And here we have it. In less than a week into 2023 we have the first school shooting of the year.
Sadly, in this country, it’s not unheard of for a grade schooler to bring a gun to school. If the gun is discharged at school, it’s typically some kind of accident. That’s not to say that there hasn’t been any blood spilled during one of these accidents.
However, in my almost 23 years of writing about various aspects of school shootings, this is the first time I’ve heard of a six-year-old boy taking a gun to school and intentionally shooting someone. This past Friday, a first-grade student is said to have shot his teacher in a classroom at Richneck Elementary School in Newport News, Virginia. The teacher was wounded, and no other students were physically harmed. Local police have said the shooting took place during an altercation between the teacher and the student. Keep in mind that ‘altercation’ does not necessarily mean a physical one, and was more than likely an argument between the two.
It seems that Newport News police are being cautious about releasing some details of the shooting. For example, I was unable to find any information on where the student was keeping the gun during class, or how we was accosted after the shooting. The gun nerds will be disappointed that the police did not provide details on what type of gun was used outside of it was a handgun. However, police have said they are investigating where the student obtained the gun. I have a pretty good hunch, but I’ll withhold my opinion about that until that information has been released. They also stated that only a single round was fired.
Besides the fact that a six-year-old got a hold of a gun and shot a teacher with it, something else disturbs me about this story. For the sake of argument, let’s say the handgun was a semi-automatic. I mean, who buys revolvers anymore? Am I right, gun nerds? Leave a comment.
Are you telling me a six-year-old knew how to release the safety and pull the receiver back to make sure there was a round in the chamber? This leads me to two suppositions that are equally disturbing in my opinion. Either the six-year-old was taught by someone how to operate a semi-automatic handgun, or the gun was left in a ready to fire state wherever it was ‘stored’. In either instance, it sounds like we have another case of ‘responsible gun owners™’.
As of Saturday, the teacher was identified as Abby Zwerner. She was said to have had life-threatening injuries as she was being transported to a hospital. However, it has since been reported that she is in stable condition and improving.
The question now becomes, for the time being, what to do with the six-year-old shooter. Of course, a six-year-old cannot be charged as an adult. Under Virginia Law, a six-year-old cannot even be held by the Department of Juvenile Justice if convicted of a crime. However, if the child’s parents are somehow involved in how the six-year-old obtained the gun, parental rights could be revoked. But that still doesn’t answer what happens to the shooter. I would imagine a stay at a juvenile psychiatric facility would be in order, not as punishment, but as treatment, or else this kid is going to be messed up for a long time. But since this America, who knows what level of mental healthcare he would receive.
Richneck Elementary School does have metal detectors, but again, metal detectors are more security theater than anything. If schools checked kids like they do at airports, the school day would be over before they checked every one of the 550 students of the school. If you let the students enter the school normally while employing metal detectors, you would still only have a slight chance of finding a gun. According to reports, students are randomly checked, which is a sad thing to think of considering we’re talking about elementary school students.
Once again, one of our favorite politicians, Republican Virginia Governor Glenn Youngkin, offered up his thoughts and prayers.
“I am continuing to monitor the situation and am praying for the continued safety of all students and the community,” he wrote on Twitter.
He offered similar prayers after the shooting at the University of Virginia. Of course, he offered no solutions to reduce gun violence outside of his pointless prayers. I have nothing against people of faith, but there comes a time when you need to put down the Bible and start legislating.
Meanwhile, Newport News School Superintendent, George Parker III, had this to say…
In addition to assessing our established safety procedures, we will need the support of our community to significantly reduce the likelihood of a child or young adult gaining access to a weapon.
In other words, if you’re a parent, lock up your guns. It’s the absolute least you could do. Stop leaving loaded guns lying around the house while you’re waiting for a reason to kill someone in your home.
- Police: 6-Year-Old Shoots Teacher in Virginia Classroom
- Teacher injured by 6-year-old in shooting at elementary school: Police
- Newport News: Boy aged six detained after shooting teacher in US
- Six-year-old intentionally shot teacher in Virginia school, police say
- Teacher hurt in shooting at Newport News elementary school identified
- 6-year-old in custody after shooting teacher in Virginia, police chief says
- ‘It could have been prevented’: Richneck Elementary School parent addresses security issues following shooting