Barb Caffrey's Blog

Writing the Elfyverse . . . and beyond

Washington School Shooting Leaves Many More Qs than As

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Folks, I don’t know about the rest of you, but I’m getting very tired of people being shot dead at public schools. It is despicable, it is wasteful, it is nonsensical — but most of all, it is appalling.

And it never, ever seems to end.

In the latest senseless tragedy, 15-year-old Jaylen Fryberg shot five people at his high school, Marysville Pilchuck High in Washington state, last Friday afternoon. Time magazine is reporting that Fryberg had asked all five to join him at lunch via text message.

Among those Fryberg shot were his cousins, Nate Hatch (14) and Andrew Fryberg (15), and three girls: Shaylee Chuckulnaskit (14), who remains in critical condition, Zoe Galasso (14), who died at the scene, and Gia Soriano (14), who died at a hospital on Sunday night.

As Snohomish County Sheriff Ty Trenary said in the Time article, “The question everyone wants is, ‘Why?’…I don’t know that the ‘why’ is something we can provide.”

That’s because the usual answers that come to mind about the personality of a school shooter don’t seem to apply in this case. Jaylen Fryberg wasn’t a loner, and he wasn’t bullied. Instead, he was a football player, a popular kid who’d been named Homecoming King of the freshman class, and obviously was tight with the five people he asked to join him last Friday, or they’d not have shown up at his lunch table.

Then he shot them all, before turning the gun on himself.

There are absolutely no answers that will bring back Soriano or Galasso. There are absolutely no answers that will lessen the injuries of Fryberg’s cousin Andrew, who remains in critical condition. And there aren’t any answers that will allow Hatch to heal any faster, even though Hatch is the only one who appears to be healing at all.

Even if there were answers to be had tomorrow, what then? The two young ladies are still going to be dead. The two young men and the other young lady are still going to be badly injured for no damned good reason. And the guy who did it took his own life, so there can’t even be any punishment on this plane of existence — not that there is any sufficient punishment for doing this, or ever could be.

I’ve written a number of posts in the past about other senseless shootings, and I never have understood any of them. Every time — every single time — I think to myself, “When will the killing end? Why does this keep happening?”

And I come up empty.

All I know is this: If you have children, tell them you love them. Treat them with kindness and respect. Give them guidance, nurturing, and care. Let them know that even if they feel like their world is ending over a girl (as was apparently the case with Jaylen Fryberg), this will pass — and even if it doesn’t, it’s not a justification for taking the lives of others.

Because there is no justification for what Jaylen Fryberg did, and never will be.


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