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Commentary: Chardon shooting was tragic but preventable

Thomas Ondrey / Cleveland Plain Dealer

Tragedy. Terror. Confusion. Loss. These along with many other words come to mind when thinking about the Chardon High School shooting, an event that has made international news.

Tragedy struck at CHS Monday morning when a shooting left three students dead and two other students injured. The alleged shooter, 17-year-old Thomas Lane, opened fire in the school cafeteria before a teacher chased him out of the school.

Daniel Parmertor, 16, died several hours after the shooting, according to multiple reports. Russell King Jr., 17, died Monday night and Demetrius Hewlin, 16, died Tuesday morning. The two injured students remain hospitalized, according to reports.

It is not only high schools that fall victim to these unfathomable events, but colleges and even elementary schools.

CHS is the second school in less than one week that has had a known issue with gun violence. An elementary school in Bremerton, Wash., also reported a shooting Feb. 22.

Although the situations behind the two shootings are different, there is still a question of why.

The shooting at Bremerton was reportedly an accident, but the 9-year-old boy accused of shooting a fellow classmate said he had a gun because he felt he needed protection, according to multiple reports.

But again, the question of why arises.

Why would a 9-year-old think he needed such severe protection? Did he think he needed it from strangers or bullies?

There are constant reports of bullying in all forms, from social media to the classic “Give me your lunch money” command, but the truth is, people don’t realize how these little quips or mean gestures can affect the way someone behaves, not only in the present but in the future.

It’s heartbreaking to think of the events that have transpired in the past few days, let alone the past few years.

As a Cleveland-area native, it terrifies me to think how close these shootings are getting to home. I did not go to CHS, but I am familiar with the area.

This style of shootings again make me ask why.

Why does one feel this is the only way to get through life?

I wonder what does one have to go through to ever reach that point, but in a way, I am glad that I do not know.

I feel bad for the victims and the families involved, but also that the accused gunman reached this point in his life.

Was this a case of mistreated childhood or bullying?

Bullying is something that can range in severity. There have almost always been schoolyard bullies and teasings, but they are growing into something that throws our whole society into jeopardy.

There have been multiple stories in the media of students who have dealt with the bullying in different ways, but most of the stories we see end in death in some way, either the public displays we have seen in recent days or more private actions, such as self-inflicted cuttings or suicides.

We need to realize how our actions impact those around us. This, for me, is made even more obvious because the proximity of my hometown to where the shooting occurred, but this should matter to every human being.

We need to raise people up and encourage others to stand up for what they believe in. We shouldn’t chastise someone for his or her differences. We need to treat people with love and respect.

This could have been something brought on by severe loneliness. We need to reach out to people and look out for those who might be in some kind of trouble. We as a culture need to stand up and do our part for each other. If you see someone having a bad day just take a moment and say, “Hi,” talk to the person, even if it is a complete stranger. We don’t know how our small actions can change someone else’s life.

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