Mercutio's Thoughts on School Shootings.

Death in schools. Sometime in the not too long ago past, death in schools was seen as something that would rarely ever happen. Now, at the dawn at a new century, we are still doing what we have always been doing. Killing each other. Killing each other has somehow appealed to those demented few who felt that they had no better way to take care of their problems than through taking a life. I was in 8th grade when Columbine happened. I shitted bricks. The very next day, me and my class tried to console a teacher in tears that did not know how anyone could inflict so much pain upon others. Did I feel safe when Columbine happened? No. What was going to stop any disgruntled student from carrying something like that off? The chain-link fence? Now, it is 2 years later, I do not worry about being killed in school. I do not blame the guns or the music or the style of dress or any other scapegoat commonly used by everyone. I still place the blame on parents. Now, with a heavy heart, I am reliving it all. A sophomore now, nothing would stop someone from killing me at school. I do not worry about someone coming in and shooting up the place, but it lingers in the back of my mind. A firecracker goes off and I wince. People find it funny to hear this from me, who often fits the physical description of others who decided to go on a school rampage. I wear black clothes, I listen to music deemed “satanic” in the glory days of the PMRC. What of it? It does not exempt me from the feeling that someday, someone could come by and blow me away.

As I stated before, I place the blame on the parents. If your son or daughter seems to have a problem, try and help them out. Don’t neglect your kids. Keep tabs on your kids, as much as they protest, make sure they are not doing something that could cause harm to them or others. If I was a parent and my kid got hold of pipe bombs and guns without my knowledge, I would place the blame upon myself as well.

I myself find it someone ironic that these words come from me. I have always viewed myself as someone who can deal with anything, as I have had to in the past. This though, this seems to be different. I never find myself to fear anything. I don’t fear animals, guns, death. If I were to die today, I would be okay with it because I feel that I have put my life to good use so far. But this. This. This scares me, not really so much to the point where I can’t stop thinking about it, but as I stated before, it lingers in my head. I can still go about my day and not think about this, not have it come up in my thoughts. It’s not that big of a deal, not now at least. I still though, have a feeling within my chest. Fear. I do not think about it much, but I know if I ever find myself at the wrong end of a weapon, I will. I will.

I was head of security in my school when Columbine happened. I was shitting bricks consistantly for a period of two weeks. I’m not scared to die, but I was scared to hell of what would happen to all the other people in my school if someone decided to mimic.
For a looooong time, every noise I heard in school that I couldnt IMMEDIATLY identify would send me into an adrenaline rush. Every class I was in, I had plans for what I would do if I heard gunshots, no matter where they came from. How I’d attack the guy, how I could get him before he got me. If I died but still managed to stop him, I’d die happy.
It’s died down since then, but I know exactly how you feel, man. At least, I think I do.

Well spoken Merc and I say that not just because I agree with what you said :slight_smile:

**

You’re lucky. I was a semi-loner. People were, in some cases, literally waiting for me to explode. Which tells me they knew they were being really awful and they were expecting something bad to happen.

I place blame on parents, students, teachers, the administration, . . . this is a faulty system. As anyone who has taken logic knows, if you have a false premise, you cannot have a true statement, no matter how valid the conclusion is. It’s the same here: no matter how good the kids are, no matter how good the teachers are, if the administration and the parents aren’t working something’s going to go wrong.

All sound advice. The thing is that with at least one of the students involved in the Columbine shooting, that was the case. He was not neglected by his parents as far as I have been able to tell. His father, for one, educated him on the proper use and care of weaponry, though doubtless the boy could have found out that information elsewhere.

Teenagers are very good at hiding things, especially problems.

I was going to attempt to explain the transition from the kids who shot themselves or ran away rather than face their tormentors to those who shoot them. However, that places an impossible amount of generalization upon them (and the word “them” is generalization enough) and takes away from the fact that they are individuals. Each one had a different experience at school.

In a way, I think this society is partly to blame. We, who (in general) place more emphasis on sports and appearance than grades and personality (especially in high school) are to blame. And those of us who don’t conform to that idea need to make sure those who are being tormented in high school for not conforming know that they are nowhere near alone.

When I was in high school in the early 90’s, I often fantasized about doing exactly what the Columbine kids did. When troubled, I would write a story depicting the events as I dreamed they would unfold. It made me feel good, that I was at least in control of my mind.

High school wasn’t so bad, but if I had known the things I know now about bombs, guns, etc in Junior High I think I would have had a hefty body-count…

I have to agree with iampunha in a lot of ways… when I complained to the school about the physical and mental torture that school had become, I was told to just avoid the students in question, and maybe I should change the way I am to avoid that sort of problem??

I’m amazed I made it. Everytime I hear of another school shooting, I am sad, because somewhere someone didn’t make it through the gauntlet. And the problem won’t change, not for as long as school’s are “socially conscious”.

I feel for you Mercutio, and know how you feel (it really is two different things). Just know that you have the ability to help when you see abuses happening.

I have to say that’s pretty chilling Tristan. I hope your situation and mental state have improved since then.

Why do you think school massacres are suddenly prevalant? Do you think there have been fundamental shifts in high schools in the last decade? Are non-conformists treated more cruelly or with less recourse to authority now than they have been throughout history? Is it just that younger kids now have easier access to guns and information about bombs? You said it was only the lack of this knowledge that stopped you. I can’t even imagine the mental state that would lead to randomly gunning down one’s classmates, so it would be very interesting to hear from you, who has experienced it.

I concur greatly with Mercutio’s points.

I must also tell, as a High school student, that I also agree with Mnementh’s points also. I used to just sit in class, wonder what the Hell I’d do if someone busted the door in and just open-fired.

I must also, not as a scapegoat, but as a real problem, put the rich-&-“popular”-clique kids at partial fault. they, at my school, pick out the smallest fault in a person, and continue to harass them about it. they, somehow, float along in school with A’s, get in Student Council, and are teacher’s pets. these kids are most-likely jocks. this could be the reason why the jocks are the most-targeted people in school shootings, statistically.

Thank you.

I think we need to re-think some of the social aspects of schools.

Having received more than my fair share of teasing and having been beaten up on more than a few occasions, it disgusts me to think that adults try to brush off problems with an overly simplistic “don’t go near them”. In fact, during the height of my problems, I was painted as an instigator; that if I was being teased, it was somehow my fault because I must be doing something to attract this “negative” attention. This culminated in an incident in which I brought a razor blade to school. I saw it as a means of defending myself. The school took it as a gesture by an out-of-control student bent on disrupting the class. I was sent to a psychiatrist who assured me and my parents that not only was there nothing wrong with me, but that it was the school’s problem in the first place. I found myself in public school the following day. Once the whole story came out, my parents took the school to court, where the suit was settled. One of the results of the settlement was that older children were no longer allowed in the same classroom with younger kids.

Most of the problems came from a trio of older boys. One had a mother who was a “serial bride” who was then involved with a studio musician. It was also known that there was extensive drug and alcohol abuse in the house. Another was a follower of the first boy and who didn’t have a good home life, either. The last one was just a prick looking to curry favor with a pair of bullies. The school itself was operated by a couple who’d operated a successful daycamp for a number of years, and who decided to open a private day school. The school’s head was a perpetual student who was working on a master’s degree in education when the school was opened.

My point is that there are too many kids who are bullied, and not enough educators and parents willing to stand up and make it stop. Schools are resorting to zero-tolerance “feel-good” regulations, and parents refuse to admit that their kids are capable of torturing other kids. It’s amazing this wholesale violence doesn’t happen MORE.

Robin

I’m surprised something like this hasn’t happened in an LAUSD school.

I went to a public middle school. I hated it.

I go to a private college prep high school. I love it.

I figure, if more public schools were structured more like a private school things wouldn’t be as bad as they are now.

My two cents.

I, like most people, have a lot of very emotional thoughts on this subject. So I’d like to apologize in advance if I get a little heated in my post.

The thing that gets me a lot is people looking around to place the blame on social environments and the like. I think the arguements for parents being at fault is probably stronger than the wackier agruemtns we’ve heard lately about satanic music and what not, but let me say this. One common element to most of the posts in this thread and similar threads is a sense of identification with these loner kids. I personally got pudding thrown on me in the lunch room. got pushed down, threatened with knives, had to ride a different bus home everyday to keep my persecutors from catching me at the bus stop for a little “fight club”. I also listenend to wierd “satanic” music (the Cure- back in those days) and had very little to do with the jock culture that was so dominant at my junior high and HS.
But I didn’t kill anybody. And neither did any of you (I suspect). And now, as a successful, creative, respected member of my community, I reflect on those experiences as a personal badge on honor. I survived what amounts to essentially a hazing for real life, and I am a better person for it, or so I like to believe. I am compassionate, resourceful, not terribly materialistic, nor particularly impressionable to trends and fads and advertising, and I am a loyal friend and community member.
I firmly believe that this is very much because of those horrible school expericence, not despite them. And i think the same is probably true of most of you, who have related similar experiences. Generally speaking… where are your tormentors now? Most of mine are either in dead end jobs, prematurely married and saddled with families they can’t afford, or in jail. Most of us (the victims) are doing quite well in our own ways.
Its because of this that I get frustrated blaming the schools. Kids will tease kids who are different. Grown ups are the same way, its just easier for us to avoid eachother as adults. “Group think” (mob mentality) is not unique to high school.
And i guess I get frustrated when these social activists point fingers at the jocks and the jock culture when trying the explain the HS shooting phenomenon. There has always been and always will be a great unwashed. The quiet desperation of banality grips most minds. I think it sucks, and I think those little assholes (the jock kids)are deplorable, but it won’t change.
I think its important in the midst of all this emotion, to clearheadedly remember that while these incidents are apalling, they hardly constitute the national emergency status the press has bestowed upon them. A high school student is still far more likely to die in a drinking related accident, or of a disease, than at the hands of a school gunman. But like plane crashes, gunmen make good tv, and we have an unrealistic and somewaht hysterical perspective on the whole thing. So far in 2001, four times more people have died because military submarines surfaced underneath thier fishing boats than because gunmen opened fire in thier schools. They are both terrifying but to an extent, they are both just kind of unforseeable. And wasting a lot of time interviewingfriends and psychologists and witnesses and cops and lawyers is much better as television than it is asinvestigation. There have always been crazy people, desperate lonely fucked up people of all ages, and now each one of these kids has a precent for his misbehavior, and in out cult of celebrity, if a kid is that desperate to be noticed, and can’t shoot a basketball, or get straight a’s, or play guitar, and doesn’t have the sense of future and delayed gratification to look beyond the confining walls of some bullshit state run mediocrity factory (High school), then the next best form of attention is allure of a posthumous expose on MSNBC. Its bigger than parents, its WAAAAY bigger than HS clicques. But its smaller than we think, thank god.
CJ

I went to a private grade school. I hated it.

I moved nearly 500 miles away for private high school. I hated it more. I very nearly killed myself.

Now I’m at a public college and I love it . . . though I doubt that has much to do with its being public.

However, the high school was shitty because the same kids who tormented me during the day lived in the same house with me, so I couldn’t get away from it.

"Its because of this that I get frustrated blaming the schools. Kids will tease kids who are different. Grown ups are the same way, its just easier for us to avoid eachother as adults. “Group think” (mob mentality) is not unique to high school."

I think there’s a crucial difference. Kids reach a stage in either high school or grade school, commonly, where they begin to care a whole lot about their peers’ opinions of them. They don’t yet understand that there is life outside these opinions, some of them. And if you’re living with the knowledge that you essentially suck dirty goat testicles and nothing will ever improve that . . . what’s there to live for?

Adults also have an easier time, in general, of getting away from it. They don’t have “impossible, control-freak” parents or bratty siblings or hours of homework or any of the rest of that. They do have work, yes, but they can get away from work, most of them. Or at least a good number of them.

I have to agree with iampunha.

Yeah, as long as there’re going to be kids, there’s going to be teasing and worse. Kids base their self-esteem and self-worth on what their peers think of them. Adults know there’s more to life than that. If I have problems at work, I can resolve them in a number of ways, including finding a new job, if it comes to that. Kids don’t always have those choices.

Some of a child’s worst enemies can come from within his own house. It literally took me being beaten bloody and bringing a razor blade to school before an adult believed what was happening. My mother alternately laughed it off (“Oh, he’s got a crush on you”) and blamed me (“Why do you have to be such a patsy!”) for what was happening. My teacher at school treated me like a head case which in turn, led to more attacks. The head of the school, who had the authority to expel, made no effort to control the problem. Once I was removed from that environment and the effort was made to place me where I needed to be emotionally and intellectually (i.e. in the gifted and talented program), I was fine, at least till I got to high school, but that’s a thread for another time.

Robin

I don’t really disagree with either of you about this, beyond the scale of the difference. I still really think that adults are often just as petty and shallow and self absorbed and clique driven as kids, much of the time. And even if that isn’t true, its not like school was any harder for those kids (qualitatively) that it has been on hundreds and thousands of us outcasts over the years.

I will say that that wasn’t really the central point of my post anyway. What I was really getting at is that some variable has entered the school equasion to make way for these school shootings, and I don’t think its social clique abuse or rivalry- as I don’t believe that these things are any worse today than they have ever been. The variables baically amount to a precendent having been set.

If a crazy person sees that another crazy person has gotten attention by shooting up his school, he has an example to follow, and suddenly the idea isn’t quite as far fetched as it might have been to the same kid if he had been in HS 15 years ago, before such a precedent existed.

Blame the media, blame the parents if you have to, but ultimately you end up sorta spinning your wheels and having no recourse except to acknowledge that there is evil in the world, and there are crazy people. Living in an information age, having 500 tv stations and cable modems has liabilities that cannot be legislated or self helped or interventioned out of existence.
CJ

oh shit… am I a republican?

:slight_smile:
naw.

CJ

Personally, I don’t think that the shootings that occurred at both Columbine and more recently, San Diego have much to do with kids being made fun of. Across the world, Non-conformists including myself are teased and made fun of for their differences, however to assume that it is just non-conformists that are made fun of is to make a enormous mistake. EVERYONE is or has been made fun of at some time in their lives by someone. The difference between people is how they respond to these tauntings. Some people don’t respond at all, and bottle up their anger, and others just fight back immediately. These children who bring guns into school are a completely different type of reaction. These kids don’t just fight back against the people who are making fun of them, they attack everyone. The kid who did the shooting in San Diego didn’t seek out the kids who made fun of him, he hid in a bathroom, shooting anyone who walked by, indiscriminately. This is very different from just getting back at one’s tormentors. The children who do things like this have deeper underlying problems then just being made fun of. The making fun of problem just causes it to surface, and had not the kid been made fun of profusely, the violence problem would have surfaced at some other time, in a different way. This does not mean that it is ok to make fun of people, just that being made fun of is no excuse for killing people. Sure being made fun of pisses people off, but bringing a gun into school and killing and wounding a bunch of your peers and teachers is neither the answer to these kids’ problems nor a normal response to being made fun of or being beat up.

p.s. I am neither a psychiatrist nor a psychologist, and my reaction to these tragedies is based solely on my experience in life and on the information supplied to me by the press about these horrible incidents.
p.p.s. By stating that these kids’ reactions were not “normal” I am not saying that they do not conform to the average, I am saying that they require being studied by psychiatrists and are dangerous to the people around them