The word ‘school shooting’ implies acts carried out by either intruders or students within a school. These incidences are usually confused with other forms of school violence like Bath School tragedy where a homemade bomb exploded leaving behind several causalities. Is there a certain ‘type’ of students most likely to carry out these atrocious acts?
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Well, a profiling carried out in the United States of America showed that, there are no certain groups or individuals, who are more likely to commit these school-shooting incidences (Egan para. 9).
However, the perpetrators seem to share one thing; they plan for the shootings. These individuals do not wake up and decide to carry a gun into a class and open fire to fellow students or teachers. No, they plan how to do it in advance. Theirs is a well-developed path towards violence.
Apart from being ‘loners’, these individuals are ‘joiners’ and it appears that after failing to gain social acceptance, they come up with a way of letting their thinking and actions known by shooting fellow students or even teachers (Egan para. 6). Though not proved, these shooting incidences may be an attempt by the perpetrators to uplift their social image from a ‘loser’ to a ‘master’.
What else can explain such incidences? Interestingly, young males have been exclusively associated with these shootings save for only two documented incidences carried out by female students.
Barry Loukaitis in Frontier Middle School perpetrated one of the most outstanding school shooting instances on 2 February 1996. On the material day, Loukaitis, wielding two handguns and a hunting riffle with over 78 rounds of ammunition; shot dead his algebra teacher; Leona Caires and two fellow students; Arnold Fritz, Jr. and Manuel Vela; injured Natalie Hintz, and held the entire class hostage for ten minutes.
After hearing the gunshots, Jon Lane, a gym coach, walked in and volunteered to be taken hostage instead of the students before grabbing the weapons and disarming Loukaitis (Egan, para. 5). It later emerged that these weapons belonged to his father. Interestingly, on that day, Loukaitis was apparelled like Gunslinger, a prominent character in cinema. What could lead someone to making such flagitious move?
According to Egan, Barry said, ”This sure beats algebra doesn’t it” (para. 4). After thorough searching, it emerged that violent videos littered Loukaitis’ house. He learnt shooting from his father. Additionally, Barry Loukaitis reportedly confessed to a friend that it would be cool to embark on a shooting fling, to emulate some lead characters in Natural Born Killers. To be precise the character, Oliver Stone in this film was Barry’s paragon.
From this incidence, it is clear that this was a pre-planned venture through watching of deadly movie series and close learning about shooting from a father. Barry’s comments that ‘this sure beats algebra doesn’t it’, is a clear indication that he had deep seated problems and this experience made him feel superior making his thoughts known to the world.
The whole story brings into spotlight the issue of carelessness on part of parents. Guns and other weapons should be kept out of children’s reach. There is a dire need to bring up children in a way that will discourage these behaviours.
Barring children from watching these violent films would solve this problem in part. The contemporary generation of young people is exposed to many destructive things. Consequently, out of curiosity, coupled with issues like negligence and social misfit, may engage in more school shootings. We need drastic actions to avert this emerging behaviour. We cannot afford to lose yet another soul in such circumstances.
Egan, Timothy. “Where Rampages Begin: A Special Report; From Adolescent Angst To Shooting Up Schools.” The New York Times. June 1998. 2 Dec. 2009.