Watts Deplores Oklahoma School Shooting

July 7, 2008 - 8:02 PM

(CNSNews.com)- House Republican Conference Chairman JC Watts (R-OK) expressed shock and sadness over the shootings at the Fort Gibson Middle School in Oklahoma, where a student opened fire and injured several classmates before being subdued by authorities.

Watts told CNSNews.com, "It shocks and saddens me to have Oklahoma added to the list of states where school shootings have occurred. My concern and prayers go to the young victims and their families. I am grateful that this tragic incident wasn't worse than it is and I'm proud of parents, townspeople and police for their prompt and responsible response"

Watts expressed hope that "we can avoid politicizing this shooting to promote any group's agenda. These shootings aren't about political agendas. At a time like this, we need to focus on aiding these youngsters, supporting their families and helping this small community to cope"

The school is located in Fort Gibson, Oklahoma, a town of about 3,500 located 50 miles southeast of Tulsa. About 450 students attend the middle school.

The Conference Chairman also thinks the Fort Gibson shooting shouldn't be a reflection on American youth.

"We must continue to support and encourage the millions of exemplary youngsters in this country who are living the best lives they know how. It wouldn't be fair to have their characters and achievements eclipsed by the shocking acts of a tiny minority," Watts said.

Monday's tragedy also contains a message, according to Watts. The "tragedy tells us again that we must work harder to reach out to our troubled youngsters, understand them and help them before they ruin their lives and the lives of those around them," Watts told CNSNews.com.

The shootings occurred in the congressional district represented by Congressman Tom Coburn (R-OK). Coburn was in New Zealand with a congressional delegation and could not be reached for comment.

Rep. Steve Largent (R-OK) is also in New Zealand and could not be reached for comment. Both of Oklahoma's Senators, James Inholfe and Don Nickles, had no comment on Monday's shootings.