The real way to put an end to school violence

Tim Paluch

On March 28, 1998, in Jonesboro, Ark., 15-year-old Kip Kinkel walked into his high school with a gun and killed two, injuring 20 others. The day before, he shot and killed his parents.

On May 21, 1998, in Springfield, Ore., four students and one teacher were shot to death by teenagers Drew Golden and Mitchell Johnson.

On December 6, 1999, in Fort Gibson, Okla., a 13-year-old student opened fire with a semi-automatic handgun, killing none but injuring several classmates.

On April 20, 1999, in Littleton, Colo., Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold killed 15 and injured dozens at Columbine High School. Their original plot was to kill hundreds of their classmates.

And then last month, in the span of a few weeks, two more school shootings occurred in the San Diego area. Two students were killed in the first shooting.

What is the first thing that catches your eye as you read these grisly accounts?

Is it the fact that the victims and suspects in these cases seem to be getting younger and younger?

Is it the relative ease at which a teenager seems to be able to get his hand on a gun?

Or is it that in all cases, males were the shooters?

No, no and no.

The first thing that strikes me is that the suspect in each case walked into a crowded high school with a semi-automatic weapon and managed to kill, at the most, only 15 kids.

A cafeteria full of kids and only 13 or 14 dead? I’m no math major, but three out of 400 isn’t exactly worth the lifetime imprisonment.

Something needs to be done to give these kids more confidence in their shots. The video game “Doom” isn’t sufficient target practice. For some reason, the ability to annihilate undead creatures doesn’t quite prepare you for quick and mobile 14-year-olds with lunch tray shields.

Someone needs to step up and teach these kids how to use a gun.

Maybe the NRA is the organization we need to turn to. With such programs as the “Youth Shooting Development Seminar” or their “Shoot for the Future” program, the NRA needs to get more involved in the lives of “Doom”-playing, pot-smoking Marilyn Manson fanatics who hate the world.

How about sending “Eddie Eagle,” the NRA’s lovable mascot, over to hang out one afternoon with the Trenchcoat Mafia? I think that just might be the difference between life and death.

Who’s to blame for these horrible, horrible shootings?

Guns? That’s a cop-out. Guns don’t pull their own triggers.

Video games? Definitely. I know from experience that seven hours stuck in the last level of “Leisure Suit Larry” makes me want to shoot up a high-school pep rally.

But the real blame falls solely on the media.

What does the media do when a couple of kids get knocked off every couple of weeks? They go and report it. Ridiculous.

I think Attorney General John Ashcroft put it best when he recently blamed the media for teaching “an ethic of violence” by extensively covering such tragedies.

The media is always so negative when it comes to your weekly pre-pubescent bloodbath.

“Three dead.” “Sixteen students shot in high school.” “Pre-schooler opens fire in day care, killing 73 napping toddlers.”

Why are the headlines always so biased?

The media doesn’t fairly cover a shooting tragedy.

How about the 398 students who survive the shooting? No one in the media seems to give a damn about them.

I would like to see more headlines like “Two hundred ninety-nine high-schoolers OK after shooting,” or “Shop teacher survives latest attack unscathed.”

Another problem with the media is they are quick to jump on the whole, “guns are bad” bandwagon.

Any level-headed American with even a drop of common sense will tell you that guns don’t kill people, people kill people.

People get stabbed all the time, but do we take away their knives?

More people die in cars every year than by guns, but do we outlaw cars?

Old people have heart attacks every day, but does the government ban aortas?

There is a reason for this. People need to be responsible for their actions and the actions of their loaded AK-47s.

The media needs to stop covering these events, and then maybe they won’t happen. It is the “copy-cat” effect that was the cause of last month’s shooting in San Diego, as the assailant wanted to recreate Columbine all over again.

If the school shooting isn’t on the 10 o’clock news, they won’t know it ever happened and will go back to burning ants and blowing up squirrels to feed their vicious instinct to destroy something.

Let’s face it, the youth of today aren’t exactly “smart” or “intelligent.” No American kid will be able to come up with such a brilliant plan as Columbine again without seeing it in a video game, movie or newscast first.

For those of you who don’t think the “copy-cat” effect is real, just take a look at how many people have devoted their lives to becoming witty, smart and good-looking single white people since “Friends” came on the air.

The Second Amendment should never be brought into question just because a few kids are getting blown away every couple of weeks.

“A well-regulated militia being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed.”

For those of you who don’t understand the language, let me translate.

“A well-regulated militia” can be roughly translated as “Anyone with two arms.”

“Being necessary to the security of a free state” means “in order to pop a cap in bad guys’ asses.”

“The right of the people to keep and bear arms” means “the right to keep a loaded semi-automatic handgun within reach of children.”

“Shall not be infringed” can be translated as “must not be taken away from them.”

See, it means the same thing now as it did 200 years ago. Some people may think a “well-regulated militia” may mean the National Guard or police force, but no, it means you and me.

More guns equal less crime. Sure, I have no statistics to back that statement up, but who needs statistics when you got Charlton Heston?

Gun control? Counterproductive. A gun lock doesn’t protect anyone. If a child can’t fire the weapon, they can still beat someone over the head with it.

If there is a gun problem in the United States, it’s that there aren’t enough of them around.

Tim Paluch is a junior in journalism and mass communication from Orland Park, Ill. He is wire editor of the Daily.