Imagine being caught in the middle of a crossfire with two students shooting and you are right in the middle of it. Well that is exactly what students and teachers in Littleton, Colorado went through. On April 20, 1999, at approximately 12:20am, two students armed with semi-automatic handguns, shotguns and explosives conducted an assault on the Columbine High School and the people inside. A total of 12 students, 1 teacher and 2 suspects were killed; 24 students were transported to six local hospitals; and 100 students were treated at the scene (www.Littleton.org).Isthis what is happening inside the walls of where America's youth is suppose to be learning and in a safe environment. What can we do to prevent events like this from happening? It is a question we are constantly searching for answers to. There seems to be no concrete answers or solutions just certain explanations.
Many people, especially in their teens often turn to violence when it comes to solving their problems and expressing their feelings. Violence can de demonstrated and seen in various aspects of life. These include, school environment, television and media and home situations. Each of these things can contribute to the many reasons why teens might turn to violence. They often try and imitate what is seen or get their own ideas. The problem is what is violence really solving and how is it harming the person inflicting it. Everyday researchers are trying to find possible ways to try and stop this violence that is ruining our society.
The school has been one of the main scenes where violence has been increasing steadily. There is some disagreement about whether the school causes or reflects violent behavior. Those individuals who see the school as the source of aggression argue that the school in one setting fosters all of the necessary conditions for violence and vandalism (Apter, Goldstein). They say the school labels various students as failures and by making their failures obvious to themselves and to others, forces youngsters toward aggression as a face-saving response. These youngsters, in turn, fulfill the negative expectations of their teachers and principles. On the other hand some view the school as the victim of aggression rather than its provoker. Is the school really provoking teens to act in the ways they do? It is believe, that this is not always true since we see cases in which the violent acts are done in elementary schools where the children say they get their examples from outside the school. So could it be that the violent offenders start at a very young age to get influenced by their surroundings to then act upon them in the future?
Television and film violence have been the subject of the most of the empirical investigations of the effects of media violence (Mosotti, Bowen). Many statistics support the idea that male teenagers who had viewed a substantially greater quantity of violent programs than males otherwise like the mis-measured characteristics and attributes committed a markedly greater number of seriously harmful antisocial and criminal acts (Alderman). This is greatly argued a lot because there seems to be many reports concerning the differences that might exist between boys and girls. Exposure to violence in newspapers, comic books and theater films were also positively associated with aggression and antisocial behavior. There are a lot of effects that are generated from television. These can be acquired from protagonists displaying great strength and power who defeat essentially weak villains. Violence with numerous victims such as mass killings, violence that erupts among friends, allies or gang members. Violence that is extreme compared to all events leading up to it and violence that is no easily dismissible as fiction because of its great realism (Flannery).
Another Major influential aspect are the parents and the home situations teens are brought up in. Neglected children from affluent families also express their anger through physical violence. Increases in suicides, date violence, destruction of property, bullying, robberies, vandalism, addictions to drugs, and homicides of ones peers suggest that the national pursuit of material goods is not adequately meeting the needs of youth (Flannery). In these cases where parents are said to be involved, patterns of abuse are usually always present. There is a transmission of violence inflicted by one generation on another. This transfer of violence occurs when parents abuse their children, and those same children then go on to abuse others as they become young adults (Flannery). It is very important for children to receive proper care from their primary care givers. Any early signs observed in the children should be take into account very seriously. They could be the linkage to what causes their futures acts.
There also exists other small factors contributing to violent acts. To specific forms of antisocial and aggressive behavior, aggression in sports and playing, swearing and the use of bad language, were associated with the use of violence. There was some possibility that these associates could be explained by the seeking out of such entertainment as consequence of the behavior in question, but the indication is that such a circumstance was not likely (NCES -- ). Being exposed to drugs and alcohol can be very harmful to teens. Much of today's violence by young people is happening when our children are under the influence of alcohol and other drugs (Flannery). There also seems to be another side to this. Are these teens acting violently on purpose and have their own reasons for doing so? Violent behavior is one way to be caught and punished, not only for the immediate act, but as a deserved outcome for earlier transgressions for which they blame themselves (Apter, Goldstein). It seems as if they are seeking out some attention from the people around them. It could be that the lack of attention has caused them to feel alone and having a longing for reasons to obtain that attention. Depression may lead to violence against others. The young person is angry with the adult world or with peers over the perceived loss as being unjust. If the loss of self-esteem is seen to be great, taking control of the situation through violence may be seen as the only way to gain the respect of others again. In today's society we can view personally how this violence is affecting each and every one of us.
As stated earlier, the Columbine High School shooting, has become the long awaited awakening we needed. Even after time has passed, that horrible day has not left our minds it is so, that this tragedy has now claimed one more victim. At the end of October, the mother of one of the severely wounded students could not deal with he strain and committed suicide. Another incident occurred at Burlington, Wisconsin, where 5 students, all boys aged 15 and 16, were arrested for conspiracy to commit murder. This happened on November 15, 1998, five months before the Columbine tragedy. Two of the boys subsequently released as they had dropped out of the "conspiracy" before the arrest. The plot to take the staff of the school hostage and kill some of them, as well as killing 12 other children, came apart when police intervened and arrested the boys the day before the plot was schedule to happen. Luckily this was prevented from happening, which would have also been a tremendous tragedy (www.angelfire/columbine.com).Withthe deadly results of the Columbine fresh in their minds, many communities are no longer taking teenage threats lightly. In Texas for example, four 8th grade boys were arrested after the police discovered bomb-making materials in he back seat and trunk of the car the boys were in. This shows that the police are now looking at every detail to try and protect our children from being injured.