School Violence. Hate Crimes. What Are They Good For?
I was recently involved in a school shooting that occurred in a parochial school located in Pennsylvania. You may have heard of it…you may have not. But what I can assure you is that it isn’t fun. I’m sure you know that.
The press is a living slime…but more annoying due to its ability to quickly move from human to human, infesting them with questions and twisted stories. There have been several news stories published on the situation, none of which are absolutely correct. Plus, the press would question any living thing that would walk out in a school uniform. It didn’t matter if they were in tears, angered, shocked, or half dead…it doesn’t matter. It’s a news story.
The event itself will be described. First, we came back from a school mass celebrating Lent. The last statement made by our direct of religious formation was something like “We pray for the students of the high school in California, who are just now going back to school for the first time since the terrible school shooting. Thank God we are in a Catholic school that does not have to deal with such tragedies.”
Then we came back for period D, which was lunch for 7-9 grades. We came down, went to the cafeteria, and of course, ate. With about ten minutes to go I got up and bought desert. I went back to my seat. I hadn’t finished the first bite when I heard a loud POP! I looked over to the next table and expected to see someone with a broken bag or something like that. All I saw was a fellow classmate darting up the stairs. Then I went back to eating…but then I saw everyone collapse and hide under their tables. Mine soon did the same. I ducked under. A fellow student scampered behind us. ‘WTF?!’ I was thinking. Then I looked in the center of the lunch room. A fellow classmate was holding a .22 Revolver. Well, I didn’t know that at first…I wasn’t wearing my contacts that day…so all I saw was a girl with black licorice. Alas, it was not. I squinted…it was a gun. She shouted out various things. Later I heard that that shot had hit someone in the chest. What is not sure, though, is if it actually ricocheted off the ceiling or was direct. I still don’t know.
The whole time one of my friends was laughing. Many of us thought I was staged. We saw no smoke, we didn’t see the bullet, and her lines seem acted…as was her crying. So my friend sat there laughing most of the time…until the police started coming.
But what was sure was there was ONLY one shot fired. I know this cause i only heard one loud ‘POP!’ My fellow eighth graders tried to comfort her (girl with gun), but she went over and kicked a chair. Then someone coaxed her into putting down the gun…you might have seen him on TV…he’s ballsy. Thanks to his efforts, and those of the principal/assistant principal within a minute or two the whole situation was over.
But then a police officer burst in minutes later, gun drawn, saying thinks like “out of the way!” and “duck.” Haha…a little over zealous? Nah.
We were then lead into the haven of our gym. I won’t bore you with the details…but we were patted down etc. etc., only taking us form the gym to a fitness gym across the street, then to a restaurant next to that where we were questions. Hours later we were taken in groups to the local church and given to our parents.
Now, this girl was rejected by some classmates, which is why she was moved to our eighth grade honors class. Now, that night some people reported having phone conversations with her in which she said “tomorrow I’m going to bring in a gun to school.” The girl she shot at was one that particularly made fun of her, but it is not quite sure if she intended to shoot her or not.
The whole point of this article is to reach out to anyone who feels rejected, mistreating, disrespected, abused, depressed, and dejected that wants to go take it out on their school. Trust me, its not worth it. If you notice, all the people that shoot end up being thrown in juvy/jail, committing suicide, and/or killing many innocent people. Come on people, think for once. What happens to you afterwards is between you and God, but I’m sure not shooting innocent people would earn you some kudos.
Here’s a quoted poem from a fellow eighth grade student at Bishop Neumann:
“Here we are in our small Catholic school
Where she felt like she was anything but cool
She was confused and she was scared
Maybe she thought that no one cared
It seems so hard to be in her shoes
Maybe she felt like she’d always lose
Whatever it was, she hated her life
O, God, sometimes I wish man never invented a knife
She had a mind that she felt no one could understand
And I hope she knows we feel like we’re sinking in sand
We feel terrible because we wish we could’ve really been there
So things wouldn’t end up in such a scare
We’re scared for her, we love her as our friend
We wish it didn’t happen as it did in the end
She left our table with no say
She left our table and went away
And as we finished our lunches and chatted about
We hear a shot and see people run out
We hear people screaming and diving onto the ground
We hear the girls crying and it’s such a sad sound
We shake in fear and hold our friends dear
For we didn’t know if the end was near
Our mothers and fathers were dying to know
What happened in this building covered with snow
And as we waited and longed to be free
We all came to realize this is a reality
We left the cafeteria and left everything there
Everything still in place, the tables, the chairs
Were shelters of fear and the food scattered around
The tears of us as we were glued to the ground
Pray for the scared
Pray for the brave
And pray for the lives that could’ve been saved
If we listen to those who need us to hear
Before your day ends with a tear
We’ll remember this day for the rest of our lives
And we must remember those who strive
To feel belonged and understood
Pray for the ones who wish they could
We may pinch ourselves and think it all a dream
Then realize it’s as horrible as it may seem
Just as Judas came to Jesus with that single kiss
We never knew it would come to this
In memory of March 7, 2001 in the cafeteria of Bishop Neumann High school by Camille Moreno”
Ben Murnane wrote an article based on an email interview he did with me for a print zine in Ireland
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