Tuesday, January 24, 2006

Family to blame for ignoring pain (Florida Shooting Invovling Airsoft Gun)

The cliché "it's better to be safe than sorry," has never been more true than for the incident involving Christopher Penley, the eighth-grader who held a fellow student hostage at gunpoint in a Longwood, Fla., school was shot by law enforcement and later died from his injuries.

The loss of Penley's life is, no doubt, a crying shame. What makes it worse is the fact his weapon turned out to be an airsoft plastic pellet gun, which was painted black to mimic a deadly weapon.

According to the Associated Press, Penley's family is not only devastated by its loss but "angry" because of the reaction of law enforcement. His father and brother both insist they informed authorities the gun was a pellet gun, not the 9 mm Beretta handgun police believed it to be, and Penley's family is now questioning the shooting.

"I'm not pointing my finger at anyone," said Mark Nation, the Penley family attorney in an Orlando Sentinel article. "We all have a lot of (investigative) work to do," he said.... (For full article please refer to original article)

If a neighbor had seen the signs the family may have seen them as well.

There is no easy solution to the trend in student-on-student violence, but certainly it is not the job of law enforcement to fix it. The solution begins at home with intervention, before things escalate.

Fake gun or not, the fiasco was obviously a final cry for attention and things should not have progressed to that stage. The healing should have begun at home.

In the end, a tragedy resulted from this teen's mental instability, but at least the tragedy was only his own life lost and not the lives of other students.

Instead of finding fault with law enforcement, families everywhere should take this as a reminder to attend to and monitor their children's emotional well-being.

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