What makes teenagers want to kill? A topic that has been discussed many times with arguments basing speculation on video games, lack of good parenting, bullying, depression, mental illness, along with many other reasons. The most recent case of an attempted mass shooting or bombing may open a bit of insight into what these teenagers are thinking.
On December 27, 2011 two high school boys were arrested for allegedly planning to bomb Roy High School in Roy, Utah. The boys in question are 18 year-old Dallin Morgan (pictured) and his 16 year-old accomplice. The two boys planned to set off bombs within the school after a scheduled assembly. The bombing plot was later foiled when one of the boys sent warning text messages to a friend who later showed them to the police. According to court records, messages began with, “If I tell you one day to not go to school, make sure you and (name removed) are not there.” Later texts then stated, “I get the feeling you know what I’m planning. Explosives, airport, airplane.” Further explaining, “We ain’t gonna crash it, we’re just gonna kill and fly out to a country that won’t send us back to the U.S.” Police report the boys had trained and preplanned the entire bombing plot for months going as far as gathering blueprints of the school and spending hours online learning how to fly an airplane in order to escape. Chief Greg Whinham of Roy Police Department states, “One of the suspects was fascinated with the Columbine massacre and even drove to Columbine High School in Denver, Colorado to interview the principle last year about the shootings.” Roughly, an eight hour drive one way. They met on December 12th and the teen told the principle that he was doing research for a story for the school newspaper. When questioned by police officers, the suspects’ stated that they were inspired by the Columbine massacre but were then offended when compared to them stating, “those killers only completed one percent of their plan.” Police added that the 16 year-old had previously made a pipe bomb using gun powder and rocket fuel.
This story aims close to heart because I was a second grade student in the Columbine area when the shootings happened on April 20, 1999. As a former resident of Columbine Valley, Colorado, I find it disheartening that any young people would be so fascinated with the massacre that they would want to copy cat it. People all over the world watched the news and were amazed at the lengths that Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold went to carry out their plan. It seems that this inhumane plan in Utah was alarmingly similar and yet, something oddly humane jumps out at me; in both cases, at least one perpetrator showed compassion by safe guarding friends in the midst of an uncompassionate act. Does this mean the conspirators were not beyond hope?
In the aftermath of Columbine, it was found that bullying was prevalent in the high school’s culture and that Eric and Dylan had felt themselves victims of bullying. Did these two Utah boys fit that same pattern? I believe that this points to the responsibility of law enforcement and school systems to work hand in hand to promote zero tolerance of bullying in the schools as well as in our communities. Perhaps sufficient education that deters bullying might prevent bully related alienation and therefore could deter future school massive violence.
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