On getting away

Thoughts on getting away.

My son and I flew to Alaska yesterday.  Its been a much needed break.  Nobody except my close friends up here know what happened to me and it’s been nice to be away from everything.  I’m currently on a sightseeing train and it’s given me some time to think.  Being in the area we are, you can never fully get away from the tragedy at the school.  Going to the grocery store, the chiropractor, running an errand into Santa Fe.  There is always a reminder.  A Santa Fe Strong shirt, a sticker, the town plastered in green and gold ribbons.  Here’s the thing, this should have never happened.  Shootings like this are 100% preventable.  Safe storage, red flag laws, and proper vetting of enrollments, and enforcing the dress code would have prevented this.

If the parent had done their part to secure the guns, this whole event would have been prevented.  The shooter was 17, so in this house the guns did not have to be properly locked in a safe or locked with a lock. He broke into the storage area and stole the guns.  Then he got a way to school (I’m not sure how he got there) snd preceded to open fire in the art class.  He came into the room said “surprise, Mother F-ers” and released pipe bombs.  Then he opened fire.  He had a sawed off shot gun and a .38 pistol.  I’ve been able to figure out he had a rapid reload cylinder for his pistol too. 

Red flag laws would have helped.  This family had a history of domestic violence.  There was a history of police calls to the residence.  They were not strangers with the local law enforcement.  Going back further in their history revealed that there was a history of violence in the home country of Greece.  The shooter showed warning signs that something was wrong up to two weeks before the event.  A quick facebook search would reveal his profile with several Nazi photos along with other disturbing images.  

The shooter at santa fe high shouldn’t have been in the district.  I’ve heard he had disincline problems in another district.  Somehow he found a way into the district.  I’ve seen it happen a lot as a bus driver.  Families will use the grandparent’s address because they “babysit” before and after school.  Well, the kids sit in the car in the morning, and the same car is there in the afternoon.  The kids never step foot in the house.  I’ve also seen other families babysit for families that don’t even live in the district and it’s never caught until no one’s there to pick up a first grader.  People that live in La Marque would drop their kids off in Painted Meadows.  The kid would cause problem on the bus, and no one could find out where this problem kid lived or how to track down the parents.  

Let’s talk about dress codes.  I can tell you as a bus driver, the district cared more about the young women and their clothes than they cared about the shooter and his oversized coat.  I had one student, Megan, and she used to board the bus in the morning with a low cut top, shoulders bared, or spaghetti strap top.  In the afternoon, Megan would have a couple of safety pins, a sweater, or a new top all together.  They were more concerned about young women showing bosoms and shoulders.  The shooter had been wearing an oversized coat since January.  Granted, we had a nasty winter in Texas and then the jacket was needed.  It was getting warm though, and even in May it was sweltering.  The Santa Fe ISD dress code states that trench coats are not allowed.  For some reason, and who knows why, this male was allowed to wear the coat.

When I teach someone to drive a school bus, I have this ratio that I always bring up.  300:29:1.  In the span of one’s driving career, they will make 300 small, bad choices.  This will snowball into 29 bigger incidents.  Then comes one major failure.  I can tell you, this what happened in Santa Fe.  Proper laws had not been enforced, or even in place, the school district failed to do their jobs and now 10 people are dead.  

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