Littleton, Colorado

April 26, 1999

By now, the shock and horror of what happened in Littleton, Colorado is beginning to fade. Now serious questions are being asked about why this occurred. Of course we are hearing a lot about too many weapons and the rise of suburban gangs. But I would like to suggest that the problem goes far beyond what weapons a child has access to and what friends he or she might have in school.

School shootings have taken place in Pearl, Mississippi, in West Paducah, Kentucky, in Jonesboro, Arkansas, in Springfield, Oregon, and now in Littleton, Colorado. These are not troubled communities. Most are idyllic towns in rural or suburban communities.

The parents of three students killed in Paducah, Kentucky think they know the answer. They brought a lawsuit against the company that distributed the film The Basketball Diaries. In the film, Leonardo DiCaprio (also of Titanic fame) goes into a schoolroom and shoots numerous children and teachers. In doing so, he became a role model for young boys who are "wannabes."

The parent's lawyer points out that Michael Carneal, who opened fire on a group of students, viewed the film and honed his shooting skills by playing computer games such as "Doom" and "Redneck Rampage."

In the past, I've talked about Lt. Col. Dave Grossman (a former West Point psychology professor and Army Ranger). He was also an instructor at Arkansas State University in Jonesboro, and was one of the first on the scene of the Jonesboro, Arkansas shootings. He says, "In the video games, in the movies, on the television, the one behavior that is consistently depicted in glamorous terms and consistently rewarded is killing."

You know, a society that glamorizes violence shouldn't be too surprised when violence shows up in the nation's schools.

I'm Kerby Anderson of Probe Ministries, and that's my opinion.