School shootings – Florida and beyond
On February 14, 2018, a lone deranged 19 year-old gunman entered Stoneman Douglas high school in Florida and started opening fire indiscriminately at anything that moved. He was armed with a deadly assault rifle and he wreaked havoc at the school that morning,killing 17 and injuring many others. It has come to light that armed security guards were at the scene but refused to enter the grounds which unequivocally prolonged the carnage. Eventually the shooter was captured. His ruthless assault on his former school, teachers, and classmates sent tremors throughout America and shook it at its core. So many questions were asked. How could he do this? Why would he do this? How did he obtain the weapon to do this? Were there any signs that he was going to do this type of thing beforehand? What can be done to prevent further operations like this in the future? How about banning assault rifles? How about arming teachers? How has the land of dreams become a land of fear and nightmares?
One month earlier on January 19, 2018, in a similar setting though thousands of kilometers away from Florida,a small religious-studies school was attacked. It was an all-boys school consisting of roughly 70 students most of them under the age of 15 and there was only one teacher present at that time. The attack, which occurred in the middle of the night, was not executed by one deranged shooter but by a squad of well-trained men. Immediately when the school was attacked the lone teacher did all he could to protect his terrified students. He grabbed his rifle and tried to repel the attackers back while some of his frightened students fled to safety under the darkness of the night. Although he was greatly outnumbered, he fought courageously and selflessly until finally he was killed by the attackers. The attackers were then able to breach the school building and therethey found four precious but motionless bodies; they had also killed four boys under the age of 15 in their attack, while other students also sustained injuries. That unimaginable and horrific sight didn’t stop them from completing their malicious plan. They rounded up the students who weren’t fortunate enough to escape and then disappeared into the night, literally kidnapping32 students, including some who desperately needed medical attention. One student was reported to have died while in their custody.Summary of mission accomplishments: in a school of around 70 boys, at least 10 killed or injured and 32 kidnapped.
Many questions would be asked as they were similarly asked after the Florida school shooting. But the scenarios and geographical locations are totally different. Both schools were filled with eager young minds trying to grow and develop to make a difference in the world but the perpetrators of these shocking deeds couldn’t be more different. In Florida the shooter was a deranged highly unstable 19 year-old with an assault rifle. Whereas the attack on the boys’ school in Somalia was carefully planned and executed by the US military utilizing highly-trained troops using all types of heavy weaponry including, of course, assault rifles. The armed guards in Florida chose to wait out the event while the armed teacher at the boys’ school chose to defend his terrified students and gave his life doing so.
It is really quite understandable to see the uproar in America over the school shooting in Florida which is just one in a string of school shootings that has plagued the land of opportunity for the past few decades. But what is really astonishing is to see the complete silence over the military tactics and strategies being used by the US Military around the world. I mean, a night attack on an all-boys school where students are being taught their religion, killing many of the students!!! No uproar???!!! These young guys were just kids who were getting an education developing their literary skills, memorizing the Quran, and learning the basic aspects of their religion. Where has America reached now? What kind of precedent is America setting? I am really dumbfounded by this operation but I guess that is how far they have gone.
On August 25, 2017, in another raid on a farm in a small town called Bariire near Mogadishu,that same US-led assault team attacked and killed a group of 10 farmers including one child. Everyone was in an uproar over the massacre and as usual the military tried to sidestep the media blunder by saying they would set up an investigation to look into it. It is important to comprehend that no matter if the military is able to fool the journalists or influence the media coverage or convince the Senate, the Somali people on the ground know the reality. And even as neighbors of the deceased, community members, and even US-allied Somali government officials stated that the 10 victims were farmers and businessmen, the US military up to this date still insists that they were terrorists and were legitimate targets. They must have been terrorists of course, like the five boys that they killed from the school. They must have been terrorists like the family of seven that was bombed in a small town called Ahmed Yerey in southern Somalia on August 17, 2017. Of course anyone who is killed by the US military must be a terrorist… I think everyone in Somalia has understood that now.
So the question remains for the American people, while you are searching for the solution to your school shootings, you should also look for the solution to your countries’ school shootings and indiscriminate operations along with their stubborn refusal to carry responsibility for their actions. Your proposed ban on assault rifles, would it also include banning US Military personnel from their use? Would your proposal to make schools hard targets include a clause forbidding the US military from attacking schools around the world? Would your study of the perpetrators of school shootings in the US include a study of those who ordered the school massacre in Somalia, from Trump to General Thomas D. Waldhauserto even those who executed the operation?While America is contemplating the death penalty for the apprehended Florida school shooter, what penalty would you recommend for the Somalia school shooters who are still at large? When you ask the question of “why”, you must know that Somalislove learning and they love their religion. And although they are bracing for the next ruthlessly arrogant attack which may literally be on an elementary school or a learning institute for the elderly or an all-girls Quran school, they will stand together as a community and never allow any cowardly abhorrent act to take away their right and duty to learn and empower themselves. They will not be terrorized into ignorance!
It is high time for high school students in America to research and understand the crimes that the US government and military have committed over the past few decades and with that understanding they may get one step closer to finding a solution to the unrelenting string of school shootings in the land of guns, fear, and hypocrisy.
A concerned parent in Somalia
Bring our Boys back!