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  • Writer's pictureHoward McBroom

The Janitor Who Turned Himself In

This story takes place in Medford, Oregon. A 24-year old janitor at South Medford High School had been planning to commit a mass murder spree there. He had an arsenal of guns and had made detailed plans to shoot up the school and kill as many people as he could. Thankfully, at the last moment, he decided to couldn’t go through with it and decided to turn himself in to the police. After he was arrested, the police released a statement saying if he hadn’t turned himself in, the shooting would’ve happened. They said they had no leads on this guy at all; there were no warning signs whatsoever. He hadn’t Tweeted anything, hadn’t said anything on social media, and hadn’t confided in any of his friends about it. If this guy had not turned himself in, god only knows how many people would’ve died. The people at that school are incredibly lucky that this guy had a good enough heart to turn himself in instead of going through with the shooting, but I can’t imagine how the parents must’ve felt when they heard that their school janitor had been planning to kill their children. If I were a parent, I would be frightened out of my wits and I’d think very seriously about pulling my child out of that school.

Every time a mass murder happens or almost happens, another nail gets put in the coffin of democracy, inclusion, dignity, and basic human rights. How can people live like this? How can you live knowing that every time you send your child to school, they might be a victim of a school shooting? If white nationalists rise to power and tell you that democracy is no good and that we need to get rid of liberals and go back to the old America where white people are on top and everybody else is on the bottom, you might listen to them. If the alternative is sending your child to school to possibly get shot, you’re going to put yourself first and do whatever is best for your family. I would like to think that people would be more tolerant, well-minded and caring than that, that they would agree to support inclusion no matter what and resist hate, but history shows otherwise. History shows that people go along with whatever works for them, even if that means seeing their neighbors getting killed. We know what happened to the Jews in Germany under Hitler and the kulaks in Russia under Stalin; the same thing could very easily happen here if mass shootings keep happening. Our current environment is not conducive to inclusion, democracy, tolerance, or respect for human rights and we need to change that, but I don’t think our political leaders are fully this aware of this. I don’t think they realize just how bad things are or what is needed to stop this climate of hate.

We are very fortunate that the janitor in Oregon turned himself in. He had enough decency and respect for human life not to go through with the shooting, but we need to talk to him to find out why he hated so much. I think people like him can tell us what’s going wrong, why people are turning to hatred, and what we can do to stop it. He can give us the answers we need. We need to know what goes through the minds of these people so we can help them and prevent them from giving into hate. Hate will not solve any problems. That is the message we should be conveying. Instead of concentrating on gun control, we need to focus on what goes on in these peoples’ minds because ultimately, that’s much more important than how many guns they have. The janitor had a lot of guns but ultimately chose not to use them. Thank god he stopped himself from committing mass murder.

We really need to stop shooters from going on sprees because every time that happens, people get frightened. If I were a parent in Medford, Oregon, I would be scared out of my mind knowing that my child could have been killed. I can’t blame people for being frightened, but if they turn to white nationalism, they’re making the wrong choice. Hatred will only make our problems worse. Turning the clock back on democracy and freedom isn’t the answer, and a brutal dictatorship will lead our country to disaster. Hitler and Stalin were the worst things that could’ve happened to Germany and Russia. If they had not come to power, World War II and the Holocaust would have never occurred. The same terrible thing might happen here if white nationalists take over. A few people will reign supreme as kings and everyone else will be dirt at their feet. If mass murder isn’t stopped, we might be forced to flee the country to avoid being locked up, disenfranchised, and killed. Our lives will won’t be worth anything if an extremist government comes to power.

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