Reflecting a pattern of school violence over the past decade in the US, another school shooting took place on Oct. 24 at Marysville-Pilchuck High School in Marysville, Washington. Five people were shot in the school’s cafeteria, resulting in a total of two deaths including the shooter himself. This particular school shooting raised many questions for the community and the government, as the perpetuator was freshman Jaylen Fryberg, who was generally considered popular and was even declared homecoming prince.
Witnesses of the incident claim that the shooting was premeditated; in fact, based on his actions, it was clear that he had set targets in mind. Fryberg suddenly came up from behind and fired six bullets into the backs of his friends. Although people are not sure about his intentions, one of the witnesses has claimed that his victims were fairly good friends with Fryberg, according to CNN.
“I think that school shootings are so prevalent in America especially because they have a set precedent of always resolving issues with violence rather than anything else,” Heewon Kim (9) said. “America views itself the way the international community views America—as a culture that uses guns arbitrarily. Because of this perception, I think Americans are more inclined to believe that using guns is more acceptable.”
After looking through his numerous social media accounts, experts found photos and videos in which he was hunting or using rifles. In addition, Fryberg is a member of the Tulalip tribe. Even though other students could not remember accounts of Fryberg being bullied at school, they did recall that students would occasionally say racist remarks as a passing joke about him being Native American. The police and other experts remain unsure about Fryberg’s exact motives in in shooting the five victims.
“After I watched ‘Bowling for Columbine,’ in class, I realized how being a racial minority contributes to neglect in poor neighborhoods,” Alice Rhim (11) said. “In this case, we don’t know what happened—Fryberg could have had a long-standing resentment about the racist remarks, or the shooting could have been some idea that he got from the media. The mere fact that Fryberg was a minority probably bothered him, and the anger built to finally lead to the shooting.”
The students, who had initially thought that they were practicing for a mere a fire drill, were later shocked to realize that it was a school shooting when the teachers pushed them into classrooms. Students who successfully hid in classrooms were unharmed, but the others who were sitting in the cafeteria saw blood, chaos and hysteria. Freshman Rachel Heichel, a witness of the event, said she was shocked not only at the shooting itself but also at the fact that Fryberg, out of all people, was committing the act.
“The handling of the school shootings on the part of schools is just as good as it can get; the teachers are only fighting a losing battle,” said Alex Lopez-Barton, social studies teacher. “After all, how can teachers check everything students bring to the school without losing respect? As for the cause, I can’t be sure why exactly [Fryberg] committed the crime, but the coverage was particularly interesting for this school shooting because the media chose a photo that did not portray [Fryberg] as a stereotypical gangster.”
Photo source: PBS