Guest Post: Pete Klismet on preventing school shootings

Pete KlismetGuest Post: Pete Klismet on preventing school shootings. Please welcome Pete as the first guest blogger for 2014. Pete is a retired FBI profiler and a consulting member for the American Investigative Society Of Cold Cases (AISOCC). He is the author of FBI Diary; Profiles of Evil.

Pete is active in many crime prevention related projects. His latest concerns school shootings.
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If you’re old enough, and I am, you remember exactly where you were and what you were doing when you found out President John F. Kennedy was shot. That, in and of itself was a shocking moment, let alone the fact he later died. In a similar light, do you remember where you were when the Twin Towers came down in New York? If you were over five years old, it’s a fair presumption you do.

Now, do you remember where you were and what you were doing on April 20, 1999. Probably not, without a prompt or a hint. I do, and I’ll never forget it. Why? It was the day of the Columbine High School shootings. And I think about it every year on April 20th. I was sitting in the office of my Assistant United States Attorney in Grand Junction when my pager went off. And it had a “9-1-1” along with it. That wasn’t too unusual since I was the Senior Resident FBI Agent in western Colorado. But what was unusual was the return call number. It was my son. And you know how many thoughts go through your mind when something like that happens. Oh my God, is he in the hospital? What happened? I called him immediately.

“Dad, have you heard what happened?”

“Uhhh….,” I’m sure I stammered, grasping for an answer. “No Kary, what’re you talking about.”

“The shooting at Columbine High School.”

“No, I haven’t heard a thing.” He filled me in on what they were reporting at that hour, which was a little after noon as I recall. I told Craig I needed to go down to my office immediately, after I told him what was happening. My guess was that I was going to get a phone call or a page to head over to Denver.

Realizing I had no TV in my office, I raced out to my car and headed home. And started to watch the news on CNN. Or any channel it was available. Several times they estimated possible casualties ‘up to one hundred.’ Unimaginable. I’d been an FBI agent or a cop for nearly 30 years. Nothing shocked me. This did. To the core. I couldn’t peel my eyes off the TV for two days. None of it made sense. And still doesn’t. Why would someone do something like this? What was behind this horrific event? I didn’t have a clue, and I’d been an FBI profiler for years. I got calls from friends, and even one of my nieces. “Uncle Pete, why did this happen?” I didn’t have answers. I was just like everyone else. In shock. And I didn’t know what to do about it. I grew up in Colorado. This stuff didn’t happen here. It was one of the worst weeks of my life. And I think about it every time a shooting happens.

It’s almost 15 years later and nothing has changed. Nothing. The police have changed their tactics in responding. Everyone’s more aware and mad about it. But the shooters keep cropping up. Why? What are we missing? Are we focusing on the right thing? Do we just react or do we prevent?

Prevent? How on earth do we do that? Well, for starters, we take a look backwards. Since the 1960’s, we’ve had somewhere around 100 school shootings. What did those shooters have in common? How can we find that out and provide the information to the people who can use it? Or can we? We don’t know until we try do we? And that’s exactly what Preventing School Shootings is about. We have a focus, and we’re not going to lose sight of the goal. We are going to stop school shootings. Period. It’s got to stop somewhere and somehow. Now is the only answer we’re interested in. Go to our website and see what we’re doing. Like us on Facebook and support us with your comments or in any way you can. Together, we can do this. We have to for the sake of our children.

Check us at: www.preventingschoolshootings.com. You’ll see where we’re heading and how we’re going to get there.

Pete Klismet