The students of Freeman High School in Spokane, Washington, experienced an event students often start preparing for in elementary school. Students are taught what to do, where to go, how to act — but preparing for an event and actually experiencing the event are two different things.
On Sept. 13, a sophomore pulled out a handgun and opened fire on the Freeman student body.
According to the CNN article “Suspect in Spokane’s school shooting wanted to ‘teach everyone a lesson,’” one student was killed and three others were injured during the shooting.
In a police interview, the shooter mentioned to a detective that he did not walk into the school targeting a specific student, but rather he went in with the intention of teaching students about bullying, according to the CNN article.
In The Seattle Times article “Shooting at Spokane-area high school leaves 1 dead, three wounded,” a sophomore at Freeman High School, Michael Harper, told The Associated Press the shooter was not bullied and had many friends
Harper also mentioned that, at the beginning of the school year, the shooter talked about doing something that could likely get him killed or jailed. He told The Associated Press some students alerted school counselors but the school’s official response was not clear.
According to The Associated Press, public documents note the shooter had been in the care of a school counselor for suicidal thoughts and had left a suicide note at his home.
This brings to light the importance of recognizing the warning signs of suicide and helping someone before they revert to drastic measures, much like what was seen at Freeman High School.
According to Health Guidance, some warning signs of suicide include changes in personality or behavior, behavioral disturbances and often a sudden lift in spirits after depression. If one sees a peer displaying some of these warning signs it is important to help them seek guidance and support.
In addition to recognizing some warning signs of suicide, it is important to remember the effects of social media on society today.In the Huffington Post column, “What Role Is Social Media Playing in School Shootings?” the writers maps out the role of social media in school shootings and possible warning signs before the shooting occurs.
AJ Agrawal mentions the idea of foreshadowing a school shooting from the shooter themselves on their social media accounts. The events that unfolded in the shooters life and at Freeman High School seem all to similar.
As cited by the CBS article “Freeman High School: Suspected gunman posted troubling YouTube videos,” the shooter had posted several videos on his YouTube account in which he shoots toy guns. He also posted a video pretending to shoot his friend.
In light of recent events and the rise in school shootings, it is important that society becomes aware of the signs that could lead to a tragic event like the one at Freeman High School.
If we are able to recognize the warning signs, then we can begin to promote an expectation of kindness and aid in schools across the country and hopefully lessen, or even eliminate, the threat of school shootings.