Friday, October 02, 2015

Oregon College Mass Shooting Tragedy: America, Wake Up

Tragically, we have once again witnessed a horrific act of violence in America with the Thursday, October 1 mass shooting at Umpqua Community College in southwest Oregon.

This tragedy has left at least nine people killed and nine others wounded and reminds us of the violence crisis throughout America.

American flags will once again fly at half-staff. Our culture of violence has no end in sight. Alarmingly, tragedies appear more commonly but outrage within society is diminishing. America must wakeup, take action, and stop the carnage.

A Partial List

Recent and notorious incidents of the rampage paint an unsettling picture:

Sept. 30, 2015 – A principal was shot and wounded at Harrisburg High School, South Dakota.

Sept. 14, 2015 – A Delta State University employee fatally shot a professor in Cleveland, Mississippi.

May 24, 2015 – At Southwestern Classical Academy in Flint, Michigan, 7 people were shot.

Nov. 20, 2014 – Three people are shot at Florida State University in Tallahassee.

June 10, 2014—A student is shot to death by another student at Reynolds High School in Troutdale, Ore. After the killing, the shooter commits suicide.

May 24, 2014—Six lives are lost on the University of California–Santa Barbara campus before the shooter commits suicide.

Apr. 9, 2014—A mass stabbing by a 16-year-old student of 21 people takes place at Franklin Regional High School in Pennsylvania. Four victims were left in serious condition.

Dec.13, 2013—A student dies eight days after being shot at Arapahoe High School in Centennial, Colo.

Oct. 21, 2013—A 12-year-old student kills a teacher and shoots two other 12-year-olds before killing himself at Sparks Middle School in Nevada.

Dec. 14, 2012—A 20-year-old kills 20 children, ages 6 and 7, and 6 adult teachers and staff members at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn.
April 16, 2007—The deadliest shooting in U.S. history by a single gunman takes place at Virginia Tech with 32 students killed and at least 17 wounded.

Responding to the Crisis

The crisis demands a comprehensive response with many approaches including the following:

• Properly interpreting the Second Amendment
• Threat assessments
• Mental health
• Security vulnerability assessments
• Crisis planning
• Self-defense
• Broken families / family outreach initiatives
• Physical, personnel, and procedural security measures
• Educational, private security, and law enforcement partnerships
• Character education
• Warning signs

Although I appreciate the importance of all of these approaches and have addressed them accordingly in my work, let us take a moment to focus on warning signs. In my presentations throughout the United States since Columbine in 1999, I have found too many individuals in educational, security, and law enforcement positions detached from warning signs.

At numerous venues, I have held up a copy of “Early Warning Timely Response: A Guide to Safe Schools” before large crowds. Many respond that they are unfamiliar with the classic document. This collaborative publication of the U.S. Department of Education and U.S. Department of Justice was released in 1998, before the Columbine High School tragedy in April 1999. It was developed to “provide the practical help needed to keep every child in your school out of harm’s way.”

This document must be required professional development training for all involved with education and school security. It offers research-based practices designed to identify warning signs early and develop prevention, intervention, and crisis response plans related to:

• Social withdrawal
• Excessive feelings of isolation and being alone
• Being a victim of violence
• Feelings of being picked on and persecuted
• Low school interest and poor academic performance
• Uncontrolled anger
• Patterns of impulsive and chronic hitting, intimidating, and bullying
• Expression of violence in writings
• History of discipline problems
• Past history of violent aggressive behavior
• Drug and alcohol use
• Affiliation with gangs
• Intolerance for differences and prejudicial attitudes
• Inappropriate access to, possession of, and use of firearms
• Serious threats of violence

I have given thousands of copies of it at assemblies, all at no cost thanks to the aforementioned agencies. The teaching within it is critical because as we continually see with reviewing tragedies, warning signs were ignored and the violence was preventable.

Eyes Wide Open

America must wake up and put the lessons learned from school and campus violence tragedies into action. The reawakening of the nation will only take place when we have eyes wide open to comprehensive security issues and respond to warning signs with full-force resolve and action.

Note Well:

Linkedin: Vincent J. Bove Consulting, Speaker Services, Publishing

Join Vincent’s Linkedin Group: The Sentinel: Reawakening the Nation

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Modified and updated from original authored for Vincent’s weekly column titled “Reawakening the Nation” for the Epoch Times, 35 countries, 21 languages and growing.

Photo - Students and family members embrace after leaving Marysville-Pilchuck High School in the aftermath of a shooting on the high school's campus in Marysville, Wash., on Oct. 24, 2014. (David Ryder/Getty Images)

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