Shootings Rock Oregon School

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Once again, our televisions were filled with what has become an all-too-familiar scene: Two students dead, seven more in critical condition after a student opened fire with a rifle in his school cafeteria. The suspect, a 15-year-old named Kipland Kinkel, started shooting a little before 8 am Pacific Time at Thurston High in Springfield, just a day after he was expelled for bringing a gun to the Oregon high school.

Police later found two adults, possibly the boys parents, dead in his home. Witnesses say the suspect ran through the cafeteria firing a .22 caliber rifle from the hip. He was finally stopped when another student tackled him, and police took the suspect into custody within 20 minutes after the shooting started. One student died at the scene, and another at a hospital the next day.

Immediately thoughts went to those that had come before, devastating incidents that we remember by location: Paducah, Pearl, Jonesboro. If one is an aberration and three times make a trend, what do five in the past seven months signify? The scramble for explanations began, and, like always, nothing is adequate. The picture is of an average boy, baby faced, who got into trouble for throwing rocks at cars and who once gave a talk in speech class about how to build a bomb.

Still, no one could really believe it, even when it happened. "The shots, they sounded like firecrackers," one student told CNN. Only, once again, they weren't.