Weekend Update 10/1/2016: Six-year-old in critical condition
I was first alerted to the shooting at Townville Elementary School in South Carolina by a friend on Twitter sharing the link and commenting that this school was only about 10 miles from his parents’ home. I read the first story, and was relieved that despite two children and a teacher being shot, that authorities said none of the injuries were life-threatening. So later in the week, when I looked for a more complete story to put in Friday Links, I was sad to see that one six-year-old boy was still listed in critical condition. I found more detailed stories since: 6-Year-Old Boy Hurt in South Carolina School Shooting Remains in Critical Condition, Has Brain Damage and
South Carolina first-grader critically wounded in school shooting lost 75% of blood.
So the poor boy nearly bled to death, and has suffered brain damage (and mostly likely several other organs as well) due to the lack of oxygen because of the lack of blood. He was reportedly clinically dead twice, but was revived both times.
Reading these stories is really difficult. I am reminded of Mr. Rogers’ famous advice when reading or seeing tragic news: look for the helpers. We have at least two heroes in this story: Jamie Brock, a volunteer firefighter who tackled to the teen shooter and held him until police got there, and Meghan Hollingsworth, the first-grade teacher who was shot and when the volunteer firefighters arrived, refused treatment until the two children had been seen to.
It’s a sad story all around. The 14-year-old shooter had been expelled or suspended (depending on which news story you read) from public school at some point earlier for bringing a weapon to school and has since been homeschooled. The day of the shooting, the teen apparently shot and killed his father, called his grandmother but was crying too hard to be understood, then jumped into a pickup truck and drove three miles before crashing at the elementary school and opening fire. We don’t know if he intended to go to that school, since he didn’t have a driver’s license and may not have had good control of the car. We don’t know why he killed his father. Was there an argument, or was it something even more stupid? And so on.
Which makes it not unlike the shooting that happened here in Washington state last week. No motive has yet been uncovered, and going by news headlines, all the media cares about is that the initial reports that he was a permanent resident alien were incorrect, he had actually completed the naturalization process a while ago. But that hasn’t stopped our incompetent state Secretary of State from proposing draconion voter ID regulations using the shooter as an excuse.
Seriously, why he killed five strangers in less than 60 seconds is a more important question than his citizenship status.
I need some happy news after that, so here’s this: One Judge Reunites with Hundreds of Couples She Married, Helped with Adoptions. Just four years ago, after the voter-approved marriage equality law went into effect here in Washington state, Judge Mary Yu opened her courtroom at midnight to perform marriages for gay and lesbian couples on the very first day. “Let Mary Yu Marry You” was in the official announcement that the court would open that night.
Judge Yu has since been appointed to fill an unexpired term on the state Supreme Court, becoming the first openly queer state Supreme Court Justice (she’s also the first asian and the first woman of color to sit on the court). She had to win a special election in 2015 to remain on the court for the rest of the term… which ends in January, so she’s up for election again.
Anyway, the article I linked includes a lot of stories from the couples whose adoptions or marriages Yu handled during her years on the county Superior Court. Here’s just one:
“In August of 2011 Whitney [Taylor] had unexpectedly been diagnosed with a brain tumor shortly after our daughter was born,” Amy Babcock wrote. “We wanted to make sure Whitney’s second parent adoption of our daughter was finalized before her surgery to remove the tumor, so Justice Mary Yu spent her lunch break the day before Whitney’s surgery finalizing the second parent adoption for us. It was a time of fear and uncertainty for our family, but Justice Yu provided us joy and thankfulness during that time. We are forever thankful to Justice Yu for ensuring our family was protected and celebrated. In 2015, Justice Yu performed the second parent adoption of our son as well, and we were able this time to celebrate with a room full of friends and family.”
I need a kleenex.