Saturday, October 29, 2005

Frightening Local News

The town in which I live, Clear Spring, Maryland, is a small community, with a population of 450. Friday afternoon, soon after school was dismissed, a fight ensued between two students at the High school my son attends, Clear Spring High School.

This fight was not a typical fight between high school students. School administrators were alerted to the fight and found one student physically restraining another student. The fifteen year old who was being restrained was brought into the principals office.

Shortly thereafter, the gun was found in the student's possession.

You can read more about it here.

What the newspaper doesn't say is this:

The student carrying the gun was advancing on another student when he was restrained. The student he was advancing on is Cuban, a close friend of my son's. My son informs me that the student carrying the gun is also a friend. I asked my son what the student with the gun is like.

He said he is racist.

One can only speculate what may have happened had not one student intervened, but I have to believe no one carries a loaded 9mm Glock semi-automatic handgun and an extra clip, without the intention of using it. If he was foolishly bringing it to school for show and tell, so to speak, I don't think it would have been loaded, and most certainly he would not have brought extra ammunition.

The Herald Mail reports: Mowen could not say whether a loaded handgun has been brought to any other school in the past.

"If the need were to arise for there to be increased security measures, there are steps in place for administrators to consider," she said.

I think it is pretty clear that an unthinkable tragedy has been averted.

What I'd like to know is what could have been done to prevent this from happening in the first place? Why should we have to have "increased security measures"?

Was this racially motivated, or was it merely a fight between two high school students that may have potentially turned tragic? We may never know the answer to that question, but somehow I believe that the continual eroding of moral values in our nations schools plays a significant part.

When I was in school, the worst transgressions were chewing gum in class and running in the halls. Occasionally a fight would break out between two students, but they didn't bring guns. We wouldn't have even considered bringing a gun to school.

On a side note, my son tells me he was questioned by an FBI agent about a matter involving tonight's Halloween parade in Hagerstown, about 13 miles from here. Apparently they intercepted reports that there is going to be an "incident" at the parade and someone brought my son's name up.

There has been a rash of burglaries and theft in this tiny village in the last several weeks, including theft from me and my son.

What has happened to our society? And why?


Liam said...

Children fight, it's natural and part of growing-up, but how on earth does a fifteen year old child get hold of a semi-automatic pistol and a couple of clips of live ammunition??? Guns are bad enough in the hands of adults with attitude - you've got to be plain stupid to let a teenage boy get his hands on one. I'm glad there's an ocean between me and the second amendment!

The WordSmith from Nantucket said...

It's not the's the culture. Kids don't have any more access to guns in America than they did a few decades ago. Something's changed in our society. You can see it in our pop culture, in our popular media...

Goat said...

Mark it is just reported more widely now, during thi Iran hostage situation we had several Iranian students at my private rural southern highschool and there was a pipebomb set off in the window of one of their dorm rooms. It did not make the local press let alone the national media as the media storm would have been today.
I shot my first gun at age two and was tought the value and lethality of firearms, marine sgt. Pops, from the beginning and as result of that education I was allowed to carry a gun alone into the woods as young as ten and am an expert marksman.It never even entered my mind to carry a gun to school or to use my ubiquitous pocket knife with malicious intent. I got in my fights as every boy will in wrestling and the occasional fist fight. I commend the young man who constrained the youth as any one of us would have. I too live in a small rural community and in the first year I was broken into twice by a homeless tweeked out teenager, tweeker lost dad and tweeker mom. Methamphetamine is a major cause of these problems as I witness it first hand at work and in my neighborhood.

Liam said...

I agree that something is changing in society; there's a general lack of respect for authority and some kids are nothing more than wild and dangerous animals. All the more reason to give them less access to guns than a few decades ago!

And Wordsmith I'd bet that, those few decades ago, handguns weren't nearly as prevalent in America as they are today.

tugboatcapn said...

Mark, I went tonight with the wife to a Band Competition at a local High School.

The Flg Girls in a number of bands twirled simulated "rifles".

They were simply curved 2x4's with straps attatched.

When I asked my wife why these "rifles" weren't more realistic, she informed me that it was because of the "Zero Tollerance" regulation enacted by the School Board.

I don't like this trend.
There is no need to be afraid of guns, unless they are real, and in the hands of the wrong people.

It is tragic that a teen in your town took a gun to school, but someone is ultimately responsible for letting an underaged person gain posession of it.
This person should be sought out, and punished, as well as the teen, who knew that this behavior was unacceptable.

Examples should be made of both of them.

This is by no means the fault of the gun.

Guns are simply tools designed to do a specific job.

The mis-use of these tools should be, and is, severely punished, but the tools are not to blame.

If guns and knives did not exist, then people would kill each other with sticks and rocks.

As far as the Second Ammendment is concerned, Freedom exists where Free men are armed.

Mark said...

I guess this just hits a little too close to home, literally. I live within 2 blocks of the school.

I keep thinking of what might have happened if the boy had produced the weapon and started shooting. Remember, he had an extra clip. It could have been as Bad as Columbine, or maybe worse, especially considering that Clear Spring doesn't have a police department.

I'm all for the 2nd amendment, but you just can't do irresponsible things like that. Outlawing guns doesn't do the trick. Perhaps modifying our present laws regarding education would. For example, maybe we should introduce some sort of morals instruction, like say, teaching the pronciples of the ten commandments, or allowing prayer in school. What could it hurt?

Sheila said...


You mean instituting more parenting in the schools because parents have lost the will or want? Putting more and more on the teachers. I was blown away when I found out that it's common for an elementary school to have tying shoe laces 101 for kindergarteners. (Where are the parents on this most basic and important I might add, landmark in a child's development.)

Maybe society has gotten so spread out and closed, there is no oversight on the children like it was when we were kids. I remember my entire community being involved in oversight on us. I can remember a stranger calling my father and telling on me about something I hadn't done yet. For my sake...

It all comes back to "reteaching" parents how to parent and "reteaching" society how to get involved again in our most valuable asset. Our future generations.

We are the most dysfunctional in all our country's history. It will take ALL of us, not just a few of us, to correct our course.

Pamela Reece said...

Stories like this scare the daylights out of me. Unfortunately, I hear about them regularly. Last year, there was a similary incident at a bus stop that takes children to my son's middle school. Although, it wasn't a gun it was a knife. Turns out the child who was going to use the knife was being bullied at the bus stop and on the bus. He said he brought it for his protection and to scare the kids who were bullying him. Ultimately, nobody was hurt and the boy who brought the knife (and was jabbing it toward those bullying him) was expelled.

My own son (who was 9 at the time) received ISS (in school suspension) for one day. He had brought a pair of nail clippers to school. He uses them for fishing and forgot they were in his coat pocket.

In my opinion, zero tolerance does not work. Neither does outlawing guns. I'm not sure what would work. Being responsible for our own children's morality doesn't even seem to work, esepcially since not all parents take moral responsibility for their children.

It is indeed quite a dilemna for parents today. I don't like having to worry whether my children will make it home alive from school or searching my kids to make sure they don't have something the school preceives as a weapon.

Great post...lots of food for thought!

Liam said...

I’m not against guns per se; guns are indeed tools, but what is the job that a semi-automatic hand gun is designed for? My guess is it’s not the weapon of choice for stalking deer…

On the subject of the Second Amendment and Freedom, I think that in an advanced society the general public shouldn’t need to be routinely armed. Killing people shouldn't be an option for settling differences. That's not what I call civilisation.

Tug is right though that, if guns or knives did not exist, people would kill each other in other ways. The point I think he’s missing though, is that guns make killing people just about as quick and easy as it can be; there is no effort involved, it’s a totally impersonal thing until after the fact. Without guns, death tolls would be much, much, much lower.

Mark, I’m afraid I agree with Sheila on the subject of parents/education. Teachers can only teach if they have control and influence over their charges. The respect for authority, the morals, they need from the children have to be instilled by the parents before the kids reach school. (That said, there is a fine line between disciplining and abusing a child and I think at the moment the state is too protective.)

tugboatcapn said...

Liam, do you think that the Second Ammendment exists so that Americans can hunt deer?

Sheila said...


I know your answering Liam. But I don't think he was questioning the second Ammendment and the right to bare arms. I believe he understands that it's there to protect us.

What we should be conversing about is how to protect our children from guns. How to protect a person's right to bare arms without killing our children in the meantime. AND isn't that what's happening right now? Children killing children? Grownups killing children?

Where's the happy medium. My answer is how our parents raised us and the caring and oversight my neighbors had for me and all the children in the neighborhood.

It went away with out of control law suits and now how do we get the "Village Effect" back?

It shouldn't have to start with a catastrophy.

As far as corporal punishment. As the Lord says, "everything in moderation." My son was a normal kid. But he was exceedinly well behaved and it wasn't because I spanked him all the time. It was the pshycological threat of the spanking that usually did the trick. I think I actually spanked him 4 times all together.

When he hit the teens? If your not in charge by then, it's over. :)

tugboatcapn said...

I totally agree, Sheila.

And Liam, I apologize. That did not sound the way that I intended it to. I do not mean to attack you.

The purpose of the Second Ammendment is to allow us to protect us from each other, and from the threat of opressive Government.

I consider these rights to be the cornerstone of our Freedom.

I never want to be totally dependant on anyone else for anything, if I can help it, ESPECIALLY my own personal protection, and the protection of my loved ones.

On the corporal punishment issue, I believe that if a child is spanked (NOT beaten, spanked) every time he/she needs it until they are four, you will never have to do it again.

If we were not bearing a tax burden of something like 50% of every dollar we generate, then maybe families would be able to survive on a single income, and a parent would have a little more freedom to stay at home with their children during the formative years, and teach them to do things like tie their shoes, and how to treat others, and respect for authority, stuff like that, that we learned from our mothers when we were little.

I carried a pocket knife to school every day from the time I was about eight.

I was never once tempted to stab anyone with it.

It wasn't a weapon, it was a tool.

It is already against the law for an underaged child to take a weapon to school. It is already against the law for an underaged child to posess a gun at all.
It is already against the law for anyone to allow, either directly or indirectly, a child to come into posession of a gun.

If gun laws are the answer, then this incident would have been prevented.

Sheila said...

Tug your the best.

I'd like to add though. Having a parent at home was more prevelant in our parents day, but not the norm for poor families. So how did the poor manage to raise good citizens too back then?

I come from a very poor family. We had five children and my mother and father both worked for just about my entire childhood. My grandmother worked too. So I saw my family unit as the parents and grandparents taking shifts with the kids. As each child became old enough to take responsibility of another child, they became part of the child rearing shift. :)

Sounds pretty bad, but actually, we turned out pretty well. When I left home I told myself I'd already raised my kids. I wasn't going to raise anymore. LOL Boy was I wrong!

The point goes back to the Takes a village theme.

have a great Sunday Ya'll.

Mark said...

Guns don't kill people. Husbands that come home early do.

Somethings wrong with my blog. All I get is a blank screen. Hope it clears itself up.

Marie's Two Cents said...

I would like to know how this Student friend of your son's got into the school with a gun to begin with. All the students that go to my daughter's high school go through a metal detector. I went through the same detector as the students a few weeks ago when I had to go to her school for something, and the buzzer went off. I had to eliminate everything out of my purse until we got down to the most likely suspect my "Keys". I dont know why Metal Detectors are not installed in ALL schools till yet since Columbine!!

Mark said...

Marie, there are no metal detectors at my son's school. The doors remain unlocked all day for anyone who wants to enter during school hours.

No one in this tiny village ever thought those precautions necessary.

Perhaps now they will.

Erudite Redneck said...

I agree with Tug: "someone is ultimately responsible for letting an underaged person gain posession of it. This person should be sought out, and punished, as well as the teen, who knew that this behavior was unacceptable."

Mariestwocents: Money, or the lack thereof. Oh, and surrendering yet another freedom in the name of order should always be a last straw.


BRUISER said...

Lets make sure we have more guns in schools to protect our kids !!!! -Charleton Heston

BRUISER said...

Tug - Good thing you look out for Police Officers by lifting the ban on sales of guns only used to hunt humans. This is rediculous and no one cares that you have guns... its how and why they are used... most often guns are used by criminals against our Police Officers.

tugboatcapn said...

" most often guns are used by criminals against our Police Officers."

Most often?

Is that an actual statistic, or something that you made up?

When someone is in your house, raping your wife, would you rather have a gun, or would you rather stand around with your hands in your pockets waiting for the police to finish their donut, and come to help you?

( DISCLAIMER- No offense intended to any police officers who may read this. I know that police officers do not sit around doing nothing but eating donuts.
I only use this analogy in order to fight extremism with extremism.)