Sunday, November 19, 2006

Madness at the Mall

Several times in the past couple of months, there have been serious outbreaks of violence at Annapolis High School. In September, police arrested 18 students after four fights broke out. Earlier this week, two fights broke out at the school, causing police to be called out again. Now, it appears that the violence at the school is spilling out into the community.

On Saturday night, according to initial reports, an off-duty Secret Service agent witnessed several young males assaulting another in the food court at Annapolis Mall and tried to intervene to break up the fight. At that point, one of the individuals involved in the assault drew a handgun and shot the officer in the leg. The agent then pulled his own weapon and shot the assailant twice in the upper body. A third person was shot [it is not yet clear by whom] and taken to Anne Arundel Medical Center. He was treated and released the same evening.

I've lived in the area almost all my life, and I can't remember anything remotely like this ever happening before. The school system and the law enforcement community need to act quickly to ensure that any lingering issues between students at Annapolis High are resolved quickly and in a sane manner, and that future altercations at County schools are treated with the gravity they deserve. That there are teenagers (or anyone) in the community who wouldn't think twice about drawing a gun on, and shooting, a law enforcement officer trying to break up a fight is a warning sign, I fear, of a much deeper malady.



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