The Kids Aren’t Alright.

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Again, a nation has been scarred after the shooting that took place on February 14 at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Florida. This heartbreaking and tragic incident left 17 people dead and millions shattered. This gruesome attack is the deadliest yet since the 2012 massacre which claimed the lives of 20 children and 6 adults at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut. In 2018, this is the 6th school shooting which has resulted in injuries along with a reported 17 incidents of gunfire in schools.

Why and what can we do to prevent such horror from happening again?

I’ve always had an innate fascination with the psychology of cold-blooded murderers. They represent a small percentage of our population yet manage to make themselves well-known to everyone. In some of these cases, the killers are looking to achieve celebrity status and notoriety. I decided to go back a bit and learn more about the infamous Columbine High School massacre which happened in 1999. When speaking specifically about school shooters there are definite commonalities among them.

Bullying, Rejection And Mental Health Concerns

The kids who decided to excessively arm themselves against their peers were bullied and ostracized. This leaves them without a sense of community due to the repeated rejection by society. They also have difficult and complicated relationships with their loved ones at home. To add even more complexity to the issue, there is a relatively high rate of mental illness in mass public shooters. It is said that Nikolas Cruz has autism and Adam Lanza underwent many evaluations and was diagnosed with Asperger’s Syndrome. Depression and suicidal thoughts appear to play a big role in the unravelling of these events.

Extremely Vocal About Their Intentions

What are we supposed to do when an angry teenager bluntly writes on their Facebook page, I want to be a professional school shooter? Or is posting pictures of holding a rifle and looking trigger happy? The Columbine killers, Eric and Dylan, had expressed their rage in a video for a school project, Hitmen for Hire, where they are shown to be violent, swearing and killing students. Adam also used his creative capabilities to convey what he was feeling through descriptive and highly-disturbing stories. His teacher knew there was something terribly wrong and even brought this to the attention of the principal but nothing was done.

A Failed System

Approximately one year before the Columbine shooting spree, an investigator was notified of Eric’s website after the parents of a fellow student discovered threats against their son. During this time, Eric made announcements that he was building and detonating pipe bombs. As it turns out, an affidavit was drafted for a search warrant but authorities felt they didn’t have enough evidence so it was dropped. Unfortunately this critical piece of information wasn’t disclosed to the public until 2001 during an episode of 60 Minutes. In the case of the recent Florida shooter, the police was constantly making visits to his home due to neighbour complaints. He would shoot at squirrels, steal people’s mail, pick fights with other kids (even bit someone’s ear), vandalized property and so forth.

Easy Access To Guns

With the gun laws being what they are in the United States it’s no wonder that we are facing this serious issue. The Second Amendment was adopted on December 15, 1791 which gives people the right to keep and bear arms. The gun culture is such an ingrained part of the American way of life. Freedom is a truly wonderful thing however there always comes a point when a conflict of interest arises. The staff and students of these shootings lost their lives because their freedom to education was infringed upon by a gun wielding individual. Point blank. There should be absolutely no way that a person with a troubled past and/or present be allowed to legally purchase guns.

It’s quite evident that there is no single problem or clear cut solution with respect to these types of killings. My thoughts and prayers go out to those who have been affected by this horror. As I was online watching documentaries and interviews around the topic of school shootings I couldn’t help but wonder about the parents of the suspects. The natural reaction for any of us is to ask them, how didn’t you know? Sue Klebold, the mother of one of the Columbine shooters, explains in her own words the impact of the shooting. Not only did she endure the loss of her child but she will never be able to live down the guilt of what her son did to others. Sue’s story is filled with heartbreak and a relentless search for the truth.