Mass murder can happen anywhere

In the wake of the murder of 17 students and teachers at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, any debate over increasing security measures at any New Hampshire schools should halt.

To be opposed to increased security – cameras in the halls of Souhegan High School, for instance, or locked doors at every school with all students, faculty and staff required to wear identification badges – is to subscribe to the notion that it can’t happen here.

It is entirely plausible that at least some of the folks in Parkland felt that way, too. Tragically, they have learned that mass murder can happen anywhere.

New Hampshire is as much “anywhere.”

Here is a list of school shootings during the past 12 months, compiled by Madeline Farber and Zoe Szathmary for Fox News:

• Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, Florida

• Salvador B. Castro Middle School, California

• Marshall County High School, Kentucky

• Italy High School, Texas

• Aztec High School, New Mexico

• Rancho Tehama Elementary School, California

• Mattoon High School, Illinois.

• Freeman High School, Washington

• North Park Elementary School,


• Liberty-Salem High School, Ohio

These are not big city school districts. These are districts that resemble ours with students and faculty and staff like ours.

It’s possible that the people at Freeman High School or Italy High School also believed it couldn’t happen there.

We have been very lucky here. Yes, lucky, because we cannot assume that somehow, because we live in New Hampshire, we are immune to the insanity that was inflicted upon the folks in Aztec, New Mexico. They are good, law-abiding people, too, and they care for their children and their schools and wanted their kids to be safe.

But we can’t just want our kids to be safe. We have to ensure that safety. Open buildings and unmonitored hallways assume the best in all of us, but all we can safely do is assume the best in most of us.

So concerned were the officials at Southwestern High School in Shelbyville, Indiana, after the Sandy Hook Elementary School shootings in Connecticut that they agreed to an Indiana Sheriff’s Association security program, according to USA Today. The program brought the high school the following:

Cameras with a direct feed to the county sheriff’s office.

Teachers wearing panic buttons.

And smoke cannons in the hallways.

We are not suggesting that any local schools should go that far, at least not regarding the final item, but we are suggesting that schools that are not as prepared as they might be take steps right now.

It only takes one of us to bring horror to a school, and if we think it can’t happen here, well. … Perhaps we should talk to the folks in San Bernardino, California, or Benton, Kentucky. We are willing to assume they would advise us to lock our school doors, install cameras, and get those ID cards for everyone in the school system.