The Register-Herald, Beckley, West Virginia

September 26, 2012

Kids with guns

The Register-Herald

— The news did not come from downtown East Los Angeles or the hard streets of New York City.

It came from Beckley.

A middle school student brought a 9 millimeter pistol, marijuana and alcohol to the Woodrow Wilson High School homecoming football game last Friday.

While the incident is still under investigation, it is already a very disturbing occurrence in a region that we have typically deemed to be safe.

We’re kicked back and relaxed here in West Virginia, aren’t we?

What’s more community-friendly than a Friday night high school football game — on homecoming night even?

Yet, this very dangerous find has us wondering — is this an isolated incident or has our area fallen to the same societal woes as the ones usually reserved for major metropolises?

This incident should serve as a real eye-opener for all.

The homecoming dance at the high school was canceled after the discovery last Friday.

It may be the first of many cancellations or altering of events.

With recent campus attacks such as Columbine and Virginia Tech to draw from, we would be irresponsible to ignore the possibilities of similar events happening in our own backyard.

A generation raised on video games and movies that glorify violence is now taking up arms themselves, at a very tender age.

Including Raleigh County residents.

Fortunately, the suspect was apprehended before anyone was hurt.

Interestingly, on the same Friday night just 70 miles north from Beckley, fans at Sissonville High School were told that they could not hold an organized prayer before their football game.

Sissonville students and parents protested after The Freedom From Religion Foundation told the school system Sissonville High School had to stop saying a prayer over the loudspeaker before football games. They prayed together anyway.

Reportedly, a Sissonville parent had complained about prayers at football games, prompting a letter from the organization to Kanawha County Schools Superintendent Ron Duerring.

If that parent’s child would have been a victim at the hands of a gun-toting classmate behind the bleachers on Friday evening, would his view be different?

While an organized, “official” prayer may not be allowed, citizens can certainly do their part in taking back their neighborhoods and communities.

Hopefully before it’s too late.

While we still have a prayer.