June 1999
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Angry Dan's Column

What have you done to prevent a school shooting today?

by Daniel Strohl

I, like about everyone else on the planet, have an opinion on the many high school shootings and bomb threats and various juvenile violence which has seemingly escalated in America recently. But my opinion has more to do with the multitudinous other opinionators out there who would rather like to blame the Internet, Marilyn Manson, Doom and Natural Born Killers for the actions of today's youth.

Necessary to say that such ideas are stupid.

Blaming bad parenting is also somewhat popular but still belies the problem behind placing blame. Because when someone places blame, in no way are they recognizing any faults of their own. How different is this whole situation from saying Suzie did it when you broke Mom's favorite vase while playing ball in the house? "Goth did it." "Lack of gun control laws did it." "The jocks did it." "Too many gun control laws did it." Nobody wants to say "I did it" except for the one popular kid from Columbine who, the day of the shootings, said on national news that it was his fault for teasing Harris and Klebold. Whoever he is, he is to be congratulated for owning up.

But the worst part, the absolutely most horrid part of placing blame on others is that it just shows how much prejudice remains even among those considering themselves to be above such things. How quick were people to say Arab terrorists were behind the bombing of the Murrah building? How often did you hear in the early years of AIDS that gays were responsible for its spread? Where else do people look to change things during times of high crime and drug usage than predominantly black communities? And if you're a Hee-Haw fan with a gun, you're actually nothing but a common-law espousing separatist.

And so you'll know I practice what I preach, I'll admit here my parts in the society that led to such incidents. As a reporter, I'm a member of the media that puts violence on the front pages for potential copycat killers to learn from. (I'll save the debate on the ethics of such decisions for another month.) I also made friends of kids very similar to Harris and Klebold in high school and added to their culture and anti-social tendencies just by my very immature enthusiasm for what they were doing, not to mention helping them build several pipe bombs and works bombs.

So I'd encourage you to think about what you've done rather than what Hollywood, the Internet or today's youth culture has done.


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