Archive for November 1st, 2014


now marysville


by Frank Manning

On October 24, just after 10:30 am, a 14-year-old freshman walked into the lunchroom of Marysville-Pilchuck High School, in Marysville WA, and pumped bullets from a .40-caliber pistol into the heads of five students sitting at a table there. They were three girls and two boys, most also 14 and one 15 years old. The shooter then took his own life. One of the girls was dead at the scene, another died in the hospital Sunday night. A third girl died yesterday.

The two boys were the shooter’s first cousins; they were as close as I was with my first cousins who lived a block away. All the kids were members of the Tulalip tribes of Native Americans, whose reservation abuts the city of Marysville and houses a profitable casino-resort and shopping mall. Jaylen Fryberg, the shooter, belonged to a well-known and well-liked Tulalip family. He himself was a popular kid—an outstanding football player and a homecoming prince. He had a girlfriend, but they had recently broken up. That may or may not have had anything to do with what happened last Friday. Local police and tribal leaders have not said too much, but lots of students and parents have spoken to the media and chatted this up online. There’s lots of lurid stuff out there, both the apparently authentic and the unsubstantiated viciousness.

I first learned about the Marysville shooting the same day it happened. Just seeing the news headline on TV when I made my morning tea Friday noonish, I moaned, “Oh fuck, not again!” And now so close to home (about a 30-minute drive up I-5 from my house). And none of it makes any sense. Jaylen was not some bullied outcast or wannabe bad guy. He came from a large loving family, so it seems, and was not materially deprived in any way. And that he would mow down his own cousins and friends—it just blows my logic circuits! I still vividly remember Columbine, but the litany of the other school shootings that followed had a sort of desensitizing effect. Sandy Hook shocked us back to the horror of it all, but that outrage too soon faded. Having it hit so close to home brought it all back for me!

I have no answers or explanations. Obviously, there’s still a lot we don’t know about what was going on in that poor kid’s mind. What scares me is he doesn’t fit any of the profiles for school shooters. Gun control isn’t the answer. Jaylen, his cousins, his father and uncles all hunted together and handled guns in responsible ways. Here in Washington State that kind of gun ownership is pretty much the norm. The pistol was legally purchased and owned by Jaylen’s father. So no gun control measure that would pass Washington’s constitutional muster would have prevented the pistol being available. Obviously, Jaylen was wrestling with demons that none of us will ever understand. What’s tragic is that so many children had to suffer and die because no one around him seemed to notice that anything was amiss.


Groove of the Day

Listen to Foster the People performing “Pumped Up Kicks”