Hurricane Harbor

A writer and a tropical muse. A funky Lubavitcher who enjoys watching the weather, hurricanes, listening to music while enjoying life with a sense of humor and trying to make sense of it all!

Thursday, February 15, 2018

Trying to Make Sense of It All. Parkland Florida, Coral Springs... Marjorie Stoneman Douglas High School. How did we get here? How do we fix it?

Parkland Florida.
A beautiful place to live until yesterday.

My thoughts. Aside from the horror that so many young lives were taken from us yesterday ... it really bothers me that the shooter who took their lives escaped into the crowd. Thankful that he was picked up by the Coconut Creek officer who went looking for him down back roads looking for the suspect.

He "looked like a typical high school student" so much so that it would have been easy to keep driving looking for someone who looked "evil" vs "a typical high school student" walking along a road near a high school. The school named after one of Florida's most iconic environmentalist Marjorie Stoneman Douglas became the scene for horrific bloodshed, terror and death; add in panic and an attempt by the staff to try and follow protocol without knowing what was really happening. Schools today are trained in how to handle an active shooter situation but few are tested in the way they were yesterday when someone who looked liked "typical high school student" became the face of pure evil. As people from the school identified him and passed messages around on social media the press tried to keep up with the ever flowing river of information found on his many social media sites. If it was that easy for students from the school to find his YouTube and his Instagram sites it should have easier to stop this from happening. His classmates were not surprised it was him, he was ex-student most likely to do something like this and they verbalized that on social media all day yesterday while trying to make sense of it all. Perhaps we need to start taking social media more seriously? Buzzfeed did a better job finding out information on him than Fox, CNN or MSNBC.

The FBI and media is still trying to catch up and learn what his fellow students knew. Yes, his name look the same and yes it looks like him but .... They were asked today at a Press Conference ... it was painful to watch them act as if there was another person with his name and his face posting violent images online while making public threats on Youtube to become a high school shooter.  We are all so politically correct these days. We worry on our personal liberties getting lost yet the freedom to send our children to school and protect them at those schools from a student who decides to go down in violent glory as a "high school shooter" seems to get lost in the shuffle. I don't know what the answer is but as a parent it's kind of ironic that my kids were safer at North Miami Beach Sr. High a school considered ghetto and dangerous vs one of the best  high schools in South Florida in the safe, idyllic world othat Parkland Florida was before yesterday.  I have several friends who live there, pray at Chabad there and send their children to school there. It's a nice place to live. It's a huge school more like a college campus than your typical "high school" and yet something went terribly wrong yesterday. There is a place you hear about on the News where a shooting occurred to random people in a far away place. Yesterday was not so random for me nor for others who have never been to South Florida.

The world is very small and we are instantly connected often to news events both good and bad, though the sad ones travel faster through our WhatsApp feeds than the good ones. It was pretty obviously last night around 9 PM when the prayers for the 2 girls who were missing Meadow Pollack and Alyssa Alhadeff and had not been seen or found in the hospital could only be two of the five students who remained at the crime scene not yet identified. I prayed but I was afraid the morning would bring sad news and it did indeed.

I'm Jewish and I'm involved with the Chabad movement so I knew that their local Rabbis were trying to comfort their families and tried to get them information at the same time. Heartbreaking videos by Alyssa's grandmother were passed around my kid's WhatsApp sites and it's very personal for me. I have family members who knew families who went to that high school and I have family members who teach in schools in South Florida. My daughter in law works with special need students who were afraid to be in class this morning; totally panicked that they were safe and no gunmen would get in to the school. She's about 8 and a half months pregnant, she took them to the office and had the staff show them all the cameras that watch all the entrances and exits to assure them they are safe. She works at a rather large Jewish Private School that takes security extremely serious. My son who lives in Broward County just south of Parkland kept the news radio off while driving the kids to school today. He didn't want to have to explain to my 11 year old granddaughter or the 6 year old grandson what was going on as his phone rang nonstop with text, Instagram and WhatsApp messages as friends passed information back and forth praying, hoping for good news for Meadow or Alyssa. Several students showed up at prayer services by Chabad this morning to offer up the prayer that is made to give thanks for avoiding death or a dangerous situation. Many people are giving thanks in many different prayers today in a community known for a safe, tranquil place to bring up your children and live. Safety is sadly often an illusion.

How does a girl with the beautiful, peaceful name like Meadow die in a grizzly school shooting when she should be thinking on graduation and college? It's mind boggling. We worry on hurricanes and natural disasters yet our system allows people who have been thrown out of a Public school to avoid further surveillance in the name of privacy and freedom and liberty. He was thrown out partially for continually bringing weapons on campus and making threats; perhaps law enforcement should have become involved? He wrote posts on the web that he was going to become a school shooter, he posted graphic pictures of animals he killed and commented on other sites with his name that he was going to kill students in school. Someone notified the FBI and were questioned how they knew him when they told him they didn't know him but they saw it on YouTube in the comments.

Among the dead were two teachers who were killed.

Aaron Feis protected his students.
He put them first.
He died.

His students thanked him with tears in their eyes on interviews. He shut the door so the girls could hide yet he stayed in the hallway to help others it seems and he was shot. It's a small world there; a large school but a very small world. He was Facebook friends with the media face of this tragedy BSO Sheriff Scott Israel on Facebook. Everyone I know in South Florida is shaken. The clerk in Rite Aid in Raleigh today wished me a good day and added with a sad, far away look in her eyes and said "I just hope and pray we don't have to hear about any more school shootings today."

I don't want to hear about "gun control" as if that would be the magic bullet to end school shootings. I'm not a gun lover. When my kids were growing up we had a "no gun" rule in the house and I mean toy guns or games with guns; water pistols were allowed until we took them away when the kids got too wild. As a child my cousin and I grew up playing Cowboys and Indians and pretended to be Napolean Solo and April Dancer (Google Man from U.N.C.L.E) and there were no school shootings. What changed? How did we get here? Shoot outs were seen in spy movies or Gangster movies from the 1920s and we weren't allowed to see them until we were 17 or with a parent. Spoiler alert my parents didn't take me to R rated movies.

Before blaming "guns" for the violence as a mother and grandmother I'd blame Hollywood. I know it's not a popular cause for liberals to blame Hollywood vs guns for school shootings but the one thing that has changed since Columbine is the quality of video games kids today play that are on par with virtual video games the military uses to put the shooter into the action and perfect his skill. Movies are more violent, TV is more violent and various shows on Netflix and HBO that are the most popular are the most violent. All it takes is one alienated kid with any one of many mental health disorders to get lost in a maze of online violence and social media groups that feed on young alienated bitter kids. There is something about teenage boys and being bitter, depressed and alienated that brings out the need to "go out in a blaze of glory" vs a bitter, vengeful girl who does online bullying or writes nasty "anonymous" notes in group chats. 

I don't know what the answer is but I know there are answers out there. I know we need to find those answers. I know we cannot settle for "just the way it is these days" because it's not supposed to be this way. And for those of you are want to scream gun control you might want to check into his school record "incidents' since Middle School when he not only brought large knives into his school in his lunch boxes. And, yeah a knife would not have killed as many people as he was able to with guns but if he had no guns he would have sliced and diced those young girls to death had he wanted. And, it seems he wanted to.... and he was quite verbal about it online before yesterday's killing. 

He took the lives of young girls studying dance and preparing to go off to college next year. This has to stop. We can prepare for hurricanes and evacuate from a Major Hurricane (and get sued by Arkansas State University for not showing up for a football game...see previous article) but we cannot prevent our children from going to school and not be in danger from some copy cat shooter who wants to go down in history by shooting up the most people in a high school.

These children are gone today.
Some 14 year old Freshman.
Some 17 year old Seniors.
Some teachers at the school.

Her grandmother prayed all night she'd be found alive.
She died in a pool of blood.

We can make a difference by not ignoring the obvious and erring on the side of safety even if it means putting someone under close inspection and supervision to try to help them and others they may harm. A grandmother in Everett Washington turned her grandson after finding his journals and a rifle hidden in his guitar case.

A brave grandmother.
Maybe her grandson will get help.
Maybe she saved many from dying.

We can hope and pray.
We can do something.

Besos BobbiStorm
@bobbistorm on Twitter

Let's remember the heroes.
Let's not give glory to the shooter.

Labels: , , , , , , ,


Post a Comment

<< Home