@THE GUSS REPORT-In a statement born of sheer delusion, Los Angeles City Councilmember Mitch O’Farrell referred to last week’s shooting (of students by a student) at Sal Castro Middle School as a “crisis averted.”
To hear it from O’Farrell (and you can watch the entire context of his comments by clicking here – NOTE: the video runs for a half minute prior to O’Farrell’s statement) he either doesn’t understand the meaning of the words crisis and averted or he is redefining them for a political agenda, to the detriment of the children, parents, teachers, first responders and the entire community around the school and across the City of Los Angeles.
According to O’Farrell, if nobody was killed, and more teachers and children weren’t maimed, it wasn’t a crisis. Plain and simple. O’Farrell, who did not respond to a request to field questions, should explain how many victims and/or deaths must occur for a school shooting to reach crisis-level in his mind.
Let’s set the record straight so that the Councilmember (whose career prior to working for his predecessor, Eric Garcetti, was in retail and as an entertainer on a cruise ship) can get a better handle on life on Planet Earth.
Crisis #1: When a child in a school feels the need to be armed on-campus, it is a crisis. And there is little doubt that the girl, believed to be 12 years of age, is neither the only one in fear nor the only one armed. In fact, this incident itself could cause more children to fear school violence and arm themselves. Isn’t that true, Mr. O’Farrell?
Crisis #2: Whatever caused this girl to bring the gun to school, the system which presumably trains teachers and other school personnel to recognize when certain children are in fear, failed.
Crisis #3: Even though there are safeguards designed to prevent weapons from entering school campuses, it failed in this instance with tragic consequences, at least in the mind of people not named Mitch O’Farrell. And those safeguards are no doubt failing elsewhere, too.
Crisis #4: The gun was fired…multiple times, striking children who were then rushed to the emergency room, sending others fleeing for their lives and first-responders into a genuinely dangerous situation. Can you imagine what would happen if O’Farrell were to visit those hospitalized children and say to their parents that this was not a crisis?
Crisis #5: Not one of O’Farrell’s 14 LA City Council colleagues stood up to challenge his assertion that there was no crisis here, simply because the wounds weren’t fatal, or because more people weren’t injured.
Crisis #6: It took hours, even after the school was secured, to reunite the children with their terror-stricken parents or guardians.
Let’s be clear for Mr. O’Farrell and his Council colleagues. Absolutely everyone in that school, teachers, students and staffers alike, were injured. This was a trauma that will likely scar most of them in some form or other for the rest of their lives.
Absolutely everyone was harmed. It was all a crisis. And none of it was averted.
O’Farrell’s focus on the NRA, which does not get a pass for the free flow of guns in our communities, was as misplaced a political statement as the one O’Farrell’s colleague, Councilmember Gil Cedillo made two weeks ago when he suggested that the vicious murder of a transgender person was somehow tied to immigration issues when, in fact, the victim and her confessed killer both had Latino surnames and it is believed that they met on a dating website.
O’Farrell and Cedillo are not alone in their stupefying perspectives. The Council continues to refer to recent and destructive fires in the city as an emergency, when the greater emergency here is why their colleagues, Councilmembers Paul Koretz and Mike Bonin (who is presently facing an active recall campaign) knew homeless encampments in the surrounding burn areas regularly create fires, but reportedly instructed law enforcement and the LAFD to not to put an end to them because they were being set for cooking and warmth purposes.
Until our elected officials start accepting blame for their failures, we can continue to expect that they will further deflect blame by mitigating what constitutes preventable tragedy. There are a few LA families with children in the hospital this weekend, and many others who are having sleepless nights, who will probably disagree.
(Daniel Guss, MBA, is a member of the Los Angeles Press Club, and has contributed to CityWatch, KFI AM-640, Huffington Post, Los Angeles Times, Los Angeles Daily News, Los Angeles Magazine, Movieline Magazine, Emmy Magazine, Los Angeles Business Journal and elsewhere. Follow him on Twitter @TheGussReport. Verifiable tips and story ideas can be sent to him at TheGussReport@gmail.com. His opinions are his own and do not necessarily reflect the views of CityWatch.) Edited for CityWatch by Linda Abrams.