Siege at Ivan Grozny University: American Dad – Chapter 3

Hayley sighed walking away from the statute thinking back to a time in her childhood when she and Ray were still being ferried to elementary school on a yellow bus in Lynchburg.

Dec. 7, 1995 Williamsburg Middle School Timberlake, Virginia

While she and Ray were enjoying their lunch in their school, a shooting occurred at middle school in Timberlake, only seven and half miles from Lynchburg. The later apprehended gunman was thirteen-year-old Joel Conner. Conner was a computer whiz as his teachers called him and a paintball lover. He had been bullied by both the popular kids and nearly the entire school minus the faculty members and the more studious students. He didnt mind the bullying at first, he ignored it. His motto was always, If anyone bothers you, just keep minding your business. The eighth grade school year at recently started and he happened to be a new student at Monty Williamsburg Middle School. His family had moved to Timberlake, Virginia from Grand Rapids, Michigan. The cliques of the school saw him as a nerd to both bully and torment until he eventually learned to live with it. It didnt help the fact that he was one of the only few new students that semester either.

After several weeks of bullying, Joel found that he could no longer ignore the cliques and their taunting. He had tried and exhausted all the options. Hed even told the principal, his teachers and a school security guard. They had all ignored him. Some of them brushed his complaints aside as though it was no deal to them. He began to realize that to adults, at least school wise, they saw bullying as a part of growing up. His geography teacher always quoted, We all know how school bullying isBoys will be boys. But it was not only the boys who were taunting him; it was the girls as well. They actually enjoyed laughing at his Michigan accent because they knew if he were to strike any of them out of anger their parents especially their mothers could easily file a law wsuit for harassment. Hed be accused of bullying instead of it being the other way around. His love of paintball kept his anger at a minimum. On weekends when he was not at the movie theatres he and his friends Ren, Zachary, Ben and Terri Sherman (who was his only female friend) would disappear to the outskirts of Timberlake to shoot paintballs. Sometimes they would aim into the sky or other times at rabbits scurrying him from their long distance travels. Joel often fire paintballs at the rabbits. Terri and Zachary both protested several times.

Leave them alone they dont do anything to you! Leave them be, theyre just minding their own business! After awhile, Joel stopped tormenting the rabbits with his paintball gun and focused instead on building people out of sticks and rocks than firing on them. He often told Ren and the others what would happened if he brought a paint ball gun to school and fired it at everyone who had bully him. Terri always answered, Theyll be covered in paint and have large welts over their bodies. He would shake his head holding his gun possessively in his hands looking at the ground. You dont get it TerriThe paintball is a metaphor. Be creative. Hed return home that night with a plan formulating in his head. Once alone in his room, he emptied the gun of all its paint balls. He left the room asking his father for his box of bullets. His father immediately told him no getting up from the couch he had recently laid on curled in a ball. Once his father left to look for something in the garage, Joel went into an adjacent office searching for the bullet cast. His father was very cautious of where he placed firearms and bullets. He usually wrapped than padlocked such firearms in a metal money case hiding it inside the ceiling of the office. Anyone walking into the office would barely notice a small crack above his desk. Joel climbed on top of the desk quickly standing on a small pile of books. He worked feverously to cautious remove the case of bullets from the ceiling placing the movable piece back into place. The case was hid inside his oversized marshmallow jacket.

The following morning, he went to school wearing the same jacket while his paintball gun filled with live ammunition was concealed inside his umbrella he brought to school. It was raining that day. His father thought it was strange he went to school with such a large umbrella. Shrugging he returned to eating his breakfast watching his son trudging in military formation to the bus stop a block away.

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