Yesterday in the Charlotte, North Carolina, suburb of Matthews, a fight broke out between two students of Butler High School. Before it was all over 16-year-old freshman Jatwan Cuffie was said to have shot 16-year-old Bobby McKeithen. McKeithen later died from his injuries at a nearby hospital. Local officials have said that the shooting escalated from a bullying incident. Since there is still a persistent myth that the majority of school shooters were bullied one might assume that it was Cuffie was the one who was bullied since he was the one armed with a gun. I wouldn’t jump to such conclusions.
For one, it’s not unheard of for bullies to commit such shootings. Case in point is the shooting of Lawrence King at E.O. Green Junior High in Oxnard, California. King was an openly gay student who had been thrown out by his own father for being gay. King was also being bullied by Brandon McInerney for being gay. Instead of reacting through violence, King used his intellect to get back at McInerney by pretending to hit on McInerney. McInerney became so enraged he brought a gun to school and shot Lawrence King in the back of the head at point-blank range. I believe that’s called ‘execution style’.
Secondly, so far, there have been no reports on who committed the actual bullying but don’t assume it wasn’t the gunman. According to multiple witnesses, after Cuffie produced the gun, McKeithen turned his back on him but that didn’t stop Cuffie from shooting McKeithen in the back. Many bullies do tend to be cowards. Also, from the reports I’ve read, McKeithen was well liked in the community while I have yet to see any platitudes for Cuffie. Granted, that can be chalked up to the fact that people often talk about the recently deceased, especially those lost to violence like they were saints in life but I’m not getting a vibe of many people willing to stand up for Cuffie.
There’s another part to this story that is almost equally as disturbing as the shooting itself. After the shooting, the school did not cancel classes for the day. Any student whose parents couldn’t come and get them had to spend the remainder of the day at school while it was an active crime scene. As a country, are we that numb to school shootings anymore that it becomes business as usual after one happens or is it a body count issue? “Meh, only one kid died and we can’t afford to lose any snow days so let’s keep going.”
I’ll also be curious to see where the gun came from since even in North Carolina 16-year-old can’t legally purchase handguns. More than likely it came from some ‘responsible’ gun owner.