WTVM Editorial 4/4/18: Seeing warning signs

WTVM Editorial 4/4/18: Seeing warning signs
(Source: AP Graphics)

(WTVM) - The nature of news is to report what happens…so, it's rare to cover news that never happened.

But when it comes to school violence, the stories about tragedies that are not happening - and never will happen - is very good news certainly worth reporting.

That's what's been going on locally at several area school districts, where authorities have acted quickly to prevent threats, most made on social media, from becoming reality.

School officials have done this by taking every threat seriously, from the very beginning.

That's also happening around the country, as school authorities and police are on hyper-alert. They have learned not to ignore certain warning signs, like those in a case you probably never heard of.

A University of Central Florida student from China, here on a student visa, could have been the next mass killer.

Instead, he's getting quietly deported to his homeland because he matched certain mass killer criteria: he bought and bragged about a rifle, dyed his hair and stopped going to classes.

That's just what James Holmes, the Aurora, Colorado movie theater shooter did before he shot and killed 12 people in 2012.

Holmes had cut his college classes, too…and dyed his hair an unforgettable and extremely weird orange.

So, when the Chinese student stopped going to classes, dyed his hair blond, bought firearms and then paid for a new Corvette in cash – police quickly decided he could be a potential assassin.

In this case, police got pro-active and urged an immigration judge to pull the student's F-1 visa and get him on a plane back to China as soon as possible.

This quick and decisive action is just what should happen, versus what did happen in Parkland, Florida.

That's where police, school and public health officials all failed to heed the multiple, blaring warning signs that Nikolas Cruz was a killer-in-waiting.

Orlando police investigators agree they learned painful lessons from that and every previous school shooting.

We know past behavior can indicate future behavior – if we're smart enough to see it.

Stopping school shootings is a difficult and complex issue.

General Manager Holly Steuart brings two editorials a week to WTVM. If you would like to respond to an editorial, e-mail your response to hsteuart@wtvm.com or write to:

WTVM Editorial Committee

1909 Wynnton Road

Columbus, GA 31906

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