There is something very pure, promising and innocent about youth. There are promises for the future and laughter at the success of today. Twinkling eyes accompanied with teenage temper tantrums.
Our children can be angels one minute who we think we have done a great job with and then little devils the next who we fret over but, in reality, most of our kids WILL survive every fight in school, every argument at home and every tantrum.
They WILL grow up to a healthy future that will have been well earned.
Except … when they don’t.
Some children take much darker ways. And every case tugs at a mother’s heart strings. Children who take guns into schools and kill their own classmates or the people around them, leaving us to clutch our own child that much more tighter to quietly wonder what went wrong.
The United States of America is burdened with the most child killers possibly owing to it’s controversial gun laws. After every single school shooting, the debate on gun laws is opened and methods proposed to reduce the guns on the street.
Every single time, nothing happens but, guns in the hands of troubled boys makes for a lethal combination.
Columbine, 1999. Two boys, Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold walked into their school, Columbine High, and left two bags of explosives inside the cafeteria. When these failed to detonate they returned with firearms to carry out a terrorist style attack.
The aftermath was bloody leaving twelve students dead and one brave teacher who died trying to save the lives of his students. 24 students were injured but, physically at least survived.
Unlike many serial killers, these boys were not outcasts or had not been spurned in love but had united with a desire to kill and create havoc. A blog that Harris had run since 1996 showed a growing hatred to society although the reasons remain unclear.
This killing was the first in a wave of high school shootings that horrified the world. In what was the worst massacre in American University history, 32 were killed at Virginia Tech University in 2007. Seung Hui Cho, who had mental health concerns, went from room to room killing students and teachers before killing himself. The nation were united in mourning and prayed that blood would not be spilled again but, the killing didn’t stop.
In 2012, a 20 year old Adam Lanza stole his mother’s guns and after killing her drove to his old school- Sandy Hook Elementary school to begin his killing spree.
He killed twenty children, six adults and himself in a sustained attack lasting 11 minutes.
The nation was horrified and a tearful Obama led the prayers promising stricter gun laws which did happen in some states.
Since 2013 however, there have been 600 school shootings with over 40 in 2018 alone.
Seventeen people were killed and seventeen injured on the grounds of Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, Florida in February of this year after which President Donald Trump made hollow promises of safety. ‘No child, teacher, or anyone else should feel unsafe in an American school’. Just three months later he was backing offering condolences after yet another school shooting this time in Santa Fe High School Texas.
Both the killers of these shootings were arrested. The first, a nineteen year old former student Nikolas Cruz was apprehended buying McDonalds after the killings. Crux has a long history of mental and emotional disorders reflected in his behavioural problems and I have little doubt that he may have a long career of murder infront of him if ever released.
The second killer was Dimitrios Pagourtzis, a student of Santa Fe. His motive seemed to be revenge as he wanted to shoot the students he didn’t like and spare the ones he did so he ‘could have his story told’. Dimitris was described as a quiet loner but, nothing in his behavior could have predicted the killing spree that unfolded.
The cases are varied; there seemingly isn’t much in connection with the killers but their use of firearms. Maybe the firearms give an avenue to their grievances or maybe they are a way to become infamous but, in a society where family values are crumbling, the youth are spending more and more time online airing grievances and sharing views with other antisocial elements.
Many of these boys posted comments and videos online with alarming messages. These behaviours did not take part in isolation but there were triggers and alarm bells that must be taken seriously.
Our youth must not be failed. It is our collective responsibility as parents to our children and as a community as a whole to look for indicators. Teens with troubled behaviours or alarming thought processes should be given help before they pick up a gun and rip apart not only their future but also that of other children.