Shooting by 6-year-old raises complex cultural questions

Americans are left struggling with a scenario that doesn't fit into any bucket.

By

National News

January 18, 2023 - 3:24 PM

Community members from around Newport News pack into the Newport News Public Schools Administration building on Jan. 17, 2023 during a public comment period. Community members from around Newport News spoke about issues and solutions to violence in schools following the shooting at Richneck Elementary by a six-year-old that left a teacher in critical condition.

He was 6, in his first-grade class in Newport News, Virginia. He pointed a handgun at his teacher, police say, and then he pulled the trigger. And across the nation, people … didn’t quite know how to react.

Even in a country where gun violence is sadly commonplace, the story of a small boy with a gun is reverberating in a big way. There has been finger-pointing. Confusion. Floundering for answers. Mass grappling with deeply uncomfortable feelings. And questions: How could something like this possibly happen? Where in the national consciousness do we put it?

“It is almost impossible to wrap our minds around the fact that a 6-year-old first-grader brought a loaded handgun to school and shot a teacher,” Mayor Phillip Jones said that day, Jan. 6. “However, this is exactly what our community is grappling with today.”

Related
December 14, 2021
January 22, 2019
December 18, 2018
August 8, 2018