School violence

From Tony Copple
To: BBC World Service "Talking Point"
April 25, 1998, 8:10 am
Subject: School violence

In Ottawa two weeks ago a lone gunman without a criminal record shot four of his colleagues in the bus company. He had been taunted by workmates for his stutter. He was socially inept; a loner without friends.

In Denver a week earlier, two members of an outcast group killed 13 of their school colleagues.

In my school days in the fifties I remember experiencing hate for the only time in my life, against other school children. I supect this is the same today for many kids. I hesitate to say it is normal, but I think it may be the rule rather than the exception for a majority of children. I still remember the name and face of one of those who abused me, and another whom I fought back.

Children are often taught violence with the gift of toy guns by their parents. I theorise that guns and war games are legitimate because governments must encourage attitudes which will equip young people for war. Murder has been an acceptable subject of literature since way before Shakespeare, who turned it and other acts of violence into an art form. These facts intrigue me.

A further ingredient in this generation has turned immature emotion nurtured by dangerous traditions into mass murder: the the constant promotion of graphic violance on TV, CD, some pop music, occult games and comics. We are familiar with the appalling statistics for the numbers of TV murders imprinted on a child's brain. Add to this the easy availability of guns in North America, and we can hardly be surprized when the hatreds of children and immature adults find such expression as we have witnessed recently.

Tony Copple

[A week after the Denver shootings, a 14 year old shot and killed a 17 year old in a school in Taber, Alberta]

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