March 11, 2009 at 10:49 AM | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment
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Columbine and other U.S. school shootings appear to have some overlap with the German school shooter who by one count killed 17 Wednesday, including himself.

These stories, by definition, are fast-moving and the facts are subject to change 180 degrees. As in Columbine, people give information to reporters they may not realize is incorrect, although it is quickly transmitted worldwide and forms lasting impressions.

Reporting out of Germany indicates 17-year-old Tim Kretschmer opened fire on his former Technical School, killing about 10 people there. The killings appear to have been mostly random. This randomness matches Columbine and other U.S. school shootings because the anger appears generalized. The shooters blame the bogeyman of “society” for their problems, and take it out on what is for them the most familiar symbol of society. Kretschmer, we are being told, had recently graduated from the school, but the campus may have remained a powerful symbol for him, and maybe what he believed was the source of his problems.

The New York Times quotes the state culture minister as saying that Kretschmer was “completely unremarkable.” I’m not sure how the culture minister knew that, but I would argue that no one wants to be known as “completely unremarkable.” That can be a source of anger.

The shootings began in the small town (27,000 according to New York Times) of Winnenden and continued into what appears to be another small town as the gunman fled. This also mirrors U.S. school shootings, which tend to take place in suburbs (Columbine) and small towns. In such locales, there are fewer places for (often disaffected) students to turn for help, self-esteem, and friendship if they are loners at school. They feel like losers through and through.

Another interesting topic coming up is gun control, with at least one British newspaper pushing that angle hard.

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