Today I am writing, not out of excitement and success but out of pain and sorrow.
Friday, October 24, 2014, at 10:39am, a young man opened fire upon classmates and family members at Marysville Pilchuck High School. I was listening to the Snohomish County scanner after a colleague’s daughter sent a text message stating there had been a school shooting. The audio can be found on YouTube.
Two students died at the scene (one being the shooter) and four students are still in grave condition.
Reports are still unclear as news outlets, MPHS students and alum, family and friends are stating different information, my Facebook feed is full of conflicting information. I’ve seen posts stating Gia has passed away but can’t confirm. Also, it is still too soon to know if others will perish, and I surely hope not, and to understand the shooter’s motive. Here is a Tweet from this morning.
The Everett Herald’s writer Andrew Goblin wrote a fantastic piece School shooter raised in Tulalip traditions; his actions defy explanation. I grew up with many of the family names mentioned: Goblin, Fryberg, Hatch, Pablo, and Chuckulnaskit though we didn’t regularly hangout, we weren’t enemies by no means. Andrew’s article is probably the best I’ve read and depicts a lot of what is known and shared about Tribal traditions and heritage despite what’s traveling through national and social media.
Jaylen was grounded in the traditions of the Snohomish people, his people, on the Tulalip Indian Reservation. He was a star wrestling and football athlete since he was young, competing with his cousins. He was an avid hunter and fisherman, from a place where rites of passage include those skills.
Jaylen came from a traditional family with a strong presence not only at Tulalip, but with tribes up and down the Pacific Northwest coast. He sang and drummed with the men of his family, learning to lead the group at a young age. His father and grandfather were dedicated to grooming Jaylen to be a strong leader, like so many of his elders.
Andrew’s account points to nothing on the horizon for Jaylen’s actions even though media outlets are reporting something different. A troubled kid with a vendetta to serve. I don’t know what to think and agree that high school can be hard, challenging, and troubling at times.
According to reports, the shooting happened in the cafeteria, a place were square pizza, cheesy bean burritos, and a potato bar formed strong memories in my head. From the description of the events, its appears the shootings were at close range (speculation on my part) and later stopped by a courageous lady named Megan Silberberger.
In a blog posted by Kim’s Korner title Her Name Is Megan Silberberger. And She’s No Lunch Lady!
Here is my favorite part:
She is young. She is petite, and she was unarmed.
And I’m sure, even given her bravery, she was scared shitless.
But … she acted anyway.
Her name is Megan Silberberger, and she’s no Lunch Lady!
It takes great courage to fly against the thought of protecting one’s self and hiding. I would love to think we would all act so bravely.
Being a graduate, class of 1996, from MPHS the situation got very real, very quick; especially since former classmates now have kids at MPHS, I still work in the area, Joy’s girls take swim class at MP, and I see our favorite Cow Pie High virtually every day while working.
Another alum, class of 97, The Faithful Geek blogged a piece about the tragedy titled An open letter to the students of MPHS.
In the blog Nic penned:
First, and most important: this is not the end. When tragedy strikes, it’s easy to feel as if your world grinds to a stop. While there is a sense of finality that surrounds you, there is much more life ahead of you than anything that lies behind you. Today might have been the closing of one chapter, but tomorrow is a new page in your story – the beginning of the next chapter. You still have the power to achieve greatness. Despite the horrors of today, I believe that your futures hold many wonderful things.
This brings me to this thought: I’m not sure what has happened in society that has made young people feel the need to bring, and use, guns at school.
I’ve talked to friends, colleagues, kids, parents, and family about the continuous shootings happening in school environments.
Does a shooting hurt more if it is in a school environment? Are shootings outside school environments somehow different? Will passing, or not passing, gun control measures improve the safety and mindset of school aged children? Can implementing new policy trickle down to kid’s world?
We’ve talked to the girls, they are 7 & 8, and sadly they didn’t get the full meaning; however, it was the intention that matters. I feel we should talk to youth regarding their challenges, encourage them to share their struggles, make them feel free to report concerns, take their concerns serious, and not be scared to have teachers and parents get involved, despite how uncool it is.
My thoughts are with our community, our friends, our children, our schools, and our future. #PrayforPilchuck