After an unhinged student's early morning stabbing and slashing spree Wednesday at Franklin Regional High School, those quick to assign “solutions” to episodes of mass casualties probably find themselves in a quandary.
Is it time for “comprehensive knife control”?
Police say a male sophomore, 16, went on a rampage with two knives at the Murrysville high school, about 18 miles east of Pittsburgh, injuring at least 19 students and a security guard. A vice principal came to the aid of the guard, tackling the student, who's in custody. They were then aided by the school's “resource officer” (a local police officer).
A fire alarm pulled during the attack likely reduced casualties. And there's no question that the textbook response by school officials and emergency crews saved lives.
But far deadlier than the knives used is the grim, all too familiar evidence of a troubled mind. For whatever reason, this young man picked his weapons and went to school determined to injure others.
Whether it's a knife or a gun or even box cutters in the hands of maniacs, the intent to harm as many people as possible is not limited by the weapon of choice (or convenience). Neither is the carnage contained by simplistic “bans.”
As starkly demonstrated recently, Laurel Michelle Schlemmer of McCandless needed no weapon at all when, according to police, she drowned her two young children in a bathtub.
Reaching people before they mentally implode is crucial, of course. But equally important is a citizenry that's capable of defending itself, in schools and anywhere else, whenever such madness erupts.
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