Tuesday, March 22, 2005

On the Minnesota School Killing

Yes, I live in Minnesota. Yes, there was a spree killing here. Yes, it was tragic. No, I haven't mentioned it.

I'm not good writing about such matters. I don't see them as symptomatic of any great social ills. I see them as symptomatic of eternal flaws in the human character. We're capable of evil. Some of us will choose it.

It's an important topic, and I'm glad others are taking the time to cover it. It's simply not an area I'm especially good at, so I'll leave it to them.


Blogger Todd said...

The scariest thing about these rampages is that they are inherently unstoppable. Even if we put metal detectors and screeners at every entrance to every school (a practical impossibility), a person determined to find notoriety could simply go to a high school football game or popular mall hangout and find a similar target-rich environment.

This tragedy in Red Lake causes me deep sadness, but the worst part for me is having to admit that we are basically powerless to stop the next such tragedy.

10:53 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

One of the things all of these shootings have had in common is all of the students (male) had been bullied. As much as I am opposed to anti-bullying programs taking our kids out of classrooms, I have to step back and wonder if maybe they can (do) prevent this from happening. I do not believe this is a case of letting the "evil" come out as you said. From what I have read these were planned events. These are kids who reached a personal "tipping point" and could not (would not) turn back.

This is, in my opinion, a reflection of a messed up society. These are children/young people, not adults. They probably do not have a trusted adult in their life who they feel can help them through these challenges and help them learn other coping skills. It appears to me they feel they have no option -- they have not been taught that there are other ways to respond to being bullied, etc.

I hope I am wrong and you are correct when you say "we're capable of evil. Some of us will choose it."


5:42 AM  
Anonymous triple_a said...

I was bullied in HS. The thought to do this never crossed my mind.

These events are terrible, but what are we going to regulate? The kid broke numerous laws.

8:51 AM  
Blogger Kyle said...

Among the truly tragic commonalities these school shooting cases share is NOT so much that the kids had access to guns, but rather they had *EASY* access to an adult's gun. Usually an adult that didn't use a gun lock, gun safe or similar rudimentary access deterrent measure.

I agree that there is evil in and around us everyday. But basic human psychology also tends to go for the easiest means available to perpetrate our evil. A basic padlock on a door, window or gun safe can mean the difference between a frustrated kid with bad intentions and a sense of powerlessness and a frustrated kid with bad intentions AND a gun or two that easily empowers them to violence.

This kid is culpable, its his evil act. However, with a bit more prevention on the part of the adults that own guns, I've got to believe that these incidents become much less likely and therefore occur less frequently.

I don't leave razor blades, matches and kerosene in easy to reach places for my toddler for similar reasons... that would be negligent behavior. Likewise, maybe adults with guns could do us all a favor and spend a $1.50 on a Masterlock.

As a parent I'd hate to hear that the kid who just killed my child just had to get a stepstool out to reach the guns. I'd be contemplating my own acts of evil at that point towards the negligent adults.


8:54 AM  
Anonymous triple_a said...

The problem with Kyle's statement about the adult's gun, this kid allegedly killed the adult to get the gun. The adult was, in this case, a sherif, so the kid got a couple guns and a bullet proof vest, and a squad car. Oh yeah it was the kids grandfather. Do you think that every parent or grandparent should take precautions in case their kids or grandkids kill them? You said you don't leave them in easy to reach places, what if they kill you, with your logic, you shoulf take precautions to make sure that nothing remotely harmful is any where around where your kids or grandkids could get ahold of them, if they kill you!

9:47 AM  
Blogger Margaret said...

I am with Elizabeth on this. But I don't think we need "anti-bullying" programs. I think we need schools that teach respect as part of their general education and responsible adults who don't let that kind of behavior go on and on for years. That said, you are not going to prevent every tragedy like this but you might prevent a few suicides or jail sentences. This kid's own father committed suicide in a standoff with police. It's too bad that nobody took in interest in making sure that it didn't happen twice.

12:12 PM  

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