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School Tragedy

Kids Count

On the surface, the school shooting at Newtown defies any rational or irrational explanation. The utter malignancy of the act is so heinous that it has provoked a shocked numbness among many people. The lives of the survivors in Newtown will never be the same, not just because their town will be known for this act of infamy but more for the monstrous enormity of the acts committed at the elementary school just days before Christmas.

The shooter left no message behind revealing a motive for committing such an outrageously violent act. The shooter also destroyed his computer hard drive so that no information could be gleaned from it that might reveal a clue to his savagery. While a number of school shootings have been cited as acts of revenge perhaps connected to bullying, no such motives were in play in this situation according to school officials.

Why would a young man from a relatively affluent family, an upscale neighborhood who attended quality schools and was not bullied according to school officials, act with such cruel insanity. Some have pointed to the fact that like many other school shooters in the U.S. and around the world, this young man had a mental health diagnosis. Reports suggest that the young man may have been on the autism spectrum, more specifically Asperger’s syndrome. Most experts have stated that there is no correlation between violence and Asperger’s syndrome.

What this young man did have in common with school shooters around the world is that he was male, between the ages of 12 and 20, had been diagnosed with a mental health disorder, was rejected by his peer group or lived on the fringes of his peer group, had a disrupted family home and had access to guns, lots of them. Many school shooters have been described by school staff and peers as loners, quiet or someone that did not really fit in.

Reach the writer at hurlburt@wildblue.net

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