St. Louis School Shooting and the Daunting Violence Issue in America


Remembering the St. Louis shooting victims, Alexzandria and Jean.

Daisy Moss

Another attempted mass shooting happened on October 25.

Jean Kuczka, a 61 year old health teacher, and Alexzanria Bell, a 15 year old student, were murdered by the gunman, former St. Louis student Orlando Harris, 19, with 7 other students being injured. Harris was taken into custody, and later pronounced dead, a St. Louis police official announced.

Orlando Harris was a 2021 St. Louis graduate, and had no former criminal history. Officials stated that they believe Harris was experiencing extreme mental problems. Before the shooting, Harris’ parents contacted local police to have a firearm taken away from him, and his mother reported that she wanted it out of her home. His family also had him stay at a mental health institution, tracked what he got in the mail, would search his room, and make sure he felt loved and had healthy friendships.

After FBI investigators found a notebook and letter in Harris’ car, St. Louis police commissioner Michael Sack said, “The school was the target… There was a disconnect between him and what he felt was the other school community. He felt isolated and alone.”

A lot of school shooters are investigated for mental illnesses, and their actions are almost brushed off as just being a symptom. Shootings affect everybody, and they’re a plague on our society and for our families who have to suffer and fear for them and their loved one’s lives when going somewhere they’re supposed to be protected, free from harm. Students especially fear for their lives everyday in school environments, when will shootings stop, and, how will we prevent them? I asked some students in the district what they thought, and this is what they had to say.

Mountain Rose Academy sophomore Toby Boyer says, “I don’t know why things like this keep happening. I shouldn’t be anxious to come to school, especially since I legally have to be here. I hear kids joking about shootings, and school bombings, and stuff like that all the time, but… how is that funny to them? What if it happened to our school?  I don’t even know we could stop them, and I really have no hope for our country when it comes to gun violence.”

Norco high freshman Damian Iglesias explains, “That’s so depressing, I hope this stops happening, so many people have been dying or getting hurt because of mass shootings and they’re so common now, a lot of people don’t even care about them, they just move on and don’t even mourn the victims or think about how their families feel. This is awful.”

Recently, different states have been re-evaluating their gun laws and mental health resources, and trying to find ways to prevent gun violence and mass shootings.

Rest in peace to all the victims of mass shootings, and happy healing to all survivors or those grieving loved ones.

A memorial in honor of Alexzandria and Jean, as well as celebrating the survivors. Creds: Robert Cohen