mourns new gun rampage
School shootings deliberately
target communities’ security.
If it can happen in an isolated and tightly-knit Amish community,
who is safe? It's the question haunting American parents this morning.
Five young girls are now dead, and another six lie injured in hospital,
after they were lined up by a gunman and shot execution- style in
a schoolhouse in rural Pennsylvania.
School shootings are rare and often random. But there was nothing
random about this. The gunman let the boys and their teachers go
and then turned his wrath on the girls.
This was the third school shooting in the US in the past week:
a 16-year-old girl died after an armed man took six students hostage
at a Colorado high school, and a high school principal in Wisconsin
was killed by a 15-year-old student.
It is difficult to answer the question 'Why is this happening?'
The perpetrators of school violence are seldom driven by a single
motive. In some cases - as in Wisconsin - the killer is a disgruntled
student. In others - as in Colorado and now Pennsylvania - the murderer
is a male adult gunman with little or no connection to the scene
of the violence.
It has been suggested that the executioner of the four Amish girls
sought to extract revenge against women. But if it is simply a case
of misogynist malice, why did he let a pregnant teacher leave the
What's really important about the outburst of school shootings
is not the motives of the killers but their target. The killing
of children in a supposedly safe environment undermines the sense
of security of the entire community. This is an event that everyone
takes note of. It is the guarantee of recognition that drives destructive
passions towards the schoolhouse.
on The First Post, 3 October 2006