Another small town in America

And now, it is Antigo’s turn.

If you have not heard by now – highly unlikely if you follow the news at all – two students were shot as they were leaving last night’s prom at Antigo High School, less than an hour’s drive from here. According to police, they were shot at random, both wounded with non-life-threatening injuries. The suspected gunman – an 18-year-old, apparently a former honor student at AHS – was immediately shot by a police officer, who was one of several patrolling the event; the suspect was transported to the local hospital, where he died two hours later. A spokesman for the school district stated that the suspect had approached the school with a high-powered rifle and a large ammunition clip.

As of this writing – 4:30 PM, the day after the shooting – this is what we in the general public know. However, that has not stopped people from every corner of the country offering their theories as to why this happened. Not surprisingly, the observations run the gamut across the spectrum, both in terms of the various issues that are consistently raised, as well as the root causes of these issues. And, equally unsurprisingly, there are any number on both sides of a given argument who automatically seem to be blessed with all the answers…even though the content of their posts indicate that they likely had not read the story past the headline. Nor, for that matter, has it stopped some from distorting what actually happened to fit their respective agendas.

Most of you reading this likely have an opinion as to how situations like this could be best avoided. And, once again, there are some who may vehemently disagree with others as to the root causes. That is not the purpose of this post, however, and I would respectfully ask those of you who might wish to discuss these causes to kindly take the debate to a different forum. For today, at least, I would limit the speculation and assumptions to these points:

– What should have been a night of warm memories for so many people has been turned into a night of horror that will never be forgotten.

– Yet again, an act of violence that would have been unthinkable a generation ago has cut to the heart of another typical American town.

– A cop had to make a split-second, life-or-death decision that, although likely preventing further tragedy, resulted in his taking a life…something that I am sure was the farthest thing from his mind when his shift began, but that will likely be on his mind for the rest of his life.

– Whatever might have driven the gunman to his actions, he likely leaves behind friends and family who are likely as horrified as anybody else – but who also have to face the unthinkable horror that these acts were carried out by a loved one.

There will be plenty of time for debate another day, to be participated in by those with well-thought-out opinions on both sides of any given segment of the whole story – as well as those who know of nothing more than a mindlessly repeated talking point that will reinforce their preconceived notions.

But save it for another day if you would, please. For tonight, let Antigo be.

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