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SPRINGFIELD, Ore. – A key figure in the emergency response and recovery from the Thurston High School shooting is speaking out about the massacre at a high school in Parkland, Florida this week, and how these tragedies can be prevented.
Dennis Murphy is the retired Springfield fire chief that was on duty during the attack in 1998.
The day after the shooting, Murphy founded the non-profit organization, "Ribbon of Promise." The nonprofit's mission was to end school violence.
Murphy said in 2000, his organization made a video called "Not My Friends, Not My School" and distributed more than 10,000 copies of the video to schools throughout the country. The video featured Springfield High School students talking about their experiences and ways to prevent school shootings.
Murphy believes school shootings are a form of youth terrorism, with most cases involving an attacker who is disgruntled and has encountered something they think they can’t overcome.
"They expect not to continue living after the attack in most cases,” Murphy said. “They act like a terrorist, they are there to attack an enemy and that enemy is an entire student body. Anybody on that campus becomes their enemy and worthy of death."
Murphy said there is one important way to end these tragic acts.
"Speak up, speak out, because all of these attacks have featured one or more persons that knew enough to stop it," he said.
He said it is essential to contact the authorities if you see or hear plans for a potential act of violence.
Murphy feels for the families impacted by Wednesday’s shooting and believes these types of terrorist acts are far too common.