Veteran Thoughts: North Park shooting

By Arturo Brooks |Staff Writer|

Cartoon avatar of Arturo Brooks created by Matthew Miller, the CSUSB student.

It was a normal sunny Monday morning in San Bernardino when a tragic event occurred: North Park Elementary was shaken by a shooting.

When I first heard of this tragic event unfolding, I wondered, was this a terrorist attack, an angered student, or a troubled individual?

I sat in class observing my fellow classmates, curious to see how they would respond.

They responded as I expected them to, in a shock and alarmed manner.

Murmurs began to spread in the class, questioning, “Is this another terrorist attack?”

We received campus security emails on the situation and how to react.

Maintenance came by to made sure our door was locked from the outside.

Within the last ten minutes of my hour long class, we received news that the situation was under control and classes would continue as usual.

Not truly understanding the situation at hand, I took it upon myself to gather the facts myself and seek an explanation of the event.

I knew I had to find my own explanation, not only for the newspaper, but to see how things were handled from a first person perspective and not from word of mouth.

To see what was happening, at 1:10 p.m., I rushed to Physical Education building, Room 101, where the children from the North Park Elementary were being sheltered.

The campus security had blocked off areas surrounding the building.

I asked around to find a way to get closer to the building, so that I could ask parents how they were feeling and how they felt that the situation was handled.

When I was finally able to locate one of the parents, they walked me in order to bypass security.

I began by asking simple questions, such as how they were feeling and if they were still concerned.

The parents I interviewed praised the San Bernardino Police Department (SBPD) for handling the situation swiftly and professionally.

In the light of the horrendous event that had taken place earlier in the day, I was shocked to hear children singing and laughing.

The reasons why parents were so relieved with the SBPD was because they did their best to keep the children’s spirits up, as well as with the help from other campus and community members. Community members included Sodexo and Stater Bros., which swiftly provided snacks and water.

With talking to the parents, I began to think and look at the situation from a military perspective, with me being a combat veteran of Operation Enduring Freedom (OEF) of how the situation was handled and even what the shooter had done.

The sad part about hearing how the situation unfolded was that all I could come up with is how something broke the camel’s back and pushed this man to do this heinous act.

I am not giving this man any sympathy, but something ticked him off to do this.

But it doesn’t matter what caused him to snap, what matters is a young boy was killed in the process.

What bothered me the most wasn’t the fact that this had happened, but the amount of attention that people had focused on themselves rather than on the children.

I understand that we must move on with our lives, however, at the same time, those who are in harm’s way come before us.