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  • Writer's pictureRobin Lyons

Request Denied

When I was a school board member, I experienced the aftermath of a school shooting when an employee shot and killed our school principal.

The case I'm sharing below brought back memories and made me consider how I’d feel if the school shooter I know who's serving 50 years to life were to be paroled.

Back story for this true crime: On a winter day in a small Kentucky town, a 14-year-old student took two weapons to school wrapped in a blanket. When he and his sister arrived at school, he began shooting.

On that life altering day for the families and community, the shooter shot eight students—three died, five injured. The shooter gave no explanation for his actions other than he believed his parents didn’t love him and his classmates teased him and called him gay.

People often wonder where young people get the weapons that they use in school shootings. In this case, he’d stolen the guns from his father and neighbors.

Often, people reason the shooter had been a trouble student. The school reported they’d never suspended the student, and he’d had no serious discipline offenses.

Friends seldom believe it when they’re told, but like in this case, and so many others, he warned friends that “something big was going to happen.”

A judge accepted the shooter’s guilty plea and sentenced the 14-year-old boy to 25-years with the possibility of parole.

Now, 25-years later, he requested to be paroled. The parole board considered all the facts:

· Multiple mental health diagnoses over the course of 25 years

· His plan should they grant him parole

· Testimony from survivors

The parole board denied his request.

One woman, who the teen shot and has spent the rest of her life in a wheelchair, said,

“Him staying in prison for life is the only way his victims can feel comfortable and safe.”

Another victim felt the court held him responsible for the actions of a child. And because he’d spent two-thirds of his life in prison he deserved a chance to do some good in the community.

His request was his last opportunity to be paroled—he will now spend the rest of his life in prison. #schoolshooting #schoolviolence

In an interesting twist, the authorities found Stephen King’s novel “Rage,” published in 1977, in the shooter’s school locker. The book’s premise is a school shooting. During the 1980s and 1990s, other school shooters possessed the same novel. At the author’s request, the publisher pulled the novel from publication.

Speaking about the out-of-print novel, Author Stephen King said, in part, that he acknowledged the role that cultural or artistic products such as his novel play influencing individuals, particularly troubled youths…. He also declared that artists should not be denied the aesthetic opportunity to draw upon their own culture which is suffused with violence in their own work.

King also wrote a book, “Guns,” sharing his thoughts on gun violence in America.

Source: ABC News, Los Angeles Time, Wikipedia

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