- Last week, a 15-year-old girl walking home from a friend’s house in an affluent Las Vegas suburb was attacked, raped twice, and stabbed more than 40 times by a 19-year-old predator. He then set fire to her corpse and left it in the desert.
- This murder was similar to the 1997 rape and murder of little Sherrice Iverson, who was unfortunate enough to be left unattended in a casino all night while her father gambled. A then-18-year-old playfully made contact with her, then took her into a bathroom where he ended up twisting the 7-year-old’s neck.
- Also last week, a man walked into an IHOP in Carson City, Nevada’s capital, and fired at random with an assault rifle, killing four people–including three uniformed National Guardsmen–before killing himself.
- And let’s not forget the shooting in Arizona this last January which killed six people, including a judge and a little girl who would have turned ten years old today, on the anniversary of 9/11.
These four tragedies have something in common. They were all perpetrated by people who were known by those around them to be mentally ill. Continue reading
I just read about Alabama biology professor Amy Bishop’s shooting rampage that killed three of her colleagues. Curious, I looked her up on RateMyProfessors.com, and found a few dozen reviews of her posted by former students. Though there are some negative reviews, the majority are glowing, as seen from the screen shot below (I suspect the page will be taken down soon). So she’s a homicidal maniac with a history of problems, but on the other hand, “she is hot but she tries to hide it.”
Note that the Boston Herald article linked above (also posted today at Drudge Report) mentions that she is “a far left political extremist who was obsessed with President Obama,” and the same student review I just quoted from (visible below) also shares this: “she is a socialist but she only talks about it after class.”
A police officer was shot by a group of young men as he came home from work two nights ago. One of the young men is an 18-year-old junior and basketball player at Mojave High School, according to the newspaper. Reading the comments section below the article, some people say that they know him and that he’s “a good kid,” including someone called “Mojave Parent” commenting at 10:10.
This reminded me of a similar tragedy here in Las Vegas three years ago: another basketball player at Mojave High School was part of a group that went around assaulting strangers on a spree one night. After he was arrested, people came out of the woodwork to call him “a good kid.”
When Gerald Davidson shot and killed Chris Privett after school at Palo Verde High School a year and a half ago, I don’t remember anyone calling him a good kid, but I wouldn’t be the least bit surprised if someone did.
I have no further commentary than this: get a clue, everybody.
April 20, 2009 is the ten year anniversary of the Columbine shootings. I was a junior in college that year, and heard about it in an afternoon class. No doubt this dubious hallmark will be an occasion for a lot of hand wringing and navel gazing, but I want to add a few random comments that I hope are worthwhile.
- I remember reading one editorial soon afterward that made a devastating, politically incorrect point about our society, to the effect that a teenage girl without skills or self esteem is a danger to herself, but a teenage boy without skills or self esteem is a danger to everybody. True.
- This tragedy still most clearly illustrates something that we’ve actually come to accept and ignore: we’re raising a generation of sociopaths. Not all of them, but so many that it can’t be a coincidence. Consider the teenager who recently brutally tortured and murdereda man he met online. Before Columbine, we would have been horrified. Now we just shrug and flip the channel. I’m also reminded of a story that stuck with me from the local Las Vegas Sun about how young gang members now have largely become unreachable hounds seeking violence for its own sake, without their elders’ interests in turf or identity. When the Virginia Tech shooting shocked us two years ago, one of my first reactions was, That’s right, the Columbine generation is in college now. And the media gave the killer all the attention he clearly wanted. Our addiction to brutal violence has long since gone past the tipping point, but we just don’t care what it’s doing to us. In unrelated news, I hear they’re making yet another Saw movie.
- Our schools’ schizophrenic enforcement of standards since then has become surreal: we strip search girls who might have aspirin, but kids with weapons on campus will get a slap on the wrist, a brief trip to a “behavior school,” and be back in the normal rotation by the end of the year.
- Around the five year anniversary, some boys at the school where I worked had an idea: spread rumors about an upcoming school shooting and get their parents to freak out and keep them home from school that day. It worked like a charm. For days beforehand, I fielded calls from worried parents who wanted to know if the rumors were true (and what did they expect us to say? “Yes, the shooting is scheduled for 10:30 next Tuesday”?) Lots of parents did keep their kids home. There was no shooting, and our campus police were able to track down the kids who started the rumor. I hope their day off was worth it.
- Columbine was followed by a merchandising frenzy that produced things like a T-shirt I saw being worn by a Colorado resident: “We are Columbine.” Really? Such nauseating narcisism wouldn’t be seen again until the waves of 9/11 “memorabilia” two years later. Attention Oprah fans: not every tragedy is an excuse for everybody to have a big weepy love-in about how it made them feel.
- I’ve read this provocative essay about the racial/cultural factors involved in this and similar tragedies: “School Shootings and White Denial.” The author mostly makes sense, except when he implies that white racism caused these shootings because we ignored the warning signs in minority cultures, which then creeped into the suburbs. I see no evidence for that.
- I also read the story of Cassie Bernall, She Said Yes. It not only told the story of this fateful day, but addressed the solutions. Cassie Bernall could have been like the shooters, but she changed, and died for that change. It’s still in print and I recommend it to everybody.