Sixteen year old student, Alex Hribal went on a stabbing spree at Franklin Regional High School, injuring 21 including a security guard. Several are in critical condition. Not much is known about Hribal but it’s probably a safe bet that he was a loner who didn’t have many friends. What is known at time is that he had two knives and proceeded methodically through the school stabbing and slashing students. He has been charged with four counts of attempted homicide and 21 counts of assault. The youngest victim, just 14. Pennsylvania Governor Tom Corbett said at a news conference in Murrysville that, “There are a number of heroes in this day. Many of them are students: students who stayed with their friends and didn’t leave their friends.” Although there were several serious injuries, all are expected to survive. The attack occurred as student were arriving at the school just before 8:00AM. Although no motive is known at this time, there was a report that Hribal made threatening statements to another student the night before the attack.
What must be noted is that although all of the 21 victims are expected to survive, a 16-year-old-boy was able to enter a school with two knives and inflict stab wounds on multiple victims. Fortunately, he was not proficient with the knives or the school would have needed body bags as opposed stretchers. This attack is another example of why guns are not the issue when someone who is unstable decides to attack. Should we now be lobbying Congress to ban knives? Of course that’s silly. But the real issue is how do we prevent such attacks. How do we identify a student, in this case, who is capable of such an atrocity? Obviously if he had been in possession of a firearm there would probably have been deaths but does that make this attack any less serious. Schools, parents and classmates must do a better job of reaching these students before the anger or whatever it is that triggers these attacks, is released. Let’s not allow this all to common occurrence in our schools to be quickly forgotten because no one died and no firearm was used. It’s just as serious as Columbine and Sandy Hook, except for the fortunate fact that the parents of the injured Franklin Regional High School students will eventually get to kiss their kids goodnight.