There was a shooting at a school in Philadelphia. As I write this first draft, it happened just two hours ago.
It is the only story being covered on the ABC outlet right now, I’ve had the TV on for about twenty minutes and have learned the following important facts;
(1) Two fifteen year old children are in the hospital with gunshot wounds.
(2) The firearm has not been recovered.
(3) Three “suspects” were involved, one is in custody, the others remain at large.
(4) Without a script, dead air is more informative than the news media.
Seven different reporters, five locations, interview with parents, a registered nurse, and the chief of police and the most surprising thing was how many stupid comments were made.
Let’s start with, “We don’t know if the gun went off intentionally or not”. Guns don’t have intentions. Guns don’t just “go off”. It is illegal for people under the age of twenty one to possess a handgun, and illegal for anyone to carry a gun inside a Philadelphia school. So what we know that someone intentionally committed the crime of possessing a handgun, and intentionally committed the crime of bringing that firearm to a school. Anything that happened at the school with that firearm happened intentionally.
From a parent, “What am I concerned about? I’m concerned if my kid was shot, if it’s not my kid, I’m not concerned”. Okay, maybe not stupid. Honest and insensitive most assuredly. Stupid was asking a parent what their concerns are outside a school where a shooting has taken place.
From Police Commissioner Charles “The pointy end of the bullet goes in first, right?” Ramsey, “Kids aren’t supposed to have guns at school”. I’ve written about Commissioner Ramsey before. His last job was Chief of Police in Washington DC, so he doesn’t really understand much about gun laws. Kids aren’t supposed to have guns at all, Chuck.
From the reporter at the home of the suspect in custody, “We don’t know how he got from the school (at 5201 Old York Road) to his home in the 2200 block of Bucknell”. My guess? He walked a block to the Logan subway station, took it to Snyder Ave, caught the 79 bus to 24th St, and walked a block home. The bigger question might be how a kid from South Philly came to be enrolled in a school in the Logan section, but the route is obvious to me, and I haven’t lived in Philly for three years (when I did, I lived off Snyder Avenue).
From the Registered Nurse, “Both children were wounded in the arm, and while hospital officials have said they are not life threatening injuries, they could still be life changing injuries”. I just got back from Philly, we were at a concert today, but I was tempted to drive back just so I could strangle this idiot on camera. Yes, it could be good, or it could be bad. Flipping a coin would tell me as much. Life changing? That depends on the victim, but assuming the child is moderately sensitive, yes, their life has been changed.
The important part of the story is that two children, in the gymnasium after school, suddenly found themselves in the hospital, which was fortunately only two blocks away, being treated for gunshot wounds. Secondary to that is whether the shooter and gun are in custody. After that I’d like to know what the weather will be tomorrow. Unless anything else important happened in the fifth largest city in the United States, you can tell me about that. But hours on end covering a one minute story? Seriously?
As the evening progressed we found that one of the “children”, an eighteen (not fifteen) year old female student, had been wounded in the bicep and released from the hospital three hours after the incident. The other victim, her seventeen (not fifteen) year old boyfriend, had taken the bullet in his shoulder and as of Sunday (the shooting occurred at 1530 on Friday) was still hospitalized.
The shooter was identified as a seventeen year old student and was charged as an adult. He surrendered to Police with his attorney at 1300 Saturday. His attorney said “I’m saying it’s not intentional and we’re not admitting any fault on his part, he’s a good solid kid and you’ll see he has no prior record. He stays out of trouble and he’s been cooperating with police. Thank you very much”. Because, you know, for a seventeen year old to not have a record just indicates how exemplary a student he is, don’t most people have a record by the time they’re seventeen? I can understand the unintentional part, the illegal handgun loaded itself and chambered a bullet before it crawled into his backpack and then jumped into his hand. Shocked by its sudden appearance, the young man just had enough time to say “what is this?” before the gun released its own safety and pulled it’s own trigger. </sarcasm>
The suspect who had been arrested in South Philadelphia was cleared, he had been misidentified (by the same school security officers who missed a gun entering the school) and had been in another part of the school at the time of the shooting.
The other students who had been sought had been cleared of any involvement.
And now, Monday evening, the plot thickens. Another person is being sought by police. The eighteen year old who sold the shooter the gun. So this “good solid kid” didn’t bring a gun to school, he was buying a gun. From an eighteen year old, at school in the gymnasium. The transaction was apparently caught on tape.
So instead of answers, I have questions. If two kids hadn’t been shot, would anyone have ever followed up on the sale of a handgun between teenagers on school grounds? Maybe the same security officers who identified a fifteen year old who had been in a different part of the building and missed the gun entering the school would put down their doughnuts and suddenly do their jobs?
There is still no information about the gun being recovered. Maybe it was, and the less than competent media has failed to report it, or maybe it’s still floating around, waiting for an opportunity to accidentally shoot a few more people.
Guns are not nearly as dangerous as stupid people. We do not need more gun laws, we need to enforce the ones we already have, and fire the people who fail to do so.