Increasingly, students aren’t surprised when someone shoots up their school

There was another school shooting today, this time in Noblesville, Indiana.

A new theme is emerging from students in these shootings.

Students expect someone to open fire on them now.

“I had a feeling it would happen eventually,” a middle school student tells the Indianapolis Star.

As for the adults, they’re still in denial.

“This happens in high school, not here,” said Chad Lancaster, whose eighth-grade daughter called her mother while hiding under a desk.

“Never thought that this would happen,” Maria Rooney, another parent, said. “Not in Noblesville.”

Parents might want to get on the same page as their kids.

“Karen and I are praying for the victims of the terrible shooting in Indiana. To everyone in the Noblesville community — you are on our hearts and in our prayers,” Vice President Mike Pence, a former governor of Indiana, said in a statement.

“Thoughts and prayers aren’t enough to keep our students and educators safe. We need to keep dangerous weapons out of the hands of dangerous people,” the Indiana Teachers Association responded.

  • NG

    Hm… I believe some intelligent blogger had another post about how this would become the “new normal” because of the same cycle of “thoughts and prayers”/inaction.

    It is interesting how the frequency and severity is going up. As it becomes “the new normal”, perhaps there are fewer psychological barriers for children. People can talk about violence in video games all they want, but unless you turn off the lessons of history and happenings in the news, you’re still going to have violence as normal.

    Societal tensions seem higher to me today than at any point in the last 30. Vitriol and bile abound, guns, hate groups, culture wars, etc. etc.

    • Maybe finally get around to mental health care parity as an option?

      • wjc

        If only.

      • Gary F

        Yes. And you shake your head when cities like Forest Lake turn down facilities that can help some of these kids.

      • NG

        That’s a tricky one. Personality disorders, as I understand it, are learned disorders. It seems like it is more foundational than just mental health parity. Addressing mental health after the fact is treating the symptom and not the cause. I think saying “Be nice.” seems silly. But, cutting back on preaching hate would go a long way.

        Edit (further thought): As much as people say “Free Speech! Free Speech!”, at some point someone else has to say “Responsibility”. Sure, have the right, but use it with dignity and purpose. Don’t use it to undermine the structure that protects it.

        • It’s not tricky. We set as a goal as a nation that people seeking mental health care, get it.

          • NG

            Sure, that’s fine. But, you’ll still have a line out the door and around the block until society stops producing individuals who have never learned coping skills at their parent’s knee. Or who have learned that “grandiosity, a lack of empathy for other people, and a need for admiration” are just fine ways to live your life. That there is no “grey area” only righteous people and the deepest evil.

          • Mental illness is a neurological condition more often than not.

            But, sure, let’s go all Freud and blame mom.

            We know what to do. Just ask mental health experts. Unfortunately, few do. Because then they’d have to do something other than theorize.

          • NG

            LOL! Expertise… none. I just pick up things whether college courses or the, always suspect, internet source. Yes, there are many mental illness that are biological/neurological in nature. Personality disorders, not necessarily. When things like Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) are the a useful treatment, one suspects that there isn’t so much wrong with a person’s physical brain, just their outlook on life. Take for instance any of these: anxiety, depression, obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD), post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and anger problems.

            Edit: Additional source to reference the type of thing I’m talking about.

            The thing that concerns me most is “Splitting” – “Splitting (also called black-and-white thinking or all-or-nothing thinking) is the failure in a person’s thinking to bring together the dichotomy of both positive and negative qualities of the self and others into a cohesive, realistic whole.”

          • The thing that concerns me is people thinking they know things that experts will tell them is wrong, but think it anyway.

          • NG

            Ah. If I read between the lines there, and please tell me if I get this wrong: You are saying I’m wrong for thinking that learned behavior is a problem. That all “mental health issues” are chemical in nature. (Yes?)

          • Mike

            Did it ever occur to you that much of mental health practice (e.g., talk therapy) is all about helping people learn how to cope with adverse circumstances? The judgmental idea that people who need mental healthcare are simply weak is what keeps us in the Dark Ages on this issue. I would go so far to say that everyone could use a bit of it at certain points in their lives.

            As for people lined up around the block: I’d consider it an excellent use of my tax money if free mental health care helped more people lead happier lives.

          • NG

            Judgmental? I really hope that’s not how I’m coming across. I think it would be useful if these these skills where more prevalent in our society. These are things kids need to learn to help prepare them for anything from being rejected by a girl to picking themselves up again after a tragedy. If what you say is true, that much of mental health practice is about coping, it really only reinforces my thinking that this has a good portion of “learned behavior” mixed in and not just physical damage or chemical misfunction.

          • Mike

            And if, for whatever reason, people don’t learn the skills you describe from their parents, or if there’s some bigger issue (neurological, societal, etc.) that poses a problem in that regard, then what?

            That’s why access to mental healthcare is a necessity in a civilized society. It’s a completely worthwhile expenditure of public money.

          • NG

            I won’t disagree with any of that. Mental health is important.

            I just don’t think it should be the first line of defense for individuals who may suffer the slings and arrows of life. Learning about things like resilience: acceptance of things that cannot be changed, working towards a goal, being able to move on from negative feelings or outcomes… If a person doesn’t learn that growing up, it is unfortunate. And yes, a worthwhile expenditure to help that person be a better version of their self.

          • Jack Ungerleider

            There is a new exhibit at the Science Museum of Minnesota that addresses this topic. Mental Health: Mind Matters. If you are in the Twin Cities area between now and the end of the year you might want to check it out.
            [Disclaimer: I am a long time volunteer at SMM, so yes this is a plug. ;-)]

          • NG

            (I make it there a few times a year. The last time was as a chaperon on a school field trip.)

        • kevins

          Personality Disorders are not likely learned, at least in the sense that someone or many people taught a child to have a disorder of that sort. There is heavy genetic influence in personality disorders, making personality, even “normal” personality, a phenomenon of amazing complexity.

  • BReynolds33

    “This happens in high school, not here.”

    Two thoughts there:

    1. So it’s normal that it happens at the high school level?
    2. Apparently he missed Sandy Hook.

    • People will deny the existence of that they are most afraid of.

    • wjc

      Remember that according to some people Sandy Hook never happened.

  • wjc

    “thoughts and prayers”
    “thoughts and prayers”
    “thoughts and prayers”
    “thoughts and prayers”
    “thoughts and prayers”
    “thoughts and prayers”
    “thoughts and prayers”

    All better?

  • Gary F

    And this is stalled in congress. Actual bipartisan support and actually getting to some of the problem.

    • Well, that’s a start…

    • lindblomeagles

      Actually, during Obama’s tenure, following Newton (or was it Sandy Hook?) the Democrats did bring a bill to the US Congress. Panned by Republicans as an assault against Second Amendment Rights and a shameless political ploy, the bill went nowhere, fast. Since then, neither party has brought a bill forward, or called Congress to do something about it. Trump provided some lip service to the Pulse Night Club shooting in 2016, but his involvement mattered when Trump thought the shooter was an immigrant. When we learned the shooter was born and raised in the United States, and Trump took heat from the Democrats for singling out immigrants, Trump too, dropped his voice on the subject as well. In a word, yes, Gary, bipartisan support on this issue is absent.

  • MrE85

    I’m not surprised, either.

  • Jerry

    Why should they be shocked? They’ve lived their whole lives in a post-Columbine environment. They have never known anything but shooter drills and lockdowns.

    • We had duck and cover and fire drills, but I still would’ve been surprised to have an atomic bomb dropped in our neighborhood or , actually, an actual fire.

      This is a much deeper acceptance.

      • Jerry

        People weren’t dropping bombs several times a week

        • Well, not HERE anyway.

          • lindblomeagles

            Well stated, and very factual. As long as bombs were dropped several times a week in the Middle East (or by us in Iraq, Afghanistan, Syria, Vietnam, and Japan), people didn’t think much about this. But, it IS still occurring, and our nation is responsible for some of the bombs dropped several times a week.

      • lindblomeagles

        Bob is right on this one folks.

  • Barton

    “Never thought that this would happen,” Maria Rooney, another parent, said. “Not in Noblesville.”

    Did they just not care that it happened other places, as long as it didn’t happen in their backyard? Have school shootings become the ultimate NIMBY-ism example?

    • Mike Worcester

      My guess (and it is just that, a guess) is the mentality exemplified in that quote says “we are too good, too decent, too moral and honorable for someone in our midst to commit such an act”. To me, it’s not so much NIMBy-ism as it is a gross naivete about the world as it exists right now.

    • lindblomeagles

      Barton, the answer is YES. They didn’t care it happened elsewhere, until it happened in Noblesville.

  • AL287

    Back in the early sixties when the threat of nuclear annihilation was a very real threat, kids were not shooting up their schools due to overwhelming mental anguish.

    However, parenting back then didn’t have the pressures of both parents working full-time jobs and struggling to pay the rent or the mortgage.

    Single parenting without a life partner was not a lifestyle choice as it is today. It was more of a choice, usually forced on the surviving spouse by the loss of the major breadwinner (overwhelmingly the husband).

    If children had questions or issues with school or social issues, Mom was usually the parent available for heart-to-heart talks especially in the hours between the end of the school day and suppertime.

    Family members remained living close by usually in the same town or city and that included grandparents as well.

    Visits to grandparents provided a built-in pressure relief valve from the challenges of raising a family.

    With the relentless programming of our lives with apps, texting, facebook pages, etc. we have forgotten one universal truth—humans need physical closeness and real connections to remain emotionally and by turn, physically healthy. Whether by choice or necessity, we have slowly removed these emotional safety valves from our daily lives.

    It would be interesting to see the correlation between the breakdown of the nuclear/extended family and the incidence of emotionally disturbed behavior that is common in schools across the country, so common that there is a special designation for it by state statute and licensing of special education teachers.

    • There are a documented 19 school shootings in the ’60s

      31 in the ’70s

      • AL287

        Contrast that with 188 school shootings including colleges in the U.S.since the year 2000.

        (It’s hard to cite a definitive number, because the federal government does not study gun violence in
        the United States. The National Rifle Association has opposed any
        measure to fund research or accounting of America’s gun epidemic.)

        The Washington Post—