We may never know if the 14-year-old Ravenswood High School student arrested Monday actually planned to shoot students he had allegedly targeted on a "hit list" he reportedly told another student he had prepared.
But we did not have to find out because that other Ravenswood student was responsible enough to tell a school administrator about the threat.
The unidentified 14-year-old was charged with making terrorists threats after telling another student he had a hit list of students he planned to target in a school shooting. That student went to Tom Speece, Ravenswood High School's prevention resource officer. Speece then contacted officers with the Ravenswood Police Department and the Jackson County Sheriff's Office, who interviewed other students and teachers and later searched the suspect's home. While no hit list was found, enough evidence was found to charge the teen.
Whether or not the teen actually planned on shooting fellow students may never be known. However, the other student did the right thing by taking the threat seriously and reporting it to Speece.
As has been the case in nearly every other school shooting incident, many threats seem to be made in the days that follow. And that has been the case in the latest - the recent event at Chardon, Ohio, where four students died after being shot by another teenager who was not even a student at that school. While all of these threats made in the days following have been false alarms, no shooting threat can be taken for granted.
"This could have escalated into a very serious, potentially tragic, situation," Speece told the newspaper " ... By coming forward with this information, a real tragedy may have been prevented."
Whether or not this young man was serious about this threat and meant to carry it out or not, the teen obviously is troubled. His arrest may be the best thing that could have happened by giving him the opportunity to get the help he needs.
As for the student who went to authorities, he did exactly the right thing in this situation and his action may have saved several lives.