Ingraham school shooting calls for yet another student protest


Arden Rathkopf

Students protest in front of a spray painted message reading “protect kids not guns” at Seattle City Hall after the Ingraham shooting.

Staff Editorial

On Dec. 20, 2012, just six days after the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting, the Talisman wrote that “there is almost no way to prevent these deadly shootings except to control what these unstable people use to conduct their mass murders; guns.” In 2016, following a gun threat on the Ballard campus, we wrote that “it’s high time that we took some kind of measure to protect civilians and prevent further tragedies.” Yet again in March of 2018, we covered nationwide student walkouts after 19-year-old Nikolas Cruz murdered 17 at Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla. Only seven months ago, we sat down to write an editorial about the tragedy in Uvalde, Texas, exhausted from watching a “never-ending cycle: shooting, thoughts and prayers, protest and repeat.” With regrettable foresight, we wrote that “we wish we could promise things will get better, but that would be a lie.”

The continuous cycle of school shootings. (Daphne Knox)

It’s been over a month since the deadly shooting at Ingraham High School, and we’ve seen this cycle repeat yet again. First, we were scared; scared for our friends, family and former classmates at Ingraham. We received texts from loved ones hiding in silent locked classrooms, unsure whether their lives were at risk. Once days had passed, we contended with shock and grief as we read articles describing the shooting. The coverage felt familiar, as we have all witnessed a regular onslaught of gun violence headlines, but this time they focused on our own local community. Next came the anger. We walked out, we chanted, we painted signs and we demanded change. Condolences were made, Instagram posts were shared and empty promises of safety were offered up. Seattle policymakers told us that what happened at Ingraham was a tragedy. They told us that they were horrified that a 14-year-old brought a gun into a school and took the life of another. SPS officials shared support, saying they were heartbroken for the family of the victim and the Ingraham community. They reminded us that it never should have happened.

But like the news coverage of shootings, we’ve heard this already. We’ve imagined possible escape routes from our classrooms, in an attempt to stifle fear of gun violence at Ballard. We’ve heard the same talking points every time a student is murdered in their own classroom. At this point, writing about gun violence feels unproductive and futile. Even the message that “we’ve heard it all before” is repetitive. We don’t know what else we can add to this conversation; it’s all been said already. 

What we will say is that every time gun violence takes the life of another student, it deserves to be covered. Regardless of the fatigue we feel, it is our duty to report on this. The weight of a school shooting is not lessened when it is one of thousands of similar events, and we must report on the gravity of each and every event. When school shooting coverage is no longer front page news as we become accustomed to these tragedies, we will have failed each child who has lost their life at the hands of gun violence. This is why we have dedicated considerable space in this issue to covering the school shooting at Ingraham. We may feel helpless and numb as we grieve, but we will not stop covering gun violence until substantial changes are made and students are safe in the classroom.