Had law enforcement not intervened, perhaps Plattsmouth, Nebraska, would have been synonymous with Parkland, Florida, and others as the site of a deadly school shooting.
Authorities deemed the threat at the community’s high school was credible, announcing Feb. 20 that two boys at Plattsmouth High School were planning an attack and that the Cass County Sheriff’s Office had “secured” the weapon the students had intended to use.
Following the latest ghastly school shooting, a wave of wannabes sprung up nationwide. Whether these students are simply seeking misplaced glory — and infamy they’ll never receive — or harbor a despicable desire to end innocent human lives, our still-grieving country has no place for such grave threats. This sudden crush of copycats needs to be snuffed out immediately.
Officers who respond to and investigate these reports, credible or not, are performing a difficult job. Amid the FBI’s admission that it mishandled a tip about the Florida shooter, local law enforcement’s work on these incidents remains vital.
Those students and parents who caught wind of a possible danger and reported it to the proper officials also need praise. In an era where even schools aren’t safe from mass shootings, people can no longer shrug off any threat as idle.
This indictment of our culture is as sad as it is true, as the past week has proved to Nebraskans.
Plattsmouth was far from the only Nebraska school to receive a threat of this nature.
A student was arrested Feb. 20 at Millard South, where a student shot and killed a principal in 2011, for making terroristic threats. Omaha Northwest administrators sent parents a letter informing of a possible threat police determined wasn’t credible. Police said a Lincoln Southwest student brought a BB gun to school and showed it to several students.
All of these incidents occurred on the same day.
More may have occurred that have yet to be publicly reported. They aren’t normal under any circumstances. School shootings, no matter how regularly they occur, and threats against fellow students never will be normal.
Neither are the actions that inspire calls to bring more armed guards and security into schools. Kids aren’t supposed to learn in a building that feels like a prison. Yet some people have tired of indiscriminate violence to the point where they see no other way to forward.
That’s the sound of defeat, accepting that random shootings will prematurely kill children. We’re better than that. The solution is many-pronged and must address access to firearms and improved mental health services among other steps.
Maybe then we could prevent another town name from becoming analogous with tragedy.