Murder in the Heart of a Child: the real danger behind school violence

You can find the stories going back to the early 1990’s on the Internet and maybe they started before that time, but much has been published about students attacking and killing their fellow students. Recently, a student stabbed and slashed twenty-two students at a high school in Murrysville, PA. Reporters seemed shocked by his choice of weapon. I assure you no one in law enforcement was shocked. Knives never need to be reloaded and universally strike terror in people’s hearts.

It was obvious that many of the reporters and other commentators were at a loss. They were unable to locate the typical villain in this attack. How could it be? A high profile attack, at a school, with multiple victims? This was the standard story reported far too often but there was something missing. All the “experts” and “commentators” in the contact files of every print and media producer who are paraded out after these incidents were suddenly silenced because the quintessential protagonist was conspicuously absent; there was no gun.

The absence of a gun in the story presented a veritable quandary for many advocacy groups as well. They could not use their typical rhetoric of blaming “assault weapons” or “detachable magazines.” Discussions of background checks and the “proliferation of weapons in our gun culture” were meaningless.

They were all scratching their heads as they faced, many for the first time reluctantly, the reality recognized and understood by LEOs around the United States for decades; something is wrong in our schools and with our children. You see, it is the LEOs who have watched 12 year old children join gangs and mercilessly beat rival gang members and witnessed the carnage resulting from the lack of respect for the dignity of human life in the streets of our country. Juvenile offenders committing armed robberies, rapes, and murders is a phenomenon well known to LEOs not as a study done by an advocacy group but as a reality they must confront every day on the street. Given the violence by juveniles, I am surprised we do not have more attacks on campuses around the United States.

While people debate the Second Amendment and New York and Connecticut pass ridiculous and unconstitutional gun laws, the danger is still rising and festering like a cancer that has yet to manifest into a recognizable form. Our culture, our communities, and yes our schools are breeding a type of violence unimaginable fifty years ago. Fifty years ago, high school students brought guns to school in their cars and trucks to hunt after class. Cars on campus contained knives in tackle boxes. Every young man carried a pocket knife and whittled when he had time. Boys and girls competed in rifle competitions in firing ranges nearby or in the school basement. Something has changed and it is not the presence of weapons on campus that has lead to these deaths.

If we do not address the will to murder and the capability of a child to develop a maligned heart leading to murder, we will read more headlines that shock us. We will see more tragedies. I represent LEOs who struggle with the taking of a life when they are legally, ethically and morally justified in doing so. Yet we see children committing horrific crimes with a seeming lack of conscience.

Something is wrong with a society that blames inanimate objects for a slaughter and refuses to address the real danger of a child who forms the intent to kill classmates and carries out his plan. Perhaps the reason for this is simple: it’s easier. Stay safe.

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