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High School Shootings

High school shootings have been occurring all over the country. All incidents
leading in one or more deaths. Jonesboro, Fayetteville, Edinboro, Pearl, Moses
Lake, Grayson, Olivehurst, Behtel, West Paducah, Springfield, Littleton. It’ll
never happen to me, you say, well, it could. And after it does everything is
different, and has changed. Just a death can change you, but death from
terrorism is even more difficult to deal with. That is why the students are so
concerned. Some people are blaming themselves, some television, religion, media,
computer games, and others blame parents in general. Who is to blame and what is
to blame? We may never know. It is happening in suburban areas. Places we never
would’ve thought it would happen. It is starting to look like troubled
children are everywhere. Have you noticed that everytime these outrageous acts
have happened so far that it was from a male? What makes young men act this way?
What makes a teen criminal tick? These are the questions that some of the
countries best psychologists are pondering at the moment. But what have
authorities or parents done to prevent this. Most of the attackers have been
arrested on other crimes that seem to be cries for help. But are turned away
with a slap on the wrist and put back on the street to commit crimes like we
have seen in our high schools all too much! (Wetzstein, 37). Kids who have
thoughts about these acts are the ones most affected by these images. They did
it, why can’t I. That is a common thought among troubled teens today, after
seeing images of schoolyard shootings. The availability of guns is a big factor.

Irresponsible parents with guns, or the availability of guns on the street. Kids
can get a hold of a gun just as easy as Adults can! Kids see movies that show
people carrying automatic weapons and mowing down all of their enemies, then
going down to the local bar and having a drink. Acting like nothing happened
five minutes ago. Do you think that this rubs off on minds that are in an
unstable state? Kids get a hold of guns after seeing these movies and get the
impression that killing people is ok, and is something that is done regularly.

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Who knows what pushes them over the edge, but I think a combination of the
factors is a good start (Wetzstein, 37). There has been eleven high school
shootings in the last seven years. This hit close to home when a young man went
on a shooting rampage in the cafeteria of Thurston high school in Springfield,
Oregon. Killing two students, and wounding 20 others. This same pattern happened
in Pearl, Miss., when a 15 year old boy, Kip Kinkel, killed his mother and then
went to school and shot nine students, two fatally. On May 21, Kinkel who had
been suspended for bringing a gun to school the day before, came in dressed in a
trench coat with a .22-calibur and a 9-mm G-lock pistol underneath it and opened
fire in the high school cafeteria of Thurston High School in Springfield Oregon,
killing two students and critically injuring eight others. As many as 20 people,
injured either by gunfire or in the chaos afterward, were treated at area
hospitals. The 15-year-old suspect is in custody. Sheriff’s deputies also found
the bodies of two adults (who are the boy’s parents) in the family home in a
rural area just outside the city. William P. Kinkel, 59, and Faith M. Kinkel,
57, were teachers. His sister Kristen is a student at the University of Oregon
(Sullivan, 42). So at same time Kip’s sister is trying to deal with the death
of her parents, the fact that her brother is the criminal and getting on with
her life. “She has been meeting with family members and coping with the deaths
of her parents and the arrest and condition of her brother Kip Kinkel. She has
asked that I relay her deep, deep sorrow and sympathy to the victims of the
shooting at Thurston High School and their families. She feels and shares your
loss. Kristin is, as her parents were, supportive of her family. Her brother Kip
is a part of that family and she remains supportive of him. She has had an
opportunity to speak with Kip and they shared their grief.” Everyone in this
nation is concerned about it, all in his or her own ways. This also goes to show
that the family of the suspects is dealing with the tragic shootings, that they
may have had no idea about. These families don’t always have control over what
there son or brothers are doing or planning to do (Loomis). Katie Zollner, a
resident of Eugene, Oregon and has been now for four years. She told me that
right after the Thurston High School everyone was rather numb. All the students
there were very skeptical on whether they wanted to go back to school and if
they felt comfortable. Her sister’s friend was a victim in the shooting and
was hurt very badly and it affected everyone. And to this day their family can
still feel the pain and they don’t even go to Thurston High School. (Zollner
interview). Students all over Seaside High School are scared and frighten that
this pattern is going to be repeated here at SHS. “Kids are scared of the
threat of shootings anywhere they go. SHS students feel so many unguarded doors,
and crowded halls. (Maltman, Interview)” I’m scared that the same thing that
happened in Colorado could happen here all too easy. (Soller, Interview)” “I
don’t know if I could go back to school if this happened… I couldn’t take
the pain and sorrow of seeing my friends getting shot. (Neilson, Interview)”
Who feels safe anymore, with all of these shootings? But what can you do to stop
it? These are just a few of the disturbing reactions of students at our own
school. But from everyone’s reactions they think that it could happen just as
easily here as anywhere else.

Murr, Andrew. “A Son Who Spun Out of Control.” Newsweek 1 June 1998: 32.

Soller, Ginny. Personal interview. 3 May 1999. Neilson, Amy. Personal interview.

3 May 1999. Maltman, Lacey. Personal interview. 3 May 1999. Wetzstein, Cheryl.

“Make Aware or Make Scare?” Insight on the News. 6 July 1998: 37. Zollner,
Katie. Personal interview. 3 May 1999. Sullivan, Randall. “A Boy’s Life.”
Rolling Stone 1 October 1998: 46-54. “Interview With Kristin Kinkel.”
. 5 June 1998.


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