The American Citizen Is Back And Unfortunately I Was Right

Sadly it only took 3 months for that reality to come to pass to the detriment of the victims.

Current Trends by Natasha Sapp

On May 18, 2018 17 year old Dimitrios Pagourtzis walked into Santa Fe high school’s art room opening fire; a student describing what it was like to see his female classmate blithely shot in the head as he hid under a table, looking up through the legs of a chair to see a face of rage, adding to reporters the shooter was mad, witness not knowing about what, others describing him singing the lyrics to the song ‘Another one Bites the Dust while prowling the room shooting students willy-nilly. After the bullets stopped, police interventions had allowed students to escape and the shooter to be taken alive along with an eagle eyed student who saw either the 38 revolver or the shotgun Pagourtzis brought with him pulling the fire alarm, as police began to find then determine the explosives he placed throughout the school and community weren’t made effectively enough to be a threat, the body count was still 10. 2 teachers and 8 students, one a substitute; among the teens who suddenly lost their lives an exchange student from Afghanistan whose parents said in disbelief they thought their daughter would be safer in America. 10 also among the injured including a school resource officer who exchanged gunfire with Pagourtzis before law enforcement negotiated his surrender; days later still rendered unable to speak. Students no longer suffering the delusion their parents can’t seem to break away from even now, it can’t happen here, not in our close-knit, sleepy little town as representative of Mayberry as it ever could be in reality; heartbreakingly for them it wasn’t a matter of if but when, one student stating bluntly to reporters they weren’t surprised just scared. And things continued to travel downhill for the rest of the year; just 2 days before Pagourtzis waged an assault on an art room there was the Illinois student who opened fire on his high school’s graduation rehearsal lives saved, zero deaths or injuries occurring when a quick thinking school resource officer managed to chase the gunman out of the school, motives not disclosed for focusing on the officer’s heroics though he may have been ostracized by fellow students after getting in trouble for drugs. What has often been called uniquely American carnage to continue, whether it was merely a week later when an Indiana middle school student asked to leave class during a test, presumably to use the bathroom, returning with 2 handguns stopped from opening fire when a teacher threw a basketball at him, acting as a distraction, armed student then tackled by said teacher thwarting what could have been another deadly scene; teacher surviving his 3 gunshot wounds a singular student critically injured from a single bullet wound. That same week chaos reigned when a man wearing safety goggles and ear muffs, like the ones used at shooting ranges, opened fired at a packed Oklahoma bar and grill at dinner time hitting a woman and her daughter plus another young child before being shot himself, taken out by 2 civilians, one a security guard now considering a career in law enforcement, who retrieved their lawful firearms from their vehicle; victims expected to survive their injuries, shooter dead on scene. So much for the good guy with a gun narrative being false or bad, only vastly overplayed by rightwing talking heads; rambling YouTube video left behind spelling out some of the 28 year old man’s problems chiefly he believed his refrigerator was attacking him and hearing noises indicating a strong probability of untreated auditory hallucinations. The murder spree in Scottsdale Arizona initially put the city on edge when a renowned doctor, 2 paralegals and a life coach all died within days, from the start killings seen as related; later understood to be a man seeking vengeance on anyone associated with his, contentious would be an understatement, divorce from his ex-wife. Everyone associated with the case unsurprised at his actions, piecing together who was shot and killed, what witnesses saw at the shootings quickly alerting law enforcement he should be their top person of interest; final death toll 6 before he shot himself when confronted by police SWAT teams in early June. Underscoring a recurring theme shied away from by progressives, the hero pastor licensed to carry in Washington State who stopped a carjacking gunman at a local Wal-Mart trying to steal cars/a car, happening mid-June. End of June the Trader Joe’s hostage situation started when a 20 something young man shot his grandmother 7 times during an argument over the TV, got in his car chased by police to the supermarket, stray bullet hitting and killing the store manager, a customer too wounded. Whether it was the Maryland newspaper where 5 journalists were killed, others hiding under desks fearing for their very lives for the ‘crime’ of showing up to work that day, completing an all too familiar scene of filing out of buildings with their hands up; innumerable shots fired by a man who had a longstanding beef with them for information they published on a harassment case he was involved in, losing his definition suit against them years before, judge pointing out the paper only printed what was limited to public record. Switching his ire from the woman who rejected him, going back to high school, to the paper itself; later found to have deep ties to the alt right and a supposed oath to kill. Early July saw a different kind of school shootout this time between 2 construction workers who had a disagreement on the jobsite where one pulled out a gun and shot two others (one dead, one clinging to life) leading police on a chase through an adjacent neighborhood as he attempted to carjack a woman then stole someone else’s SUV, finally apprehended hours later; but, not before residents were told to lock their doors and shelter in place. Fast forwarding to August saw the harrowing shots fired at the Madden NFL 19 videogame tournament after the shooter reportedly lost his round ejecting him from further play eventually leaving 3 dead and 11 injured, among them the shooter taking his own life, location Jacksonville Florida; investigative journalism finding a history of mental health issues apparently going back to childhood as they mention parental arguments about how to address said mental health issues, no specifics given detailing what those where. Videogames often a scapegoat for violent behavior disregarding repeated study evidence to the contrary; still, anything can make an unstable or vulnerable person act irrationally, the Las Vegas massacre thought to have been spurred by Steven Paddock’s extreme losses at the gambling table. Early September it was the Fifth Third bank building’s loading area in Cincinnati targeted by one Omar Perez, motive never ascertained as he died from police gunfire; mid-September there was the Wisconsin software company employee who randomly opened fire at his cubicle, motive lost with the shooter’s death by cops. Same day in Pennsylvania 4 were shot dead outside a judge’s office; shooter scheduled to appear before the magistrate court on charges of domestic violence and terroristic threats, dead post rampage. Not hard to delineate he wasn’t willing to take the chance of being found guilty of those serious charges or being ordered to stay away from his domestic partner either one. Very next day a woman opened fire on her Rite Aid distribution center workplace killing 3 post some sort of argument had between her and a fellow employee; motive again lost with the death of the perpetrator at the scene. Mid-October, the Kentucky Kroger grocery store shooting snuffing out 2 ordinary lives of upstanding community members quickly investigated as a hate crime as both victims were black and the shooter white, Greggory Alan Bush allegedly telling a white shopper begging for his life ‘whites don’t shoot whites;’ ultimately discovered, a darker plan where he had tried to gain entry into a nearby majority black church presumably to commit carnage against African American congregants. A scant 3 days later a man armed with an assault rifle opened fire in a Pittsburgh synagogue abruptly ending the lives of 11 people, injuring 6 as they practiced their faith and attend a baby naming ceremony or responded to the dangerous melee, no need to ask if it was investigated as a hate crime, the hate clearly seen in it happening at all. Among the dead a woman who survived the holocaust felled by a clearly disturbed man’s seething malice; able to get his hands on such a gun, the justifiably vilified AR-15, as well as several hand guns because the only criminal record he possessed was a traffic violation, no history with law enforcement absent charges, neighbors unnerved by how normal he appeared until he had done the deed. And while his social media was filled with hate speech and anti-Semitic rhetoric plus conspiracy theories, if we barred from guns everyone like this, if we locked up everyone like this as a preemptive strike we would have to develop new words for jail/prison overcrowding. Early November the man who killed 2 injuring 5 pretending to be a patron of the local yoga studio got increased attention as he was part of the dark subculture known as incels (standing for involuntarily celibate) and had a history of hurting women via grabbing them in various public places; less attention paid to the devastating pattern he was another former veteran both going of the rails and committing suicide after taking out his rage on unsuspecting health conscious individuals. Posted online videos spelling out borderline racist things calling dreadlocks the black man’s mullet, talking about his distaste with sagging pants, derogatorily mentioning ‘blow the butt’ and informing watchers it was a prison thing, ending that particular ranting telling viewers you don’t have to be disgusting; unclear if any of the people he shot were black, if their shooting was intentional or if he simply opened fire on whoever was there, those who died however were 2 white women. Less than a full week later was the country western California bar shooting 12 people dead, 25 injured by a former veteran who began shooting before he entered the establishment killing the bouncer, blankly killing a cashier, likely close to the door, causing people to break glass, throw themselves out windows to escape, frantically running for their lives during short pauses in the sound of gunfire. Shooter Ian David Long living with his mother and who friends worried had PTSD/other mental health problems stemming from his time in the military, stints overseas; describing all too familiar pictures of a person in trouble, a mental health sufferer who wasn’t getting help, warning signs we ought to see yet look different in the moment or at least that’s the only explanation that can be derived from such a pattern always ignored. By the time we get to the California bar shooter news reporting had commented multiple times about the double, reaching triple digit numbers comprising school or mass shootings happening over the current calendar year alone; horrifyingly some of those in the California bar survived the Las Vegas shooting only to lose their lives that night. Frequency keeping pace with appalling statistics mid-November the Chicago hospital shooting starting outside the facility as a domestic dispute, a man trying to retrieve his engagement ring, when the woman refused witnesses described him shooting her 3 times, standing over her putting 3 more bullets into her chest then going inside; 3 dead plus the shooter once Mercy hospital was finally cleared. And sadly of course we could neither get through the Christmas holiday or have hope for an improved new year without seeing headlines of gun violence, this time by the man who shot and killed his girlfriend, her 2 young children and her mother before initially evading police; underscoring the increasing phenomenon of varied weapons used during the commission of a crime, crime spree he fled police riddling one of their cruisers with bullets, later attempting to carjack a woman stabbing her 7 times in the process before being taken into custody at a local Quick Trip. A man in Huston who randomly sprayed a car with bullets while stopped at a stop sign, subsequently driving down the road shooting a 7 year old in the head spelling her instantaneous death, wounding her mother in the arm over mistaken identity of a car and revenge for a bar fight the previous night; oh the joys of New Year’s Eve, not for that family. There was the California bowling alley where a girl on girl hair pulling session escalated when males also with the party or just present got involved, one producing a gun resulting in 3 dead, 4 injured. And here is an American citizen who is still asking where are the basic preventative security measures we should be using in every public space to keep the public safe; why are public places so openly vulnerable to mad men, mad persons whatever their weapon, why are there never security personnel in places you would expect to see them let alone as an added layer of protection where you don’t in an era where ‘everyone has a gun?’ Where are metal detectors that can provide a buffer against a host of threats including, but certainly not limited to, guns, standard signs as open carry has become more popular, spreading across more states, covering specific regions of the country stating no guns permitted here, even if it seems obvious; alongside trained security officers starting on the doors of every school, Boys and Girls Club, YMCA, community center asking, particularly at those schools, who persons going in and out are and what their business is there. Elsewhere ensuring the no guns allowed stipulation is enforced; the only real strictures that would have helped in that bowling alley, so many other scenarios like it. Instead go to most public places and there isn’t so much as someone greeting you, asking how they can help, an employee alert and aware watching those coming in, going out for people who look wrong or off be it having a medical episode, having run into your establishment looking for help after a robbery or attack, nearby car accident, shooting, fire, and so on up the street. Intercepting people who may not be armed with a gun but armed with a knife, other weapon willing to use it on an employee in a domestic disturbance, a customer as part of same; who may not be armed at all but who are visibly agitated and may get physical with patrons or employees if they don’t get what they want, may be mentally unwell and having a breakdown. Unsure which plagued the 20 year old at a Michigan Planet Fitness spawning the unsettling video below; predictably arrested facing charges of damaging property headed for a diversionary program in the near future. Returning to what should be our most hallowed grounds, educational institutions pre-k-12, college no, every school can’t employ the facial recognition software used in Seattle at the NBC News featured school, there are legitimate concerns about such data collection and the when, not if, of it ending up in the wrong hands via the dark web corner of the internet; but, you can put trained security persons on every door asking the above questions, escorting persons if necessary while within school walls for the duration of their business. Countering both the political right’s narrative the best thing for safe schools is trained armed personnel and lots of it coupled with the progressive pushback, forgotten supposition arming teachers and staff puts unbelievable strain on them should they have to shoot a current or former student; actually you need none of the above based on the products marketed to schools and how schools are electing to protect themselves in the shooter/intruder era. Alternatively staff are being trained with large canisters of pepper spray to distract and disable a shooter, some schools are employing classroom panic rooms, another hired a resource officer and dispensed panic buttons to its teachers; other available featured products news took a look at: bullet resistant whiteboards teachers can use to shield themselves and students at angles from exposed doors/doorways, bullet resistant glass in demonstrations you could neither shoot through nor use the butt of an assault rifle/shot gun, available blunt objects like fire extinguishers to penetrate, the time elapsed to maybe do so increasing chances of being caught. Personally the bullet proof whiteboards are an insult to teachers and school staff asking them to up front put themselves in excessive harm’s way, causing compiling psychological trauma for both them and students having to stand there knowing what’s coming, children having to see their teacher ‘protect’ them in such a way to know what could happen versus that teacher hiding with them; not to mention unnecessary in light of bullet resistant glass, looking into doors that aren’t glass, reinforcing solid doors that aren’t glass. Nor should the giant canisters of pepper spray cost around $1,500 sending an automatic alert to law enforcement or not; seeing what is on the market in school protection, should be broadened to public building protection brings us to where oh were is the retrofitting of key public buildings, incorporated security designs for new buildings utilizing things David Hogg, parkland survivor, noted weren’t being put in his school even after the shooting that had just taken place i.e. replacing locks busted by police to enter and clear rooms, remove students in a systematic fashion not substituted with ones capable of locking from the inside, my previous suggestion a teacher controlled one capable of getting unprotected, unarmed students to safety. Facets that should be part of any public building where children regularly are, from schools to daycares to hospitals, bullet resistant glass; glass Hogg reiterated wasn’t replacing the shattered classroom door panels or applicable windows despite it needing to be replaced thanks to the violence just witnessed and the obvious need for added protection. Said glass having the surplus advantage of slightly mitigating impact of natural disaster debris, instead my city’s local school is the first to have storm shelters after renovation like those used during tornados, independent the state being just outside the region known as tornado alley, which has an excessive amount of, you guessed it tornados; author writing a piece on what Moore Oklahoma and their 2013 tornado that saw students shielding themselves from a vast and violent vacuum using textbooks and backpacks, teachers throwing their bodies between them and flying objects, dirt should have taught us. Tangible consequences incurred on the youngest lives for want of proper perpetration. Migrating from specifically the school shooting, teen/college age shooter, where are the modern era, post school/mass shooting phenomenon educated law enforcement who know when to act and advise potential targets a-la that newspaper on their best course of action in handling a problem person or group, having some trained inkling when a person fits the dynamic of a possible mass shooter and deciding to take them in on the minor disturbing the peace, domestic disturbance, trespassing, harassment charge unto getting them help, getting them temporarily off the street before they can hurt one person, an entire mass of virtual strangers? Expanding to other types of gun accidents and tragedies resulting in injuries and shortening too often young lives, barreling us headlong into the redundant question, where are the stipulations for legal, long time gun owners that they, here’s a thought, take a safety course, demonstrate the ability to pass a safety course including storage and keeping track of your firearm(s); based on TSA statistics finding guns in carry-on luggage and the most common excuse given, they forgot the gun was in their bag, many gun owners obviously don’t know how to keep track of their legitimately purchased firearms and are extraordinarily reckless with them? Unlikely despite the lame excuses heard on tape, reported tape will be used in court or these persons will face permanent revoking of their gun privileges unless they have a larger criminal record, previous instances of the same occurrence, rare even then. The problem isn’t just the amount of guns, per gun control advocate talking points, but what people are doing with them that doesn’t involve a rampage, a single murder or the desire to do so when a child can pick up a loaded gun in a department store and fire a shot because someone randomly left it there; beating one’s head bloody on that proverbial brick wall, the 2 year old can find a gun just left in/on a store shelf but not the child’s parent as they follow their child’s actions in the store, better yet any store employee responsible for stocking shelves, putting out new inventory, setting up displays since this was an Ikea. The latest in a string of cases where they’ve been left in beachside bathrooms, stolen from law enforcement cars because they were in plain sight, reminding readers how disbelieving the American people were of the illegal immigrant who said he found the gun he accidentally shot Kate Steinle with wrapped in a t-shirt on or under a park bench. When they can do the same picking up an unsecur