As many as three attackers entered a county building that serves people with disabilities in San Bernardino, California, at about 11 AM and started shooting, killing at least 14 people and wounding 17 or more others, the New York Times reports, citing law enforcement officials. The assailants remained at large for hours, and their motives are unknown.
All 70 schools in San Bernardino City Unified School District were immediately placed on lockdown and kept there, as the gunmen were still at large several hours after the shooting.
— NBC Los Angeles (@NBCLA) December 2, 2015
In addition, the bus company that provides transportation for SBCUSD was said to be offering its buses to transport victims and witnesses of the shooting, according to a report in the Los Angeles Times, which cited SBCUSD spokeswoman Linda Berdere.
Furthermore, other locations near the shooting, including a golf course and other locations of public accommodation, were locked down.
Local buildings near mass shooting, including schools are on lockdown in San Bernardino, CA.
— Shirley Washington (@SWashingtonTV) December 2, 2015
The situation is still developing as of 2:30 California time, and police have promised an update every hour.
SUV found full of weapons. manhunt underway #SanBernadino
— Lionheart (@LionheartDTX) December 2, 2015
Without the Inland Regional Center, Kristine Metcalf doesn’t know if her 11-year-old daughter would have ever learned to walk or talk.
Since her birth, Metcalf has used the center’s services to help care for her disabled child. Kimie was born premature, blind in her right eye and with cerebral palsy. At age 4, she was diagnosed with a rare form of blood cancer.
But today, she is a spirited grade schooler who has actually spoken as an ambassador on behalf of the center.
The names of the victims have not yet been released, but we expect that information will be forthcoming. We’ll also soon learn more about the attackers and possibly about their motives. It seems, sadly, we’ve been down this road before, the road on which we pray for victims and ask God that such a thing might never happen again. Our prayers fell on deaf ears last time, and I see no point in offering them now.
- Teachers and others (counselors, principals) need to learn to talk about the feelings vulnerable kids experience that might lead to this kind of violent outburst. We need to strengthen our recognition of and learning about not mental disease so much, but normal social-emotional development. The fact that we have to devote so many educational resources to the teaching of tested subjects means we direct those resources away from social and emotional development.
- We need to get automatic assault weapons off the street. We could, if politicians were so inclined, begin buy-back programs. Or, maybe Mark Zuckerburg’s recent offer of about $44 billion to charitable causes to make the world better for his daughter could help.
- We need to institute screening programs that include a better “stress test” rather than just consideration of mental health and criminal backgrounds. We do something similar for driving, because driving is dangerous. Teenagers always have to pass a test, an eye screening, and a practical exam demonstrating the ability to use a car. The same should be done for guns, which are being used to kill massive numbers of people very quickly and on purpose.
- And as with automobiles, an insurance requirement needs to be created for gun owners just in case their guns are used for killing people or terrorizing schools or other government facilities. At the minimum, the families of people killed will have to pay for funerals, and the wounded will have to pay doctors’ bills. Some of that money may come from our taxes or their own insurance, but we need to rethink that plan for payment of expenses incurred by crime victims.
- The right to own an assault weapon doesn’t supersede the right to pursue happiness in America. We need to draw some meaningful lines because of updates to our weaponry, just as we have drawn new lines in the First Amendment because of updates to our communication media.
Other recent mass shootings
According to the Guns Are Cool subreddit, the mass shooting in San Bernardino was the 355th mass shooting this year. But this inflated statistic considers events like the one in San Bernardino to be in the same category as others, like a late-night gang shooting in Atlanta.
Looking at the pure statistics this way tends to drown out the useful information because of statistical “noise.” If we are to deal with the problem, we need a more precise definition of “mass shooting.”
Locally, other mass shootings in the last two weeks include the following: