A few minutes ago came word that a third student has died following a shooting yesterday at Chardon High School in Ohio. Our sister paper – the News-Herald – has been covering the story since it unfolded and has done a terrific job reporting the tragic events (http://bit.ly/ytOlmT).
The sad news is that three young people have died for no reason; the good news is that the gunman is in custody and will face the music for this horrific crime. T.J. Lane is in custody and has a hearing today in juvenile court.
According to published reports, the alleged gunman was a victim of bullying. However, those same reports contained statements from other students who disputed that claim.
Lane did not go to Chardon High, instead attending nearby Lake Academy, which is for students with academic or behavioral problems, said the reports. Fifteen-year-old Danny Komertz, who witnessed the shooting, said Lane was known as an outcast who had apparently been bullied. But others disputed that.
“Even though he was quiet, he still had friends,” said Tyler Lillash, 16. “He was not bullied.” Farinacci, representing Lane and his family, told an Ohio television station that Lane “pretty much sticks to himself but does have some friends and has never been in trouble over anything that we know about.”
Lane’s family is mourning “this terrible loss for their community,” attorney Robert Farnacci said in a statement.
We will find out the circumstances soon enough. However, what we know right now is that there are the parents of three students whose faces will never be home again. No more book bags at the front door, dirty sneakers in the laundry room or half-eaten lunches back to the kitchen at night.
It truly is a parent’s worst nightmare.
Every morning we hustle our kids out the door, making sure they make the bus on time. We make side trips to drop off forgotten books, lunches, projects and gym suits never thinking that that day at school could be their last.
Who would? Growing up in a somewhat normal neighborhood and high school, I never dreamed about any of this violence. I never thought someone was in the hallways carrying a loaded weapon.
April 29, 1999, a shooting at Columbine in Colorado that resulted in the deaths of 12 students and one teacher shook the school landscape forever. Where once feuds and fights were settled with fists changed to guns and bullets.
A Chardon Facebook page is marking the tragedy with postings.
“This gets more tragic, the whole area is suffering, our prayers go up to God to give all strength, healing and closure,” said one of the hundreds of Facebook postings on a memorial page.
The Chardon schools superintendent put it best.
According to the Associated Press, Joseph Bergant II described the grim reality of Monday’s shootings.
“We’re not just any old place, Chardon,” said Bergant. “This is every place. As you’ve seen in the past, this can happen anywhere, proof of what we had yesterday.”
It’s just a terrible, terrible shame that we as parents always have in the back of our minds the chilling feeling that we could get that call from the police or the school district that our precious children have fallen to the anger of one of their peers.
You feel helpless, anxious and sad all at the same time.
You can put all the police in the halls and all the metal detectors in the schools that you want. Someone determined to kill will. And that’s the scariest and most helpless feeling of all.
So talk to your kids. Explain the harsh reality of the world in which we live. Don’t scare them to death but keep it real with them.
In my day the talk you had with your folks was about the birds and the bees. Now it’s about how to hit the deck to avoid the bullets.
How sad. How truly sad…
— Andy Hachadorian