The Killing Children

The other day the media in Germany ran large headlines on how the police in Cologne had - by means of all their fancy new Internet detection stuff and what not - avoided a Colombine-like massacre at a local school. It was noted that the purported killer committed suicide after being confronted by the police after they searched his room and found soft-air guns and a cross-bow.

It turned out, though, that while he had indeed been planning such a deed, it had been called off four weeks ago. But he hadn't pulled the YouTube announcement that he had made.

Fellow students had informed the principal, who had called him in for a talk. When this talk was "unsuccessful", the police were called. They investigated, searched his room, hauled him in for a talk. They forgot to inform his parents - he was only 17, and by law his parents need to be informed and have a right to attend such a hearing. He asked to go to the bathroom during the talk, crawled out the window, and threw himself under a streetcar.

The police first said that he had left calmly, that they didn't see him as being suicidal.

How should they have handled this? If they did nothing and he had caused a massacre, the press would have screamed at them. As it is, the police were apparently trying to use this as a nice example of why the police need access to all of our data to "protect" us. Protection like this we don't need.

We need to start listening to the children and youth who feel that life is treating them so bad that they have to die and take others with them. There is a song popular with young people (I will repeat neither band name nor title here) about just this - the song is so violent, I shuddered as I read it. There are many other, very violent songs that many young people like to listen to. It makes them feel powerful, at least for the length of the song.

After all, what is their lot? Crowded schools with oldish teachers who are tired; youth centers closed; churches not offering anything for them; parents either at work, trying to make ends meet, or drunk in the living room. Their lives consist of TV and Internet, a very tainted reality. They want fun, they want money for all the cool things and clothes they see advertised. There are no jobs for them, there is nothing to do. They are just bored, as I have noted before.

What scares me is the ease with which many obtain weapons and drugs. How can we put a stop to this? How can we get them to see that killing is not a game, how can we give them a future?

One thing is for sure - even more surveillance of Internet "sources" is not the answer.

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