Lance Scranton: Moffat County High School threat challenges views of normalcy
The part of the world we like to think we are sheltered from charged into our community last week. Parents, students, teachers, administrators and our whole community were caught off-guard by the sudden and visceral assault on our shared small town values and ideals. The response to the threat was rapid and remarkably well-coordinated by officials who work within our schools and communities to keep us safe.
The high school was likely the safest place to be last Friday but, understandably, some parents kept their kids home. because they were a bit scared and upset about the discovery of a planned attack.
In the coming days and weeks, blame will be placed for the scare (rightfully so) at the feet of those who are responsible. We all hope this was an isolated incident and that we can get back to normalcy in the days ahead. Certainly, we will be comforted by the actions of the people involved in stopping the plan, and we are secure in the knowledge that we have avoided what could have been a terrible tragedy.
The incident will cause some to lose faith in the apparatus we have hung our collective hopes on for many years: public schools. I have been a public school teacher for 25 years, and I never thought that, as I began to hit my stride as a professional, that it might include someday running to save lives, or for my life, or from someone trying to take my life. I have seen my fair share of injustices visited upon people who spend their days doing everything they can to help children become grown-ups we can be proud of; but to go to work each day knowing that somebody, somewhere, might be planning to wreak destruction on your school is really difficult to fathom.
The part of the world that came to our community last week is nothing more and nothing less than that which is determined to make all of us fearful. Some describe it, correctly I believe, as evil; it has been around a long time and has had its way so many times down through our history.
Others take a different view and describe the conditions that led to the actions as the cause. Whatever your particular disposition, what happened is scary.
So, short of shutting down our schools and staying away from anywhere that might be dangerous, most of us will use this past week’s events to take a hard look at ourselves and make a determination about how we move forward. Reality is knowing we can’t control everything or everyone; we can’t make the world completely safe, and we can never figure out, totally, why someone thinks destroying lives is the answer to any problem.
But, we can continue to do what most of us do best: Live out our daily life in the full knowledge of reality and determine to do our best with what we have been given, for as many as we can, for as often as we can, for as long as we can. The reality is, the only thing I can control is how I will face down the part of the world I don’t want in our community.
Lance Scranton is a teacher and coach at Moffat County High School.
This week’s picture book for children was written and illustrated by David Litchfield who lives in the United Kingdom. “The Bear, the Piano, the Dog, and the Fiddle” is a sequel to “The Bear and the Piano,” a best-selling picture book.