Essay on School Shootings in America

Essay on School Shootings in America

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The school shootings at Westside Middle School were orchestrated by two juveniles. On Monday, March 30, 1998 two boys ambushed students and teachers outside Westside Middle School in Jonesboro, Arkansas. Andrew Golden a youth of 11 years and Mitchell Johnson who was 13 years old were responsible for this hideous tragedy. Apparently, Mitchell Johnson hid in the woods while Andrew set off the fire alarm causing the students and teachers to run out of the building. Armed with three stolen rifles and four handguns, the documentary explained that the two youth flushed kids and teachers out of the school by means of a false fire alarm then opened up on them. When they stopped shooting, four students and a teacher lay dead and 10 students were wounded.
Alan Fox discussed some typical characteristics of school shooters which included easy access to guns. Other characteristics were alienation, frustration, and low self esteem. Mr. Fox stated that these kids typically just don’t feel good about themselves. He blames the recent spate of school violence on the media and instant popularity arising from intense news coverage after the violence which encouraged a surge of “copycats”. He also discusses the role of violence seen in today’s movies, MTV and video games. Ignoring the warning signs of potential explosive juveniles was also sighted as a reason for this surge in school shootings.
The series of so-called copy cat school shootings started on February 2nd, 1996 in Moses Lake, Washington at Frontier Junior High when Barry Loukatis age 14 opened fire on his algebra class in room 15. Home and family conditions of this child were bizarre and would later be used as mitigating circumstances. Barry’s early childhood was described as “happy” by his mother Jody. But life changed for Berry around age 11 when he moved from Iowa to Moses Lake and his parents separated. The documentary depicted Barry as mentally disturbed and fixated on the idea that his father was having an affair. Berry had a plan for revenge. Berry and his mother conspired to tie up his father and his girlfriend and then his mother would shoot herself while her estranged husband watched. Berry’s mother told her son that she planned to do this on February 14th.
At school Berry was described by his peers as a “dork” or “hick”. The most popular guy in school called him a “faggot”. He was generally picked on f...


... middle of paper ...


...a standard practice is the highest that we can aim for to create a safe school environment. Encouraging peers to get involved and not to ignore warning signs of violence is uncomfortable, yet is the beginning to create a unity where goodness can flourish in the halls of learning and any darkness brought to the attention of others and help given where needed to those few troubled juveniles who have the potential for violence.
Addendum:
Youth's poems
Poems written by Barry Loukaitis before he opened fire on his classmates in Moses Lake, Wash.:
A sullen life style gripped with pain
The feeling of murder
The heat of hate and the love of death
Barry was aiming for one youth in particular, a male student who had called him a ''fag:''
''Murder '' It's my first murder
I'm at the point of no return
I look at his body on the floor
Killing a bastard that deserves to die
Ain't nuthin' like it in the world But he sure did bleed a lot
Publication date: 11-10-98

© Copyright 1998, The Cincinnati Post. All Rights Reserved
References
Agnew, R. (2002). Strain theory and school crime. Of Crime and Criminality (Sally Smith Ed.)
School Shootings: America’s Tragedy. DVD

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