Friday, January 13, 2006

Teens With Firearms At Schools

Two similar stories, two different outcomes.

The first story comes from my own school district, where almost 4 years ago a middle school student took a loaded .22 caliber pistol to school and was going to shoot his science teacher. Law enforcement was called. A sheriff showed more restraint than I would have when the boy raised the firearm at him--I'd have shot the kid on the spot. Here's what eventually happened to the boy.

Apparently they think like I do in Longwood, Florida. And unfortunately, that kid only had a pellet gun that looked like a 9mm pistol. I used to have one of those b-b pistol/pellet guns when I was a teenager.

We didn't take sidearms to school when I was that age.


Anonymous said...

We took guns to school all the time, but I'm from a rural area in a very conservative state, where we were all raised with guns in the house, not locked up, and learned at a very early age to shoot. Not handguns -- there was one handgun in our home -- but rifles and shotguns. This is one reason I have no patience with this hysteria about children's safety with guns in the home; we never had accidents, because when you were a little kid, Dad let you shoot the watermelon and you knew what it could do.

And my county still has the largest gun club in the state -- which is saying a great deal.

Darren said...

I read not too long ago about a high school in the South, I think, which still had marksmanship classes. PE, I think. And of course people are trying to get it stopped.

Hysteria about firearms? You got that right.

Anonymous said...

Hey Mr. Miller
Got to comment on this one since I was actually at the school when this happened. Unfortunately there is always another side to every story and, while i am in no way saying what Micah did was in any way ok, people need to hear it. For weeks before the attack Micah told anyone who would listen that he hated him life, wanted to die, hated school and hated his home. He drew pictures of guns in class and talked about killing everyone. Did anyone pay any attention? No, no one even refered him to the councillor. Dispite that fact that he was known to be clinically depressed and his parents had refused to get him any more medication. His parents were the type of people who should never ever be allowed to have kids. The day that Micah was arrested, they didnt even come down to the police station and they told his older brother to walk on home, dispite the fact that there were threats made against his life. Now while I am in no way saying what Micah did was right, his life was utter misery and his school/community/ parents did nothing to help him. Ultimately some of the blame must be placed on a society that allows a child to suffer so much and doesn't even take any notice.

Darren said...

Katherine, it's good that you know the difference between "explains" and "excuses" (the verb, not the plural noun).

If you think society is at fault here, and you know the kid was saying and doing everything you say he was saying and doing, I'm forced to ask: did you fill out one of those confidential "this kid needs to see a counselor NOW" forms? Are you sure that his teachers knew about his misery and predictive behaviors? Did *you* tell any of them?

I don't blame society here. The kid had it rough, apparently. Given your story, his parents appear to be cretins. However, lots of kids find better ways to handle things than to shoot a science teacher at school.

Anonymous said...


Not knowing the full details about the first kid in your district, I can only assume I’d be with you and I’d being going through counseling for shooting a teenager. A regular shooing is bad enough, but having to shoot a kid is a nightmare for everyone.

“In July, Carruth was found guilty on 39 of the 43 counts against him. Charges against the teen included assault with a deadly weapon, false imprisonment, and assault against a teacher.”

Darren, I didn’t know you teachers were a special class like cops. I have to ask, what’s the difference if someone kicks your ass as opposed to John Q Public’s ass? :)

“Defense attorneys argued to have Carruth remanded to a treatment facility for one or two years, but Sacramento Superior Court Judge Kenneth Peterson rejected the request. The 14-year-old was instead given an indeterminate sentence in the California Youth Authority.”

“By law, Micah Carruth must serve a minimum of three years in the CYA. He could be held for as long as 11 years, which would make him 25 years old when he is released.”

Hey, can you send that judge to Vermont. They have a judge who needs some remedial training on what a judge is supposed to do!

"Apparently they think like I do in Longwood, Florida. And unfortunately, that kid only had a pellet gun that looked like a 9mm pistol. I used to have one of those b-b pistol/pellet guns when I was a teenager"

On the kid in Florida, it’s appearing more like a “suicide by cop” incident. He painted the orange part to the barrel to make it look like a real gun. I don’t know why he felt so low that he wanted this, but he will probably be pulled off life support this weekend.

"We didn't take firearms to school when I was that age."

Back in South Louisiana, we did. Small rifles (BB, pellet and 22cal) and occasionally a 410 shotgun. But it was known when you get to the school you go straight from the bus to the gym coach who ran the class on shooting. He held your gun until you were ready to leave. This was in both Catholic and public schools. Then again, that was a lifetime ago.

Katherine, I have to be a bit direct (I know Mr. Miller will be shocked at that :) ), but in the last three years I’ve been pall bearer for two men who were very close to me. One was a blood relative, the other man was one of the most influential instructors I had in my college ROTC days and I served as best man to him. Both men killed each other with a pistol. Each had problems in their life but nothing that would make my family and friends believe they would take this action. But they are the reason they are no longer here. They made the decision to pull out a pistol and turn it on themselves. Mr. Miller will confirm to you that I’m a police officer from Houston TX. A couple of years ago an officer committed a murder/”suicide by cop” incident. Officer G walked into the bank where he worked part time and asked his girlfriend to step outside. In front of another officer (Officer J), he shot his girlfriend and turn the weapon on Officer J, knowing what would happen.

Again, I miss all of them greatly and I do wonder if I could have done something, but I know that they are the ones responsible for this. Anyone who’s more than a few years old knows murder is wrong. Society doesn’t make you do things like that.

Darren said...

I think the deal about shooting a teacher just comes from a different section of law, specifically Ed Code.

When I had my .177 b-b/pellet pistol, it had no orange tip on it. That was back in the day when people knew better than to flash toys as the real things, so toys (non-explosive) actually looked like the real thing.

I remember shortly after Columbine there was talk of arming teachers. Good gawd, can you imagine having armed teachers? Or even secured firearms on a campus these days? I'm not a law enforcement officer and I don't want to be one. Neither do I want to have to shoot a student--although sometimes the fantasy...bad, Darren, bad! Stop thinking like that!

I've heard of this suicide-by-cop thing. Crazy. Are they too gutless to do it themselves? Or do they just want a little attention as they go down?

Anonymous said...

This story is old news: but i came across it and found myself reeling. Yes, what he did was disasterous. But what i want to tell you is that there is a very sad, atrocious story behind that event. One of your readers called his parents "cretins" that is giving them too much credit. I knew this family: i was a child who suffered under the wrath of that man. if you knew how many children micah's father BEAT and harmed and crushed: you would vomit on your keyboard. Being a survivor of the hell that that child endured, i was not suprised to hear his name on the news that day. Nor would i be suprised to hear other names in the local news from other children that endured such abuses, humiliation, permanent psychological damage that no medication will ever heal or hide. I myself am several years older than this young man, but i remember when he was born: i babysat him and his siblings. I was a victim of those same abuses. Micah deserves to be treated with some decency for once in his life. i cried out for help when i was his age, although it wasn't a legal disaster: but i know, i know, i KNOW his pain and what he is screaming out at the world to hear, but the truth is so vehemently ugly that no-one would believe him if he told the whole truth. no one believed me. and there are many of us out here... many who still to this day cry for the pain that was endured, beg for answers as to why and how these things could have transpired unnoticed by outsiders. Even given the circumstances: if you had taken a shot at that child, i would have turned it back on you. Micah has endured more pain and damage than you could imagine and all he wanted was help: and he deserves it. My heart cries for him, hoping that someday, he will be pardoned for the fear that he caused to a few: for he endured far worse than that his whole life and nobody could hear him screaming. No one can believe the story that that young man has to tell. But it is his reality as much as it is mine, and countless other children his age and mine. So sit on your high horse and think that children should just ASK for help when in fact they cannot: not only do they risk harm psychologically, spiritually, physicaly, socially but their very lives are at stake. All of us survivors lived a life that even Stephen King wouldn't be able to capture. you are a teacher: you should know better than to judge a book by it's cover. If there is truly any justice in this country: micah would be pardoned and treated with some respect for the scars he bears, not scorn.

Darren said...

His torment may *explain*, but doesn't *excuse*, what Micah did. You're trying to justify the unjustifiable. My belief doesn't excuse or mitigate what he went through, but it does hold him responsible for threatening the lives of others.

Anonymous said...

If anyone is responsible: it's his parents. Yes he did something painful and illegal: but a 14 year old with the psychological maturity of a 6 year old because of his parents should be approached as such. he needs the treatment that his defense lawyer fought for: not be locked up, lost in a file somewhere forgotten as a number.

Darren said...

You're getting melodramatic with your last clause. I'll agree,though, that he needs psychological treatment--*while* he's incarcerated for his crime.

Micah B. Carruth said...

Darren, this is micah carruth and i read your opinion and have come to the conclusion that you should keep them to yourself. thank you for the people that understood and to my old babysitter from terebinth i would like to thank you and feel free to e mail me at

Darren said...

Thank you for your input, but I'll express whatever opinion I like on my blog. Feel free to do the same on yours.

Anonymous said...

Darren, I came to know this family well. Actually I dated the eldest sibling for about a year. She was as crazy as they come. I too would not have used the same restraint as the officer did. Fortunately for society, Micah did live out a very long sentence, the sentence he rightfully deserved. His parents have 7 children that are all adults now. As bad as the father treated them when they were children, they still run to him for guidance, money, shelter, food. These children have since become drug addicts, child molesters, theives and low lifes of the worst kind. Unfortunately from what I've seen, these siblings treat their own children just as bad as their parents treated them. They treat their children so poorly that some of them dont even know how to speak at 3 and 5 years old. So I'm sure in about 10 more years you'll hear another story like this from this horrible family. I eventually withdrew my child and myself from this ridiculous family.

Darren, I truely appreciate your stance. You don't let people away scott free because daddy was mean. Kids that age know right from wrong. Unfortunately for this family they think they are above the law. Darren, I enjoyed your blog, and encourage Micah to start his own. Maybe it will help him in the healing process.

Anonymous said...

I think the person who was only w the eldest for a year doesnt know anything. Ya they had a HORRIBLE LIFE. They made bad decisions growing up just like how people do sometimes but if you look at where they are today and what they have over come, you would be suprised. They are good parents and supportive of eachother. Now micah on the other hand...... well i dont have anything nice to say about him.

Anonymous said...

Are we talking about the same Micah Carruth from Northern California? Because if we are, I knew that boy on a personal level. Before the incident at his school he actually made death threats towards my own flesh and blood. If he is really out of prison, I shutter to think what he'll do next.