August 22, 2008

READER DAVE PARMLY asks what I think about the shooting at Central High School in Knoxville. I don’t really have much to say. It wasn’t a “school shooting,” but a shooting at a school — the shooter had a particular victim in mind, and killed him, and then left without shooting anyone else. (Police have ruled out race or gangs as a motive, but the motive appears to have been something personal). That being the case, I don’t think that armed teachers would have helped much, as they might have in a classic mass shooting. This sort of thing will happen, and it will sometimes happen at schools — the News-Sentinel print edition called it a shooting in a “haven,” but high schools aren’t really “havens,” but, rather, pretty unpleasant places. I don’t really think, though, that “because teenage boys are stupid” is much of an explanation. Are they that much stupider than they were 50 years ago, when guns were more plentiful in high schools, but shootings were much less so? Or is it something in the culture or in the media?

UPDATE: Cassy Fiano comments: “Saying that teenage boys who are polite, decent, courteous, kind, and caring people are abnormal and weird is rude and wrong.”

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