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Archive for Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Maddening

What are we doing to encourage young criminals like those we have seen in Littleton and Riverton?

April 25, 2006

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Anyone who has the right answer about why so many youngsters are engaging in violence or contemplating it in our schools should get a patent and sell the product so this terrible threat could be eliminated. Millions of Americans continue to shake their heads at the growing threats to the safety and security of children in our schools. There is anger, fear and monumental frustration, with good reason.

Littleton, Colo.; Red Lake, Minn.; Riverton, Kan.? These are not crime-riddled locations in metropolitan areas. They are "down-home" venues where one might never expect teenagers to plot to kill fellow pupils in shooting and bombing rampages.

The Littleton tragedy is infamous for the 12 pupil deaths and 24 injuries in 1999. The Minnesota massacre created international headlines. Miraculously the plans of five teenagers in the Riverton area of southeast Kansas were discovered before they could go on rampages of bloody carnage last week. Somebody saw signs of what might be coming on the Internet, proper steps were taken and a new slaughter of innocents was prevented.

We have no idea how many other schools have been able to discover major threats and defuse them. Some have admitted problems, others have obscured them. We can only hope the guilty plotters were dealt with firmly.

Some think violent video games are to blame or the example set by adults who return to their former work places to "get even" by killing and maiming co-workers. There always has been bullying in school, although it seems to have increased in modern times. Drive-by shooting and random sniper attacks target nobody guilty of anything. Where did this "final solution" of violence and murder creep into the mentality of the supposedly oppressed and misunderstood?

The Internet has to share some blame for all this. Youngsters talk, "jokingly" and for real, about plans to kill others. They encounter, through such electronic venues as Myspace.com, compatriots willing to listen and even help plan and carry out attacks. We can say a number of prayers of thanks for the Myspace readers who helped thwart a Riverton debacle.

Young people see killing after killing in formidable elements of our "entertainment" world and become desensitized to violence. Then they gain a feeling of power and control and begin to plot and plan what happened in Littleton and Red Lake and almost in Riverton, Kan.

Our society is in big trouble, despite its many advantages, and the horrifying bottom line is that we are due to see more Littletons before we see much major improvement. Whoever dreamed Riverton, Kan., would make the national headlines in the way it did last week?

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