The world has changed.
In the 21st century — after the horrific events of Sept. 11, 2001, and more recently, after the April 15, 2013, Boston Marathon bombings — what once may have passed as an acceptable high-school prank is no longer even remotely funny, if it ever was.
At best, creating a device to arouse someone’s suspicions (no matter how harmless) and placing it in the stairwell of a school is in poor taste, showing utter disregard for all victims of bomb-related violence. At worst, it’s a case of terroristic threatening, the charge brought against the two teens arrested last week after a fake bomb was found at Homer High School.
Is our collective memory so poor that images of the Boston Marathon bombings, which happened barely a month ago, have already grown cold and we’ve moved on, forgetting the three spectators who died and the scores who were maimed for life? Can we so easily forget those serving in the U.S. military, who daily face threats from explosives in disguise, in hot spots around the world?
It hurts to link what happened in Homer with violence in other places, but the incident shows a giant disconnect between life in the Cosmic Hamlet by the Sea and the rest of the world. If there’s one lesson we’ve all got to learn, it’s that we’re inter-connected. Not only do we need to know what happens in other places, we need to know we’re not immune from what happens in other places. In light of world events, officials would have been negligent to ignore a possible threat.
The good news is, as teacher Matt Stineff pointed out in his commencement address Monday night, we all have the opportunity to learn from our mistakes and bad decisions. The real tragedy would be if no good came from this incident. Police and school officials are talking about how to improve their response — if there’s a next time, which everyone hopes there won’t be.
This unfortunate event also presents the opportunity to not allow a single incident to define the school year — or reflect poorly on all teens.
Today’s Homer News is filled with success stories of students throughout the southern Kenai Peninsula. The stories of some of the obstacles they’ve overcome, their achievements and their plans for the future are nothing short of inspiring. We hope you’ll read them all — and have hope for the future.