Opinion | The University of Virginia shooting is the latest episode of gun violence

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“ACTIVE ATTACKER . . . RUN HIDE FIGHT.” That alert from the University of Virginia police got here at 10:42 pm on Sunday, sending the campus right into a terrified lockdown. Students huddled in a single day in libraries and educational buildings; they barricaded themselves of their residences and dorm rooms, hiding in closets and pushing furnishings towards doorways. After 12 hours of concern and fear — and after three college students have been killed and two others wounded — the police arrested the suspected gunman, and one other neighborhood irrevocably shaken by gun violence is asking why.

Murdered Sunday night time as they returned from a subject journey have been Devin Chandler, Lavel Davis Jr. and D’Sean Perry, all juniors and members of the college’s soccer staff. “These have been unimaginable younger males with large aspirations and very shiny futures,” mentioned the college’s first-year coach, Tony Elliott, in a press release. “My coronary heart is damaged for the victims and their households,” U-Va. President James E. Ryan mentioned, his voice cracking.

According to authorities, Christopher Darnell Jones Jr., a former member of the soccer staff, opened fireplace on a constitution bus that had pulled right into a college parking storage, full of college students coming back from a subject journey to Washington. The father of one of the wounded younger males mentioned that the college students have been in a drama class that had gone to see a play. Mr. Jones was on the bus. Authorities are nonetheless attempting to find out what drove him to allegedly pull out a gun and kill his classmates. Just as pressing is the query of whether or not the assault might have been prevented.

Just two months earlier than the shootings, Mr. Jones had been dropped at the consideration of the college job drive charged with figuring out and responding to threatening pupil conduct. During a overview of a hazing incident, a pupil advised college employees that Mr. Jones owned a gun. No one officers interviewed, together with Mr. Jones’s roommate, mentioned that they had seen the gun. Mr. Jones would not reply questions, however officers discovered that Mr. Jones had been convicted of a misdemeanor hid weapon violation in 2021, one thing he ought to have disclosed. Administrative disciplinary motion was pending.

On the eve of Mr. Jones’s 2018 highschool commencement, the Richmond Times-Dispatch profiled him, detailing how he grew up in public housing in Petersburg, Va., with three youthful siblings whom he usually cared for; how he struggled after his mother and father divorced; how he was commonly disciplined for stepping into fights. He appeared to have overcome these challenges, getting good grades, successful scholarships and incomes acceptance to the state’s prestigious public college.

Now, the college has a number of inquiries to reply. How did Mr. Jones get his gun? How did it go undetected even after its existence was reported to the college? Why did not the college transfer quicker to analyze Mr. Jones’s circumstances and stress for disciplinary motion? What warning indicators did they miss?

Answering these questions is not going to convey again those that died or heal those that are wounded. But it is essential that the public doesn’t turn out to be injured to those tragedies. The nation has logged one other grotesque episode in its dysfunctional relationship with weapons. Each one is completely different, however the classes are so usually the similar. Once once more, the public must relearn them.

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