School Shootings, Gun Safety and Bullying

By TomL

Let me start from the beginning. I believe the school shootings are because of something that happened at school to set it off but it started at home! Most school shootings are about bullying and belittling a child or teenager in front of others. I am an eye witness to the bullying that goes on at school. I went to school in Broward County School system 100 years ago, time frame slightly off, but it has not changed.

In the school shooting incident in Broward County the officials were sufficiently warned: Law Enforcement was warned, FBI was warned, School Officials were warned, School Officials warned others, everyone was warned. In this case they simply needed to enforce the law. They did not! There are many suggestions on why they did not stop this young man. They are excuses. One reason given was local law enforcement stop making a lot of arrests so it would look like crime went down. Now isn’t that interesting? Someone wanted to get re-elected, instead they should be put in jail.

When I went to school in Broward County it was many years ago. I went to school first five grades in a school that had all twelve grades. You want to talk about bullying. Actually I witnessed a couple of teachers getting bullied, one deserved it.

Bullying is the 2nd stage and part of the beginning of the problem and worse yet is when it happens to a child that is prone to mental health and does not know how to deal with a bully, they get belittled in front of others time after time and eventually snap. What they do when they snap has a lot to do with their home life and how they live prior to snapping. “That school system does not help stop the problem!” If you are a child, you are being bullied you complain to the teacher, the teacher turns it in to the Dean, the Dean calls you in and says “suck it up” and go back to class or he will bring the accused bully in the office with you. Now you are face to face with your bully and you are very uncomfortable. The Dean walks out of the office and the bully says “now you’ve done it, I’m going to … “. Just then the Dean walks back in. You want to go home and never come back and some do just that. I witnessed several cases that the child left school and never went back!  On weekends while at home you are thinking about the bully and what he is going to do to you the next day. You play your war games on your computer where you are shooting people and blowing them up. You take your frustration out on the game.

The next weekend your dad takes you to the Paintball court or a Paintball course in the woods where they play war games with the paintball equipment. The idea is to shoot the other person. Then they are out of the game. Your dad has more fun than you!

Monday morning, back to school to face the bully. That’s all that is on your mind, you try to blend in, take routes to avoid the bully but sooner or later he is standing in front of you. The kids around you know something is going down and they scatter, but if three or four of them walked up and stood with you the bully would probably back off. Meanwhile the school had been totally ineffective and actually made it worse. Some of it is because they don’t know how you feel. There are laws protecting children good and bad so what can you do? Some teachers just tell you grow up and be a Man or Woman, but that should not be their call. They are there to educate you and keep you safe, anything else is a distraction. The week goes slow because you are worried and won’t let your guard down. The term Thank God It’s Friday was invented by you the person that was being bullied.

A new weekend and some mental rest from worrying about the bully. Your Dad takes you on a father, son gun safety course that tells you never ever point a gun at another person, even if it’s a toy gun. You say “dad I’m confused” and your mind goes in circles. Last weekend it was OK to shoot at each other playing paintball but the Gun safety class says NO, NEVER!

Do you see what is happening in our society? Young people get confused sometimes because of the grown up leading them through life recklessly and sending mixed messages. Put that together with being bullied five days a week and that is where the  snap comes in.

I got lucky early in my junior high school years. I complained to my dad about a bully, the guy who was much bigger and had the locker above mine. The bully would wait until I went into my locker and normally it was just before lunch to get my lunch and he would push me head first into the locker to show off in front of the other kids. The night before the incident, I told my dad I could not handle it any more. He said OK do what you have to do. The next day when I went to my locker he was nowhere to be seen. I thought I was safe and then he appeared. He came up behind me and shoved my head into the locker with a thunk. It hurt and I heard the other kids laughing, I snapped. I actually had tunnel vision, I came out of the locker with my lunch in my hand, I swung and hit him hard with my handful of lunch, hitting him in the temple with a red delicious apple. He almost did a side flip. Back up and shook his head and said I’m going to get you. I screamed “let’s do it now!” He walked away and never bothered me again.

I did not know it at the time, but my dad got to thinking about me getting in trouble for fighting and went to the school to talk to the principle. The principle said it was lunch time in 5 minutes. He suggested they go watch and see for themselves. They witness most of it through a classroom window close by. When the guy shoved my head into the locker my dad started to go outside and the principle said wait. My dad came back to the window in time to see what I did.

The next weekend my dad came out with some boxing gloves and started teaching me some self-defense fighting moves. He had been a boxing coach. Later I would find out in real life you are better off talking your way out of the fight. I also learned the first hard punch really gives you the advantage. SORRY! It does not sound right but it might save you from getting your butt kicked. Once you start, don’t stop until the other person says enough or yields. Remember most of the hurt is in your mind before the fight. After the fight you think why did I wait this long?  In some of the cases children quit school. I had friend some years back whose daughter came home one day and refused to go back to school. She said if you try to make me I’ll run away. She was a “A” honor roll student and went from that to home school. It was never said why! The school system needs to get good answers why a child like this quits school and fix it. If the school won’t fix it go to authorities. City first, Sheriffs office, State Juvenile Authority or the Attorney General’s office. It sounds extreme but you have seen the end results!

If you say something and the authorities don’t do something, complain about that to higher authorities. Don’t be silenced!

My story was a true story about a bully and a skinny kid many years ago, but it’s happening today in your child’s school and maybe to your child. Pay attention!

tloury@att.net