aprilhenry (aprilhenry) wrote,

Ten years ago, a kid took a gun to school

His name was Kip Kinkel. The school was Thurston High in Eugene, about 90 minutes from here. Oregon is small enough, and so many people were affected (24 shot and injured at the high school, including two dead, plus he killed his parents the day before), that it wasn’t hard to know someone who knew someone that had a connection. My friend’s husband’s fishing buddy knew Kip’s dad. A neurologist I knew testified about Kinkel’s schizophrenia. A woman I knew from her work in health care communications (my old field) later led a seminar I took about how hospitals can cope in a crisis.

Her story was pretty crazy. There were only two of them working in PR, and one couldn’t leave the office because the phone wouldn’t stop ringing (not as many cell phones in those days). His only source of info for what was happening: the TV on his desk tuned to CNN. So CNN told him what was going on a couple of floors below him. Later, they had to deal with reporters claiming to be relatives or dressing as hospital personnel, all of them looking for an exclusive. I’ve heard stories of reporters getting into gowns and pushing an IV pole ahead of them, all in the quest for a story.

It sounds like Kip killed his parents so that they wouldn’t learn he had been expelled. He didn’t do well at school, he had few friends, and he hated being smaller than the other boys.

Here's an an article in the Oregonian about a substitute teacher's first day at work - at Thurston High, 10 years ago.

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