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Theories won’t subsititute for real answers

March 21, 2012
Messenger News

Initial media reports of the school shooting that took three young lives in Chardon, Ohio, not long ago followed a somewhat predictable path. The killer was a "loner" who had been bullied in school, a few people speculated - and the press ran with it.

Within hours, teenagers who knew the alleged shooter, 17-year-old T.J. Lane, said that was bunk. Lane had not been bullied. He had friends, though he was not particularly outgoing.

Subsequently, Lane's attorney told a judge at his client's arraignment that, "This is not about bullying. This is not about drugs. This is someone who's not well ..."

That goes without saying. Anyone who would begin shooting at other human beings is not well, psychologically. The extent of Lane's problems remains to be determined.

But initial reactions to the shooting - again, including those of some in the news media - illustrate a serious challenge in identifying troubled youths who may become violent. Too often, we as a society tend to simplify such situations. We go for the easy, politically correct answers.

That is a naive and dangerous approach to violence by people of any age.

More - much more -needs to be known about teenagers who go on killing sprees. We need answers, not politically correct theories that place other children at risk.



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