Entertainment and Sports

Shooting Schools

It's time for those who perpetuate and profit from the slaughter of children to bear some of the responsibility.

By Kevin Somers
Published June 07, 2007

Desensitizing comes quickly. Columbine was shocking, alarming, and horrifying. With Virginia State, however, there was only a sad, nagging resignation that murdering children at school isn't going to stop.

It's impossible when the means and the motive are so well entrenched: guns will always be easy to get and the media will continue making a sensation of the killers.

Narcissists covetous of fame but without talent, luck, or a work ethic know the quickest path from obscure loner to front page (bold type), lead story, and a million internet hits is to shoot up a school.

It's become a common, international phenomenon because the cowards are immediately rewarded with worldwide attention.

The media, of course, have salaried employees and contracted representatives who argue vehemently that their headlines don't provide motive for mass murder, but that's not true.

The Virginia State loser took all the right steps to be seen and heard, finally.

It's a simple formula: go to a school, kill children, become famous, rest in peace. All of his pathetic dreams have posthumously come true. Even a mind as sick and twisted as his knows how to play the media.

The fiends responsible for the Columbine massacre, knew they'd be household names afterwards and relished it, speculating which block-busting director would shoot their movie.

They have yet to inspire a feature film, but the Trench Coat Idiots have disgraced countless newspaper and magazine covers. There is even a video-game with a killer walking the halls of a school shooting people.

As they predicted, the Columbine boys have been the subject of intense media scrutiny and are famous.

In the 12 years since Columbine, some of the copy-cats, whom we eventually know all too well, have upped the ante and are arriving at schools with more than killing on their sick minds.

Armed and misunderestimated, today's creeps have KY jelly and handcuffs, as well as assault rifles and semi-automatics, as they single out the little girls. They usually leave a note blaming everyone else, which we all get to read.

George Bush was at Virginia Tech quickly after the killing, a subject close to his heart. The president, after all, has repealed a ban on assault rifles and started an unnecessary war.

Ironically, Bush, who's been a blessing to the weaponry industry, spoke of tragedy, not irony, easy money, or hypocrisy. Dubya, naturally, had a media team in tow.

It's absurd, of course, to the blame the media for all of society's woes, but its impossible not determine this new phenomenon shares responsibility for the violence: from kiddie porn to snuff films, anything and everything is suddenly available to see and buy on the internet.

Movies and TV teem with sex and serial killers and some video games are more grisly than Jeffery Dahmer's apartment. It's also unnatural for millions of people to spend more time with various forms media than with family and friends combined.

The constant barrage of violent messages has to affect some people absorbing it, especially the young.

Don't tell me years of playing violent video games doesn't influence impressionable children. Don't tell me watching thousand of hours of violence, sex, and sexual violence doesn't excessively fuel carnal lust and rage.

Don't tell me instant notoriety doesn't have an awesome appeal to murderous maniacs dying to be noticed. From Columbine to Virginia Tech, it's been proven that desensitizing comes quickly.

Any study to the contrary should be sold back to the media/entertainment executive who commissioned it.

It's time for those who perpetuate and profit from the slaughter of children to bear some of the responsibility. It's time for the media to pay the piper.

Kevin Somers is a Hamilton writer.

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By Around Again (anonymous) | Posted June 08, 2007 at 13:22:12

Sure, life imitates art which imitates life, around and around we go. Communication is culture and it isn't all good news. To blame the media is simply to say there's a human appetite for violence, individually and collectively. It's nice to think we could simply break this cycle and it would all go away, but authority had more media control before technology opened up communications and that simply meant shit still happened, but less of it was reported.

This is not to say nothing can be done about violence in the schools. I'm less expert than the author, but I think Craig Hermanson's item in this issue of RTH (regarding large, suburban sprawl schools) points to one probable cause: schools so big the staff does not know what's going on in distant corners of their buildings. School authorities become remote and students are less likely to confide in them. In super-sized schools it becomes increasingly difficult to forge a truly interactive link between Home and School.

Now, talk about funding excellence in education really means driving up scores on standardized tests at the lowest possible cost per square foot. The internet becomes a replacement, rather than an enhancement of face to face communications. When technologies such as video cameras replace teachers as the eyes and ears in their buildings, authorities can only react, rather than act to prevent violence in schools.

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