LET’S TALK ABOUT…SCHOOL SHOOTINGS—IT’S COMPLICATED!!! Another school tragedy in our neighboring town of Roseburg: 10 dead, 9 injured.
Often, when other past similar incidents are mentioned, the 1998 Thurston incident is skimmed over. This is not okay. Four of our teens died, and 25 others were injured. It is important for us to remember each and every one of those students. Did you know any of students involved?
The Mayo Clinic defines “Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is a mental health condition that’s triggered by a terrifying event — either experiencing it or witnessing it. Symptoms may include flashbacks, nightmares and severe anxiety, as well as uncontrollable thoughts about the event. “

The students, staff, emergency responders, and many in our community, continue to have PTSD. If you know someone that was involved in the Thurston incident, be sure to reach out to ask them how they are doing.
Incidents like this stimulate immediate passionate discussion about parenting, mental health, parenting. A transcript from an 2000 OPB Frontline “Chronology of (the shooter’s) life and events leading up to the horror of May 21-22, 1998”. (

Bill and Faith Kinkel appeared to be loving, vigilant parents to both their son and daughter. They appeared to be an “Ozzie and Harriet” family. Their son started acting out as early as the second grade, Bill and Faith used due diligence trying to find the bases for his behavior utilizing school systems, private mental health professionals, and the justice system. They reached out for help. They did their best as parents. They were good people; good parents.

Second grade: Parents reached out to the schools to have him tested for a learning disability; he did not qualify. “They were told that he scored above the 90th percentile on the intelligence test, and an average on the neurological screening test.”
As his behavior continues to escalate he becomes part of the juvenile system; parents take their son to a professional psychologist. The psychologist dealt with their son’s anger issues, “extreme interest in guns, knives, and explosives” and the possibility of bringing harm to himself or others. The psychologist found “no evidence of a thought disorder or psychosis”, he diagnosed him with “Major Depressive Disorder”; recommended to the family physician that the son be prescribed Prozac (he took it for three months.). After nine sessions, the psychologist and parents thought he was doing well enough to discontinue treatment. Shortly after, while watching the news about the Jonesboro school shootings on TV school monitors, a friend reported that they both said “Hey, that’s pretty cool.”

The arguments include better gun control, 2nd amendment rights, and how easy it is to get firearms:
7th grade ordered some “how to build bombs” books; later gives a talk on “how to make a bomb” in speech class.
8th grade begins his secret gun collection with the purchase of “an old sawed-off shotgun from a friend”.
June 1997: Bill accompanies son to buy a 9mm Glock, using his own money.
Summer 1997: Without either parenting knowing, he buys a .22 pistol from a friend.
September 1997: Dad buys his son a .22 semiautomatic rifle.
May 19,1998: Buys a stolen .32 caliber pistol from a schoolmate.

May 20, 1998: Buys another stolen .32 caliber Beretta semiautomatic pistol, loaded with a 9 round clip.

May 22: Following the incident the police reported an arsenal of firing arms in the attic and had to detonate bombs deliberately set in the home before his parent’s bodies could be removed .

Obtaining firearms was not a problem for the 1998 young Thurston shooter.

The mental health system could not find anything seriously wrong with him that would deny his second amendment rights.

And, he came from a good family with loving, on-top-of -things parents.

School shootings are really complicated to discuss and to find a solution to stop them.

Of course, it is just my opinion.

Glad we talked.


Springfield Times

“Ask MAx” is published weekly in the Springfield Times, Springfield, OR. You can subscribe to the Springfield Times at


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