Freud: Threats at Battle Mountain High School, or any other school, must stop (column)
Stop it now.
You might consider it a joke. You might consider it an offhanded remark. It doesn’t matter — it’s not amusing and, given national events, when you say something, people rightly are going to take it seriously.
Our veteran reporter Randy Wyrick reported on Friday, April 13, of the arrest of a student who had made a threat of violence at Battle Mountain High School earlier this month. That’s the second threat in one vein or another dating back to last spring on campus.
I stayed away from incorporating the first threat in my sports coverage in early May of last year because I didn’t want to give whomever was behind it any credit whatsoever.
One, however, didn’t need to be Sherlock Holmes to see the effect. Huskies track performed gloriously at the state meet with the 3,200-meter relay team winning gold. Yes, having the emotional fallout of the threat in the story might have added a little more of the triumphing-over-adversity angle, but I wanted the focus to be on Sofia Piliero, Alex Raichart, Lizzy and Naomi Harding being the best at what they do.
The Battle Mountain girls soccer team had a tearful postgame after a match at Vail Mountain School last spring. Huskies coach David Cope didn’t give a hoot about the loss to the Gore Rangers but was telling the kids he loved them and to try to enjoy prom that night.
In 1999, then girls soccer coach Hillary Fiveash — holy blast from the past, Batman — had a similar postgame huddle talk with her girls.
This was after Columbine, a sad landmark in the history of school shootings. It’s hard to believe that was 19 years ago.
Since then, we’ve seen Virginia Tech, Newtown, Connecticut, Roseburg, Oregon and Parkland, Florida, among others.
We’d be kidding ourselves to say, “It can’t happen here.” No one at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School thought it could happen in Parkland.
Mercifully, the threats at Battle Mountain appear to be much ado about nothing. Obviously, school officials have to take everything seriously and follow the new procedures of the day by the book.
I’m not going to go into the Second Amendment here. Having gotten to know the teachers/coaches, student-athletes and their families, the only thing I have to say is that I couldn’t stand to see the real thing happen here at any school.
We’ve lost kids such as Todd Walker, Jake Brock, Eric Spry and Andrew Claymon, just to name a few, far too early, as well as then-Eagle Valley volleyball coach Garrett LaForce, and each one was one too many.
As much as I wear my San Francisco Giants gear, this is my home. I’ve seen the Parkers grow up and the continuing evolutions of the Ellsworths and all things Wilson at Vail Christian. At Eagle Valley, I’ve had the running Smiths, the Gambles, assorted Martins and now the Booths.
VMS? Zdechlicks, McConathys and Hancocks. Battle Mountain? LyBargers, Drumms and now the Constiens.
When I start thinking of all the families and people involved, yes, statistically, it can happen here, but it just can’t.
Yes, as a writer, having to put tons of names in assorted stories just for the sake of putting kids’ names in the Vail Daily makes me cranky. I often think that Eagle County is Lake Wobegon at 8,000 feet … where all the children are above average.
All things being equal, let’s keep it that way.