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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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Forum covers public threats

When tragedies occur, like the shooting in Tucson, Ariz., or potential disasters like the bomb found Monday in downtown Spokane, state Rep. Kevin Parker tries to remember the lessons of Columbine.

Among the most important, the Spokane Republican said, is to trust your instincts and use common sense.

Parker was a volunteer youth counselor visiting a student at the Colorado high school the day of the 1999 shooting that killed 14 students – including the two gunmen – and a teacher. Many students were saved, he said, because other students trusted their instincts and took a risk to help them.

Marchers in Spokane’s Martin Luther King Day parade may have been saved because public facilities district workers trusted their instincts about a strange backpack and police rerouted the parade.

“Common sense prevailed,” he said.

Parker will co-host a forum today on “Understanding Threats To Our Community” with Spokane County Sheriff Ozzie Knezovich. The meeting starts at 10 a.m. in Room 122 of the Phase 1 Building on Washington State University-Spokane Riverpoint Campus, 412 E. Spokane Falls Blvd.

The most difficult thing about tragedies like Columbine and the Tucson shooting may be trying understanding the motive, Parker said. There is no real trend that marks the people responsible. That may also be true of the Spokane bombing attempt when law enforcement officials find the would-be bomber, he added.

“In a general sense, they’re all troubled. But they’re all individuals,” he said.

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