After the shooting rampage at Sandy Hook, I told several local leaders that it wasn’t a question of “if” we’d have one here but “when.” Sadly, it happened on Friday.
Our local hospital had done shooting rampage drills. They were ready for two young girls who had been shot in the face so badly that nobody could recognize them. The uncle of one of the girls said it wasn’t likely she’d survive the night. She did. I saw her picture on KIRO, our local CBS affiliate. She was absolutely beautiful. Stunning.
Marysville Pilchuck High School had recently secured a much needed $10 million grant for mental health support. They were working with state government to prevent a shooting rampage.
The police department mapped the school and practiced a SWAT response which they didn’t need because Megan Silberberger, a new social studies teacher, bravely entered the school cafeteria and out-wrestled the 14-year-old wrestler to stop the shooting spree. She didn’t prevail with a weapon. She grabbed his arm to stop him. Sadly, he managed to inflict a fatal wound in his neck. He was dead 21 minutes before the heavily-armed SWAT team arrived. Paramedics arrived 11 minutes after the shootings and had to wait 10 minutes for police protection to start treating the victims.
While local law enforcement is trying to keep a lid on the details of this story, KIRO has done a brilliant job of investigative reporting. Two of the victims are members of the Tulalip tribe. My hairdresser is a member of this tribe, and I am well-aware the families are extraordinarily closely-knit.
Tribal elders were on the news, and their anguish was apparent on their faces. My heart grieves for everyone in Marysville ~ especially the Tulalip tribe. The police chief proclaimed that it is time to stop talking and act. I would agree. But, I’ve been at this rodeo before. Vested interests will work overtime to insure that the status quo remains steadfastly in place.
It appears nobody bothered to profile potential local terrorists. Nobody saw the rattlesnake about to strike in Jaylen Ray Fryberg’s recent tweets. It appears he was livid that his girlfriend dumped him for his cousin. It appears this 14-year-old kid had a penchant for rough sex. He had recently been suspended from school and the football team for fighting during football practice over a racial slur. Guns were readily available in his home. In fact, his parents gave him a rifle for his last birthday.
Fishing and hunting are a way of life for the tribe. I’m sure that no one in the tribe ever dreamed that Jaylen Fryberg would use his daddy’s .40-caliber Baretta to gun down tribal members ~ cousins ~ close friends. This is the myth that so many gun owners harbor until it is too damned late to change their minds.
He was very popular and respected kid from a prominent family. He did Cross Fit and was on the football and wrestling teams. He was elected Homecoming King of his freshman class. Yet, after a short argument, he shot his cousins Nate Hatch and Andrew Fryberg at point blank range as well as Shaylee Chuckulnaskit and Gia Soriano in the school cafeteria at 10:29 AM on Friday.
Update: Snohomish County’s Sheriff Ty Trenary reported during a press conference on Monday, 10/27/14 that the shooter had invited all five of his victims to join him for lunch in the school cafeteria. Earlier reports were that he specifically told other friends to stay out of the cafeteria.
He told me that SnoCounty community leaders are volunteering their talents and coming together in a bipartisan effort to help everyone heal, move forward, and prevent future shooting rampages.
The authorities claim they have no idea why he went on this rampage, but the evidence collected by reporters from the 100 kids who witnessed the shootings as well as this series of tweets paints a clear picture of a young pit bull abuser with a plan for revenge:
July 8: I’m not jealous, but when something is mine, it’s mine. [reported by AOL]
I hate that I can’t live without you. . . Tell me what your plan is…. You can’t make a bond with anyone like the bond me and you have right now…. Tell me what your going to do…[reported by NBC News]
Ironic how ex’s always go after people they told you to never worry about when y’all were together. I hate that I can’t live without you.
September 19 tweet to his cousin: How f****d up could you be? Did you forget she was my girlfriend?
Dude. She tells me everything. And now. [sic] I f*****g HATE you! Your [sic] no longer my “Brother.”
I hate hearin [sic] shit like that … it just continues to f**k me up,” wrote Fryberg. “I just feel stupid now … Exactly what I thought was gonna happen happened.” [reported by AOL]
I should have listened…. You were right.
Final tweet: It won’t last…. It’ll never last… [reported by the Seattle Times]
Most shooting rampages in Washington State are escalations of domestic violence. Yet, nobody in law enforcement profiles these domestic terrorists.
Our domestic violence and mental health services here in Snohomish County suck. The Everett Clinic which practices brilliant team medicine doesn’t appear to have adopted a protocol to screen for domestic violence which is mandated by ObamaCares.
Fortunately, Everett Clinic has outstanding mental health therapists. Their top therapists on abuse issues are based in Marysville and Stanwood. The Clinic accepts Medicaid patients, but behavioral health does not.
Update: Everett Clinic has suspended insurance protocols in order to serve everyone in need of counseling. Therapists were at Providence Hospital over the weekend to provide services. Their CEO has pledged all the resources of the Everett Clinic to help everyone heal, move foreward, and prevent future shooting rampages.
We have a pair of gun control initiatives on our ballots here in Washington State. I-594 is an exceedingly well-funded campaign to close the gun show loophole which allows domestic violence perpetrators and felons to legally buy guns by avoiding a background check. I-591 is the paranoid reaction of the NRA.
I am profoundly grateful that local billionaires and former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg are funding the I-594 campaign and challenging the NRA’s bullshit. Their ads effectively address the terrorism which occurs behind closed doors when guns are in the house. One features Rory Graves, who lives here in Snohomish County. Her mother survived being shot by her father.
I believe we need to challenge our own thinking on what it means to be a “real” man. Ironically, as the bus I was on the day before the shooting rolled past Marysville Pilchuck High School, I overheard a guy brag that he was wearing dark glasses to hide the shiner he had gotten from a work colleague because a “real” man responds to insults with his fists.
The boys on the Oak Harbor football team demonstrated what it means to be “real” men on Friday night. They were slated to play the shooter’s Pilchuck team for first place in their division, but they gallantly forfeited and took the ferry across Puget Sound to comfort and support their rivals.
We aren’t going to stop school shootings with well-armed SWAT teams who arrive too late to protect anybody. We aren’t going to stop shooting rampages with teachers who bear arms.
We aren’t going to stop the violence until we acknowledge that only bullies and cowards resort to violence to resolve conflict. We need to jettison the crazy notion that we need guns to protect us from stranger danger. We need to accept that the real danger of gun violence will more likely come from someone we know and love.
The violence won’t stop until we all commit to peace within our homes. We need to teach our kids how to resolve conflict in a respectful manner. We need to jettison misogynistic attitudes harbored by women as well as men. We need to model equal partnerships and healthy relationships between men and women for our children. And, we need to get the damned guns out of our homes.
Tribal elders have called for prayers. I believe strongly in the power of prayer, but I also believe stridently that we need to take action: Pray like it depends on God and act like it depends on you. If we don’t get the guns out of our homes, it will be only a matter of time before we are mourning another school shooting. Will you take action or take the risk that you’ll be the next one weeping?
Marysville Shooting, KIRO (Seattle’s CBS affiliate)
Washington HS shooter was apparently enraged after friend stole his girlfriend by Ryan Gorman, AOL News, 10/24/14
What led Jaylen Fryberg to a violent end in a high school cafeteria? by Brad Knickerbocker, The Christian Science Monitor, 10/25/14
Fifteen-year-old gunman pictured as a smiling homecoming prince, just weeks before he opened fire on his cousins and the girl who rejected him – leaving one dead and four critical in school cafeteria by Wills Robinson and Mia De Graaf and Snejana Farberov, Mail Online, 10/26/14
Analysis: What Do Many Mass Shooters Have In Common? A History of Domestic Violence Take Violence Against Women Seriously. It’s a red flag. by Nancy Leong, Washington Post, 6/15/2017