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Tue Dec 18, 2012, 12:27 PM

Man from 1988 Pinellas Park High School shooting: 'There are no preventable measures'

HOLIDAY Jason Harless was at Wendy's when news of the elementary school shooting came from the small Connecticut town. He said he was stunned. He couldn't see why someone would go after children with a gun.

"They're kids," he said. "That's incomprehensible."

It wasn't until some time later that he realized reporters might come knocking on his door.

In February 1988, Harless, then 15 years old, made headlines as the gunman in a different school shooting.

He and a friend both came to Pinellas Park High School with stolen .38-caliber revolvers. Administrators confronted the boys in the cafeteria. There was a struggle. By the end, Harless had shot a student teacher in the leg, fired three bullets into an administrator's abdomen and shot an assistant principal in the head a point-blank range, which later killed the man.

http://www.tampabay.com/news/publicsafety/man-from-1988-pinellas-park-high-school-shooting-there-are-no-preventable/1266574


This occured at my High School about 3 years before I got there. I would think he would still be in prison.

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Reply Man from 1988 Pinellas Park High School shooting: 'There are no preventable measures' (Original post)
Tony_FLADEM Dec 2012 OP
tk2kewl Dec 2012 #1
ProudToBeBlueInRhody Dec 2012 #4
enlightenment Dec 2012 #2
ProudToBeBlueInRhody Dec 2012 #5
Brickbat Dec 2012 #3
blueclown Dec 2012 #6
Tony_FLADEM Dec 2012 #7
blueclown Dec 2012 #8
Tony_FLADEM Dec 2012 #9

Response to Tony_FLADEM (Original post)

Tue Dec 18, 2012, 12:30 PM

1. and the outcome was much less severe becuase he only had a six-shooter

case closed

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Response to tk2kewl (Reply #1)

Tue Dec 18, 2012, 12:55 PM

4. And....as was stated in the article....

....he had no motive.

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Response to Tony_FLADEM (Original post)

Tue Dec 18, 2012, 12:44 PM

2. And this statement sums up the root of the problem:

"All it took," he said, holding his fingers an inch apart, "was mere moments".


That's the problem. A gun is a remarkable effective tool for its purpose. Its purpose is to kill and it does it very well.

Can a knife kill? Of course. But there really is little equivalence between a knife and a gun when it comes to effectiveness and speed. If they were equally effective, soldiers would still be carrying swords wouldn't they?

These young men didn't even have a reason to kill - but they did, because they were carrying those remarkably effective killing tools. That sad story happens every single day in this country. People get angry or upset or frightened ALL the time - but you rarely hear about that unless those people have a gun in their hand - and then all it takes is a moment for their anger, upset, or fear to turn into a tragedy for them, for their victims, for the families and communities.

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Response to enlightenment (Reply #2)

Tue Dec 18, 2012, 12:58 PM

5. Motive and intent do make a difference, however

I have no doubt if these two had wanted to kill a bunch of teachers, kids, etc....they could have done it.

This 1988 incident sounds like a situation where they were just trying to be cool or whatever, got confronted and got scared and the guns went off.



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Response to Tony_FLADEM (Original post)

Tue Dec 18, 2012, 12:49 PM

3. If someone had a ruined childhood, it's difficult to imagine anything different.

Asked what he thinks might prevent shootings: "Nothing," he said. "At the end of the day, there are no preventable measures. It's human nature."

He suspects the violence he witnessed as a child made him an "angry kid." He says it may have factored into his shooting. Harless grew up in a rough part of a small town hear Baltimore. Another child beat him with a lead pipe when he was 7. He said he watched his drunk father beat his mother regularly.

That made him protective of the people he liked. He said that might have been what made him run across the cafeteria with a gun when he saw McCoy scuffling with administrators.


If his father had gotten the support for his drinking, if his mother had felt there was enough of a safety net (financial and social) to leave her abusive husband, if they had had a good enough job to move out of the bad part of town, if there had been some sort of repercussion for the beating he got when he was 7 (or if the kid who had given him the beating had had child welfare support in his own life), none of this may have happened.

A vulnerable mind can be reached and calmed through many things. There are many things that could have prevented Harness' actions, and the shooting at Sandy Hook. I firmly believe that.

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Response to Tony_FLADEM (Original post)

Tue Dec 18, 2012, 01:00 PM

6. Life in prison for a minor?

I don't agree with that.

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Response to blueclown (Reply #6)

Tue Dec 18, 2012, 01:14 PM

7. He shot someone in the head and killed them.

Only 8 years in prison for that?

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Response to Tony_FLADEM (Reply #7)

Tue Dec 18, 2012, 03:29 PM

8. He was a minor.

I don't think it is as cut and dry as you say it is, either.

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Response to blueclown (Reply #8)

Tue Dec 18, 2012, 04:47 PM

9. He should have got at least 30 years in prison. If this were the case he would have been there

until 2018. Instead he got out in 1996 after 8 years in prison. He was 15 years old. That isn't a little child. He ran from the scene so he knew what he was doing was wrong.

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