According to WMAR in Baltimore, researchers are trying to find a link between Columbine and other mass shooters. I am far from a learned scholar but if you’ve been paying attention for the past 15 years it’s hard not to notice a link.
Columbine is the firs of what I call the five major school shootings in America. The others being Red Lake, Virginia Tech, NIU and Newtown. In each of those cases the shooters, Jeff Weise, Cho Seung-Hui, Stephen Kazmierczak and Adam Lanza, all had some degree of not only fascination with Columbine but in some cases sympathy or hero-worship of the killers. Weise wanted his shooting to be on the anniversary of Columbine. Cho referred to the Columbine killers as martyrs in his videotaped manifesto. Kazmierczak had an obsession with both the Columbine shooting and the Virginia Tech shooting. Lastly most recently Adam Lanza kept spreadsheets with detailed information about Columbine and other mass shootings. That’s not even mentioning other school shooters that don’t get as much attention like TJ Lane, Alvaro Castillo, Kimveer Gill, Aaron Ybarra, etc.
One researcher goes on to mention the media’s role in all this without saying if they’re to blame one way or the other. I think the media does share some of the blame as more and more media outlets try to be first rather than correct along with the sensationalist nature of today’s major news sources. Reports from these sources can sometimes be viewed as glorifying the killers.
The other thing that is a problem is the dissemination of misinformation that has perpetuated since Columbine. What’s the first thing that people think when they hear a school shooting has happened? Most people will wrongly assume that the shooter must have been bullied, yet there is no evidence that any of the six gunmen involved in the five major school shootings were bullied. Yet as I’ve said many times before this bullying trope, or myth as a I like to call it, has refused to die in the face of evidence that says otherwise.
I used to refer to people who idolized or sympathized with school shooters mutants. Since that time the internet has latched on to the term columbiners. Kids who weren’t even alive during the time of Columbine are on the internet professing their dedication to the two cowardly killers from Columbine and the others that have killed after them. Any one of them could be your kid. This is not normal behavior for anyone and will only set them down a path of destruction either for themselves or someone else. If your kid is one of these Columbiners intervene before it’s too late.
Late last month a King County, Washington judge made the journal of the Seattle Pacific University shooter, Aaron Ybarra, public. In shootings of this nature there’s almost inevitable a journal and they almost always appear like every known school shooter is reading from the same script. Ybarra is no exception.
In the first part of the released journal Ybarra talks about how he underwent mental healthcare for two and a half years and how he felt it didn’t help. Considering he went into it on day one determined that it wouldn’t help him it’s no surprise. You can’t be helped if you don’t want to be. He also talked about how he only underwent treatment because his friends and family kept urging him to. If everyone you know is telling you to get help maybe there is actually something wrong with you.
I’ll also remind the anti-pharmaceutical Luddites that Ybarra went off his meds before attacking SPU. That doesn’t matter to them anyway because they like to play both sides of the argument. If he was on meds it was because of the meds. If he went of his meds it was because of the meds. They are the living embodiment of trying to have your cake and eat it too.
Next, Ybarra talks about all the people he wanted to get revenge on for perceived slights against him and his family. None of whom, as far as I can tell went to SPU and none of them were Paul Lee, the man who Ybarra killed. Like most school shooters Ybarra is just another coward lashing out violently against people who had nothing to do with his own inadequacies and over-inflated sense of entitlement.
Then Ybarra notated about how he scouted out SPU and how everyone was so nice and helpful to him. You think that may cause someone to reconsider their actions but not Ybarra. Like most school shooters he’s just a selfish punk looking to make a name for himself.
Lastly, on the day of the shooting he writes about how he used to feel bad about the people killed during school shootings but now he’s being guided by Eric Harris And Cho Seung-Hui. Like those who came before him Ybarra is just another unoriginal loser unable to cope with the real world.
While some may think that this is a good way to make a name for themselves in a few years his name will be forgotten. We may remember the Jesse James’ of the crime world but how many outlaws were there whose names have been forgotten to history?
Apparently it’s not the media’s job to inform anymore but to incite. It’s not about reporting the facts anymore, it’s about how to get as many pageviews and clickthroughs as possible and the best way to do that is to piss people off. For example, take an article from the Seattle Times about Seattle Pacific University shooter Aaron Ybarra.
The headline from the article is “SPU shooting suspect once had AK-47, 7 other firearms at home”. The article constantly mentions that Ybarra’s family owned the guns but not him. The article also goes on to state that the guns in question were stolen from the home and none of the guns mentioned were the one that Ybarra used when he killed SPU student Paul Lee.
The article also obsesses over the fact that one of the guns owned by the Ybarra family was an AK-47. I don’t know why the AK-47 keeps getting demonized just because it’s one of the most mass-produced guns in the entire world. It’s the Toyota Camry of guns. It is no more or less deadly than any other gun but for some reason the media has this obsession over the AK-47.
What really gets me is that while the article obsesses over guns that had no part whatsoever in the SPU shooting it totally buries the lede in the article.
Aaron Ybarra and his family members kept eight firearms in a safe at their Mountlake Terrace home, even though Ybarra had been hospitalized in 2010 after hearing the voice of Columbine killer Eric Harris telling him to hurt people, documents say.
So let’s blame the shooting on guns and not the fact that he’s a psychotic mutant.
While I consider myself to be a centrist on the issue of guns, having guns in the house is not like having some kind of radioactive element in the house that infects everybody with wanting to kill disease by being exposed to it.
For the second time since he’s been released from prison Kenny Bartley has been arrested. Police were called by Bartley’s father who said his son had ‘gone crazy’. When police approached Bartley they say that he was drinking which is a violation of his parole. That’s not what he went to jail for though.
When a deputy put his hand on Bartley’s back and asked him if was okay, the report said Bartley jumped out of his seat, took off his shirt and tried to hit two deputies. As deputies forced him to the ground, Bartley grabbed a shoe and threw it at them. Bartley then jumped to his feet.
One of the deputies pulled out a taser and told Bartley to get on the ground. Bartley complied and the deputies arrested him.
That’s also the second time that Bartley has been TASERed since getting out of prison. He’s also being held without bond until further notice.
Bartley shot and killed Principal Ken Bruce in Campbell County High In Kentucky back in 2005. He entered into a plea deal which saw him sentenced as an adult to 45 years. That plea was eventually thrown out and a new trial was ordered where Bartley was found not guilty earlier this year of murder but was convicted for reckless homicide.
Maybe Ken Bruce will get some justice after all.
113 days. That’s all it took for Kenny Bartley to be arrested after being released from prison for the 2005 Campbell County High shooting that left assistant principal Ken Bruce dead.
The now 22-year-old Bartley was recently arrested for allegedly making violent threats against his father over a set of car keys. When police arrived Bartley allegedly head butted one of the cops and had to be subdued/TASERed. Bartley was said to be under the influence. Gee, who thought a violent drugged out kid would be a violent drugged out adult, allegedly.
Bartley’s dad paid Bartley’s bond. So that means a killer walks the streets again. Bartley’s lawyer blames his client’s behavior on the ‘public scrutiny’ his client is under. I mean it’s not like he’s ever showed prior violent tendencies before. Oh wait.
Bartley is a ticking time bomb who should have never been let out of prison in the first place. It’s only a matter of time before he’s back in there for good again. I hope the members of the jury who saw to his release can live with that.
Thanks to Nathan for the assist.
What have I told you about headlines that ask questions? The answer of course is no but we’ll get to the why in a moment.
A lot of media outlets are now reporting that the Reynolds High School shooter, Jared Michael Padgett, had a journal where in it he wrote that he wanted to kill the sinners in his school who smoked and used the Lord’s name in vain. As I mentioned previously, Padgett’s family belonged to the Church of Jesus Christ and Latter Day Saints, aka the Mormons.
I think the Mormons get an undeserved bad rap. A lot of people look down on them including other Christian denominations who view them as a cult. Granted they have some unorthodox beliefs and they’re founding history is full of scandal but for the most part I’ve found that Mormons are some of the nicest and friendliest people I have ever met. They have probably done more good around the world through their missions than most religions combined. Violence is usually not their way. However there are offshoots of the Mormon Church that I would definitely classify as what the professionals would call whack-a-doodle. You know the ones. The ones that have compounds, still practice polygamy, believe in child brides, get frequently raided by the government, and stockpile a lot of guns.
Since I believe that Padgett suffered from paranoia and a persecution complex I wonder if he was researching these more extreme groups that fit into his opinion about guns and possibly anti-government sentiments more than the LDS church did.
In the days following the shooting at Seattle Pacific University, former crime blogger Steve Huff and myself were having a conversation about the reports of a second shooter at SPU. We both agreed that to our knowledge that there were only two instances of there being more than one shooter, those being Jonesboro and Columbine. Then I remembered something from my early days of blogging that there was a conspiracy theory that said there was a 3rd shooter at Columbine. So where do these reports come from. Is there some sinister plot at work aside from the atrocities that took place? Was there some ulterior motives to these attacks? No,of course not. Don’t be ridiculous.
Let’s hear from a former Secret Service agent on why he thinks these reports happen…
“Offhand, I can only think of Columbine and Jonesboro, Arkansas,” Mike Roche, a retired Secret Service agent and former Arkansas police officer, told ABC News of cases of multiple shooters.
“Most of the multiple sightings are attributed to eyewitness accounts providing conflicting descriptions of the suspect or the perception of a fleeing person as a potential attacker,” said Roche, who’s written a book about how to identify mass killers.
“It’s just the pandemonium in a stressful situation like that,” Roche said.
The problem is you can’t discuss things rationally with conspiracy theorists. It’s akin to arguing religion with someone, it’s more about beliefs than it is about facts, the conspiracy theories are dogma to them. No matter how much evidence is presented to them to the contrary they’ll just say that those facts are all part of the conspiracy. For example take Mr. Roche who I quoted above. As I mentioned he’s a former member of the Secret Service. The conspiracy theorists will tell you that since he was a member of the Secret Service that he’s in cahoots with the New World Order or the Illuminati or the Freemasons or whatever group they think is running the world.
It’s my aim to try to prevent more people from becoming so delusional. Don’t be like them. It’s my belief that they use these elaborate fantasies to make up for inadequacies in their own life or the fact that they just don’t have the intelligence to grasp the obvious.
Here’s a little tip for you. If a headline is a question, 99% of the time the answer is going to be no. This is one of those times.
A lot has been said about a classroom disagreement that Reynolds High gunman, Jared Michael Padgett, had with his classmates during a discussion about The Holocaust and Hitler. Some media outlets have tried to make it seem like Padgett was a Nazi sympathizer. That wouldn’t be too far of a stretch because there have been previous school shooters who have identified with the Nazis, Jeff Weise jumps immediately to mind.
However the teacher involved with the discussion contacted the local media to put the discussion into perspective. Basically the teacher said that Padgett more identified with the Holocaust victims and others who have been persecuted for their beliefs.
While that doesn’t make him a Nazi it may make him paranoid with the belief that he was part of a persecuted group. Padgett was Mormon but I think the persecuted group that he was really referring to are gun enthusiasts. It seems that Padgett leaned toward the right in his political beliefs and belonged to some pro-2nd Amendment groups on Facebook. Do I think that means that every conservative gun owner is a killer waiting to happen? No, not at all. What I’m getting at is that Padgett may have had a delusional persecution complex and prior studies have shown that a lot of school shooters react out of some form of paranoia.
Kids Padgett’s age have a tough time distinguishing the signal from the noise when it comes to certain political influences no matter if they lean left or right. If he was being fed some kind conspiracy B.S. by some he held in high regard it probably led to and fueled his persecution complex.
This is in no way to excuse what he did. What he did was an act of cowardice and should be looked upon as such.
Today I keep seeing the same headline over and over. “74 School Shootings Have Happened Since Newtown.” No, no they haven’t, unless you have the loosest definition of ‘school shooting’ possible.
The article that have been running this headline refer to this report done by a group called Everytown for Gun Safety. (Full report PDF file here.) The problem with their numbers in my opinion is that a lot of these shootings took place in parking lots or at sporting events and at least one where no one was injured or killed. These are not what I would call ‘school shootings’.
I define school shootings one way. That is when a student or even an outsider storms a school with guns with the express purpose of killing as many victims as possible. That’s probably what most people think of when they hear the term school shooting. By my definition there have been 9 school shootings since Newtown. You know what? That number is still too high.
I choose not to own a gun. That is my personal choice. If someone wants to own a gun that’s their right. However most of the guns used in these shootings came from home. In the majority of the shootings the gunmen were minors who were able to easily procure their parents’ guns. There are instances where the 2nd Amendment is not a guaranteed right such as felons can not legally own guns. There should be another provision added to that. If you own a gun and it’s not properly secured and is used by a child to commit a felony then you lose your gun privileges. Maybe then some people will smarten up and secure their guns better.
Oregon school shooting: Gunman identified as freshman Jared Michael Padgett:
The victim from the school shooting at Reynolds High in Oregon has been identified as 14-year-old Emilio Hoffman. So far police have been unable to find any connection to his killer, 15-year-old Jared Michael Padgett. Authorities have said that Pagdett took hos own life after exchanging gunfire with police.
The media seems to be making a big deal that Padgett was wielding an AR-15 ‘assault rifle’. I’m more concerned about how he was able to obtain the gun in the first place. Reports say he was able to remove it from its secured location and was owned by his family. Apparently the weapon wasn’t as secure as they thought.
If you choose to own a gun and you have kids in your home the gun can never be too secure.
UPDATE 6/25/2014: The gun used in the shooting belonged to Padgett’s older brother, but there is still no word on how the gun was secured and how Padgett was able to obtain it.