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The Media

Everything We've Heard About Columbine is Wrong? 656

Posted by Roblimo
from the wearing-black-doesn't-make-you-a-goth dept.
wtpooh writes "There ia a story over at Salon magazine about the continuing investigation into the Columbine killings. Pretty much everything we've been told by the media about the killers is wrong: They were probably not gay, they were not anti-jock, anti-god, or anti-black, and they were certainly not part of the Trench Coat Mafia, which was almost nonexistent at the time of the shooting. Essentially, the confused memories of the eyewitnesses and the overzealous reporting of the media fed off each other, turning rumors into facts." Considering the number of Slashdot pixels that have already been devoted to the Columbine massacre, this story is well worth a look. Quite an interesting perspective, not only on the massacre, but on the way the news media covered it. Updates: a story at apbnews.com refutes much of the Salon story above; Salon runs excerpts from Harris's diary.
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Everything We've Heard About Columbine is Wrong?

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  • Look, I don't know about you, but I don't give a good goddamn about the motivations of my assailant. If somebody wants to kill me, be it with a pointy stick, a gun, a bomb, or a thermonuclear device, my FIRST inclination is to do WHATEVER IS NECESSARY to make him STOP DOING THAT. I am NOT interested in having a heart to heart with that assailant about how cruel the world has been to him.

    Bad guys WILL have weapons. Therefore, prudent good guys should also have weapons to thwart said bad guys.

    Oh, and I'll take a crazed rifleman over an IRA car bomb any day of the week, thank you very much.
  • OK, several points.

    First, most serious researchers I've read besides Kleck believe this number is quite a bit too high. This is for several reasons. From what I've seen, Kleck's study (the National Self-Defense Survey) asks a single question, and makes no effort to determine whether the responder actually stopped a crime (or only thought they did), or whether the responder was acting legally. In fact, I think Kleck even mentions the latter issue as though it's not a problem, but a feature, with his survey (unfortunately, about 50% of criminals convicted of a crime involving a gun claim they were acting in self-defense). Further, I seem to recall his question would count the *threat* of a gun as equivalent to the actual *use* of a gun when counting DGU's (never mind the fact that there's no way to tell how often the mere *threat* of a gun actually gets someone killed).

    There are other, far more thorough surveys (though still flawed, of course), such as NCVS, that put the figure in the range of 50,000-100,000/year.

    A pity the NRA doesn't see fit to mention the fact that Kleck's figures are so hotly contested (by everyone but them, of course).

    Regardless, even if Kleck's stats are too low, it's a poor solution that only partially cures the problems it causes -- from 1 to 2 million crimes involving guns/year (NCVS). Since the rate of gun ownership is positively, not negatively associated with crime in societies around the world, it's pretty obvious gun ownership isn't the only (nor the best) way to stop crime.

    Also, your analogies to guns ("why don't we ban THESE?") all fall flat for one simple reason: Guns are the ONLY commercial product of the lot designed solely to kill. Arguments about target practice and hunting fall flat; the kind of weapons we're discussing are designed to kill people. They have no other practical use.

    Oh, and counting laws is a straw man. One must consider what the laws stipulate. Many are designed to prevent (the Brady Law's background checks, for example), not just punish.

    Don't get me wrong. The NRA and I (and probably you) are in agreement when it comes to increased enforcement of our existing laws. We can always do more. But to claim that new laws and regulations won't do anything, without considering what they call for, is simplistic.

    Kythe
    (Remove "x"'s from

  • OK, folks, this guy may be a fanatic, and nothing I say may get past his rejection of antidepressants.

    Okay, so let's label me and that invalidates what I say? Come now.

    I neven said that anti-depressants have no purpose. I said nothing of the sort. But the simple fact is that Drs. prescribe anti-depressants without trying ANY OTHER therapies. I think this is crazy: screwing with your brain chemistry is not something to do lightly.

    I will also observe that, in every post I have made, I have consistently pointed people to independent, non-anecdotal evidence. This guy just calls names.

    I would just hate to see people go through the kind of hell I went through to learn that anti-depressants are an often abused medicine. If that makes me a fanatic, then fine. But it leasnt I'm a logically well supported fanatic instead of some jerk who just drops an assertion and runs.

    Need I say more?
  • I'll observe again: those opposed, when they can't make their point, resort to name calling. Quoth the ubiquitous AC:

    you're screwed up. you're making noise here. either go back to your bible or go write for 20/20.

    I'm not going to dignify that with a response.

    The only point you make worth looking at is the "1/100" point. How many kids on Luvox does it take to make one in 1000 shoot up their school?

    I'm done posting on this thread. The evdence is their. My email address is there. If you want information, contact me.
  • by CormacJ (64984) <cormacNO@SPAMboris-natasha.org> on Wednesday September 22, 1999 @07:20PM (#1665373) Homepage Journal
    I've seen this happen a lot as reporters come under pressure from thier editors to get something that none of the other papers have. In this instance rumour and conjecture equates fact and gets published, which is then referred to by other articles and so on.

    You can see instances of this in the reporting of the Olymic bombing and several other occasions where there are lots of intrest but limited facts to print.

    The days of investigative reporters like Woodward and Bernstien have long since passed. These days reports seem to want to reformat a press release and publish.
  • It's interesting, assuming this to be true, that so many people could empathise with the distorted, incorrect version of events, to the extent that he got thousands of e-mails saying "we were bullied like this too". I wonder whether there would have been half as much fuss if it had just been some madman with no motive killing people.

    axolotl
  • by LizardKing (5245) on Wednesday September 22, 1999 @07:22PM (#1665375)
    I had the pleasure of working in the States for a month, just after the Columbine shootings. This would have been great, except for the fact that I have long black hair and wear black clothes - yup, I'm a goth, and have been for ten years.

    The downside to this was that every day I had passers by crossing the road to avoid me, and verbal abuse from jerks in muscle cars or pickups. Even some of the people where I was working were a little bit aprehensive about talking to me ...

    Meanwhile on CNN and other stations, much was being made of the alleged musical and fashion tastes of the Columbine gunmen. I decided to read up on the incident, and was struck by the fact that the killers looked nothing like goths, didn't appear to like what Americans consider to be goth bands, and nor did their friends (the so called `Trenchcoat Mafia').

    I started to watch the TV shows, and was struck by the warped logic displayed by many of the commentators. While the actions of the killers was indefensible, the arguments being put forward as to why they acted the way they did was disturbing. Clean cut, rent a quote, god fearing teens were stating that the killers and their friends were outcasts. The conclusion that was drawn was that anyone that looked different or didn't listen to pop music was a potential menace to society.

    At no point did anyone ask whether the avaliablility of guns was a factor. The fact is that most teens have felt like killing someone on the spur of the moment, but the availability of such effective means to do it is the key. I'm sure there are as many messed up kids (and adults) in the UK as there are in the US, but incidents like Columbine simply cannot happen with such alarming regularity because access to firearms is so limited.

    So, please don't attack a music scene or fashion that you don't like or don't understand. Look further and ask whether it's time to stop the dubious right to bear arms. This isn't the wild west anymore, there aren't any bears, Indians or bandits waiting to ambush your wagon train. Guns simply don't have a place in a modern society.


    Chris Wareham
  • by MeAtHereDotCom (1511) on Wednesday September 22, 1999 @07:27PM (#1665376) Homepage Journal
    I hate the media. Who do I blame for these incidents? I blame the media. If you tell someone something often enough, they begin to believe it. The media has been focusing on the fact of 'how bad the teens are today' for the past 30 years. Eventually people begin to believe that they are. And, of course, todays teens act accordingly. I also detest the fact that the media spreads so much FUD about something. Yeah. Lets go out and find something that happens to 1 in 10,000,000 people. Make it sound like a big deal, and blow it WAY out of proportion. Instead of focusing on someone doing good things, helping out their fellow man, they focus on the negative things in society. Unfortunatly, it seems, that many people don't want to see the good in society. I'm not saying that the negative shouldn't be brought out, i'm just saying that they focus on the negative. Watch the nightly news. I assure you the first 5 stories are about someone killing someone, some political scandal, or someone dying. Too bad at least one of those 5 lead ins couldn't be about the person that helped someone out. Anyhoo. Me.
  • by pingouin (783) on Wednesday September 22, 1999 @07:31PM (#1665378)
    We made much ado about this stuff, missing out on the sheer cussedness of the assailants. They weren't firing the first salvos of some Geek Revolution; it wasn't some White Power Trip; it wasn't fill-in-the-blank with your own little pet advocacy topic. Even Pat Robertson tried to hype Cassie Bernall into Great Christian Martyr status. We all overreacted: me, you, the media, school administrators, my cat, and even Linus and Elvis.

    Harris and Klebold were simply illustrating a truism uttered by H. Rap Brown back in the 1960s: "Violence is as American as Cherry Pie." (Katz, you're old enough to remember that one). Violence (literal, threatened, or figurative) is the all-purpose "solution" to problems, whether a non-compliant kid, a non-compliant foreign country, a non-compliant workforce, or whatever.

    If it takes a village to raise a child, then Americans (and I myself am occasionally one) are the village idiots who helped raise Harris and Klebold.

    Have a nice day.

    --

  • You mean the overwhelming fear I've had of trench-coated goths for the last 6 months is wholly unneccessary, and I can go back to ignoring them?

    I'm sure they will all be disappointed at their loss in distance-from-mainstream-society and notoriety points. Oh, well. I still blame it all on Marilyn Manson...

  • I lost my blind faith that the media *had* to report the truth at an early age. I had been watching an unedited speech by some forgotten politician and after it was over I switched to a national news program. It had only been seconds since the live broadcast and the reporter had taken every conceivable controversial word and turned it into a scandelous statement. I found myself yelling to my TV, "That's not what he said!" but it fell on deaf ears. I'm not sure when it happened but all media, with the 'net being a last bastion of hope for me, seems to have turned into "Hard Copy" style tabloids. I now seek my news from many varied sources and prefer international sites where the reporting is at least more interesting.
  • by cthonious (5222) on Wednesday September 22, 1999 @10:12PM (#1665402)

    (Found on a bathroom wall somewhere in the U.S.A.)

    You've taken over my mind. You've raped my thoughts with your image viruses then sold me fake cures for your own disease. Your words and pictures scream orders at me like angry prison wardens. When I cover my ears, your voices echo in my head. I hate you. When I see your billboards, your talk shows, your rock concerts and your factories, when I see the work of your twisted libidos, I want to kill you. I want to set fires, plant bombs, derail trains. I want to smash your buildings and tear at your bodies until the skin of my hands is worn to the bone. I am filled with a rage that burns my eyes.

    I don't want to feel this way. You have done this to me. These feelings are the fruits of your multi-billion dollar sowing. And I am not alone. There are others like me out here. Every suicide, every madman, every man and woman who gets a gun and just starts shooting -- these are your illegitimate children. They don't all know what they are doing. All they know is hate for the invisible walls which you have raised around them, hate for the narrow path you have tried to make them walk. And the innocent pay in blood for your negligence.

    Remember this: My mind is big. The more you try to push me down and make me small, the greater the pressure inside me becomes. The greater the pressure, the greater the chance of an explosion. There was once a time when I felt love, but now I feel only hate and anger, and fear at what I might do. And you can tell me to "BE HAPPY," but I know that you really mean "BE QUIET". Believe me, I want to be happy. You stand in my way.

    Sound trite? Maybe.

    No, I'm not a whacko and I didn't write this. However, I just thought I'd throw that out for a different perspective. I found that at abrupt.org [abrupt.org]. I think there is quite of bit of insight into our system and the twisted minds it produces there. take a look.

    Our cultural maliase runs very deep. Guns are not the problem, nor is TV violence, nor is jocks or high school cliques. These things have been going on since civilization began.

    I believe the causes run much deeper; our obsession with amusement is a great part of it. If you understand that everything (from the drug wars to the daily news to our political campaigns) is being presented to us in the form of entertainment, I think you will see at least the beginning of the problem. Would ritalin have "cured" these kids? Maybe, but ritalin is the problem. Armed guards in schools is ludicrous - one is reminded (sorry) of all the ad hoc patches and crap that makes up our least favorite OS. At some point one needs to start over.

    If you want to understand our deep cutural sickness you need to read. I'm suggesting a few books and I'll leave it at that:

    • Nieztsche: The Portable Nietzsche (an honest reading of Nietzsche is, I think, key to our illness)
    • Allan Bloom: The Closing of the American Mind
    • Niel Postman: Amusing Ourselves to Death
    • Aldous Huxley: Brave New World
  • by Awel (28821) on Wednesday September 22, 1999 @10:20PM (#1665406)

    Granted, no statistic is really reliable, it would be nice to see some sort of numbers comparing crime in the US to crime in a place such as the UK...but more specifically a certain city in the UK that scales well to a city in the US. Anybody have any data, or know a good source for solid statistical data?


    Okaaaaay..

    From the Home Office Statistical Publications [homeoffice.gov.uk] website, I can get the 1998 British Crime Survey [homeoffice.gov.uk], which tells me that in the UK in 1997 there were 714,000 wounding assaults (more than trivial injury). Only 25% of violent crime is committed by people previously unknown to the victim. The Statistics of Deaths Reported to Coroners: England and Wales 1998 [homeoffice.gov.uk] tells us that 142 deaths were given a verdict of `unlawful homicide` in 1997 (note this doesn`t include Scotland); this works out as 2.4 murders per 1,000,000 head of population (see below).

    The Bureau of Justice Statistics [usdoj.gov] has a summary [usdoj.gov] of firearm-related crimes, wherein we are told that: "Victimizations involving a firearm represented 23% of the 2.9 million violent crimes of rape and sexual assault, robbery, and aggravated assault" and that it is "estimated that 68% of the 18,209 murders in 1997 were committed with firearms." This works out as 67.9 murders per 1,000,000 people, or 46.2 murders with firearms per 1,000,000 people.

    The population of the US is 268 million, with 29 people per square kilometre. The population of the UK is 59 million, with 243 people per square kilometre. (Source: World Bank [worldbank.org] country data.)

    I`m afraid I don`t have time to go looking up specific cities though.

  • by fable2112 (46114) on Wednesday September 22, 1999 @10:24PM (#1665409) Homepage
    Whether or not the kids at Columbine actually went over the edge specifically due to mistreatment by their peers, Katz and the Hellmouth series still did a lot of good.


    Kids who are different take abuse from their peers far too often. Yes, I mean ABUSE, not "just teasing." Five guys coming up to me and threatening to steal my bike and hit me on the head because I was the only one on the block wearing a bicycle helmet is not "just teasing." Death threats at 3 AM are not "just teasing." One of the five black kids in my high school returning to his locker to find it broken into with most of the contents damaged and racist graffiti everywhere is not "just teasing." Being sexaully assaulted (or threatened with same), telling the administration, having them NOT BELIEVE you because the guy "is just a flirt," and having the guy find out you told on him and follow you around threatening to kill you for the next three weeks ... that goes beyond mere teasing or flirting.


    And even the "milder" things add up after a while. Try being the kid that people don't want to sit with until test day, when they copy your paper. Try having a teacher who SEES this go on and does NOTHING about it. Try being out sick and returning to school and hearing that all the girls in your class think you were out because you were having an abortion, when you've never even had sex! And all the teachers looked the other way ....


    I don't CARE if peer harassment was the "root cause" of Columbine or not. It's about damn time that people realized what really goes on in schools if you aren't one of the golden kids. I'm still sorry that a mass murder had to take place for this conversation to begin, but it is LONG overdue.

  • So rather than look at the reasons why someone wants to attack you, just blow them away? The
    police are there to stop the kind of abuse you describe, when individuals use your excuse it
    simply becomes vigilante tactics.


    Self-defense is not vigilanteeism (sp). The "police" aren't there the moment some idiot jumps out of a dark alley and tries to stab you. I cannot believe that naive people who think that law enforcement can protect them from anything are willing to trade away _others'_ rights in exchange for a false sense of security.

    When guns are outlawed, criminals will still have access to them. Why unlevel the playing field so? The fact that the scrawny guy in the Gap sweater might be carrying a concealed weapon will give criminals second thoughts about trying to rob him. You can't easily defend yourself with any other kind of weapon.

    However, let's get this clear: Guns should be available simply because the 2nd amendment says so. If you don't like guns and want to see them disappear, get Congress and the states to revoke the 2nd.

    --
    Kyle R. Rose, MIT LCS
  • Guns equalize people so that people can't use superior physical prowess to overpower victims.
    Actually, guns don't equalize people -- they just change the grounds of competition from physical strength to "aggresssion", or "willingness to use a gun". So they would select for a society of the short-tempered, rather than the merely strong.
    Actually, guns do equalize people in the physical respect. Given the willingness to defend yourself, with a gun you have a chance to defend yourself where you may not have before. Removing the right of everyone to have a gun (and by extension, the physical capacity to defend themselves) because some people are not willing to defend themselves is counterproductive. I'll even go out on a limb and suggest that the people who are not willing to defend themselves wouldn't be carrying guns in the first place. Even then, other people who *are* willing to defend themselves are likely to defend others also (the others being those who prefer to be passive victims rather than resort to self-defense), which results in a net gain. So, the system is selecting for will to live (with the exception of discouraging initiating physical threats to others to that end)
    I don't know what the solution is, but I doubt it will involve banning guns -- they have such an important role as symbols of individual identity and freedom that any attempt to curtail them would definitely have bad consequences.
    A total "solution" would be to tear off everyone's arms and legs, then remove their teeth & restrain them to beds, nourishing them with tubes. That pretty much removes anyone's capacity to physically harm anyone else. That concept worked in The Matrix, didn't it? (can't have your power cells off destroying each other!) On the other hand, we can just accept the risks (and reap the gains) of freedom and allow people to watch out for themselves.. ;)
  • Guns simply don't have a place in a modern society.

    I've never been a believer in Heinlein's "an armed society is a polite society" -- the polite get just get killed first because they're too polite to use a gun. However, to say that guns have *no* place in a modern society is a bit extreme. I personally would love to be able to shoot guns at an approved shooting range, but am unable to do so. FWIW, there have been more handgun-related crimes in the UK since they banned private handgun ownership than there were before. Banning them obviously hasn't worked -- all it's done is deprive the few people that did use them responsibly from participating in their chosen sport.

    On a completely separate note, it's time for a Killing Miranda gig in London on a night when I'm not already doing something else...

  • >Every so often something comes up to remind us that we are not so superior after all.

    i may steal that as a .sig. :)

    while i agree with you for the most part, i'm not at all certain that these 'facts' make any of the long hours of discussion here any less relevant.

    they were kids mad at the world. i didn't see anything that suggested the kids weren't geeks, simply that the goth/trenchcoat/gay themes were nonsense.

    i don't believe that i've ever met anyone who spent much time planning mass destruction who wasn't a geek of some sort. this, of course, doesn't mean that i've met everyone who has thought of such a thing...but in general, i think we're the ones who spend so much time obsessing (my personal favorite version..."thinking too much,") that we'd actually work out plans, and either invent or copy the tools necessary for the job.

    the fact that they weren't neo-nazi's, the gay liberation front, or dancing elephants only makes it more relevant to me.

    hope i don't seem argumentative here, because i think you have an interesting (and enlightened) perspective. i'm just not sure how it changes things for the hundreds (thousands?) of people here who either related to the killers or to the people who've suffered long after the shootings.

  • by Amphigory (2375) on Wednesday September 22, 1999 @10:52PM (#1665440) Homepage
    Both Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold were on psychotropic drugs -- that is anti-depressant therapy. In one of their cases, it was Luvox. According to the autopsy, he was taking it as directed in normal doses.

    This drug has been known to cause mania and psychosis in clinical trials!!! Don't take my word for it: read the product insert [fairlite.com].

    Guys -- these kids were drugged into doing this by liberal education and its refusal to deal with Kids who don't match the norm. Make no mistake about it.

    So: don't blame the parents. Don't blame the other students. Blame the schools, the NEA, the APA, the drug companies, and the doctors that pass this stuff out like it's candy.

    Why do they pass it out like this? Simple: the drug companies advertise these "vanity drugs" extremely heavily. I used to work in the medical field, fixing systems for doctors. I would regularly see these gorgeous women come in as drug company reps. They would cook lunch for the staff, chit-chat with the doctor, and leave all kinds of name-branded junk for him to use.

    Don't believe me? Go in a doctor's office sometime and see what kind of pen he's using. 50/50 chance it says Zoloft or Luvox on the side.

    The net result: the doctor, when presented with a Kid with behaviour problems (too much sugar and too little discipline) says "Let's just try this and see if it works". Doctors are human too, and "a beautiful woman told him that it would help this, so it must be true," right?

    *sigh* This makes me MAD.
  • by Hard_Code (49548) on Wednesday September 22, 1999 @10:55PM (#1665444)
    What? The media has it all wrong /again/? They've merely been pushed the self-created exaggerated, sensationalized conclusion? NO!?

    What? These kids where really PEOPLE? Couldn't be! They must have been evil satanic GOTHS. Or immoral godless GAYS. Never real PEOPLE! If they were real people, we'd have to acknowledge that there were real reasons, perhaps caused by other people around, that they may actually have done these things. You mean they're not racists? Not anti-Christian? You mean that stupid so-called martyr I've been hearing so damn much about from every news magazine and foaming preacher is really NOT a martyr, but just another random death? No way!

    You mean that everything the media has piped into my soggy little brain is false...that these were just two very frustrated, screwed up teens, outcasts of outcasts, that did a /botched/ job!? And that immediately afterwards, every uptight principal in the US decided it was cause to violate the civil rights of American citizens by denying them public services because they wore a certain type of clothing that in actuality had nothing to do with the perpetrators anyway? Couldn't be!

    --

    This was just an occasion for every selfish stupid special interest to displace the "fault" on to their favorite evil, and push their cause...nobody gave a damn about the real PEOPLE involved. They were too damn busy licking their wounds and feeling sorry for themselves by making out as if their enemy was some big evil unaviodable thing. Well wake up! Black clothing and satan don't cause people to do this! It's everybody's responsibility to see that no human gets in a state that they want to do something like this.
  • by Amphigory (2375) on Thursday September 23, 1999 @03:51AM (#1665450) Homepage
    It's not just me saying this. See http://www.breggin.com/luvox.html [breggin.com].

    Just thought I'd throw in some more documentation. For God's sake, get your kids off of this stuff.
  • When it comes to guns being restricted, people tend to assume binary viewpoints. Nobody seems to realise it's a matter or reducing the odds.

    Example - Imagine 2 cities, one where seat belts & air bags are used and one where they aren't. let's say you go to the city where they aren't used. You are surprised to see the number of auto deaths are vastly greater, and try to make a point.

    You: If you had seat belts/air bags, it would reduce the number of deaths.

    Local: Bullshit! There was an accident in your town, and people got killed even tho they had both!

    You: I'm not saying it will cure all problems. It will simply *reduce* the number.

    Local: Crap! There was a case of a car falling over the bridge, and they died *because* they wore seatbelts and couldn't get out. Unsafe cars don't kill people. Unsafe people kill people.

    See what I mean? You can prove that the safety measure does actually *kill* people. And you can prove that even when it's implemented, it doesn't prevent deaths. But what you may forget is that the probability is vastly reduced.

    Look at the numbers:

    The US has 20,000 deaths each year from guns, far more per person than any other industrial nation. (note - per person, so don't say it's got a bigger population , blah blah blah).

    Japan has 1/216 fewer gun deaths than the US, per 100,000 people. (Guns are NOT banned in japan, they are just very, very difficult to get). Yes, japan has a smaller population - this is *after* adjusting for the population.

    There are 200+ million guns in the US, with more than 50% of the population owning guns.

    15 % of the US population spends time in a mental institute at some point.

    Just combine the last 2 numbers and enjoy the fireworks.

    L.


  • It is hard to trust reports like this, especially when it seems so poorly put together. So much emphasis was placed on one diary by one killer, and the conclusions seem stretched. Countless eyewitness reports are cavalierly dismissed, and major assertions are backed up by anonymous "sources".

    When going against the grain, it pays to be credible. With something as poorly substantiated as this, an assertion of "the media got it all wrong!" deserves a retort of "my friend, you ARE the media".
  • Actually, whgen it comes to the relative effectiveness of guns and knives, it depends on range. Get to within ten feet or so and the knife befomes far more effective.

    I think you're also forgetting the effectiveness of a knife as a slashing weapon.

    It doesn't matter, because they guy you're responding to was wrong. Take away the guns, and criminals won't turn to knives. They'll turn to bombs. Then we're really screwed.

    Worst of all, simple illegalization of guns isn't going to change a thing; most criminals already get their guns by illegal means (legal means are, after all, too easy to trace), and simply taking guns out of the hands of law-abiding citizens is not going to change that.
  • Slashdotters get a tale about the Revenge of the Geeks. This last one is the most interesting. We all thought that we were so clever, spotting the real cause of the Columbine Massacre, while all the Media, Middle Americans and Christian Right had missed it. But exactly the same group dynamic was at work. The Christian Right saw teenagers driven to evil by bad music, bad films and bad games. Meanwhile we (yes, that includes me) saw teenagers driven to madness by the social exclusion and everyday violence we suffered at school. The Christian Right argued for more restrictions on films and games, while we argued for more restrictions on jocks and teachers.

    I think this attitude misses the point. The most disturbing things in the Hellmouth series was not the thought that administrators might provoke another massacre with their crackdown on geeks and outcasts. I thought that the crackdown in and of itself was brutal. It was everything we experienced as kids, amplified by mob mentality. The desired restrictions on jocks and teachers were one of our solutions to this ongoing problem in American schools. Isn't enough to say that /.-ers as a whole are against the institutionalized system of outcast abuse?

    After reading Salon's article, I still could not find solid evidence that constant taunting and abuse didn't push these two sickos over the edge. True, they wanted to kill everybody, not just the jocks... but did anyone stand up for them at any point? Do you think this had absolutely no effect on their perspective? Again, is it wrong for us to want to see the end of the system of outcast abuse just because it wasn't the sole cause of the massacre?

    I hope this makes sense to somebody. I'm writing uncaffenated here...

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday September 22, 1999 @11:10PM (#1665481)
    I do not wish to downplay the seriousness of the matter, but I recall a radio interview in Wales between a female radio interviewer and some guy taking some kids on a camping trip. This apparently is something that happened, but my source is the University Students magazine, so the credability is somewhat questionable, but it made 'Wanker of the week' It dgoes something along the lines of this...

    female radio interviewer: so what what are you going to teach the children on this trip?

    camp leader: well we'll take the children tramping, fishing and canoeing, and teach them how to use a rifle

    interviewer: so you are teaching the children to become killers

    camp leader: no I didn't say that, we will be teaching them how to act responsibly with guns

    interviewer: but you use guns to kill things, you are teaching the children to kill

    camp leader: no we are not, all the children will be supervised and be taught how to use a gun responsibly

    interviewer: but you are equipping them to be killers

    camp leader: look lady you're equipped to be a prostitute, but you're not...



    needless to say the interview stopped earlier than expected
  • I'm wondering if I'm the only one who was slightly disgusted by the way Katz went on about "geeks" being "repressed" in the wake of Columbine? I mean, cripes, 15 people died violent brutal deaths here, and many more were maimed and/or paralyzed. And the only angle Katz seems concerned about (nay, obsessed about) is that some schools are banning trenchcoats, etc!?! I find that frankly revolting.

    Did anyone ever think that the admittedly knee-jerk reactions of school administrators might actually have saved lives? There was at least one other shooting afterwards, perhaps the crack down prevented more? I mean, it's too bad that some school kids lost some priviledges, but if lives were saved (even one,) isn't that *worth it*?
  • WRONG!

    They were suicidal while on anti-depressant therapy! So that just proves that ADT doesn't work as advertised.

    Also, I didn't say hyper-activity. I said depression. And repeated clinical trials have shown a relationship between sugar intake and depression.
  • by porkchop_d_clown (39923) <mwheinz@NOSPAm.me.com> on Thursday September 23, 1999 @05:17AM (#1665489) Homepage

    Yeah, everynow and then I devote a Sunday School class to explaining to kids and/or adults that

    • Jesus was probably not a tall skinny dude, and was of semetic blood - so he probably looked a lot more like Yasser Arafat than Billy Graham.
    • The original christian life style looks suspiciously like a commune.

    What Would Jesus Do? Sell that BMW, give the money to the first homeless man he saw and preach a gospel of love while living on hand-outs and sleeping in shelters.


    --
  • Not to pick nits, but the Fourth Amendment reads, in full
    The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized

    The Second Amendment is the one to which you refer.

    The founding fathers had just fought off a tyrannical government and wanted to ensure that they would not have to do so ever again. That is the reason for the Second Amendment. To provide for the people a means to overthrow the government if it became necessary.

    I've heard the following arguments against the Second Amendment:

    1: But, only muskets existed when that was written. They never knew that people would have machine guns(tm) and deadly-high-powered-assault-rifles(tm).
    By that logic, only books and newspapers would be protected by the First Amendment. Movies, TV, Radio and your beloved Internet would all be subject to regulation by the federal government.

    2: But, only members of a militia can have guns.
    Well, most people are members of their Federal and State Militias. As a male between the ages of 18 and (I forget the upper limit), by federal and state law I am a member of 2 militias: The Militia of the United States, and The Militia of the State of Texas

    3: But, it says "well regulated Militia...," so the government can "regulate" it as it sees fit.
    Today we use the term regulated to mean controlled. During the late 18th century, the term "well regulated" meant something like "in good woring order" There are writings from the time that refer to well regulated farms or foundrys.

  • by Paul Johnson (33553) on Wednesday September 22, 1999 @11:13PM (#1665502) Homepage
    of everybody were right?
    Has everyone forgotten the treatment that every 'different' person got after those killings?

    Of course not. The Geek Crackdown was completely unjustified. My point was not that the other subcultures were right, it was that we were as wrong as they were. But most importantly, we all got it wrong for the same reason: the Columbine Massacre is a mirror.

    There is a childrens story in which a mirror is brought into a village which has never seen one before. Everyone thinks it is a portrait and gives their opinion of the subject, not realising that they are in fact talking about themselves. That is exactly what happened here.

    Paul.

  • Walking back from the goth club one night:
    "what the FUCK is that?"
    "Hey, Marylin! Marylin Manson!"

    Shortly after the incident, we were on our way to a goth club in London, when a few lager louts yelled at us (along with other general abuse):

    ``Goths! Marylin Manson! You killed those schoolkids in America.''

    When the reply ``Yes, but we only selected assholes like you'' came back, there was a smatter of nervous laughter, as they tried to work out if we were serious or not. Yes, it was an amusing incident, but it might not have been so funny if we weren't in a large group. Had there been just one or two of us, it could have got nasty...

  • Did anyone ever think that the admittedly knee jerk reactions of school administrators might actually have saved lives? There was at least one other shooting afterwards, perhaps the crack down prevented more? I mean, it's too bad that some school kids lost some priviledges, but if lives were saved (even one,) isn't that *worth it*?

    So you're sayinf that lives were saved because some schools banned trenchcoats and even lockers? Just how much of a fool can you possibly be? These are not the problem and never were. The problem is a cultural one. In the United States, the average intellectual can expect to be ritualistically tortured for eight hours a day, five days a week, 36 weeks a year. Worse, our culture encourages this torture. That is what is wrong. The pressure could drive anyone to madness.

    Fifteen people died that day. This is a horrible, sad thing. They should not have had to die. But their deaths at least have meaning, as an example of what happens when the persecution of intellectually-oriented people gets out of hand. The crackdowns saved no lives, and ruined several. The only crackdown that would even have a hope of working is one against the true source of the problem: disrespect. But, as always, the administrations tried to take the quick-fix, punishing the victims. The fact that there was a shooting even after this proves this tactic not only wrong, but dangerous.
  • The Electric Ballroom (Camden High Street, near the tube station) is OK on Friday nights. Further up the road during the daytime is Resurrection Records, a record store in the basement of a clothing shop. Pop in there to lay your hands on flyers for clubs and gigs. (And why not treat yourself to a copy of the Killing Miranda album while you're there - feel free to disregard this sentence).

    A number of half-decent clubs occur at Gossips in Soho on Wednesday and occasional Fridays. But the best Goth club in London is undoubtedly the Slimelight. Some of the music may be an acquired taste, but the good always outweighs the bad no matter what brand of Goth you like.

    It's a members only club, so just turn up at the Angel tube station at 10.00pm on a Saturday night and ask someone to sign you in.


    Chris Wareham
  • This is very interesting. It is somewhat supported by the results of Project Excile in Richmond VA.

    In Project Excile the NRA ran a public awareness campaign (ie, ADVERTISING or CONSCIOUSNESS SPAMMING) to remind people of the harsher penalties for committing crimes with firearms. Billboards, etc. Guess what--crime is down in Richmond. George W. Bush has reportedly gotten behind this effort in Texas.

    There's a problem in this country because Profit obfuscates Truth.

    Visa is NOT everywhere you want to be.
    WWF is not real.
    Elections are bought with commercial time and image consultants.

    How do we keep profiteers from obscuring Truth?
  • by Delphinios (43483) on Thursday September 23, 1999 @03:27AM (#1665543)
    I remember the immediate attitude from everyone who knew me, the day Columbine occured.

    I remember exactly when i heard the news.
    I was sitting at the computer, in my trench, when all of a sudden my younger brothers, their next door neighbor friends, and several kids i don't even know, all ran in telling me that i can't wear my coat anymore. i rolled my eyes, thinking it was some stupid kid thing, and ignored them, after a while they went away.

    About five min. later, my parents, next door neighbor and a few other "mature adults" surrounded me, wanting to "talk." Turns out, i was expressly forbid from wearing my trenchcoat, "untill the whole thing calms down."
    then i was 'asked' to 'consider' wearing something other then black 'for a while'. Aftr about 3 hours of arguing, screaming, yelling, and nearly getting hit by several 'mature adults' because of my 'insolence' (read: because i wouldn't do exactly what they wanted with no question), i managed to 'compromise' into not wearing my trenchcoat. and still keeping my normal dress. after that i was passive-aggressivly griped at during all the media hype, (which i followed very closely) and am still looked at negatively by a few of those people as 'rude and insolent'.

    Scary thing is, i had left high school, and earned my degree about 2 weeks earlier.

    I am now faces with the dillema to wear it now that it is getting cold. It is the only coat i have and personally, i still like it.

    Damn the hype, Damn the prejudice that immediately insues.
  • And I really don't give a damn. I have a simple message to everyone outside of the US who sees fit to tell us how to handle the gun issue. Butt out.

    This is a very personal, hot topic for the US. We have to deal with it, and folks coming in and telling us that we're nothing more than a bunch of wild west lunatics (Need I mention the wild west never existed outside of a couple isolated cases?), are not going to help things a wit. We all know what your opinions are, but remember that this is a very different culture from much of Europe.

    Call me a hipocrite because we go around telling folks like China to clean up their human rights violations. I don't care. This is something we need to resolve on our own, and getting rid of guns won't solve the societal problems which caused Columbine, Fort Worth, and a thousand other incidences. There is no quick fix for this, and outlawing guns certainly won't solve our problems, just make people believe they have done something, and thereby relieve them of any further responsibility for what has happened in this country.
  • by ninjaz (1202) on Wednesday September 22, 1999 @07:38PM (#1665590)
    At no point did anyone ask whether the avaliablility of guns was a factor.

    Guns simply don't have a place in a modern society.
    Actually, the story suggests that the availability of guns led to less people being killed. If guns were truly unavailable (if we delude ourselves for a moment into thinking that black markets don't exist), I believe they would have retreived the bombs and made sure they went off another day.

    Regarding guns having no place in a modern society, I strongly disagree with you. Guns equalize people so that people can't use superior physical prowess to overpower victims. For instance, carrying concealed firearms has been demonstrated to cut rape rates dramatically in Florida. Beyond that, though, is the basic human right to self-defense. There are plenty of ways to kill people (run them down with cars, make bombs, poison, etc) but, firearms have the unique capability of being useful for self-defense.

    If we take a more realistic view - that someone capable of maliciously killing someone else would also not have a problem with breaking anti-gun laws, we can see that trying to ban guns in a society such as the United States has will only make the problem of violent crime worse. (Which Washington, D.C.'s crime statistics illustrate quite well) And, that even after many years of the United States' war on drugs, the fact that they remain readily available shows that simply outlawing something doesn't mean it goes away.

    Perhaps you're ok with the idea of a policeman coming to fill out a report once you've been stabbed to death. Personally, I value my life more than that.

  • Everyone is just blathering on and on about their opinion as to why they did it. The simple fact is that no one will ever know precisely why... However, a lot of the opinions don't see the big picture. People saying that they were on drugs, they were outcasts, yadda yadda yadda..

    The whole damn thing.. in fact, pretty much every evil ever committed on mankind by other mankind, is caused by one simple factor. Man has this tendancy to push his own beliefs onto others, and yet has the tendancy to resist against being pushed too hard.

    That's it. Simple. Clear. Push a guy too far, he'll snap. Doesn't matter how you're pushing him, or even what you're pushing. All the evils in the world stem from someone thinking, "My beliefs are the only ones that matter."

    So stick with that, okay? Deal with it, and move on with life.


    ---
  • [rant mode = hadituptoHERE!]


    And just how in the HELL do you know that no suicides were caused by this little crackdown, hmm? Kids who were willing to admit that life isn't all sweetness and light for them were branded by teachers, administrators, society in general, and sometimes THEIR OWN PARENTS as would-be brutal killers, and in many cases cut off from the net or from their "bad influence" friends, the things that were probably all that was saving their sanity in the first place! But since it doesn't happen in a big flashy all at once noteworthy way, nobody cares. That's just typical.


    "Well, if we can prevent even one death ...." OK, fine. Some people are deathly allergic to bee stings. Therefore, we should exterminate all bees, RIGHT? AFter all, if it will prevent even one death ... who cares if there's no more honey, no more mead, and a lot of flowers that can't be pollinated anymore? We can come up with synthetic substitutes for all that, RIGHT?!


    Irreparably damaging our brightest children via emotional abuse makes as little sense as irreperably damaging our ecosystem by exterminating something "dangerous" like honeybees.

  • It is far more difficult to go on an indiscriminate killing spree with a knife than it is with a gun. The actual physical act of stabbing someone is also far more difficult than pulling a trigger - films give the impression tha stabbing someone is quite easy, but in most cases it takes a lot of exertion to push a knife into a body.

    At the end of the day a gun has one purpose - killing. Knives have a domestic purpose, and to outlaw them is obviously ludicrous. Please don't defend firearms by comapring them to potentially dangerous objects that *do* have a place in civilised, modern society.


    Chris Wareham
  • Don't compare yourself to the UK for that one then. Try Canada. We've got tonnes of coastline (more than the US), and less people and resources available to patrol them. Yet we are *not* awash in guns (we confiscate a hell a lot of them at the border though - and the cool thing is we *don't* give them back). In fact, I've lived all my life in major urban centres Toronto, Montreal, (briefly Halifax). I've never seen a live gun - ever. Except holstered at the side of the occasional police type person. I've always lived downtown (since becoming an adult) and walked the streets at any time of the day or night feeling reasonably secure. I've never heard a gunshot - except in a ceremonial salute or something like that. Our murder rate and armed crime rates per capita are miniscule compared to the major American centres. We have a very non-homogeneous population. The only real difference is the cultural environment people live in every day.
  • I found this article a while back. Unfortunately, I lost the author/publication information. An excellent read on the Columbine tragedy and the aftermath. If anyone has the information on the writer/publication, please let me know. I typed this in myself, so there may be a few typos. Sorry.

    "When I think back on all the crap I learned in high school...," Paul
    Simon mused in a popular song some years ago. Simon, of course, was in
    high school long before multiculturalism, Afrocentrism, Outcome-Based
    Education, bilingual education, Heather Has 17 Mommies, Holocaust
    Studies, and assorted therapeutic group gropes and mass séances in
    "counseling" displaced the deathless vapidities about history, life, and
    literature that typically spill from the lips of teachers in all ages
    and nations. But no matter what sort of crap Simon endured in his high
    school and what sort poisons the minds and spirits of teenagers today,
    it is nothing compared to the offal that the American news media
    regularly inject into grown-ups and anyone else who pays attention to
    them.
    The mass murder of 12 students at Littleton, Colorado's Columbine High
    School on April 20 was the occasion for the construction of a veritable
    mountain of journalistic chicken doodle by almost every major newspaper
    and news service in the world. The blood had not stopped flowing before
    the ace reporters and investigative journalists had the whole gory mess
    all figured out and ready to serve hot and piping to a gape-jawed
    public. As it turned out, almost everything they reported was wrong -
    some of it almost certainly deliberately wrong - and not only wrong, but
    a carefully crafted wrongness that pointed in the exact opposite
    direction of the truth about Littleton and a lot of other things in the
    United States that it is important for some people to hide.
    The two teenage killers, Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold, an Associated
    Press story told us on April 21, were "said to be part of an outcast
    group with right-wing overtones called the Trenchcoat Mafia." "Students
    said the group was fascinated with World War II and the Nazis and noted
    that Tuesday [April 20] was Adolf Hitler's birthday," it continued. The
    same day, yet another AP story described "Trenchcoat Mafia" as a group
    that "hated blacks, Hispanics, Jews and athletes." A student named Aaron
    Cohn, repeatedly quoted in several stories, claimed the "Mafia" "often
    made anti-Semitic comments"; he was the apparent source of the story
    that the killers had called the black student they murdered by a racial
    epithet, while other students said the group or the killers themselves
    worse "Nazi crosses" and "made generally derogatory remarks' about
    Hispanics and blacks." "They talked about Hitler and worse clothes with
    German insignia," gasped the New York Times on April 23. "They hated
    jocks, admired Nazis and scorned normalcy... They were white
    supremacists...," the Washington Post bubbled on the same day.
    And so it went for the next week or so, with proponents of more gun
    control, more voodoo education, more hate crime laws, and more federal
    manipulation of schools, law enforcement, and families flapping their
    wings and their jaws overtime, intent on squeezing every possible ounce
    of political advantage from what the press at once dubbed "the worst
    attack on a school in American history." Even that wasn't true. In 1927,
    a school board member named Andrew Kehos planted several dynamite bombs
    under his local schoolhouse in Michigan and blew it to splinters,
    killing himself and 45 other people. Including 38 students. Whether Mr.
    Kehos was also reported to have "right-wing overtones" and to be a
    "white supremacist" is not known, but that atrocity committed by a
    lunatic, like most others in civilized countries, was soon forgotten.
    The Littleton massacre wasn't forgotten, at least not for several weeks
    after it happened, and it soon became clear that the media were trying
    to use it in almost exactly the same way they had exploited the Oklahoma
    City bombing of April 19, 1995. They were setting a Reichstag fire,
    creating a vast and elaborate lie that sought to pin the blame for the
    Littleton massacre on "the right."
    But the Littleton Lie couldn't last because it was just so contrary to
    certain facts that soon began to emerge from the carnage, and in any
    case, the Lie was largely irrelevant to the main political usage of the
    massacre, more gun control. Yet the major media kept the Littleton
    incident on their front pages for at least two weeks after it occurred;
    it was only when the facts did emerge that they lost interest in it and
    the story began to follow Mr. Kehos and his dynamite bombs into that
    subcontinent of oblivion reserved for inconvenient facts and truths. The
    facts, you see, not only gave the lie to the Littleton Lie but pointed
    to a truth the news media didn't want to bring up.
    One glimpse of reality began to creep onto the national screen when the
    contents of Eric Harris's website were released. Those contents had been
    reported to the local police by an alarmed parent more than a year
    before young Master Harris tripped over the edge on April 20, but the
    cops had ignored them. As soon as the massacre occurred, however,
    American Online shut down the Harris website, and no one got a gander at
    what was on it until the New York Times, to its credit, reported at
    least some of the contents on May 1.
    The Times found the following passage, written by Harris, "intriguing":
    "You know what I hate?" Harris "repeatedly asked readers of the site,"
    the Times reported. "One of the answers he gave was, 'RACISM!'" "He
    wrote that people who are biased against 'blacks, Asians, Mexicans or
    people from any other country or race besides white-American' should
    'have their arms ripped off' and be burned." "'Don't let me catch you
    making fun of someone just because they are of a different color,' he
    wrote." Young Master Harris, as it turns out, hated many things besides
    "RACISM," among them fans of "Star Wars," people who mispronounce words,
    liars, country music, freedom of expression, opponents of the death
    penalty, and smokers. But "RACISM," so far from being a creed to which
    he subscribed, was definitely on the enemies' list.
    As for Dylan Klebold, it soon came out that he was of Jewish background
    and that his grandfather had been a prominent Jewish philanthropist in
    Ohio. In fact, young Master Klebold was reported to have taken part in a
    Passover seder only shortly before the massacre. Whatever motivated him
    to splatter the brains of his pals, it probably wasn't the admiration
    for Hitler and the Nazis that the press had attributed to him and his
    colleague, nor did Eric Harris's website reveal any sympathy for Hitler
    or for "racism" or indeed for any "right-wing overtones" except perhaps
    his enthusiasm for capital punishment.
    But what finally and definitely exposed the fantasies, speculations,
    unexamined assumptions, and outright lies the news media concocted and
    inflicted on us for two weeks was an interview in the New York Times on
    April 30 with several students at the high school who had actually known
    the killers. What they had to say should have ended the professional
    careers of several of the con artists who pass themselves off as
    "reporters" and whose misreporting had already fabricated myths and
    legends about the Littleton killings that will probably never die
    completely.
    The infamous "Trenchcoat Mafia" that was supposedly behind the
    bloodshed, said 16-year-old Devon Adams, consisted last year of about 15
    or 20 people who wore black trenchcoats as a kind of clique uniform.
    They played cards and hung out and smoked together. "That's all it was,"
    and anyway, more than half of them had graduated last year; the group
    barely existed anymore. Harris and Klebold weren't even a part of it, he
    told the Times.
    Well, but what about the racism, the sympathy for Hitler, the obsession
    with World War II? Meg Hains, 17, said,
    I am black/white mixed. And when the media is coming up with this
    thing that Dylan and Eric were racists, they weren't. They were my
    friends. They were very nice to me, both of them. I don't get this whole
    racial thing that people are coming up with.
    Miss Hains, you can see, has a lot to learn, and no doubt a good deal
    of the remainder of her learning experience will be devoted to "getting"
    the "whole racial thing" with which her elders are so obsessed. Devon
    Adams acknowledged that Harris and Klebold did use "racial slurs," but
    "I don't think it meant that they were racist." "What about the Nazi
    stuff?" the Times insisted. Meg Hains replied, "That is the biggest load
    of [expletive] I've ever heard. They never wore swastikas on their arms.
    Never. Not in this entire year that I've known them. No." Devon Adams
    said, "They're not Nazis. They didn't worship Nazis." They read books
    about Nazis because they were studying World War II history in school,
    he said. The report that they shouted "Heil Hitler" when bowling was
    also untrue, said Dustin Thurman, 18.
    In short, when the press told the public that Harris and Klebold were
    "white supremacists," "right wingers," "racists," "neo-Nazis," etc.,
    they lied. Journalists assumed, probably because unconsciously they have
    come to believe their own propaganda line, that all mass violence is the
    work of the "right," a catch-all term that can include anyone from
    Elizabeth Dole to the Aryan Nations. If it's the assassination of a
    president, the bombing of a federal building, or the mass murder of
    high-school students by wigged-out teenagers full of pubescent
    resentment, plugged-up hormones, and the mental and moral garbage
    regularly served them by their schools, their televisions,, their
    movies, their music, their books, their government, and their
    newspapers, then it has to be because "the right" is on the march. And
    of course, this myth is useful for discrediting anyone who really is on
    "the right" when he questions the quack nostrums and increased state
    power that the left demands as a "solution" to the "crisis."
    What, then, did cause the massacre at Littleton. The simple answer is
    "human nature," the propensity that all human beings have to explode, as
    Mr. Kehos exploded back in 1927 and as lots of other people do in one
    way or another every now and then. Of course, not everybody does
    explode. Why did Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold do so?
    The question is probably still unanswerable, but one story that popped
    up in the Washington Post is suggestive. A woman who was a friend of the
    Klebold family recalls that Dylan used to play with her daughters and
    remembers telling his mother that in her house she had only girl toys
    while in your house, you have only "boy toys." "Boy toys," replied Mrs.
    Klebold, "but no toy guns."
    Dylan Klebold's father is said to be "a liberal who favors gun
    control," yet another Associated Press story reported several days after
    the killings. His mother worked in a community program that helped
    "disabled students gain access to education." When Dylan and Eric broke
    into a car and got caught, they were placed in an "anger management"
    program, and the police who ran the program praised them for their
    conduct. As for Mark Manes, the pal of Eric and Dylan who sold them the
    semi-automatic pistol they used in the shootings, his mother is a member
    of Handgun Control, Inc., the country's largest gun-control lobbying
    organization. "She has been against guns forever," Manes' lawyer told
    the New York Times. "Mark grew up in a house where no weapons were
    present." Much the same seems to have been true of Eric Harris,, who was
    an enthusiastic fan of Bill Clinton's bombing of Serbia. "I hope we do
    go to war," he told a classmate. "I'll be the first one there." That
    exactly why Harris tried to enlist in the Marines a few days before the
    blow-up at the school. Maybe it wasn't Marilyn Manson that lit his fuse
    so much as the Weekly Standard or the Wall Street Journal editorial
    page.
    The dirty little truth the American propaganda machine won't tell us
    directly, the secret that has to be pried out from between the lines of
    the machine's unreliable newspapers and thinly disguised politicization,
    is that all three of these young men grew up in the make-believe world
    concocted by liberalism, a fantastic place where race and sex mean
    nothing; where violence and crime don't exist and guns have no function
    and no meaning, even as toys; where wars against "ethnic nationalists"
    for "humanitarian goals" are morally imperative but owning a handgun to
    protect your home and family ought to be a crime; where war is only one
    more goody-good community project like getting disabled students access
    to education; where people who adhere to "RACISM!" deserve to have their
    arms ripped off and be burned and human beings, including healthy young
    men whose genes and glands and brains drive them to aggression and
    conflict, are simply blank slates to be shaped and twisted and scribbled
    over by "anger management" programs and all the therapeutic witchcraft
    that Hillary Clinton and her friends really believe in. It was not Adolf
    Hitler or Marilyn Manson or the "right" that made Eric Harris and Dylan
    Klebold pop their corks in April but liberalism itself and all the
    illusions liberalism conjures up to mask the truths about human beings
    and human society that it refuses to face. That's a secret the news
    media can't expose, partly because those who run them can't even
    recognize it and partly because, if they every did, the whole system
    constructed on the lies of liberalism would crumble.
  • by LizardKing (5245) on Wednesday September 22, 1999 @07:56PM (#1665609)
    Regarding guns having no place in a modern society, I strongly disagree with you. Guns equalize people so that people can't use superior physical prowess to overpower victims.

    So rather than look at the reasons why someone wants to attack you, just blow them away? The police are there to stop the kind of abuse you describe, when individuals use your excuse it simply becomes vigilante tactics.

    Charlton Heston, the mouthpiece of the NRA, argued that the way to prevent Columbine like tragedies was to post armed guards in schools. What the hell does this teach children? That it's OK to bear arms, because if you abuse them you'll get shot?

    I'm sorry but that's an insane notion. Remove the guns, and you don't have a problem. As someone else has commented, in the UK we don't have a problem with stabbings in schools (one incident this decade), so people arent going to make a switch to alternative weapons.

    With regard to the bombs, I will agree that Klebold and Harris were determined to cause mayhem. However, in the vast majority of cases where someone goes `postal' they simply use a gun. I am sure it is a bogus notion to insist that anyone considering a killing spree will automatically use pipebombs if guns are unavailable. In the UK and Europe I cannot recall a single incident involving non-politically motivated killers and pipebombs.


    Chris Wareham
  • Speaking as someone who was caught up in worldwide media attention a few years ago the press just made up facts when I didnt talk to them about me. They made up a LOT of facts I found out later getting their scripts, FBI documents, talking to other witnesses.

    Sad that the people who are supposed to be informing america just make up things when its too much of a bother to WAIT and be NICE and find out the truth.


    Their tactics are brutal.. Answer my questions or else I will make up anything I want about YOU and your family. Phone calls 24 hours a day because when there is a news story.. the people in it never sleep do they? (I personally had to change my number 2 times because it rang nonstop for DAYS.)


    So I am NOT suprised when people are finding out that the Colubine kids are not the terrible people that media made them out to be.

    But who cares? I mean only those 2 kids.. because now they couldnt find a jury who would find them innocent no matter what because EVERYONE in america has heard about the RUTHLESS OUTLAW Trenchcoat Mafia that they were in.


    Sad for the boys that now they cant have a fair trial. Oh Well just another day dealing with the media.
  • But the media is that way largely because that's what the average person wants.

    All that violence is in the media because when it's in the media people seek it out. If one TV station suddenly stopped covering violence, except the actually important stuff, suddenly nobody would flip to that station to watch the news, their ratings would plummit, they'd get the message and start conforming again. (or go under)

    Somebody helping somebody out? Sheesh, who wants to watch *that* on TV?

    And, of course, who cares about the verity or verifiability of a news story anymore? Especially if a decent rumour that something might be true is so much more interesting?
  • by Amphigory (2375) on Thursday September 23, 1999 @04:43AM (#1665617) Homepage
    A book to add to your list: the Bible.

    That's right. The Bible. The 20th century is not the first time somebody has cried out against injustice and materialism. It's not the first time that people have needed a message that was jarringly non-materialistic. This attitude is present in the Old Testament as well... You just have to learn to look at it within the context of a document that was written in 1000BC.

    What never ceases to amaze me is the way people (read: the Christian Right) warp the Bible in support of our societies crass commercialism and knee-jerk conservatism. Jesus was the original radical, which means that God is too!!! Never forget it.

    I will go ahead and forego my +1 and save the moderators the trouble, since anything that doesn't endorse pseudo-scientific rationalism is doomed to a -1 around here.
  • by Amphigory (2375) on Thursday September 23, 1999 @03:38AM (#1665618) Homepage
    And while you may accuse me of being idealistic, I doubt a well-educated doctor would attatch any significance to the fact that a drug rep is goodlooking.

    Then why are they /all/ good looking? Logically, a drug company would not go to the trouble and (ultimately) expense of hiring a good looking rep if they didn't find them to be more effective.

    I will refute your assertion that advertising is irrelevan quite simply: this class of drugs is clearly one of the most heavily advertised classes (it's not just a drug company pen: it's a ZOLOFT pen). And they are also the most over-prescribed.

    How did we survive all those millenia without these drugs? Something like 1 in 4 kids is on them now! I simply can't believe that they are that necessary.

    Oh yeah: speaking from experience (it took me years to find a doctor that knew this) most depression is caused by a vitamin B deficiency consequent to taking in too much sugar. This is adequately established by MANY clinical trials (done by places like Johns Hopkins and Harvard Medical School, not some cheasy alternative medicine place.)

    Don't believe me? Try taking a good supplement of Vitamin B and see if it works.
  • I have to agree here; my working knowledge of chemistry, when I was in high school, would have been suficient alone to make a fair amount explosives (that, coupled with the easy availablity of various chemicals through mail-order catalogs, which have significantly fewer restrictions). I also do not own a gun, although I have used one (and even took our university's riflery course, and train with the riflery team); personally, I am not sure if I could ever take another human's life, but I will not push aside guns, banning them, simply because they cause problems among a significant minority of the population. If we are going that path, then let's ban alcohol, cars, cigarettes (whoops... we are already trying to get there on that one), knives, steel bars, construction sites, physical games, crossing the street, hiking, cliff climbing, installation of ceiling fans, etc. I can list mumerous thing that have killed or maimed, accidently or purposely (no officer, honest; I didn't push him off that cliff...). Basically, I would rather live in danger than give up freedom; THAT is the wild west attitude that many have mentioned, and it is a defining part of the American psyche. Just as many of you cannot imagine, or do not understand why Americans still have guns despite the lowered crime rate your countries have exhibited, I cannot understand why you would want a freedom of choice eliminated. Like I said, I do not own one, but neither do I approve of not being able to own one. I value my ability to decide for myself how to live everyday, where to go, what to do; even if it gets me in trouble, destroys my life, or even prevents me from functioning within society, so be it. I refuse to let my freedom of choice (which is what everyone of the first ten Constitutional Amendments insures) be removed, even if it means a harsher, more violent world to live in. I guess one of our founding fathers, Benjamin Franklin, said it best: "Those who would sacrifice freedom for safety deserve neither freedom nor safety." It may not be the best attitude to have, but it is one ingrained into me since birth, and one that will be difficult for me to let go. -Grandpa_Spaz
  • One problem,
    conversion is not occuring.
    It has been "excused" and "measures have been taken to prevent it in the future"
    but all thats happening is the schools are becoming more closed-off for social outcasts, a veritable "Police state" in the schools are being enforced. you just have to go up to an administrator and say "that guy over there was saying he is gonna shoot someone" and if the guy is wearing black, or something "non-conformist" then boom, immediate suspension and therapy.
    it is sad that if you tell that to an administrator about "Mr. Jonny football player" they will say "oh, he was just messing with you". i know. it ihas been tested. =-p
    Change is occuring, but only more infringements on student's rights. they have already banned trenchcoats in the schools here. and a few of my friends were put into therapy for refusing not to wear all-black. There are problems that aren't being fixed, but mearly covered up by restrictions.
  • Following the Columbine shootings, and the comments made in many media organs, `outsiders' were branded potential murderers. This included goths like myself, and stereotypical computer nerds. Basically anyone who didn't play a lot of sport, wear ordinary clothes or listen to pop music were labelled `ousiders'.

    This is why an article like this has some relevance to Slashdot. I try hard to disprove the `nerd' myth. I am a self taught computer programmer who earns a good salary. Simply because I don't meet the society norms in terms of appearance, people whho meet me outside of work assume I'm a drug addled drop-out who exists on welfare.


    Chris Wareham
  • by flamingdog (16938) on Wednesday September 22, 1999 @08:04PM (#1665645) Homepage
    Frankly, I'm getting sick of hearing about this. I didn't even bother reading the article. Why does there have to be a clearly defined reason everything happens? Why can't people just accept that sometimes things happen that we don't expect? This whole ordeal sickens me. It sickens me that kids would do things like that. It sickens me how much the media feeds off of them, and probably go home and pray that someone else will go on a murderous rampage. It sickens me how much people are willing to accept stereotypes and how the media propogates them. In the end of last school year and the beginning of this new one, I've been through so much hell because of the way the media just keeps feeding everyone this garbage. I listen to "satanic" music, I have a demented sense of humor, I'm a non-conformist, I am disruptive and rude to people who deserve it. Its never gotten me into serious trouble before. Now my parents think I'm a satanist, as do my teachers. My fellow students are afraid Im going to kill them. And I've been offered therapy more times than I can count this year. All this because I'm just a bit different. Imagine how bad the goths and such are getting it right now?


    I hope I never see another one of these damned "why kids kill" or "this is what really happened" articles or anything even remotely related to them ever again.

    ---------------------------
    "I'm not gonna say anything inspirational, I'm just gonna fucking swear a lot"
  • by ninjaz (1202) on Wednesday September 22, 1999 @08:04PM (#1665648)
    I realize that I'm responding to what appears to be flamebait, but going back and saying "some of our coverage has been demonstrated wrong" is a good thing rather than a bad thing.

    Of course, some of the coverage was right, too. A large part of the Jon Katz series on the matter was about how people were being unfairly targeted as potential killers because of distorted media coverage at the time. And, iirc, some of it was about how things such as what's illustrated in the Carrie movies can happen if people are pushed too far (which they're saying now was not the case this time, but imho, is still is a valid point)

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday September 22, 1999 @08:04PM (#1665651)
    The reaction weren't to the distorted, incorrect version of events, but to what followed: Outcasts everywhere being treated like potential killers for no good reason. This article even strengthens the power of those responses... It shows that not only did the media generalize, but they started a witchhunt on groups of people who didn't even belong to the same subcultures as the killers.

    In fact, I'd go so far as saying that this article in many ways validate much of Katz' articles on it, and the responses he got.

    The article also strengthen my belief that this is an issue with the way outsiders are treated. Just take a look at the descriptions on how lots of the "myths" about Columbine started. For instance how the rumours that the killers were gay started: One member of the Trench Coat Mafia from two years back, which they had little to do with, was apparently gay. And that marked the entire group, and outsiders like Harris and Klebold as gay for no reason.

    In an environment like that, where even remote association with someone that is treated as an outcast marks you as an outcast too, it is no surprise that some kids go crazy and kill... I'm just surprised it doesn't happen more often.

  • tell me again how your ... gun-grabbing mentality ... is going to help us get to the heart of the real problem

    It wont solve the problem. There are always going to be determined sociopaths who will go to any ends to cause mayhem. The examples you state are proof of this. What removal of guns would accomplish is bringing to an end the spur of the moment killings - the sacked employee who quickly resorts to shooting colleauges for instance.

    The examples of non-gun related killings you give are dwarfed by the *total* numbers killed by guns every year in the US. Don't use a small number of isolated non-gun incidents to justify the right to bear arms.

    Anyway, as we're starting to go around in circles, and I know full well that some parts of American society will *never* part with their personal arsenals, I'm going to do some work.

    Yours, without animosity,


    Chris Wareham
  • Problem #1: Most of the time, they're getting the wrong kids. I don't have the URL handy, but The Escapist (a site dedoicated to the defense of RPGs and their players) recently ran an article about a program that would scan creative writing assignments for "key words" that supposedly meant the kids had a greater-than-average chance of being mentally disturbed. "Sincere," "forgive," "nowhere," and "shadows" were among the words, as were several others that you'd expect to see in the fiction of any gamer or scadian.


    Problem #2: Even when kids who maybe could benefit from it get sent to counseling, the counselors are HORRIBLE most of the time and they do more harm than good. The attitude is "you're broken, how can we fix you so you're like everyone else?" I've been to three different counselors for various reasons and all three of them did me much more harm than good. The one I was sent to in 8th grade actually ended up making me MORE suicidal by telling me that my ways of coping with things (which generally involved my usually sarcastic sense of humor) was wrong. Then, there was the "advisor" I was required to meet with monthly when I was in an early-admissions program at college. I was being harassed by floormates (death-threat phone calls at 3 AM, etc.), knew who it was but had no proof, and the counselor refused to believe me. Then of course there was the one at college who came to talk to my dorm after one of the girls lived there took 90 Zoloft and died. "You may be feeling [insert list here], and none of
    that is valid ..." Excuse me, if I'm feeling it, I consider it valid. It may not be ACCURATE, but who the hell is this guy to tell me my feelings aren't "valid"? And then of course I couldn't get an appointment because they "didn't have time" for me. And when my housemate went the following year and told them, "Drugs. I need drugs," they wrote her a prescription for Zoloft (the same med used in the previous year's suicide) and did nothing else. No counseling sessions, NOTHING, just a prescription for anti-depressants.


    Or, if you want a really nasty example, my best friend basically ended up signing himself into a mental institution thanks to an inept school counselor who didn't tell him that that was what he was doing. It took his parents over a week to get him out of there. Talk about torturing a young teenager .....

  • by Myriad (89793) <myriad&thebsod,com> on Wednesday September 22, 1999 @08:08PM (#1665671) Homepage
    It's very easy to sit back, after the fact, and trash the media. But if you think about it they're not completely to blame.

    If you've ever been at the scene of an accident you'll know that each witness has a different story on what happened. Well, the same applies here.

    The days of investigative reporting are mostly gone. Why? Because we're an instant gratification society, one that doesn't allow the time to do proper research on a story like this. Everyone wants to know what's happening RIGHT NOW. As such, the only things that come out are theories and conjecture, the (dubious) accounts of so-called eyewitnesses - the same witnesses who have varying ideas of what happened.

    Because properly sorting out what actually went on takes time, and the legal process often requires that evidence be kept quiet until the investigation is complete, few 'real' facts come out until quite some time after the event. That doesn't stop people screaming for answers.

    What happens? Unlike the police, the media does not have access to all the evidence. So the same stories keep getting repeated, over and over, with only the occasional fact being added in. And, as with any story retold without being checked, it morphs into something even further from the truth.

    We are as much to blame as the media are. I bet virtually every last one of you now blaming the media were, at the time, glued to your screens. Afterwards you probably went off and talked with friends, doing exactly what the media was doing, theorizing and making you're own interpretation of events.

    If people had a little more patience to wait until information has been gathered, instead of screaming for information to be pieced together, what is being reported would be far more accurate. Unfortunately, few have patience anymore.


    However, I must admit such horrid coverage like 20/20's story leaves no one to blame but themselves. Sensationalism at its worst.
  • I agree, Getting this on the net is a very very good thing.
    since the primary target in the whole witch hunt are the goths, a good 75% (don't quote me on this, it is a VERY rough estimation based from personal opinion/observations) are decently net-savvy.
    I remember sending a good many of my friends to the article, and printing it out for those who needed it. it really helped during times of mindless persecution and paranoia.

    I was lucky because (as i said in another post) i got out of high school 2 weeks before the columbine thing occured. but it scared me. all i could think on was remembering a story (not sure if it was national) about some people who dragged a black guy behind the car untill he died. That level of inansity and prejudice was now being focused towards me and those like me. i made sure all of my goth/outcast friends had a copy of the main text of the voices from the hellmouth, and it apparently did a lot of good, because the administration was forced to see the level f stupidity they were at, and while they still did ban trenchcoats, they really were lax on the whole goth/dark group in school. not that that stopped the jocks and preps from getting a couple of brain cells. another good friend of mine was suspended because in the middle of lunch, he was surrounded bywhat seemed (to him at the time) half the football team, and things were getting ugly. he backed them off with a straight look into the "leader of the pack's" eyes and a comment on "how everyone has their braking point, and you don't know what mine is...." immediatly the group dispersed and 5 min later he was escorted to the office by the school cop and suspended.
    i think he was an idiot cause he gave them exactly what they wanted, but it is a prime example of the mentality.

    its almost like they are trying to get rid of the problem my making it blow up.

    something i have noticed, if a massacre did occur at the local high school. you would have the negative emotions, but people seem to want it to happen, as long as they are the ones who survive. that way they have a story to tell, it livens up their rather shallow existance and they get nationwide pity. remonds me of those who torture animals then have the animal put down when it finaly snapps and attacks the person.
  • by mcc (14761) <amcclure@purdue.edu> on Thursday September 23, 1999 @08:04AM (#1665680) Homepage
    so the question is, what happens now? how much you wanna bet the answer is "nothing"?

    probably the answer is, a bunch of slashdotters get to say "see, i told you so" although nobody's listening, and we are forced to accept Salon's view as true because it's better backed up than anyone else's and a totally objective viewpoint is unavailable.

    will this alternate point of view on the columbine killings get any attention? will the actual facts get a front-cover Time article like the half-truths and assumptions did? probably not. The jury of Public Opinion has heard what it wants to hear and made its verdict. The columbine killers _were_ members of the trenchcoat mafia, the christian girl who died _was_ somehow a martyr (although what for i can't imagine) and marilyn manson is responsible. Not because any of these things are true, but because that is what people walk away thinking and these are the "facts" that will color people's desisions from now on.

    Because when we come down to it, why does the truth about Columbine matter? Will knowing what motivated the two killers bring anyone back to life? Motivations don't help law enforcement; all that matters to them is whether there were any accompices, and whether anyone still alive is a threat to others. Who really cares, though, are the parents and such across the nation who want more food for their own self-rightiousness. Parents and school officials get complete verification, once and for all, that if you're a Goth you're evil. Christians get to look at themselves as victims; 80% of america thinks religion is "very important" in their lives and 50% favor teaching of creationism in public schools, but still the Christian establishment gets to make itself out as a victim, a repressed minority that needs to stand strong against the world around it, which is apparently trying to destroy it; all because one person who died in an attack by crazy people on a high school in colorado was apparently christian. A great number of people get to wallow in self-pity and invigorating anger because they managed to elevate empathy for those who have lived through a very sad, horrible event in Colorado into, somehow, a feeling of personal loss or involvement.

    What actually happened at columbine is irrelivant. All that matters is how what people belive about it will affect what people think, how people act, or what already fairly repressed groups are denied their only outlet (black clothing, music) of self-expression.
  • ... What Do you guys expect, the media has allways made news when it has suted them, and then the polotitions twisted it for their own use, like all thows anti-gun laws, they dont enforce anything that is on the books, They just want more power, they want their finger in your life.

    A Great example of when guns are good
    NYC,Washington DC -- Hand Guns are banned, The Crime Rate is sky high, because the criminials don't fear being shot by the person who their robbing or raping.
    But in small towns in Texas, there is almost no crime, when everybody has a gun, because the crinimals value their life.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday September 22, 1999 @08:17PM (#1665690)
    I don't know if anyone else noticed, but Rollingstone did a couple of articles on all of this media stuff being wrong and presenting a better view of the facts back in some June and July issues. . .
  • I think you are missing his point, I seem to remember an incident where quite a few people in a government building located in Okelahoma lost their lives due to a truckload of fertilizer.
    That's true. And what happens now when the feds get wind of anyone buying up a (pardon) shitload of fertilizer? They jump on them, hard. "Shit doesn't kill people, people kill people" is an argument I haven't heard; but then unlike guns there aren't a lot of people who mistakenly believe the individual has a constitutional right to bear arms.
    Why is it that I, a foreigner, know this when so many Americans don't?
  • Never said that it was useless. Just radically over-prescribed.

    I remember a kid in my church. He was classically depressed -- didn't eat, slept all the time, morose. He's also a geek.

    The school asked his parents to take him to the doctor for depression. They did, and the Dr. said "Let's try putting him on Zoloft and see if that helps". No test. No attempt at counseling. Just try a drug and see what happens. I heard about this, and I jumped up and down, screamed, begged and pleaded to get them to try nutrition first.

    They did after I practically threatened them. Their child is now healthy, happy, and drug-free on Vitamin B. I'm serious. I'm not some health food idiot who swears by St. John's Wort. I don't take any other vitamins than B. But I am convinced beyond a doubt that most depression is caused by vitamin B deficiencies.

    This theory neatly explains the downgrade of our society: ever since the 1930's, americans have been consuming more and more pure sugar. In order to metabolize concentrated sugars, your body depletes your reserves of vitamin B, which in turn impacts brain function. (sugar also causes a bunch of other problems, but that's another issue. Get off the poisonous stuff!)

    This is adequately proven by a number of studies from reputable research facilities, including Harvard Medical School and Johns Hopkins.

    Yet Drs. don't prescribe Vitamin B for depression. Why not? No one advertises it (see my post above). Instead, we kill our children with unnecessary drugs, all in our mad rush to worship at the altar of the almighty buck.

    Yes, I AM bitter. So bitter I could SPIT.

    (p.s. Do not just stop taking any anti-depressant drug that you have been on long term with the help of a Doctor. I'm serious, this can cause suicidal depression!!!!!!!! But do get off the drugs. Life is too short.)

    (p.p.s. If you get a Vitamin B supplement, get a B-Complex with 100% of the RDA of biatin -- biatin is one of the vitamin b's that make up the complex. Email me if you need help.)
  • The Electric Ballroom [...] is OK on Friday nights.

    Hmmm... I think "OK" is being a bit generous. It used to be a great place, but has gone seriously downhill recently. It's supposed to be a rock and goth club, but IMHO, it sucks from both perspectives. It usually starts off OK, but it rapidly degenerates into playing dance music downstairs and "rap-rock" upstairs. Sigh. Admittedly I haven't been for several months, and it might have improved since then, but I'm not hopeful...

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday September 22, 1999 @08:24PM (#1665729)
    They may have cut rape rates (I've seen no proof of that), but at what cost? How many RAPE VICTIMS are getting killed with their own weapons? How many percent of the police officers that are killed are killed with their own weapon? How many families have seen members die because someone else in the family mistook them for an intruder?

    The point isn't just outlawing guns, but making guns harder to get. Yes, there will always be someone that manage to get guns, but realisticly: Do you really believe that a hardened criminal with a gun will be more dangerous than thousands of citizens that can't handle it properly?

    Countries like Norway, Denmark, Sweden, Great Britain, etc. have strict gun laws. Even the police normally doesn't carry guns in these countries. Guns aren't that hard to come by - in Norway for instance, there are hundreds of thousands of AG-3's in private homes - yet there are few gun related crimes.

    Also, there are few other violent crimes as well. Maybe because the criminals know they're not likely to meet someone armed with a gun, and thus don't need to protect themselves with one, and at the same time know they risc a lot tougher sentencing if they commit a crime using a weapon than without?

    Of course, this isn't the only answer, but the argument about having guns for protection simply doesn't hold: If you're unarmed in a society where everyone has guns, sure, it might be wise to have one yourself. But a society with few guns would be safer yet. Sure, someone WILL get in a situation where having a gun could have saved them. But a lot fewer will get in a situation where they die because someone else have a gun.

    It's comparable to people criticizing seat belts because you can get killed by them. Yes, it's true, in some cases you can. But you're more likely to get killed without them. The same holds true for restrictive gun laws (provided they're enforced properly): There may be cases where someone would save their life without those laws, but there's more cases where having them will save people.

    Of course there's other issues too. One of problems in the US is a society that seems to worship violence, and with high poverty rates, high unemployment in many areas, and in many ways lack of tolerance. Couple that with huge amounts of guns, and you have a recipe for disaster. That's not something gun control laws can fix. Gun control laws have to be part of a package, and that package must at the very least also include making guns hard to get for EVERYONE.

  • by ninjaz (1202) on Wednesday September 22, 1999 @08:35PM (#1665744)
    So rather than look at the reasons why someone wants to attack you, just blow them away? The police are there to stop the kind of abuse you describe, when individuals use your excuse it simply becomes vigilante tactics.
    The police's responsibility is to protect the public at large, not individuals. They don't have the responsibility or the capability to protect each and every person. Regarding the reason someone wants to attack you, what if it's "Because you're female, and I get my jollies by raping and killing females". Is transferring the blame of this sort of attack to the victims really a decent approach to the problem? The reason could also be "I wanted some money to get high, so I'll try my luck at robbing you". (and recently, England has had more robbery per-capita than the United States - modern society, even in England, still has crime)
    Charlton Heston, the mouthpiece of the NRA, argued that the way to prevent Columbine like tragedies was to post armed guards in schools. What the hell does this teach children? That it's OK to bear arms, because if you abuse them you'll get shot?
    I suppose it teaches them the same thing that an armed police force and populace does.. If you decide to start killing people, someone will be there to stop you.
    I'm sorry but that's an insane notion. Remove the guns, and you don't have a problem. As someone else has commented, in the UK we don't have a problem with stabbings in schools (one incident this decade), so people arent going to make a switch to alternative weapons.
    One of the problems with your suggestion is that "remove the guns" (from the society) is easier said than done. Also, due to what I've already stated (equalization offered by guns, human right to self defense, etc), outlawing guns in the United States at large is not the answer. Tightly controlled access to schools in particular (like we do with airports and courtrooms) is a possible step that could be taken. I won't argue with that.
    With regard to the bombs, I will agree that Klebold and Harris were determined to cause mayhem. However, in the vast majority of cases where someone goes `postal' they simply use a gun. I am sure it is a bogus notion to insist that anyone considering a killing spree will automatically use pipebombs if guns are unavailable. In the UK and Europe I cannot recall a single incident involving non-politically motivated killers and pipebombs.
    This is a complex issue which has more to do with societies than with particular weapon choices. In Switzerland, all adult males are required to have firearms as part of their military program. Yet, the murder rate in Switzerland is much lower than in England. In Sweden, firearms are essentially banned, and the murder rate is also lower than England's. The idea in the United States is that individuals have the right to protect themselves. That your country's crime rate tends to be low is not a very comforting thought if your safety is immediately or imminently threatened and the police say "We can only do something *after* a crime has been committed"
  • Sure, I'll email you with - oh.

    Never mind.

    I put my email address in the header - I guess you'll just have to email me.

    (tip: go to http://www.google.com/ , type in "london goth" and press the "I'm feeling lucky" button.)
    --
  • This is how it has to do with geeks. Just read the stories:

    Voices From the Hellmouth [slashdot.org]

    More stories fron the Hellmouth [slashdot.org]

    The price of being different [slashdot.org]
  • Check out this history of swiss and guns.
    http://www.ssanz.org.nz/articles/swiss.html

    Its from an NZ site so I assume its fairly accuarate. But apparently there no laws on long gun semi-automatic carrying, and some laws on pistol carrying though it doesn't seem all that enforced.
  • You can't eliminate guns. They're too easy to make. You never heard of a "zip gun"?
  • Sorry, but I think it's important.
  • Take a second look at the facts here:

    1. Two kids commit suicide, after going on a killing spree.
    2. Suicide is usually caused by depression.
    3. The kids left behind documentation that they were filled with anger and rage, which is linked to depression.
    4. Both kids had Luvox, an anti-depressant, in their bloodstream when they died.

    Here is my theory as to what happened, just for contrast. These two kids develop serious psychological problems. They seek help, or someone imposes help on them. A psychiatrist looks them over, concludes that the problem resembled depression better than anything else in his/her playbook, and prescribes them anti-depressants. They don't help much (this happens a lot), the kids don't go back to the doctor to get the medication altered, and eventually they flip out and go on their killing spree.

    It should not surprise anybody when people who are under psychiatric treatment flip out. Who else would be under treatment?

    Remember a few years back, when the talk show circuit was filled with people who reacted badly to Prozac? Since then, Prozac has become one of the most widely prescribed drugs in America. Has anything bad happened? Are we plagued by an epidemic of people killing themselves because Prozac messed up their mind? Psychopharmacology is not an exact science. Drugs like this will help most patients, do nothing for others, and have weird or negative affects on the rest. Nobody understands exactly why. Treating depressed patients is a mix of educated guesses and trial-and-error. It has its downside, but the alternative is a lot worse.

    The whole idea of psychotropic drugs scare a lot of people. It doesn't scare me, but then again Prozac may have saved my life. All I ask is that you use common sense when you consider things like this, and that you remember: correlation does not prove causation.
  • The number of gun-related murders in the US is at an all time high. Yet restrictions on the ownership and use of guns is also at an all time high. The restrictions are doing no good at all! Something has changed and it's not the number of guns, because they're going down. Schoolyard killings are new. Very new. Unthinkable fifty years ago.

    The Valentine's Day Massacre in the 1930's shocked a nation, yet today similar gangland massacres happen on a weekly basis. And these killings are being committed with weapons that are already illegal and hard to get! Making more weapons illegal won't change anything. We're trying to put a bandaid on a severed arm! There is an illness in US society and guns are merely a scab over the wound.

    But restricting guns only restricts them for the lawful citizen. I cannot today purchase an assault rifle. But the gangs still have them, boatloads of them. Banning them didn't do one ounce of good. The criminals are better armed than the police!

    Solutions? Harsh and swift punishments for violent crimes and especially those committed with guns to keep these people off the streets. Require gun safety classes for purchasers of guns to prevent accidents. But this is only the tip of the iceberg. We also need to find out what has changed between then and now and fix it.
  • by theonetruekeebler (60888) on Thursday September 23, 1999 @06:46AM (#1665807) Homepage Journal
    They may have cut rape rates (I've seen no proof of that), but at what cost? How many RAPE VICTIMS are getting killed with their own weapons?
    That is an extremely sloppy question, because it completely ignores a necessary predicate question: How many women are not raped because they presented an armed defense against a potential rapist? And how many of those rapes would have escalated to rape-murders?

    Also, you seem to imply that just because you have not seen proof, it does not exist. Here are some statistics for you:

    • Of the 2.5 million [gun-armed] self-defense cases, as many as 200,000 are by women defending themselves against sexual abuse. (Gary Kleck and Marc Gertz, "Armed Resistance to Crime: The Prevalence and Nature of Self-Defense With a Gun," 86 The Journal of Criminal Law and Criminology, Northwestern University School of Law, 1 (Fall 1995):185.)
    • Citizens shoot and kill at least twice as many criminals as police do every year (1,527 to 606). (Kleck, Point Blank: Guns and Violence in America, (1991):111-116, 148.)
    • "[O]nly 2 percent of civilian shootings involved an innocent person mistakenly identified as a criminal. The "error rate" for the police, however, was 11 percent, more than five times as high." (George F. Will, "Are We a Nation of Cowards'?," Newsweek (15/11/93):93. )
    As you can see from that 2.5 million number, you don't have to kill someone, or even shoot at them, to use a gun for self-defense.
    Do you really believe that a hardened criminal with a gun will be more dangerous than thousands of citizens that can't handle it properly?
    Yes. I emphatically believe this, because of the simple matter of intent. A hardened criminal has a willingness to do harm which turns a gun into an amplifier of their own violence. The citizen in your rhetorical question does not have that. The fact of a hardened criminal with a baseball bat does not imply that since only MLB players are qualified to "properly" handle them, that only they should be permitted to own them.

    As for "proper" handling, as a geek, I believe that any person owning any piece of equipment has an obligation to themselves, to the equipment, and to their fellow human beings to know how to operate it properly. This is true for computers, and for cars; it is true for any tool and doubly true for weapons.

    A society with few guns would be safer yet.
    And a real Easter Bunny would make Easter ever so much more magical. What's your point? A society with no whiskey would have fewer drunken wife-beaters. Why don't we ban whiskey? Oh wait--we tried that. A brief look through a good history book will show you that not only did Prohibition fail miserably, it also aggravated many of the problems it was intended to prevent. I still think you're better off banning wife-beating and drunk driving than whiskey. If you continue to insist that we ban whiskey since it is unnecessary and that the costs wife-beating and drunk driving far outweigh any purported benefit of whiskey, I will go ahead and call you a destroyer of freedoms, and be safe in doing so.
    It's comparable to people criticizing seat belts because you can get killed by them. Yes, it's true, in some cases you can. But you're more likely to get killed without them. The same holds true for restrictive gun laws (provided they're enforced properly)
    No, the same holds true for guns. Laws upon laws upon laws is a pointless and stupid solution to real problems. Do you know that that kid in Covington, Georgia, was charged with breaking twenty-two laws that could put him in jail for around two hundred years? I can't imagine he woke up that morning and thought, "Gee, if I breaking twenty-three laws, I wouldn't do this, but since it's only twenty-two, I think I'll go for it."

    Breaking a law is as easy as deciding the odds and consequences of getting caught outweigh the desire to do the act. The next time you find yourself doing 65 in a 55 zone, ask yourself about how effective laws really are when they stand in your way. The problem, much of it, is that we have replaced morality, and the desire to do the right thing, with laws, and the desire to get away with whatever you can. But that's a rant for another time.

    --

  • by m3000 (46427) on Wednesday September 22, 1999 @08:55PM (#1665808)
    The Onion did a little thing about Columbine recently, which you can read here [theonion.com]. It's pretty funny, except that it's also very true. The media has talked about how everyone should love one another, and that there should be no little "groups", but I see no sign that is happening. In my opinion, that article is more truth than fiction.
  • by Paul Johnson (33553) on Wednesday September 22, 1999 @08:55PM (#1665811) Homepage
    This is fascinating. The human brain is the best machine ever created for spotting patterns in noisy data. The downside of this is that if you hand it random noise it finds its own patterns. Columbine is a classic example.

    What we saw after Columbine turns out to have been the high-speed creation of a collection of Urban Legends. What seems to happen is that the same story gets filtered through a series of minds as it is transmitted from one person to the next. Each mind forgets some "irrelevant" details and infers some new "facts", because that is how memory works (a number of psychology experiments show how easy it is to induce people to remember things that never were, especially details). In other words you are dealing with an iterated function in a kind of "story space". What comes out of this process is not the original data but a kind of attractor in this space. It is what people feel is the "right" story to have happened.

    So, what kinds of stories come out: Well we get a bunch of them, reflecting the concerns of different groups.

    • The Christian Right get a new Martyr.
    • Middle America gets a tale about the dangers of [X], for various values of X. Gays, D&D games, violent video games, goths.
    • Slashdotters get a tale about the Revenge of the Geeks. This last one is the most interesting. We all thought that we were so clever, spotting the real cause of the Columbine Massacre, while all the Media, Middle Americans and Christian Right had missed it. But exactly the same group dynamic was at work. The Christian Right saw teenagers driven to evil by bad music, bad films and bad games. Meanwhile we (yes, that includes me) saw teenagers driven to madness by the social exclusion and everyday violence we suffered at school. The Christian Right argued for more restrictions on films and games, while we argued for more restrictions on jocks and teachers.

      This is pretty humbling. Every so often something comes up to remind us that we are not so superior after all.

      Paul.

  • by Amphigory (2375) on Thursday September 23, 1999 @11:03AM (#1665812) Homepage
    Luvox is not for treating compression. It's often used for that because the pharmaceutical companies have found depression to be a better market than it's approved use: treating Obsessive Compulsive Disorder.

    Seriously: I've done the homework. I am convinced that there is no basis in fact for the number of prescriptions that we have for Lubox. See my postings regardint he proven interaction of sugar with depressive symptoms.

    You give it away at the start of the article, when you say "Are we plagued by an epidemic of people killing themselves because Prozac messed up their mind?". In a word: the answer is yes!.

    Every single school shooting that I'm aware in the past several years (since Jonesboro, AR) has involved a child on a psychotropic drug.

    Oh yeah, you say "the kids don't go back to the doctor to get the medication altered". Read the product insert for Luvox and tell me that that is appropriate!!! It says, specifically, that the drugs are to be given in the smallest quantity possible and that children are to be treated regularly.

    Oh yeah: most of the drugs don't come from Psychiatrists or even licensed counselors: they come from family doctors who know very little about psychiatry.


  • >> Charlton Heston, the mouthpiece of the NRA, argued that the way to prevent Columbine like tragedies was to post armed guards in schools. What the hell does this teach children? That it's OK to bear arms, because if you abuse them you'll get shot?

    > I suppose it teaches them the same thing that an armed police force and populace does.. If you decide to start killing people, someone will be there to stop you.

    At what stage would it be ok for Armed teachers to shoot a child? Before they pull a gun? After X number of pupils have been Killed?

    I can just imagine the outcry after a teacher blows away a child who was playing up, only to find it was a Mars Bar in his hand!!

  • Walking back from the goth club one night:

    "what the FUCK is that?"
    "Hey, Marylin! Marylin Manson!"
    and best of all:
    "Inter-net! Inter-fuckin-net!"

    A hundred yards further up the road, an enterprising schemie [1] decided to throw a handy rubbish bin full of glass bottles at my head. I felt drips from the bottles hit my face as it whistled past. *Crash*. I didn't look.

    Sadly, they didn't seem in the least worried that I might pull a gun on them and shoot them. But then, if I'd been allowed a gun, they would have been too. I live in Edinburgh, UK.
    --
  • >You need only look at societies with strict gun
    >laws, and you'll se that deadly force is much
    >less normal.

    (I'm responding to several points made in different posts here, so excuse me for making comments that do not seem relevant to this post.)

    One point that I see come up again & again in this discussion is that ``well, if they didn't have guns, they would have found another way to kill people" -- as if the desire to use deadly force against others is acceptible in US society. Or maybe I'm misreading the aggressiveness nature of US culture.

    I see this aggressiveness expressed in countless ways in US culture: businessmen or women are praised for being ruthless, or for ``destroying" the competition. (The principal complaint most nerds appear to have about Microsoft is the quality of their software: well, if you can get control of an industry by turning your competitors into so many acres of scorched earth or salted ruins faster than writing quality software, which would you rather do?)

    Americans charge after success at any cost -- & the sacrifice of friendships or family ties is considered not only normal, but expected. If you don't have something other people to find useful, they will pass you by as they chase after the golden ring.

    So what are the 95% of us who don't fall in the category of ``the best of the best" supposed to do with ourselves?

    One poster remarked that at one time everyone had 400 acres to ``let off steam" in. More likely, they went West to find Indians, Mexicans, Chinese & other starving, disenfranchised folks who could be killed with impunity. (A lot of 19th century hate crimes appear to have been committed with about as little forethought & justification as the Littleton massacre.) Nothing hides the fact that you aren't an alpha male if you can find someone else to fuck over.

    And much US law makes sense if you look at it from the viewpoint that a property owner or landowner should not have to answer for his freehold to anyone except God -- & woe to the employee or subordinate who insists on respect or a living wage for their work.

    So there is a lot of submerged anger in the US at the fact that if you aren't the best, you're shit. And I feel it has gotten worse in recent years: back in the 1980's, when it looked as if Japan would overtake the US as the leading world economy, many pundits opined that this was because Americans had forgotten how to be aggressive. So people worked harder, competed harder, & if one lost at this competition, the resulting anger was not as passive as it used to be. For example, my father once remarked how, when he was in boot camp during WWII, a man committed suicide after weeks of harassment for being gay; the murder/suicide scene from _Full Metal Jacket_ would never have been imagined then, let alone the primal anger expressed at Littleton.

    Then I suspect enough people who post to Slashdot have bought into the philosophy of ``work harder, screw your competition over, & buy the best toys" & will flame me heartily for protesting the increased competition of recent days. They probably think I'd be happier as a slacker or a bum. Well, in turn I think that they probably just enjoy making their hamster wheels turn faster.


    Geoff
  • by legoboy (39651) on Wednesday September 22, 1999 @09:01PM (#1665824)
    One of the problems with your suggestion is that "remove the guns" (from the society) is easier said than done. Also, due to what I've already stated (equalization offered by guns, human right to self defense, etc), outlawing guns in the United States at large is not the answer. Tightly controlled access to schools in particular (like we do with airports and courtrooms) is a possible step that could be taken. I won't argue with that.

    Sir... Would -you- like to step through a metal detector each and every time you enter a restaurant, a library, a supermarket, a shopping mall, etc?

    I don't understand why people who defend the *American* contitutional right to bear arms do not consider for one moment what would happen if every single American was armed.

    Parents in large cities are afraid to let their children walk to school, for fear that they might be kidnapped. This fear isn't justified, but that is not my point. My point is that with every person on the streets carrying a gun, would you TRULY feel safe anywhere but inside your own home?

    "But if someone shoots and kills me, they'll get shot and killed too!"

    Maybe so. Not like it'll do you a hell of a lot of good, will it?

    "They wouldn't shoot me in the first place because they know they'll get shot!" (or at the very least caught)

    That sure stopped the Columbine killers, didn't it?

    "They could have used bombs instead! Then hundreds would have died!"

    You almost sound like you would enjoy that... Proof that you were right... Yes, they could have built bombs. Someone present as they detonate them could have shot them. Wow. Both the bomber and shooter are still dead. However, it's a lot harder to conceal a powerful bomb than it is a gun.

    If someone feels so strongly that these people are determined to kill, then there's quite the underlying social problem in the US.

    A fun analogy:

    You are carrying a lot of cash.. Say, at least 4 digit's worth. You have a gun, it's in a shoulder holster. Some guy jumps out of an alley, and attempts to mug you. He is armed with a gun. You are *not* going to be able to get your own out, and you are *not* going to try to run or fight him off. Bye-bye cash. Or...

    You are not armed. You are mugged by a fellow with a knife. (Or, for fun.. A pipe bomb. Call the fellow's bluff). You are being mugged by a fellow with a knife. Dare you flee with your thousands of dollars? Or fight him off? I think I would rather be stabbed once or twice than shot once or twice in an attempt to get away. Wouldn't you?

    ------
  • (and recently, England has had more robbery per-capita than the United States - modern society, even in England, still has crime)

    That would be "Britain" -- England has much lower rates, but Scotland drags up the average. (I state this merely as a criminological "fact", and an unchecked one at that, not out of any anti-Scottishism -- I'm Welsh myself).

    If one wants to make comparisons between the UK and US, you have to take into account the population density of the UK, which is much greater. Given the number of people we pack onto this island, the crime rates are incredibly low -- if you put rats at the same density, they'd be tearing each others' throats out.

    jsm
  • Well so far the only cases I've heard of someone being shot for carrying something that looked like a gun happend to be a police officer doing the shooting. Not saying police are bad (cough cough) but they are edge more often. The average citizen doesn't like to draw a gun on any occasion as a use of force.
  • The founding fathers had just fought off a tyrannical government and wanted to ensure that they would not have to do so ever again. That is the reason for the Second Amendment. To provide for the people a means to overthrow the government if it became necessary.

    This is an over-simplification. One of the original intentions of the 2nd Amendment was to keep some control of military power in the hands of the States -- the AntiFederalists wanted a balance of power, in the face of initial skepticism that the new Federation wouldn't work. However, "most people thought that militias would not stand to be controlled by the federal government if that body were to begin acting oppressively." (1)

    Whether the 2nd Amendment is interpreted as a State or Individual right, the Courts are unanimous in deciding that it is only a limitation on the Federal Government, not on the States (see U.S. vs. Miller). In fact, the States are free to manage their militias as they see fit -- and that includes banning guns. (2)

    1: But, only muskets existed when that was written. They never knew that people would have machine guns(tm) and deadly-high-powered-assault-rifles(tm). By that logic, only books and newspapers would be protected by the First Amendment. Movies, TV, Radio and your beloved Internet would all be subject to regulation by the federal government

    In fact, all are subject to regulation. No right has ever been interpreted without considerations of responsibility.

    There are, and always have been, limitations on ALL rights. Unless you wish to extend the right to keep and bear ALL arms (including chemical, biological, nuclear, etc.) to you, me, your neighbor, and death cultists alike?

    Note that this is not an argument against the 2nd Amendment per se -- just an extremist position that disclaims all responsibility. That may or not be yours.

    3: But, it says "well regulated Militia...," so the government can "regulate" it as it sees fit. Today we use the term regulated to mean controlled. During the late 18th century, the term "well regulated" meant something like "in good woring order" There are writings from the time that refer to well regulated farms or foundrys.

    This is a common "pro-gun" argument, and ignores the fact that while the term "well-regulated" could mean "smoothly functioning", it could also refer to exactly what we mean by it today. To quote Mark Pitcavage: "There is a continuity from the time of the founders (and before) through the nineteenth century through today, in which the term "regulated" as it related to the militia referred to regulations.

    "'Well regulated' in the Second Amendment refers to the combination of state and federal regulations, as authority over the militia under the Constitution was divided between the two by the Militia Clauses. Most of the founders emphasized federal regulations, since that was what was at issue during the ratification debates. " (3)

    In writings from the time referring specifically to the militias, Patrick Henry, James Madison, John Sullivan, Alexander Hamilton, the Federal Farmer, Benjamin Lincoln, Luther Martin, James Wilson, and David Ramsay (among others) all refer to "well-regulated" as meaning "controlled by regulations". Many, many other examples of the use of the term "regulated" as meaning "controlled" can be culled from the time period as well. (4)

    1. Mark Pitcavage and Sheldon Sheps, "The New Militia FAQ", URL: http://www.militia-watchdog.org/faq1.htm [militia-watchdog.org].

    2. Findlaw.com, "Second Amendment", URL: http://caselaw. findlaw.com/data/constitution/amendment02/index.ht ml [findlaw.com].

    3. Pitcavage and Sheps, "The New Militia FAQ".

    4. Ibid.

    Kythe
    (Remove "x"'s from

  • Yes, in a lot of places, things *have* gotten worse. That's (to say the least) unfortunate, and we need to do what we can to support the kids in places where it *has* gotten worse.


    But getting these stories out on the net has gone a lot of good. Even when Katz was still in the middle of the Hellmouth series, parents and teachers were responding with "I had no idea it was that bad," and were printing comments out and taking them to the school board. I am also fortunate enough to live in a large-ish and very tolerant city, and to be long out of high school, so I know it's not as bad for me as it is for the kids still stuck in the mess. It might seem as if us geeks talking among ourselves doesn't do anything. But, even if NOBODY else takes notice (and some people have), at least the kids know they aren't alone, and that it does get better for most people most of the time.

  • Well you know, after we dropped "The Bomb" there havn't been that many bloody wars, (excluding vietnam was just purly based on stupidity and in a case where neither side would have used "The Bomb") Sure there is the constent threat, and people for the first 40 years or more lived in constent freight of "The Bomb" but being scared never hurt anyone, and now we don't think about it all the time, and we have cheap nuclear power (or we should.. but I thats another topic).
  • by Chemical Serenity (1324) on Wednesday September 22, 1999 @09:11PM (#1665858) Homepage Journal
    Actually, there is a healthy community of bowhunters out there... so many so that magazines have sprung up to support 'em. Crossbows and composite longbows are both quite popular, and I can attest to the skill required in order to successfully hunt anything using them (skills you don't know how badly you lack until you try, I promise you ;)

    Perhaps that's the point right there... to kill someone with a sword, or a bow, or any of the more traditional weapons you needed skill in order to ensure your victory. Sure, luck and physical superiority helped, but skill, training and experience was usually the most important aspect. Firearms basically require no skill to kill or permanently injure at the range they're most often (ie: within meters)... children literally can, and have, picked up Daddy's saturday night special and blown away thier best buddy with no more training than watching a Bugs Bunny cartoon.

    This is not to say that one can't become skilled in guns... obviously, the better trained you are with a rifle, the more effective you'll be at hitting your target at a distance. The non-skill I'm talking about here is shotgun usage at distances between your hand and the head of the poor grade 11 bastard across the hallway from you.

    There's also a BIG difference between using a projectile weapon (gun, bow, or whatever) and going hand-to-hand with sword, knife or kudgel. It's not quite so easy to acheive that 'disconnection' from reality when you're looking into your victim's eyes while stabbing them/running them through.

    --
    rickf@transpect.SPAM-B-GONE.net (remove the SPAM-B-GONE bit)

  • I left high school eight years ago, and graduated from college two years ago. I'm not a high school student "whining" about how I am now being restricted.


    What happened, and what is happening now, goes FAR beyond "not being able to wear trenchcoats." Kids were getting SUSPENDED for saying "I would never kill anyone, but I can understand why someone would snap." This will "go down on their permanent record," so to speak. Are you honestly trying to tell me that THAT is productive?! And as I have already posted elsewhere, "mandatory counseling" is a big part of the problem when the "counselors" are incompetent. And believe me, there's a good chunk of them who are not only incompetent but also heartless. Their attitude is "you aren't like everyone else, which means you're broken and we need to fix you." Being told that sort of thing by an alleged "mental health professional" can fuck someone's head up for a good long time, if not for life. Sure, we may have "saved" one or two "disturbed" kids, but how many more did we push that much farther?


    Think about it, and stop dismissing the other posters as "whining little kids." We're not.

  • by jsm2 (89962) on Wednesday September 22, 1999 @09:14PM (#1665870)
    Guns equalize people so that people can't use superior physical prowess to overpower victims.

    Actually, guns don't equalize people -- they just change the grounds of competition from physical strength to "aggresssion", or "willingness to use a gun". So they would select for a society of the short-tempered, rather than the merely strong.

    I think that this is the root of the problem with guns in America -- it's basically an aggression problem rather than a gun problem. A society which developed in the pioneer days has a set of social norms which are appropriate when everyone has 400 acres to let off steam in, and a number of very real natural and manmade threats to defend against. If you then try to transport those norms to an urban society, where everyone has to live on top of each other, then you're bound to get trouble.

    I don't know what the solution is, but I doubt it will involve banning guns -- they have such an important role as symbols of individual identity and freedom that any attempt to curtail them would definitely have bad consequences.

    jsm
  • HEEH I remember one time, I was watching "Politically Incorrect" and the host, (can't remember the guys name.. shows you how often I watch tv) is against gun control, but he did make an interesting point (pro gun) in one of their dicussions concerning gun control. He said that a couple of years ago when there was a huge rash of drive by shooting and LA and everyone started fearing that alot of people on the road where carrying guns. The suddently for a while (till the idea that everyone was carrying guns went away) the drivers of LA were the nicest polite drivers you ever saw. Saying thank you and excuse me and never cutting anyone off and such. HEHEHEHEH
  • by jsm2 (89962) on Wednesday September 22, 1999 @09:21PM (#1665876)
    the US stayed into the far-west mentality

    Yeah, and the Brits have the Empire mentality, the Germans have the after-war mentality, the Africans have the slavery mentality, the Australians have the convict mentality, the Swedes have the Viking mentality, the Irish have the most-oppressed-people-ever mentality and the French have God knows what kind of mentality.

    Every nation has its own hang-ups, and I think it's a bit poor for we Euros and Anglos to talk about the "Wild West Mentality" as if it were some sort of disease or, worse, some sort of moral failing. It's how Americans are, and Europe has had cause to be grateful for that Wild West mentality on several occasions. They have to solve their own problems in their own society, and suggesting that they copy a society as amazingly homogeneous as Sweden (or Switzerland, for that matter), is just wrong.

    This isn't a flame -- I actually agree with your statement:

    Obviously this type of mentality doesn't fit in a modern society where people have to cooperate and trust each others to keep things going smoothly

    which is as good sense as I've read on this issue. But the "far-west" tag seems to me like an unanalysed assumption.

    jsm
  • "Now let's say you banned a certain model of grenade, and made a 5 day waiting period mandatory before buying a bazooka, do you think it will make any difference?"

    These items are not firearms. No way. No how. In regards to Afghanistan, they are in the middle of a de facto combat zone. First the Russians, then the Iraqis, plus every terrorist organization that can get there. If I was in such a situation I would want the equivalent firepower of those raping my sisters and killing my brothers.

    "I can drive 1/2 an hour here in California and buy a fully loaded machine gun, no questions asked."

    Where in the world did this come from? There's nowhere in the state of California you can buy a machine gun legally, loaded, unloaded or otherwise! Give my an address where I can go see and if you're right that I can purchase a fully loaded machine gun with no questions asked, I will personally purchase one and melt it down live on Slashdot webcam!

    "Of course, thanks to enlightened citizens such as yourself, we have a record number of prisoners in jail, breaking the world record for a western democracy."

    So what would you do with a murderer? Sorry, we're over our prisoner quota, go home. Give me a break! Oh, and the reason our prisons are full is not because we have lots of guns, but the combination of criminalizing narcotics and the explosion of gangs.
  • > Seriously: I've done the homework. I am convinced that there is no basis in fact for the number of prescriptions that we have for Lubox. See my postings regardint he proven interaction of sugar with depressive symptoms.

    I understand and respect your commitment to nutritional treatment. I also agree to some extent with your analysis of doctors and the pharmaceutical industry. I didn't appreciate the backhand swipe at St.John's Wort, but that's off topic. Heck, I'll even try the B-complex thing on myself. Unlike you, though, I'm not ready to toss antidepressants out the window.

    > Oh yeah, you say "the kids don't go back to the doctor to get the medication altered". Read the product insert for Luvox and tell me that that is appropriate!!! It says, specifically, that the drugs are to be given in the smallest quantity possible and that children are to be treated regularly.
    > Luvox is not for treating compression. It's often used for that because the pharmaceutical companies have found depression to be a better market than it's approved use: treating Obsessive Compulsive Disorder.

    You know more about Luvox than I do, but that sounds reasonable. The most likely response by the doctor, though, would be to try a different antidepressant. And yes, the doctor may not have known what he was doing.

    > Oh yeah: most of the drugs don't come from Psychiatrists or even licensed counselors: they come from family doctors who know very little about psychiatry.

    This is true. Here's the reason: depression is underdiagnosed, so the docs put their heads together and decided to start writing a lot more prescriptions. This has an upside (more people getting treatment promptly) and a downside (the docs don't necessarily know what they're doing.)

    > Every single school shooting that I'm aware in the past several years (since Jonesboro, AR) has involved a child on a psychotropic drug.

    Sigh. That goes back to my main point; nobody should be surprised when a deranged person turns out to be under psychiatric treatment.

    > You give it away at the start of the article, when you say "Are we plagued by an epidemic of people killing themselves because Prozac messed up their mind?". In a word: the answer is yes!.

    OK, folks, this guy may be a fanatic, and nothing I say may get past his rejection of antidepressants. The issues aren't as black and white as they may seem from this thread. Like I said, psychotropic drugs scare a lot of people. Don't judge everything he says by that, and please don't jump to conclusions about drugs causing the murders. They may have contributed, but that's not the only possible explanation.

  • Many of you probably do not know I'm a student at Columbine, lately that's been a very good thing. I say it's about damn time that SOMEONE cares enough about the TRUTH to come out and actually state it!

    From the very beginning, from really the minute the story came on the news, facts were wrongly stated or possibly plain out fabricated. 1: Local NBC channel states there were maybe 100 people in the commons - multiply that by 4. 2: entrance was into the commons (Salon corrected that). I could go on and on, the Salon fixes most of the bad information.

    Maybe the problem was the students from the school thinking they knew more than they really did. On that same NBC station (I was watching...) they had three or four students on that provided innacurate information, (this is where the homosexual trench coat mafia bit came from. seriously.)

    I can say as a journalist myself (I'm currently the photo, layout, and webpage editor for the paper. No, we don't have a page yet, but that's just because Acrobat Distiller is giving me problems. If anyone knows distiller and macintosh real well, help me out please hehe.), that I was disgusted by the photographers and reporters covering the incident. Cameramen running around getting in people's faces when they had all the time in the world to ask them a question or maybe even get a picture from a distance. Reporters demanding information from people who probably knew less than the reporter did. Even recently when the softball field was dedicated, a pair of reporters from the local daily was being a real prick about getting names and pictures of prettymuch everyone there. When the coach of the softball team was hugging Dave Sanders' wife (yes, Sanders' - his last name is Sanders damnit.) there was a rush of photographers looking for the 'sympathy' shot. There were much better shots earlier of the balloons going up over the field, with the school in the background, and everyone standing in the foreground.

    Anyway, I just say I'm impressed by Salon getting the facts straight when NOBODY else has before. Maybe the 'mainstream' media needs a wakeup call.

    (Too bad I didn't get to this article earlier, maybe some more people would have seen this post :-/, that's happened to me three times now.)

  • What gets reported in the media has more to do with our prejudices than with the prejudices of those present or the actual facts.

    This is similar to how rumors spread. Rumors don't spread based on how much factual basis there is for them. Instead they spread based on how much they resonate. People want to believe that the criminals are part of marginalized groups. So the coincidence of clothing makes them "trench coat mafia". It makes them gay. People want to believe that they are bad people, out to target a group. But they hit a lot of different people so they are targeting blacks, Christians, and jocks. (Hmmm...between those groups you can "explain" a *lot* of deaths.)

    And people don't want to ask questions. So articles to the contrary (for instance the Rolling Stones article that someone mentioned) get ignored. This one will as well - it does not make good copy.

    These are phenomena familiar to all members of disliked minorities. But people really don't want to think about that. And so we accumulate a few more urban legends [urbanlegends.com]...

    Regards,
    Ben
  • You are not armed. You are mugged by a fellow with a knife. (Or, for fun.. A pipe bomb. Call the fellow's bluff). You are being mugged by a fellow with a knife. Dare you flee with your thousands of dollars? Or fight him off? I think Iwould rather be stabbed once or twice than shot once or twice in an attempt to get away. Wouldn't you?

    Exactly. But wait, this guy's a criminal! Does he give a #$(* about a law prohibiting him from carrying a gun? Sure, outlaw all guns...that'll get rid of them. After all, it has worked *really* well with drugs, right?

    BTW, for all you wanting to talk about how much better life is in your country, there is no comparison between the U.S. and any other country in the world. Our entire culture is built upon the rights of the individual. In England, for example, the police can decide to beat the crap out of you. That never happens? Go read a book on the Irish freedom movement. (Yeah, it might happen here, but the truth comes out eventually...)
  • I know the feeling. I grew up in the 'home of the British army' - Aldershot. And anyone without a buzz cut, blue stonewashed jeans and a white t-shirt sticks out like a sore thumb there.

    In fact, the newspapers were suprised when the locals weren't upset about the Paratroop regiment being barracked elsewhere. After years of fights, vandalism and falling house prices I wonder why.

    Chris Wareham
  • by Bothari (34939) <{tp.obacten} {ta} {ohlavracg}> on Wednesday September 22, 1999 @09:48PM (#1665951)
    of everybody were right?
    Has everyone forgotten the treatment that every 'different' person got after those killings?
    Has everyone forgotten the schoolkids which were beaten, arrested, interrogated and barred from school because they were 'just thos trenchcoat-mafia murderers'?
    Now it seems there was even less reason for this treatment. This wasn't a revenge of the geeks , but the geeks were still acused and *very* victimised about this whole thing. If anything there is more reason to scream out loud 'Innocent until proven guilty' as well as pointing out to people how much of their prejudices they were following.

    No, I can't spell!
    -"Run to that wall until I tell you to stop"
    (tagadum,tagadum,tagadum .... *CRUNCH*)
    -"stop...."
  • by Anonymous Coward
    Everybody involved acted like cowards.

    Let's start with both sets of parents. The Klebold kid was running around with Nazi regalia, but his Jewish mother (daughter of a famous Ohio philanthropist) was too chicken to set him straight. She feared she would damage his self esteem. The other clown was into bomb making for years. What did his daddy do? Essentially, nothing, except that he talked about his feelings.

    The kids were in and out to reform school. To hear what the judges had to say about them was sickening. They basically enabled kids who were mean, destructive bullies that tortured animals.

    The act itself was cowardly. What could be less brave than pointing a gun at a person without a gun?

    The police were despicable. For all there vaunted assualt training, all they did was stay outside, hiding behind their squad cars until hours after the shooting was over. They did pour thousands of rounds of ammunition into the school building, randomly, long after these two jokers killed themselves.

    Which brings us to the fifth set of cowards, the press. How many of these kids were killed by friendly fire? The autopsies are sealed, "for privacy." I'll bet. I'll bet half the deaths were the result of police bullets. You think I'm wrong? Half of all shootings of police are done by their partners.

  • by twinpot (40956) on Wednesday September 22, 1999 @09:49PM (#1665956)
    Two countries that are often touted by the pro-gun lobby as reasons to keep the free availability of guns in the US: Switzerland and NZ, because both have high gun ownership. However, what they all fail to mention, is that if you carry a gun in a public place (say in the city or suburb) you WILL get arrested and you will be facing down the barrel of a few dozen specialised aremd police. You cannot carry a loaded (or even unloaded really) gun in public (I'm excluding hunting in the forest/bush/farmland).

    And just try carrying a pistol/handgun in a public place.....

    Both countries may have a lot of guns, but they are HEAVILY controlled. In NZ the gun must be kept locked in an approved gun safe/cabinet. The firing mechanism must be kept separate and have an approved lock, and the ammunition must also be stored separately and locked.

    (Note: I am not commenting on the correctness or otherwise of the US gun policies)

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