“This is not a school shooting,” said the spokeswoman for the Palm Beach Sheriff’s Office., in describing an incident in which two gunmen alleged shot two men, critically wounding one of them at high school football game in Wellington, Florida.
What she meant was that the Sheriff believes this was a targeted hit, involving a beef that has nothing to do with either of the schools who were playing when the gunshots rang out. One of the victims was a father who had gone to the game to watch his kid on the field. He assumed, wrongly, that a high school football field would be a safe public space.
This shooting in Wellington took place on August 17, making it the first incident of on-campus gun violence of the new 2018-19 academic year. It was, by Wikipedia’s compilation, the 19th time guns were fired on school properties since February 14, when seventeen students and staff were killed and seventeen were injured at Marjory Stonemen Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, just 40 minutes drive from Wellington.
In the six months and three days since the Parkland shootings, those 19 incidents at 12 public school and 7 college campuses killed 19 people and injured 31.
And that’s with ten weeks off for summer vacation during which there were no shooting incidents recorded.
That’s roughly the same time period during which students from Parkland, survivors of the shooting, friends and classmates of the victims, have been touring America on what they call the Road to Change, a campaign to register and motivate voters to support candidates who are for gun reform and against the National Rifle Association.
Of the 80 cities and towns the Parkland student caravan visited over fifty-nine days, one was Albuquerque, where, the Albuquerque Journal reported, “Hundreds came out to Roosevelt Park” to pledge support. Although they made themselves available for selfies and people-to-people exchanges, Emma Gonzalez and David Hogg, the early media stars of the shooting aftermath, did no interviews.
But Jammal Lemy, a Parkland grad who has designed t-shirts for the Parkland movement explained why Albuquerque was chosen, — because of a meeting with a parent from Aztec High School in northwest NM – where two students were fatally shot late last year, he told the Journal, and because, “We wanted to target districts that the youth turnout could affect elections.”
Steve LeVine is the Future Editor at Axios, a startup news site created by the founders of Politico, where he writes on the artificial intelligence, robots, and their impact on jobs, society, and geopolitics. He is a senior fellow on the Foresight, Strategy and Risk Initiative at the Atlantic Council and an adjunct professor at Georgetown University’s School of Foreign Service, where he teaches energy security in the graduate-level Security Studies Program. Previously, he was a foreign correspondent for eighteen years in the former Soviet Union, Pakistan and the Philippines, for The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, The Washington Post, the Financial Times and Newsweek.