It’s almost guaranteed when there’s a school shooting, someone interviewed by the press will inevitably say they thought ‘It can’t happen here’. Obviously, that’s not true, or else we might never have heard of communities like Littleton, Newtown, Parkland, or Uvalde.
I currently live in Topeka, Kansas. Outside of Kansas, no one generally thinks of Topeka unless ‘that’ church is in the news. Even though Topeka is the capital of Kansas and has a population of over 100,000, I don’t think anyone would consider Topeka the big city. So, In my estimation, Topeka is a great candidate for the ‘it can’t happen here’ crowd.
It also doesn’t help that Kansas is so gun-friendly it makes Texas blush. In Kansas, minors can buy a long gun as long as the barrel exceeds 12 inches. There is no waiting period in Kansas. In Kansas, firearms do not have to be registered outside federal requirements. No certification is required to obtain a firearm license. If you’re over 21, you don’t need a permit to carry a concealed firearm. Visible firearms are allowed just about anywhere except schools with grades K-12. And lastly, there are no state regulations against ghost guns. (Source)
To make matters worse, the ‘responsible gun owners™’ of Topeka have a bad habit of leaving loaded guns in their unlocked cars. These guns are inevitably stolen, and the gun owners wonder why this happens.
So, it came as no surprise to me when within the first few weeks of the start of the school year, a high school student was arrested for having a gun on campus. The 18-year-old was arrested on August 26th for allegedly being in possession of a firearm at Topeka West High School. And that school is on the relatively good side of town.
Do I think the suspect was planning a mass shooting at the school? From the little information that has been released, I do not. However, that doesn’t mean a thing. I can think of a handful of school shootings that started after members of the school’s faculty approached a student who possessed a gun. These shootings have led to several deaths. Luckily, this suspect was arrested without incident.
But who’s to say the school district will be so lucky when the next gun turns up? This isn’t Topeka’s first near miss. Earlier this year, a 14-year-old was arrested and charged with attempted murder after bringing a gun to a middle school. The 14-year-old had tried to kill someone at home before taking the gun to school, where he allegedly intended to kill another student. In that case, the school was tipped off in advance, and the principal was able to stop the student from entering the school.
You can’t keep guns out of school while they’re so readily available. Clear backpacks won’t do it, neither will metal detectors, nor armed teachers. If a student is determined enough to bring a gun to school, they will do it. The only way to prevent guns in school is to keep them out of the hands of students, which means keeping them out of the hands of too many careless adults.
Thanks to Lady Gray for the tip.