to do with the shooter’s own failings that he blames on others.
UPDATE 1/21/2017: The shooter allegedly told other students that he would be bringing a gun to school but no believed he would actually do it. For God’s sake people, in this day and age even if someone says this as a joke you need to report it. Its better to have it be not true and have someone inconvenienced rather than having three people in the hospital with gunshot wounds to the head.
Police have also said that there is no truth to the rumor that the gunman threatened the shooting online.
I have no problem with gun violence prevention groups, that is unless they try to portray the facts wrongly. That’s what I think Everytown for Gun Safety is doing once again. Previously in June of 2014 they claimed that there had been 74 school shootings since the shootings at Sandy Hook. Then in late 2015, they claimed that there had been 47 school shootings that year. Now with yesterday being the anniversary of the Sandy Hook school shooting, the advocacy group is now claiming that there have been 200 school shooting incidents since then. As usual, it feels like Everytown is misleading the public with their claims. This time not only is Everytown playing fast and loose with the numbers, but they’re also misrepresenting themselves with their phrasing as well.
First, let’s take a look at the number 200. There have not been 200 school shootings as we think of them. When most people think of school shootings, they think of tragedies like Sandy Hook or Columbine. Since Sandy Hook there have been 17 school shootings with the most recent one being the shooting at Townville Elementary School back in September. As far as their phrasing goes, Everytown is trying to play it coy this time. Instead of saying there have been 200 school shootings since Sandy Hook, they’re now saying that there have been 200 school shooting ‘incidents’ since Sandy Hook. The word ‘incidents’ is a C.Y.A. word like ‘allegedly’. The problem is, even if they’re using the word ‘incidents’, the public, and most media, still perceive it as 200 school shootings. If they wanted to be more honest and use less scare tactics they would say that there have been 200 gun related crimes that happened near schools since Sandy Hook, but that doesn’t make a catchy headline.
Please don’t get me wrong. Not only is 17 school shootings in 4 years still pretty disturbing, so is 200 shootings near schools. However, as I have said in the past, when you call everything a school shooting, it lessens the impact of actual school shootings. After a while, we’ll all become numb to whatever is being called a school shooting, and we’ll just shrug them off like it was a shoplifting charge.
My advice to Everytown is not to sensationalize the statistics. 17 school shootings, or 18 including Sandy Hook, in the past four years is still pretty disturbing. However, as the saying goes “A single death is a tragedy; a million deaths is a statistic” and you’re getting awfully close to statistic territory.
Richards is accused of telling the parent “you gonna die, death is coming to you real soon,” according to federal court documents. The statements were made in January. She also wrote, “Look behind you it’s death,” according to the documents.
The parent that she was allegedly threatening was Lenny Pozner whose young son Noah was killed at Sandy Hook. Pozner has become the target of the tin foil hat wearing nutjobs because he took on the unenviable task of engaging these morons in discussing the reality of Sandy Hook.
“Conspiracy theorists erase the human aspect of history,” Pozner told the magazine.
“My child — who lived, who was a real person — is basically going to be erased.”
If convicted, Richards is looking at 20 years behind bars.
With the fourth anniversary of the tragedy approaching in the next couple of days I’d imagine that a number of these cretins will start emerging from the fetid swamps of their unreasonable imaginations.
Ybarra wanted to emulate his heroes, like Eric Harris and Cho Seung-Hui, but instead he’ll be just another unoriginal loser whose name will be lost to history in a few years. It’s only a shame that he had to kill an innocent man to punctuate his own failures.
Ybarra is looking at a max of 111 years when he is sentenced in January.
18-year-old Jakob Wagner was shot and killed by a patrolling police officer after Wagner opened fire on Antigo High School in Wisconsin while the school’s prom was taking place back in April. The officer, Andrew Hopfensperger, was cleared of any wrongdoing with investigators stating that lethal force was justified.
“It’s extremely hard to see the officer smiling in every picture and, I believe, in an interview recently he said that he doesn’t even think about it anymore and it doesn’t bother him,” said Wagner. “Even if it wasn’t my child, the fact that he… basically cornered somebody and shot nine bullets at them, and six of them went into the school and it doesn’t bother him, is kind of wrong.”
Everyone is free to grieve in their own way, however it’s ignorant to think that any policeman is unaffected by shooting and killing another human being, let alone an 18-year-old kid. Even though police live their job 24/7 and it affects them, they can’t let events like this rule them to the point of ineffectiveness. I have no doubt that this shooting took its toll on him but being a professional, he still had to go out and face the public that he was sworn to protect.
Many officers have retried and have had mental issues after a shooting like this. The fact that Officer Hopfensperger is still working is a testament to his resolve.
(Thanks to Lady Gray for her editorial assistance)
“I was hearing Eric Harris’ voice, but before that I felt God talking to me and saying something in my heart,” Ybarra said during questioning by defense attorney Ramona Brandes.
He also claims that he had heard Harris’ voice in his head for years. Ybarra also testified that he didn’t know the shooting that killed SPU student Paul Lee was real until he was in the back of a police cruiser.
I wouldn’t be surprised if Ybarra actually believed that he heard the voice of Harris. As I’ve posted previously, Ybarra is what’s know as a columbiner, that’s basically a school shooting fanboy. I’ve been researching columbiners even before they were called that. An inordinate number of them claim to have had some sort of supernatural encounter with one of the Columbine cowards. The one story that sticks out in my mind, even to this day, is a story I read on a pro-Columbine message board. A grown woman had claimed to have had sex with the ghost of Dylan Klebold, and had his ghost babies. I wish I was making that up.
The reason I think that Ybarra is going with the ever so popular ‘I heard voices’ defense is because his attorney is pursuing an insanity defense. In my opinion that’s a bold strategy to take since, to my knowledge, that defense has never worked for a living American school shooter.
Ybarra replied: “The pepper spray was too strong,” referring to his capture by student safety monitor Jon Meis. “I was talking too fast … It was making my mind feel worse.”
He went on to testify that he had a hard time “concentrating on telling the truth” because of the effects of pepper spray.
“The pepper spray was messing me up,” he said.
I’ve never had the misfortune of being pepper sprayed but I’ve never heard of claiming to want to kill as many as people as possible as a side effect.
Considering that Ybarra went off his meds to ‘feel the hate’, it’s obvious that Ybarra knew right from wrong at the time of the shooting. Just like every other school shooter that claimed insanity, the only malady effecting Ybarra’s reasoning is an acute case of fakeritis.
The still as yet unnamed gunman from the shooting at Dene High School at the La Loche Community School, has pleaded guilty to first-degree murder in the deaths of school employees Marie Janvier and Adam Wood. He has also pleaded guilty to second-degree murder in the deaths of brothers Dayne and Drayden Fontaine, who were shot and killed at a residence prior to the school shooting. The gunman was 17 at the time of the shootings and under Canada’s Youth Criminal Justice Act, the shooter can not be named.
Which brings us to sentencing. Previously prosecutors have stated that they are seeking to have the gunman sentenced as an adult. The gunman was around a month away from his 18th birthday when he committed these crimes and many relatives of his victims and the victims that lived would also like to see him sentenced as an adult. If he is to be sentenced as a juvenile he would only be in detention for 10 years, while an adult sentencing would mean a mandatory life sentence with parole being deferred 25 years for each victim.
While no official motive has been given to the shootings, some reports say that the gunman was teased about his ears. If he thinks that’s a reason to commit a killing spree then he most definitely needs to be locked away for the rest of his natural life.
His next scheduled court appearance is scheduled for January 31st.
Late last week, Campbell County school shooter, Kenny Bartley, was released from jail yet again. He had been serving time for violating his probation when he failed to update his address with authorities and violating the terms of his alcohol monitoring bracelet.
In 2005, when Bartley was a teenager, he opened fire in the administration office of Campbell County High School in Tennessee, killing Principal Ken Bruce. He was charged as an adult and his plea deal saw him sentenced to 45 years. However, the plea was thrown out and a subsequent retrial saw Bartley being released after time served.
Sometime after his release, Bartley went to live with his counselor and her family in Virginia. The counselor’s young son has since died from blunt force trauma and the autopsy reports say that it was related to child abuse. Bartley was allegedly with the boy at the time. So far there have been no criminal charges filed in the boy’s death.
As I’ve discussed before second shooters in school shootings are rare and have only happened at Columbine and Jonesboro. Reportings of second shooters are usually due to multiple eyewitness reports of the same shooter or someone claiming that someone fleeing from the site is another shooter.
So don’t read too much into second shooter claims. Initial reports from school shootings are often incomplete or even downright wrong. The odds are it’s just two different witnesses describing the same person.