The mass murder in Broward County was a huge story. But what about another chilling event where nothing nearly as bad happened but could have?
Saint George, Utah: A homemade explosive was found in a backpack. On Monday, a student saw the backpack in a common area at Pine View High, which looked to be smoking. The police have the student who notified faculty and the school officer prevented an explosion that would have caused mass casualties. Police got to the suspect's home, found the bomb making materials as well as info suggesting he'd been researching ISIS. Last month, the suspect may have also replaced the American flag at a different high school with an ISIS one and painted part of an ISIS-inspired threat on one wall.
So why don't you hear about this story? Well, it's obvious. First, the bomb didn't go off. That's how news works. We never report when the plane lands safely. And of course, the weapon was not a gun but a bomb.
Anyway, we should be grateful that no one got hurt, but don't be relieved because the only reason why no one got hurt is that they got lucky. That backpack smoked and a kid saw it.
I return to the solution: hardening soft targets. Surveillance cameras should have caught the kid painting the wall or replacing the flag. Metal detectors could do a lot to reduce all threats. But right now all we have to rely on our eyeballs and chance.
We can do better.