"The Nicest, Kindest Kid"

Shane HalliganHow could “the nicest, kindest kid” bring in a gun and kill himself?

This is the major question on everyone’s mind at Springfield Township High School.

From what I understand about the shooting, Shane Halligan, 16, didn’t bring the AK-47 to school to shoot up classmates. It was a public display of his pain – he brought the gun to school to kill himself and himself alone. No one else was injured.

The shooting has more to do with Halligan’s inner pain than probably classmates who might have taunted him – if there was any case of that. Halligan’s school shooting was not a Columbine repeat or similar to the Lancaster shooting in the quiet Amish community. Halligan had one goal: to kill himself.

My questions go beyond the school shooting. How could people have known Halligan was suicidal? What was Halligan’s family life like? He seemed to have been a quiet boy with a smile on his face. What could have driven a well-liked high school student to the point of suicide? Even more importantly, how did he gain access to an AK-47?

After doing some further research, I’ve learned that Halligan had the trouble that some teens typically face: low grades on a report card, some teasing from peers. His parents, obviously, did what any other parent would do to a teen with low grades: punished him. They told him he had to cut back on volunteer firefighting and wouldn’t be allowed to go to National Guard boot camp.

Most kids would be disappointed – enraged even – but blow off steam by talking bad about their parents or skulk around in frustration. However, Halligan took the blow quite hard – he sawed off the wooden stock of his father’s AK-47 so that it would be small enough to fit into his duffle bag for school the next day.

It appears that Halligan had no intention of hurting schoolmates. He fired five shots into the ceiling as a warning for other kids to get away. The sixth and final shot, went into his chin and through his head.

Although Halligan was “the nicest, kindest kid” to others, he didn’t seem to think that way of himself.

My sincerest condolances go out to Halligan’s family and those who knew him.

Today’s Mood: 6

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