Sparks Middle School shooting and bullying

Something is clearly wrong here. That a man can join the military, receive training and serve his country in war only to come home at the end of his tour of duty to be gunned down by a student at the school where he teaches, is definitely an indication of a serious problem.

Mike Landesberry

Mike Landesberry

No doubt it will be revealed that the gun the student used to kill former Marine and math teacher Mike Landesberry at Sparks Middle School in Nevada was legally purchased and owned by his parents, as if that makes the consequences of its use any less deadly. Still others will point out that had the teacher himself been armed he would have stood a much better chance of averting this most recent school  tragedy.

Meanwhile calls to address a bigger issue stand to be drowned out by the ever louder diatribes emanating from both sides of the gun control debate; namely bullying. Why did this 12-year-old child feel the need to go to school with a gun? What was it that drove him to take  such drastic measures? The availability of the gun? I don’t think so; many children live in houses with guns and don’t take it upon themselves to bring a weapon to school and shoot their fellow students and teachers. Will we learn that the child suffered from a mental illness? Perhaps. What we do know from initial statements made by  his schoolmates is that he was being bullied. One of them, Amaya Newton, said she “saw him getting bullied a couple of times, and I think he took out his bullying.”

October 2013 is Bullying Prevention Awareness Month the webpage provides a wealth of information for parents, teachers and, most importantly, children who are being bullied.

I think it is important to mention that bullying has developed from the days when it was essentially limited to shaking down a kid for his or her lunch money – not to imply that this was acceptable. Today bullies can  take advantage of social media to make their victims’ lives a living hell around the clock if they want to. While the bullies have gone high-tech, many of a certain age still see the problem as something a few boxing lessons in the basement can help a child deal with. Maybe that was a suitable defense at one time, but not now. October 2013 is Bullying Prevention Awareness Month and the webpage provides a wealth of information for parents, teachers and, most importantly, children who are being bullied. If anything less than horrific can stem from this school shooting perhaps it will be to draw the much-needed  attention of society  to the very serious problem of bullying.

MeDCMontreal is a Montreal writer born and raised who likes to establish balance and juxtapositions; a bit of this and a bit of that. a dash of Yin and a soupçon of Yang, some Peaks and Freans and maybe a bit of a sting in the tail! Please follow DC on Twitter @DCMontreal and on Facebook, and add him on Google+

2 thoughts on “Sparks Middle School shooting and bullying

  1. Thank you so much for posting this. It is disappointing that I am not seeing more discussion of the relevant issues in this forum (or anywhere). This may be, at least partially, because only one teacher and the gunman (if one may call a 12 year old boy that) were killed. It is not like Sandy Hook, where so many children were killed, so the story does not appear to have captured the public’s imagination. I say that we need to call upon our elected representatives to address ALL the issues. We need to stop ignoring the issues the second the reporters go home. You can read my take on this here:

    • We are in a bad way as a society when tragedies must meet a certain criterion – i.e. number of deaths – before they get people’s interest. One student killing one teacher isn’t something we should just shrug off as not newsworthy. Thanks for commenting.

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