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ISSUE 115 VOL 21 PUBLISHED 5/10/2002

German school shooting brings nation back

By Mike Cassano
Sports Editor

Friday, May 10, 2002

It is the same old story; just a different country. A student doesn't like his parents; teachers and classmates so he finds it justified barging in and killing all who opposed him. Robert Steinhaeuser now joins the list of those who have killed, and died, cowardly before him. Is this horrible trend of school violence going to end? Can society ever find a way to deal with these problems? Where is it going to happen next? As a resident of Littleton, Colorado, I know first hand what the nation of Germany is dealing with. At times like this, it is difficult to put into words what one feels. There is a whole gambit of emotions ranging from anguish to hatred. But perhaps, somewhere, there are some answers to these questions. First, school violence will never end. That's right. It will never end. There will always be "bullies" and "jocks." There will always be "nerds" and "losers." Part of growing up is finding what niche you will stand in, or if you will stand alone. No matter what you do, someone is always going to tease you or pick on you. The Columbine shooting was neither sporadic nor random. There is no way Harris, Kelibold or Steinhaeuser got picked on once and went berserk. These boys had been picked on their whole high school career and felt they needed revenge. Revenge for what? If I had a dollar for every time someone picked on me I might be able to actually afford St. Olaf. That's another part of growing up, taking a few punches and growing tough skin. This type of harassment is happening all over the world. Everywhere a kid dresses differently someone is going to poke some fun. These people need to learn to deal with it, as we all did. So the great imperial question is posed to society once again: what's to be done? What can unsuspecting parents and administrators do to deter school violence in Smalltown, USA? The answer is simple. Spend some time with your children. The murders at Columbine had a small arsenal in their parent's garage along with several elaborate bombs. Perhaps a parent might have checked on what their troubled boys were doing in the garage over several nights. Perhaps the mother of Steinhaeuser could talk to her son about being expelled from school. These are little things. Things that anyone in any country can do. At times like this that people in Littleton and all over the world start crying for tough gun control laws to stem the tide of school violence. The Germany shooting is the best example to disprove that theory. Germany has some of the toughest gun control laws in the world. Their severe restrictions on firearms gravely overshadow the gun control laws of our own country, and kids still got their hands on assault weapons. So what makes people think if we only allow the military to have guns that things will change? If a kid has been picked on enough and wants blood, he will find a means to appease his thirst. I make a call to all parents and teachers out there. The world is looking to you now to fix this problem. You don't need to set up a family meeting, or even sit them down. Just talk to your kids and students. Ask them "How's it going?" It's a simple question that might end up saving countless lives.

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