Reader Nicholas Wong writes:

I’m not sure yet what to think about the Washington state high schooler who was arrested this week. Either we have a young man arrested for a thought crime or we have a school shooting stopped before it started. It depends on what he actually said to people at his school- the article says he was arrested for harassment, which in Washington means making credible threats to harm others, and for weapons charges. What he actually said and the reasons his statements were taken seriously aren’t discussed, nor is his “Columbine fascination” explained in any meaningful terms . . .

The question is really, at what point is it justifiable to take action against a potential active shooter? In a way, this is a great answer — omeone says they are going to hurt other students. And either based on the way it’s said or due to his past behavior it flips a switch in someone’s head that maybe – just maybe – makes that person think it’s more than all the other teenage boys acting tough and talking big.

So he’s arrested before he shoots anyone. Nobody gets hurt. The antis are denied a bloody shirt to wave and our chances of seeing .22lr bulk pack on the shelves sometime this decade go up just a tiny bit.

On the other hand, do we want to demonize young men for having guns? Who cares if he had a gun in his bedroom? I don’t want that, and I had one myself when I wasn’t much older than this kid. The number of knives I had would have given some of my teachers strokes. Only they never found out because I never brought them to school or threatened anyone. Knives are neat. Not as neat as guns, but when you’re that age you take what you can get.

The only sure way to find out if a troubled teenager is a potential active shooter is to wait until they actually start shooting. Since so many of them act alone, to be alerted by another student when the plan is being developed is unlikely, although it has happened when some of them try to recruit accomplices.

For a lone gunman, all you’re left with is clues from behavior. Act too early and you risk creating a pre-crime precedent. Act too late, and you’re picking up the pieces and saying, “I’m not surprised, all the signs were there,” just like the Aurora theater.

 

63 Responses to When Do You Move Against a Potential Active Shooter?

  1. It was once custom, that people were arrested AFTER a crime was committed.

    It would seem that’s gone the way of the 8 track player, much to our collective chagrin as gun owners.

      • Agreed. If the kid was making threats, he needs to learn that words and actions have consequences as soon as possible. Later in life, mouthing off could get someone hurt.

        His being arrested doesn’t mean he’ll face charges or go to jail. If he was dangerous, they’ll probably find out pretty quickly. If he wasn’t, he may be scared into learning that he can’t mouth off without expecting trouble.

        • RIIIIIGHT. They’re gonna cram a zero tolerance law up his backside sideways wrapped in concertina wire and you damn well know it. Actual level of threat and silly outmoded concepts like guilt and innocence have nothing to do with it.

        • As has been pointed out by others, the First Amendment applies, technically, only to the Federal Government’s prohibiting free expression, and does not bar citizens of this country from censoring, in so far as it lies within their power to do so without causing physical harm to speaker, those who say things of which they do not approve. I can’t, legally, punch a person in the mouth (battery) or kill him/her (homicide) to shut him/her up, but, at the very least, I can deprive him/her of at least one member of his/her audience, to wit, me, simply by removing myself from his/her presence, and nothing prevents me from telling him/her, before I leave, that what he/she said makes him/her, in my opinion, an asshole.

      • we’re going to need you to come down to the station. We have evidence that you frequent ‘The Truth About Guns’, and you are considered dangerous.

        crimes are defined by law
        law is defined by humans
        humans are inherently imperfect

        • Reading something isn’t illegal. Making threats is.

          They didn’t haul the kid in for maybe thinking about doing something. They hauled him in for threatening classmates.

      • I would like to see the threat. There can be many reason someone makes a threat including someone who is writing fiction and just learning, using people he knows for the story. Of course, it’s probably a good idea to at least check it out but arresting the kid might be a little aggressive.

      • A friend of a friend of a friend said that the kid told him that. When was hear say turned into evidence? A person is supposed to be innocent until PROVEN guilty, not guilty because someone said that he is.

        • That’s the reason our country has a trial process. An arrest has nothing to do with guilt. Charges are often dropped long before a trial, and he can’t be guilty of anything until there’s a conviction.

          Without knowing the circumstances surrounding the threats, and none of us does, it’s impossible to know whether he should’ve been arrested. However, IF he did make credible threats, there’s no reason he shouldn’t have been arrested. It’s unlikely cops are going to make an arrest on such a high-profile issue without having some reason to do so – they could’ve just talked to him and found no reason to detain him. I’ve been interviewed by officers before at length without being arrested.

          If he was arrested under false pretenses or based on bad information, I hope he gets a big payout.

    • Technically, he wasn’t arrested for a crime he might commit, but for what had already been committed, namely harassment, which we all know is pre-textual, and should be treated with healthy skepticism. This is about the hardest question any nominally free society has: when to intervene.

      If he’d been arrested for attempted murder or actual murder, that would be definitely a pre-crime scenario, which is the scariest thing of all. As much as I’d like to believe that much of life is black and white, this one is definitely a grey situation.

    • ever heard of conspiracy charges? Basically, if you, at any time, told someone you were going to commit a crime, or someone told you that they were going to commit a crime and you didn’t notify police, you are guilty of conspiracy.

      • “Conspiracy” is agreeing with a person to jointly commit a crime, and taking an overt step toward that commission. It’s not enough to simply agree to commit a crime. The overt step can be pretty puny, as in driving by the bank to case it or buying a ski mask, but it’s a requirement. “Accessory before the fact” is a different crime, where you assist someone in the commission of a crime by lending your car or your gun or agreeing to provide an alibi. I suppose in some jurisdictions it could include knowing a crime was going to be committed, but the “knowing” thing is tricky because the law doesn’t require running to the police with every suspicion – that’s the problem now with all this nutball overreaction from the cat lady next door, etc. For example, five guys in a poker game and one says if So-and-so keeps annoying him, he’s going to punch his ticket. Three guys decide he’s serious, two decide he’s running his mouth. It would take a pretty slow day for a prosecutor to take that one to trial because all the defendant has to do is get on the stand and say he didn’t take the perp seriously and he walks. “Accessory after the fact” is a helping hand after the criminal act is performed, but that’s not germane to this discussion.

        And there are going to be subtle variations of this in every state in the Union.

        My 2 cents’ worth is that from time to time shit is going to rain down, and even if we lived in a totalitarian, controlled society with chipped national ID cards, video monitoring a la England, and criminal penalties for evil thoughts, every whipstitch somebody will go off his rocker and pull a mass murder. It’s human nature, and since it’s also human nature to slack off your responsibilities, people like Laughner & Co. will evade the net and commit crimes. Rational, responsible mature thinkers accept this equation and don’t cling to the fantasy that if we just pass one more law it’s all going to be all right, won’t it, Mommy?

    • And as long as there is memory of events like those at Columbine, Colorado, Newtown, Connecticut, the Washington Navy Yard, the Colorado theater complex, and so on, it’s a precedent that will continue to be set, though I guess that after the first time it’s no longer really a precedent. We can’t both take law enforcement to task for acting too late, as when we remark that the primary function of LE is to clean up the mess after the fact, and also chide them for acting too early, as many of those responding to this story about this 14-year-old in Tumwater, Washington seem to be doing, I much prefer to see this boy being taken into custody and checked out BEFORE he does something that has folks asking, “Tsk tsk, why didn’t we see this coming?,” than have mental health professionals be in the position of doing a psychological autopsy on him AFTER he’s taken out a bunch of his schoolmates, and possibly teachers, and then killed himself. Kudos to the fellow students who turned him in, and to the police who, although at that point the boy might have been considered to have committed no crime (btw, in some jurisdictions making “terrorist threats” is an indictable crime), acted on the information they’d received.

      • We shouldn’t be leaving them to wander the streets and plan their mischief, but there’s a mechanism in place to get these people into mental institutions where they belong. Involuntary commitment works, at least in this jurisdiction, and in my prosecutor years I committed half a dozen to the mental hospital because they were literally ticking time bombs. In nearly all cases it was the parents who came to law enforcement because they were scared to death of their son; in the rest, law enforcement responded to stalking complaints from victims. The one and only unsuccessful case involved a guy who was clearly batshit crazy and among other things bought a full-page newspaper ad that identified a number of prominent citizens as aliens walking among us, biding their time until enslaving the human race for food. One of said citizens was the local Circuit Judge. The story matters because after the involuntary 72 hour assessment, the libtard shrink cut him loose as being as sane as you and me. He wasn’t, though – a couple of years later he took a 20 year old girl hostage at gunpoint in her apartment and was shot to pieces by SWAT.

        Point being, if people do their jobs to make the system work, there will be a lot less mass shootings in schools or anywhere else because the shooters are for the most part crazy enough to scare the bejeezus out of everybody they interact with. The criminal justice system was never intended to prevent crime by incarceration before the fact, but the civil commitment system was created explicitly for that purpose. The reason it’s not used for it is laziness on the part of law enforcement and prosecuting attorneys, mostly the prosecutors, combined with an underfunded public mental health system where the institutional shrinks don’t want these guys on their hands.

        • Shaky Dave, I am in pretty much total agreement with your position on this matter, but, as a practicing clinical psychologist, do have some reservations, mostly in connection with the unreliability of psychiatric/psychological diagnosis, the frequency with which the personal biases of the diagnostician contaminate the diagnostic process, and the fact that, once a person has been formally psychologically/psychiatrically diagnosed, or labeled, the diagnosis/label is damn near impossible to remove. BTW, the location in which I live has civil commitment procedures, but if the person against whom they are mobilized, whether on the grounds of danger to self/others or grave disability, chooses to put up a legal battle, the procedures often fail, as I can well attest, having served more times than I bothered to count, as an expert witness on mental health issues. If the presumably committable person requests a jury hearing, as it it his/her right to do, that is an almost guaranteed certain “get out of jail free” card. Let me add, though, that I have seen people who seemed at high risk for harming themselves or someone else, get turned loose, with no occurrence, to date, of the predicted unpleasant outcomes. In the main, we mental health professionals do not do very well predicting whether someone will, or won’t, be the agent of some future egregious event, and that, to be on the safe side, we are more likely to predict that some kind of nastiness WILL occur than that it won’t.

  2. My take is that schools Gun Free Zones laws are exactly about that: justify the arrest somebody for a potential crime.
    All the gun control laws make the same assumption, that you are suspect before doing anything wrong. All the “prohibited item” laws try to justify the pre-crime arrests. That’s why all such laws should be repealed.

  3. It’s definitely a fine line, so I suppose it heavily depends on what evidence the cops have:

    Did he make threats via phone / e-mail / in person?
    Is there evidence he was planning an attack (maps, warning friends not to be at school?)
    Does he have a history of mental illness / violence in the past?
    Is his family / parents concerned he might hurt himself?

    One single factor might not make him guilty… but a combination of them needs to be considered in a case like this.

    I work at an elementary school, and threats to schools are taken pretty seriously these days. After all, we’re talking about protecting the lives of young children.

  4. Still… one can’t deny the sheep syndrome. Choosing to ignore danger signs is….well, dangerous. The problem is most are confused with what signals danger. Boy with gun vs troubled boy with a gun. This is compounded by accepting troubled behavior as normal.

  5. People in sensitive areas should be protected and those outside of sensitive areas are responsible for their own safety.
    No victim, no crime. Pre-crime advocates destroy natural rights.

  6. Now think about what put us in this dilemna. The disarming of certain classes of people (teachers for example) in certain places (schools) setting up a target rich zone giving a tremendous amount of notarity to those that create a big splash. That notarity breeds copycats especially among those that felt they had no control over whatever bad experiences were coming their way in life. The temporary feeling of power and control for those that feel powerless is enticing.
    Next, before these gun free zone laws, were the teachers really packing? Or is the real cause (along with gun free zones) the diminishment of teacher’s authority in the classroom? Is it the knowledge that the students have realized that the teacher in many cases is powerless to address behavior issues? Is the real cause the lack of respect for the authority of school personnel? How did we get here and how do we get out of here?

  7. Unfortunately, recent experience has shown that parents seem to be the last to know when their darling’s gyros have tumbled. I’d like to see schools develop ways for students to raise a flag on friends who are saying worrisome things without automatically being labeled a narc. It also should be possible to intervene without scaring the subject into denial and resistance.

    Sadly, this is never going to happen because it would require skills, training, and sensitivity that are in very short supply in what Mark Twain called “The Damned Human Race”

    I’m feeling kind’a grumpy and misanthropic today. I just answered the third phone call today from someone claiming to be from “the U.S. Government Grants Department” and stating that I’ve been chosen to receive up to $10,000.00 for answering a few questions.

    The Damned Human Race, indeed.

      • They’ve been calling for years. The federal grant department is a new one, and unbelievably stupid. I’ve just been telling the “representatives” that they are committing at least three felonies with their spiel. I doubt I’m doing any good, though.

  8. Seems that all libtards have never been in a High School boys locker room. Where big talk and BS flows. As a result never developed a “BS meter”.

    Closely correlated to the volume of estrogen running schools today.

  9. I’d say that legal action can be taken legally when a threat actually manifests in something that is actually a crime and only then. That would not preclude other non-legal reactions, such as escalations from school to parents, recommendations for therapy, etc. By my definition, simply planning a crime is not sufficient, unfortunately, but that is how the system should work – crime, then arrest.

    Part of the problem is that so many things are being treated as a criminal action lately. Had I been born 40 years later, I’m pretty certain I would be arrested multiple times for doing some of the stupid shit most of us did back-when that instead resulted in calls to our parents, neighbors dragging our asses home, a neighbor interceding in a fist fight by judicious use of a garden hose, etc. Now it is simple: arrest them. I’m not sure how that helps anything, but sure lets the anti-freedom people off the hook because they aren’t responsible for anything but themselves. Dial 911 and go back to bed.

    • Don’t look now, but that mindset has begun to affect everything. And if you’re one of those people who is willing to take charge of a situation and try to solve problems, you will be reported too.

  10. When the NSA catches them watching Marilyn Manson videos on MTV and playing Mortal Kombats on their Nintendo-box!

    • Me and my sister had almost this very conversation last night about mental health, haha. I DO think it’s a crime to threaten someone. But then again kids threaten each other all the time. With assault even. Things need to be considered in context, which is something the law seems completely devoid of sometimes.

      • Common sense is uncommon and government employees are routinely braindead, by-the-book slackers. What’s the point of being human if you never exercise judgment in decision-making?

        We’d be better off replacing most of them with robots.

  11. I went to that high school… Not sure how I feel about this one. There were a few very strong indicators that he may have acted on his “fascination” that weren’t mentioned in detail on that news article. At the same time I’m very against the idea of thought crime.

    Do you arrest this kid for thought crime and potentially avoid a school shooting that may damage 2A rights? Or preserve his rights and nothing happens or the worst happens when all the signs were there. Tough call imo.

  12. Key part of the article was when mom admits that her son is struggling with depression in front of the court. Even grandpa sees that the grades are slipping. Nobody has the wherewithal to know he has guns in his bedroom along with ammunition, or if they did know, remove them. It shouldn’t have gotten this far. It’s called parenting. Be involved.

  13. If the kid actually made threats (and I’m not saying he did) which the cops ignored, I can imagine how we’d be screaming at the po-po when the kid went all Columbine. Hell, we’d be nailing the cops asses to the wall, and justifiably so IMO.

    Most people who make threats have no intention of following upon them — they’re just running their mouths — but threats still have to be taken seriously.

    And please, none of that “pre-crime” sh1t. Threats can be criminal all by themselves. Not as criminal as actually running through a few mags at school, but criminal nonetheless.

  14. The standards for prosecuting an “active shooter” before they actually commit the act are the same for prosecuting any crime before the person actually commits the act: almost never. Unless someone’s actions rise to the level of conspiracy, we cannot morally or legally do much.

    Having said that, if a person is actively recruiting accomplices to shoot up a location, I believe that is conspiracy. Otherwise, make sure there are “armed good guys” at the school, church, office, etc.

  15. I see the problem less as a precedent for “pre-crime” and more an indictment of the media coverage and attempts to demonize those who don’t conform.

    Just from the blurb used to head this article…

    WTF is a “Columbine Fascination” and how is it in any way relevant to the story?

    And ‘the boy was arrested for ammunition and weapons at his house.’ Are the his weapons, or his mom or dad’s weapons? And since when is ammunition a ‘thing.’ If there are firearms then there is ammunition. You don’t report having gasoline and cars at home.

    Sorry, dangerously close to a rant….

    The media needs to be put on notice for this kind of crap, that is the real story behind this ‘story.’

    • Gee, Chip in Florida, since one of the the definitions of the word “thing” is “an object or an item,” what indeed is ammo if not a “thing” or a collection of “things”?

  16. I well recall back in high school that one of my classmates was well known to be playing with explosives.

    “Cool!,” we thought. And it was. But even then I knew there was something “not right” in this guy’s head. Even more deranged than your average teenager.

    Being a teen, myself, I said nothing. No teenager of the era was likely to say anything. Today? Different story.

    Most significantly, though, is that the Responsible Adults (TM) carefully rearing this loon should have noticed and should have done something.

    Just as surely as the Responsible Adult (TM) should have strapped Adam Lanza down, not left firearms unsecured in his closet, nor fed his every insane appetite.

    What was the verdict of the 9/11 Commission? “A failure of imagination.”

    Sometimes it hurts more than others.

    • Did you look at his Skull formation, Weston Price Proved long ago how nutrition affects Growth and mental Development.
      If you think all the so called meds the Kid was on had no affect on his development study some Bio-Chem. iF YOU ARE ALREADY IN THE MEDICAL PROFESSION, No wonder sickness and cancer is rampant.

      His brain was practically crushed by his narrow formation , and HE KILLED HIS OWN MOTHER..

      LOCK up the weapons what a Canard.
      Mom could have buried them In Hell , he would have found a way to Murder.

      • Oh I am sorry I let my Emotions govern my thought process.

        The answer to your question is NEVER!..

        When do you move against an Active Shooter is the real Question!

        Immediately and with Haste and Faith in GOD, with Accuracy that you cause no more Collateral Damage.
        That is a MAN”s Calling not just the POPO.

        We know their aim and attitude sucks for the most part.

        • Uhm, excuse me, but all I was gonna ask Kirk was simply this – did this kid ever end up actually doing anything or not?

          Tom

  17. What Ralph said…sometimes I think he is the only one on here who thinks before he types. And that sometimes includes me. But the TTAG staff sure knows how to generate hits.

  18. I believe that when we start arresting people for “intending” to commit a crime, we’re playing with fire. In the final analysis, that’s exactly what the Gun Grabbers are pushing now, in a tangential way; disarm the public to prevent them from evil thoughts that might result in action that might result in gunshot injury. Precautionary arrest has no place in Anglo-American law, and depends in practice on the judgment of fallible government functionaries with their own agenda to accomplish.

    On the other hand, stop the killing with some common-sense regulation, for the children. Etc.

  19. Did his parents know he had the guns and ammunition? My parents knew about my firearms when I was a kid. If I had threatened a person or a school with them my old man would have busted them over my ass. Pre crime? I’d have been at the doctors for a week getting gun parts removed from my anatomy.

    We had guns and troubled kids in the day. But our parents loved us enough to draw a line in the sand and dare us to step over it. What’s missing now is the parents caring enough about their kids to even know if they’re collecting an arsenal like the columbine bastards.

  20. I don’t know this case, so I’m just answering the general question posed. Yes, arrests for intentions can border in thought crimes. So the standard must be more concrete. There must be some overt act in furtherance of the plot. I’d need proof of threats, recruitment attempts, or of an actual plan. An “actual” plan could be tricky, but ultimately that’s a fact for a jury to determine. Someine with a violent history sure does himself no favors in such a case. However, a mere fictional story or a paper on a past shooting or even a morbid fascination with them constitutes no crime, in my opinion. That said, parents may well want to address these interests if their kid seems a little too into the topic; but that’s outside of calling in the cops. Hell, you may have the next great FBI profiler in your midst, rather than the next infamous butcher.

  21. I believe it is a very tough subjective task for police to figure out. True it is illegal to threaten someone, but I believe it would be difficult for anyone to say they never ran off at the mouth because they were made about something.

    Personally, when a young man abused my daughter, I said some things that could be perceived as a legitimate threats by a “reasonable person”. I had more than enough guns to shoot the young lad in the face. But cooler heads prevailed, my daughter broke up with him and they both went on with their lives. Today the young man is still breathing and still has no idea how much I wanted to be there in the morning as he opened up the door to go to work and see me standing there with my silenced pistol, looking like the last scene in the movie, The Departed. I’m glad I wasn’t arrested for thought crime. I had motive, means, ability, and desire but I didn’t actually carry out the crime. Therefore I am NOT guilty of attempted murder. So if anyone is saying that they are glad they stopped a mass murder by arresting this kid because no one ever has a desire to kill and means to do so and never actually does…. Then they are mistaken, because I bet most people have at one point in their lives had those kinds of thoughts. Guns don’t necessarily mean means either. Anyone can start up the family car in the garage overnight and flood the house with carbon monoxide. Anyone can accidently run over someone.

    What constitutes a threat? Someone singing along to a rap song can actually have threatening words come out of their mouths. A football coach will tell his players to go out and murder the opponents to get them pumped up prior to a game. Two kids at school could be talking about a Call of Duty game they both were in online a day or so ago. Liberal moms at a park could feel threatened when they see a nerf gun and call the police. A t-shirt with a silhouette of a platoon of soldiers holding their weapons can get a student suspended ON A MILITARY POST school because it is threatening. A teenaged girl can scream at her boyfriend, “I hate you, I wish you were dead” (that never happens). We just have to be careful or before long someone will say something like, “I hate the President” and because that person has registered weapons, the secret service is crashing through the door. The standard has to be across the board as well. You can’t arrest white kids for talking bad about black kids and then let black kids spout hate towards whites and let that go because it is politically incorrect to say something.

    Specifically about this case… None of us know the details. All we get is the edited version via TV and newspaper/net. But if the young lad did say something along the lines of coming to school, shooting others and himself, then the police did need to investigate. BUT, do it quietly. Carefully, preserving officer safety, but not to the point if they do deem the situation as not a credible threat, the kid can then go on with their normal life. Arresting the kid and hauling him off to jail for questioning, publically is wrong. True, everyone is innocent until proven guilty in court, but tell that to the Duke Lacrosse team. When someone is accused publically of something obscene or sensational, you are automatically assumed guilty by most. Even after acquitted in court, just ask George Zimmerman.

    We all want to stop violence, especially in our schools. But at what point do we surrender freedom for security. We already have to show up hours before our flight to get through security at the airport. When we start arresting people based on what they might do it becomes a slippery slope that anyone can be accused, and everyone is afraid of being accused.

  22. Very hard subject to comment on…

    Two of my grand children live with me. One is a bit mentally challenged at 8 years old…..weren’t we all?

    Both do not have unregulated access to either Internet or TV, however….the younger one has threatened the bus driver and teachers using language he did not get from my home! Suspensions have been involved.

    IMHO, the behavior trigger is the ‘less than strict’ attitude involving today’s ‘Public Education System.’ Everything is OK. Every type of behavior is inclusive. BTW, I’m not blaming the individuals involved because they are ‘strapped’ by a severely flawed system and it’s draconian rules.

    However, coming from a psychological counseling background I must say that the profession is geared to finding EVERY ONE OF US guilty of some as yet NOT diagnosed malady!

    Be VERY afraid of that!

    • I feel fortunate that you’re not telling me any new information. A casual thumbing through the DSM IV (and I hear the DSM V is even worse) would tell you that apparently being tired can be considered a psychological disorder. Being Happy all the time is probably a psychological disorder, though one that they will medicate you deep into if you give them half an opportunity.

      And the moment some quack with a course of medical study and a fancy license sticks you with a label, you may as well have it tattooed on your forehead. Getting rid of the tattoo would be easier than getting rid of that label, wrong right, indifferent or outdated as the label may become.

      • As a clinical psychologist with more than 40 years of professional experience and a “fancy license,” let me confirm the truth of what you have written. Psychological/psychiatric diagnosis is pretty much a crap-shoot, and the trend, since the very first DSM back in 1952 has been to consider more and more behavioral clusters, formerly deemed “normal,” as being evidence of “mental” disturbance calling for some kind of treatment.

  23. My answer to this question depends on a lot of things, such as what the person in question has actually done, how you define “move against” and why a 14 year old would have a fascination with a course of events that occurred when he was, at best, still in diapers and learning how to say “Mama.”

    I apologize if I’ve just made anyone else feel old.

    I believe that the concept of “threatening” as a crime has SOME merit. I don’t believe that the way it is used is justifiable, however. As it stands, every time someone disagrees with someone else they go blubbering to some authority figure who promptly and severely punishes someone else. Is it any wonder that the art of debate is as dead as disco? This is a crap standard and far too vague in 90% or more cases.

    I am irked about everyone blubbering on about some girl being a “hero” She didn’t do anything. She didn’t inform authorities, she heard some crazy gossip and did what teen girls do whenever they hear gossip-worthy stuff, spread it all over the school. They’re like pigeons, that way.

    I am annoyed that the kid’s parents didn’t see something and DO something about their kid before he started turning into this trouble. The handgun alone ought to have several people facing charges, what with him being 14, the fireworks and shotgun will be other charge-worthy items, and the ammunition as well. But no, they sat back and waited for Mommy State and Daddy Government to do their jobs. No Pity. With parents like that no wonder he was depressed.

    As for the concept of “move against,” it all depends on what kinda evidence you have involving the kid. If you think you can prove in a court that Bad Stuff Will Go Down, and the parents aren’t doing a damn thing, then yes, roll in. It’s when rumors are flying (thanks little miss hero!) and the situation blurs that being a good and upstanding officer of the law starts to become a lousy job. Someone has to make a judgement call, and when you won’t always get to see all the indicators and evidence before you do. I imagine it’s best to conduct this kind of investigation and apprehension low-key.

    Of course, in most instances, being involved with your kid no matter how much you piss each other off, is probably the best solution, since it keeps stuff like this from going far enough that the police need to start considering things like evidence and warrants. Caring about other people beyond “are they scary and do I need to turn them in?” and “what can I get them to do for me?” might also be a benefit. Having Actual Friends might have also helped this kid. Mommy State and Daddy Government won’t issue you any… and his own parents weren’t gonna be able to hep this… but what about everyone else? No one seems to really care overly much about this kid beyond “he’s scary! Let’s spread the latest gossip about him and turn him in!”

    And that is perhaps the biggest indicator that everyone involved in this story failed this kid: some severely, some just a little. Because if you move early enough before a crime is committed, you don’t move AGAINST anyone.

    Of course, if his parents fail to catch this, and the other students fail to give a damn, and the school administration misses the signs, and no one tells the police, you end up with another nutjob shooting in a crowded area.

    At that point the best response seems to be to put him down, fast and hard, like the rabid dog he is.

  24. My kids do not make threats to kill others.If they did then I would be the one taking ALL their weapons,and getting them mental help. I do not care how upset you are you don’t go there.

    We complain about parents doing nothing after an attack.We complain about rights if we prevent an attack.

    When you go down the path of threatening to beat,rape,kill….then people need to realise the next step of actually doing it is not that hard of a step to take.

    BS or not if I were this boys parent I would prefer to be on the prevent side rather than in the group of parents whose children have taken that step and killed.

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