It seems really odd to me that a 15-year-old armed with a couple kitchen knives entered a Pennsylvania school and stabbed or slashed 22 people.
The kid must have some serious issues.
Stabbing is such an up-close and personal way to hurt someone. Seems like it would take a great deal of angst to muster the will to take part in a stabbing rampage.
Witnesses said the suspect –  16-year-old Alex Hribal – had a blank look on his face as he ran down 200 feet of hallway, stabbing and slashing anyone within reach.
His attorney says the kid is remorseful, but doesn’t seem to understand the gravity of what he did.
The lawyer, of course, wants a psychiatric evaluation.
Mo Canady is the executive director of the National Association of School Resource Officers. He told Associated Press that while knife attacks at schools are not unusual, they're most often limited to a single victim.
Even so, AP reports, there have been at least two major stabbing attacks at U.S. schools over the past year. The first at a community college in Texas where 14 people were wounded and another in  Texas where one student was killed and three were hurt.
The Hribal kid was reportedly kind of shy and quiet and kept to himself. But nobody described him as an outcast and nobody saw any indication he would become violent.
Investigators are looking into the kids computer and phone for clues, but there’s a strong likelihood that we will never know what motivated him.
More and more, I think it’s our culture and the pressures of society that just causes people to snap once and a while.
And no matter what we do, I don’t think we’ll ever be able to effectively predict or prevent these tragic eventualities.
I would guess a certain percentage of the population – albeit tiny, thankfully – is predisposed to that type of behavior. As the population grows, so does that tiny number of people predisposed to freak out and hurt people.
There may be some steps that could be taken. We do feed our kids a pretty steady diet of violence in the way they entertain themselves. Of course, there’s no way the government is going to get into the business of regulating violence in movies, music and video games.
A “graphic content” sticker is probably about as far as we can go and we’re already there.
The other thing that strikes me is that these kinds of events are nothing new. Things like this have been happening since the dawn of time. The difference today is social media and a 24/7 news cycle – and how we respond.
Here’s what I mean.
The worst school massacre in U.S. history occurred in Bath Township, Mich., near Lansing on May 18, 1927.
A guy by the name of Andrew Kehoe killed 38 elementary school children and six adults and injured at least 58 other people.
Kehoe, 55, was a school board treasurer. He was mad about tax increases and the fact that he lost an election for township clerk. He was in financial trouble and his wife was suffering from tuberculosis.
On that fateful day in 1927, Kehoe first murdered his wife. Then he set off a bunch of firebombs at his home and other farm buildings on his property. At about the same time, an explosion destroyed the north wing of the school, killing 36 kids and two teachers.
Kehoe used a timer and a detonator to ignite explosives he had rigged up over previous weeks. As rescuers were working at the blast site, he drove up, stopped and used a rifle to detonate explosives in his truck, killing himself, the school superintendent and several others and injuring many bystanders.
It’s what happened afterward that brings me to my point.
Nobody thought to institutive a whole bunch of new rules and regulations to keep kids safe.
No emergency lockdown procedures. No installation of security cameras. No keeping all doors locked. No emergency communication systems. No practice evacuation drills. No school resource officers. No student identification badges. No zero tolerance policies. No background checks. No gun-free zones. No threat assessment teams. No school-safety conferences to improve safety strategies.
People all across this great land just kept sending their kids to school as if nothing had happened.
I think people back then were able to see the incident for what it was. An extremely rare, extremely bizarre incident that would never be repeated.
Nobody perceived their child as less safe because of it.
There were other school shootings: Cologne, 1964; University of Texas, 1966; Montreal, 1989.
Nothing much happened after those, either.
But it seems like after Columbine in 1999 and the events of 9/11, we stopped feeling safe.
By any measure, our children are extremely safe in school. We just don’t feel that way.
I think that’s because in 1927, if you lived in New York, you might have read about the Bath School disaster a few days later in a newspaper. Or you may never have heard about it at all.
And even if you did hear about it, you didn’t feel connected to it. It might as well have happened in some third-world country.
But today, you feel like it happened right next door no matter where in the world it happened. Time and space has been compressed by technology and the media. You know anytime anything bad happens almost instantly, right on your smartphone. And when you get home you can see continuous live coverage.
So even though it’s more likely your child would be struck by lightning before being shot or stabbed at school, you feel like it’s an alarmingly real possibility. You feel like evil things are happening to children everywhere. All the time.
When people fear for the safety of their children, all kinds of measures are enacted.
Do these measures make your child any more safe? Not likely, because your child was almost immeasurably safe in the first place.
The people in 1927 were able to keep school violence in perspective.
Sadly, I think that ability has slipped away from us.