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The Red Lake Shootings

Authorities are trying to find a motive for 16 year old Jeff Weise who shot and killed 10 and wounded 7 yesterday at a school on an Indian Reservation in Red Lake, Minnesota.

The comparison to Columbine is inevitable, and I've written about that over at 5280. Teresa Nielsen Hayeden at Making Light makes some excellent points, particularly about the parallels to the faux story of Cassie Bernal.

From the first news article above:

Reggie Graves, a student at Red Lake High School, said he was watching a movie about Shakespeare in class Monday when he heard the gunman blast his way past the metal detector at the school’s entrance, killing a guard. Then, in a nearby classroom, he heard the gunman say something to his friend Ryan: “He asked Ryan if he believed in God,” Graves said. “And then he shot him.”

Teresa:

I’m sure Jeff Weise’s behavior will be trotted out as further proof that Christians are coming in for persecution. If I’m right, that claim will be purest codswallop. What this tragic incident really teaches us is that kids who are exposed to non-reality-based right-wing Christian propaganda may subsequently commit horrid acts of violence.

There is one striking point of similarity between the Columbine and Red Lake shootings: in both cases, the students were reading Shakespeare when the firing broke out. It’ll be interesting to see whether school districts across the country propose a ban on Shakespeare, the way they tried to ban black clothing in the wake of Columbine.

And yes, Weise admired Hitler , as did Harris and Klebold.

Harris and Klebold found comfort and refuge in a group called the ''Trenchcoat Mafia,'' a group of about a dozen school outcasts who bought floor-length dusters at a western store sale for $99 each.

Members of the group were angry because ''jocks'' and other members of the school elite teased and harassed them, throwing rocks and cigarettes at them. ''Everywhere they went, they were teased about how they dressed,'' Harris' former girlfriend, Tiffany Typher, told The Denver Post. ''If you're called a psycho all your life, you're going to live out that reputation.''

As to Jeff Weise :

Relatives told the St. Paul Pioneer Press that Weise was a loner who was often teased by others....High school principal Chris Dunshee said Weise "would not be what I would call an habitual troublemaker," and that he wasn't aware of a lot of teasing. "I didn't really, I guess, feel that he was teased to the point where something like this would happen," he said.

All three were subjected to the culture of intolerance at school - from the taunts by classmates and the failure or refusal of the schools to recognize it or do anything about it.

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    Re: The Red Lake Shootings (none / 0) (#1)
    by Che's Lounge on Tue Mar 22, 2005 at 08:10:38 PM EST
    No child left behind.

    Re: The Red Lake Shootings (none / 0) (#2)
    by Johnny on Tue Mar 22, 2005 at 10:19:03 PM EST
    The thing I hate about this is: The gun control crowd will point to this and say it would have been prevented with more control, and the anti-gun control crowd will point and say see!?!?! what happens when you control them. We will have the typical narrow-minded "video games/TV/movies" are to blame as well. Hardly anyone will say "What is fundamentally wrong with our culture that a young man feels the need to blast his way through his school. Noone will ever question that the very fabric of our society is to blame, they will just point fingers and call him a monster. I feel for all the victims, and for their families, who are soon to be drawn into a nightmare of media blitz.

    Re: The Red Lake Shootings (none / 0) (#3)
    by Talkleft Visitor on Tue Mar 22, 2005 at 10:59:39 PM EST
    Aside from the tragedy and the loss I really hate incidents like this because they really bring up the racial divide in this country. Now I will assume this boy was of native american descent but when it was the Columbine kids, the white kids, we had so many "experts" trying to explain away thier brutal act of savagry from video games, to bad parenting, the NRA, t.v., the internet, etc. While if these were black or latino kids we are more than satfisfied with them being typical inner city thugs just doing what comes natural to them.

    Re: The Red Lake Shootings (none / 0) (#4)
    by Talkleft Visitor on Wed Mar 23, 2005 at 03:16:28 AM EST
    This situation is vastly different than Columbine. This was a tiny town on a res, where unemployment is FORTY percent, everyone lives in poverty, and the chances of that changing any time soon is nil. Psychosis in both cases. But there's little comparison between the middle class of Columbine and the permanent poor on America's reservations. Consequently, even with the disturbing stories of amorality, what happened at Columbine is far more shocking. The amorality of Bush is like what happened at Columbine. The amorality of the Iraq slaughter is like what happened in Minnesota.

    Re: The Red Lake Shootings (none / 0) (#5)
    by Peaches on Wed Mar 23, 2005 at 05:05:26 AM EST
    The amorality of the Iraq slaughter is like what happened in Minnesota. THis was a disturbed child. HIs father committed suicide four years ago and his mother is brain-damaged from a car accident. He was raised in Mpls and returned to the reservation later. It appears he was bright and a loner. He fits the profile for an incident like this. But there was probably little that could be done to prevent it. He got his firearms by killing his granfather and taking his police issued shotgun and handgun (along with a bulletproof vest.) THe security gaurd was unarmed. Perhaps, we can provide armed security at schools like at airports, but is this how we want to socialize our children in schools? THe only similarity to columbine was that he admired the columbine killers. So, it was probably a copycat killing. But, to try and make some sense out of this senseless act is much more difficult than trying to understand the circumstances that led us to invade Iraq.

    Re: The Red Lake Shootings (none / 0) (#6)
    by Talkleft Visitor on Wed Mar 23, 2005 at 05:24:41 AM EST
    I'm puzzled by BrownPower's comments re: "the racial divide in this country". Is he saying that Native Americans are the same as whites, as far as their treament by the media? Or is he saying that this time there won't be any effort by the "experts" to try and explain what happened, since it was a Native American rather than a white kid(s)? I mean, the latter is already happening, i.e. the last paragraph of this very TalkLeft post and Paul in LA are both already rushing to find reasons to blame everybody except the kid who actually pulled the trigger. Is BP's argument that had it been a black or latino kid, TalkLeft would be shifting into Mistah Kurtz mode? I don't think so. And Paul in LA, the amorality of Columbine is like that of Bush, and the amorality of this is like Iraq? That may be the single most idiotic statement I've read in the last week. Congratulations! You the Man!

    Re: The Red Lake Shootings (none / 0) (#7)
    by Talkleft Visitor on Wed Mar 23, 2005 at 06:35:57 AM EST
    How many times does this have to happen before people start really doing something about it? Still waiting on the politicians to jump on this story. Ooooh, right...the comatose lady is more important at the moment.

    Re: The Red Lake Shootings (none / 0) (#8)
    by Talkleft Visitor on Wed Mar 23, 2005 at 06:58:16 AM EST
    The point - which you missed - was that there is a misplaced effort on the part of the US. I'm not complaining about the coma lady. But as far as responsibility goes, it DOES fall on all of us. What, you think because nobody you know got shot, you don't need to worry? What happens when your kid gets shot next, or does the shooting himself? (Hypothetical so don't bother with "I ain't got no kid", and the like.) It's our responsibility to teach our kids and those of others to be tolerant of others. I mean, this kid obviously needed some special attention as well. In my little corner of the world, I think it's my responsibility to teach kids respect for themselves and others. Teachers need to make themselves more available to kids who are constantly berated by their peers. Blah, blah, guns, REAL moral valutes, et cetera, et cetera. Meanwhile, the national know-it-alls have completely focused on a woman sleeping her life away. THAT'S what I'm complaining about. Reading is fundamental.

    Re: The Red Lake Shootings (none / 0) (#9)
    by Talkleft Visitor on Wed Mar 23, 2005 at 07:32:55 AM EST
    Che'... No child left behind. yeah...this too is Bush's fault.

    Re: The Red Lake Shootings (none / 0) (#10)
    by Talkleft Visitor on Wed Mar 23, 2005 at 07:33:20 AM EST
    this is really politically interesting because the kid is not white this time. but you got to ask yourself what was happening to this kids mind? if you think about it, you got to ask yourself why this kind of thing is not happening each day, hell its a Reservation "people" no other place on earth have people on some Reservation, well maybe one or two others! Oh God. Great now i find out he liked hitler, oh god. and to erm, you would have to do something to make a real charge and you would have to have someone that really understands the system, and that would never happen.

    Re: The Red Lake Shootings (none / 0) (#11)
    by pigwiggle on Wed Mar 23, 2005 at 07:44:40 AM EST
    Come on people; itís not about tolerance, or accountability in the Whitehouse, or availability of teachers. The kid was insane, sometimes they come that way. Schools have been an occasional target for mass murderers for as long as Iíve been walking and this is no exception. In general schools are safer now than they ever have been in my lifetime. Lets all keep our heads attached, eh?

    Re: The Red Lake Shootings (none / 0) (#12)
    by Johnny on Wed Mar 23, 2005 at 07:53:54 AM EST
    Thats a good point Fred... We still have reservations. Reservations have, basically, conquered nation status. In South Dakota, the "rez" as we call them, are extremely poor, and life expectancy is in the 50's. But school shootings do not occur nearly as often, (both in real numbers,and I suspect, as a percentage of the population)as they do at predominately white/black schools. Whether or not the kid was insane is beside the point. What in our culture drives people to do this? if, as some people say, they come pre-packaged this way, then there is nothing short of pre-natal genetic screening to prevent this from happening again. However, we must question what in our culture encourages these actions?

    Re: The Red Lake Shootings (none / 0) (#13)
    by kdog on Wed Mar 23, 2005 at 08:10:09 AM EST
    I often wonder what makes the human mind "snap".

    Re: The Red Lake Shootings (none / 0) (#14)
    by Talkleft Visitor on Wed Mar 23, 2005 at 01:27:52 PM EST
    "Posted by Peaches: "THis was a disturbed child. HIs father committed suicide four years ago and his mother is brain-damaged from a car accident." He lives in utter poverty; his father's suicide was probably poverty-related. My point is that gross poverty is incredibly stress-inducing, and must be a factor in turning a disturbed child into a psychotic teen. Posted by Taras Bulba: " paragraph of this very TalkLeft post and Paul in LA are both already rushing to find reasons to blame everybody except the kid who actually pulled the trigger." You don't do perspective, eh? To liberal for you? "And Paul in LA, the amorality of Columbine is like that of Bush, and the amorality of this is like Iraq?" My point was that the res is in dire poverty, like the poor and INNOCENT people of Iraq. Columbine, OTOH, was done by suburban kids with cash in pocket, like Bush, a child of privelege. As for 'what makes a person snap' -- POVERTY, which reduces native longevity by 30%, which is accompanied by a lack of nutrients, by a lack of stimulation, by a lack of hope -- that's where you ought to look first, and not wistfully look to the sky as if those perspectival considerations don't exist.

    Re: The Red Lake Shootings (none / 0) (#15)
    by Richard Aubrey on Wed Mar 23, 2005 at 06:33:51 PM EST
    Paul. You need to look more closely at rez poverty. The unemployment is high but, said the council leader in an interview, we provide for our families. How do you square the two statements? With additional information which you and I do not have. How do you know the kid was poor? His grandfather was a tribal cop with a lot years in, whatever pay grade that meant. There is absolute povery which is the lack of necessities of life and there is relative poverty which is having less than somebody else. Sounds like the kid wasn't in the first category--he had a computer and web access--and if everybody's poor, the day-to-day comparison with the better off doesn't happen. But, as I say, of that group, he was probaly in the upper half. I am reminded, once again, of Kipling. "Maybe fate's weight cloths are breaking his heart." You might also want to explain what's wrong with the rest of the poor who don't do this stuff. Insensitive, maybe? As with Columbine, the necessity of finding something outside the shooter to blame is blinding some to the possibility that some people just go bad. But there's no way to blame that on whichever institution we like least.

    Re: The Red Lake Shootings (none / 0) (#16)
    by Johnny on Wed Mar 23, 2005 at 07:18:09 PM EST
    No, we don't need to blame it on the institution each of likes least, I blame the institution we all like best-our culture. Our civilization. It is flawed. Sorry.

    Re: The Red Lake Shootings (none / 0) (#17)
    by Richard Aubrey on Wed Mar 23, 2005 at 07:24:56 PM EST
    Johnny. That's like blaming it on the atmosphere, not to mention leaving out the question of how come more of the quarter billion people in this country don't do this. Columbine and Red Lake have very, very few commonalities. Income? Intact families? Friends? Hard to find two more different communities. So what, precisely, are the flaws? You get to sound worldly, weary and wise, but there isn't much to chew on.

    Re: The Red Lake Shootings (none / 0) (#18)
    by Richard Aubrey on Wed Mar 23, 2005 at 08:13:25 PM EST
    Ref. The Cassie Bernall story: I was amazed, although I shouldn't have been, by the number of people who sneered at her supposed faith, WHILE THEY THOUGHT IT WAS TRUE. Sneering at the story after it was discredited was one thing, and possibly justified. Sneering at the story while believing it was true is not justified and not at all surprising.

    Re: The Red Lake Shootings (none / 0) (#19)
    by Johnny on Wed Mar 23, 2005 at 08:57:02 PM EST
    No comment Richard. Until you actually offer up something more than "If not that, then what", there is just not too much to chew on.

    Re: The Red Lake Shootings (none / 0) (#20)
    by Talkleft Visitor on Wed Mar 23, 2005 at 10:34:28 PM EST
    "Posted by Richard Aubrey: "Paul. You need to look more closely at rez poverty." I've seen as much of that as I need to. The point is that the condition of the res' is deplorable, unamerican, and the Interior Dept. owes the indians SEVEN BILLION dollars they say they can't find, out of the miserable fees corporations pay for using indian land. 'Taking care of our families,' I'm glad to hear that. So tell me how much money the state of Minn pays for good schools in that res? Tell me how much money the Fed pays so those kids can have some counseling BEFORE some disturbed kid goes off the deep end. Seven billion dollars buys a lot of services. Though few indians go on massacres at their schools, tell me that the effect of their parents dying young, or being sick, with no hospitals or ambulances to get to them, DOESN'T affect the kids. Tell me that the lack of opportunity, the lack of good nutrition, DOESN'T affect their emotional health. There are more depressed res kids than your rosy claim suggests, Richard. A LOT more. I've met plenty of them at the res' I've been to, and they go to the city, get racism and a hatful of nothing for their troubles, and then end up back on the res, going slowly nutso.

    Re: The Red Lake Shootings (none / 0) (#21)
    by Richard Aubrey on Thu Mar 24, 2005 at 04:51:41 AM EST
    This ought to set you off, Paul. I worked with some NAs when I was in the service. They were of the opinion that those who stayed on the rez were scared of getting out and preferred familiar poverty to the risks and changes involved in getting off. Leaving the rez is perfectly legal. This process tends to select one kind of people who go and one kind who stay. It becomes a different population. Tony Hillerman's novels about the Navajo are interesting. The NAs I talked to were from the upper midwest, so there were probably differences, but if Hillerman is accurate, rez life is different and leaving it would be a stretch, even if he exaggerates the Navajo culture's effect on the people in the Four Corners area. Which he may or may not. Now, it being the military, they didn't have much to say about racism. Racism exists, but about nine times out of ten when somebody talks about it, it's a lie. An excuse. A manipulative scam. You know. BS. Like with your post. Anyway, this kid seemed to be not the bottom of the pool on the rez. You can talk about the seven billion, but the fact remains that this kid's life was a series of catastrophes which probably had considerably more to do with his being screwed up than the Interior Department's computer system did.

    Re: The Red Lake Shootings (none / 0) (#22)
    by Talkleft Visitor on Thu Mar 24, 2005 at 06:03:36 AM EST
    Richard Aubrey: I asked you to address some serious questions on another post. Did you miss them or decide not to answer?

    Re: The Red Lake Shootings (none / 0) (#23)
    by Talkleft Visitor on Thu Mar 24, 2005 at 08:22:21 AM EST
    Life get back at you real fast now. When you mess with some one mind for a wile there's big change that they will go crazy in some way. Some are more expressive than other. The pricipal was awayre of him getting tease by other, he heven said he didn't think it was that bad. Why did he not sanction those little morron. He maid justice for him self, and that took a lot of courage. And he will be remember for that. Pepoel are walking with there eyes shot because they think GOD is going to take care off everything and the religion is going to dictate a way of life. Wake up, there's no god and religion is fake. You need to take mathers in your on hands. That meen helping other arond you the help them live a better life. If other live better there's a big chance you will to. So stop the intolerence before it catch up to you.

    Re: The Red Lake Shootings (none / 0) (#24)
    by Talkleft Visitor on Thu Mar 24, 2005 at 10:27:37 AM EST
    Uhm Paul, "So suburban kids with cash in pocket, like Bush, a child of privelege" or to blame? Curious because I dint grow poor, does that mean I am going to go shoot people? What happened to parents/guardian being responsible for their children? Blaming society is an easy and overly used out. Who's to say their is anyone to blame. There is bad people in the world, and bad thigns happen.In this case gun control shouldnt even be an issue.

    Re: The Red Lake Shootings (none / 0) (#25)
    by Talkleft Visitor on Thu Mar 24, 2005 at 01:36:49 PM EST
    Amy, if you don't understand the effects of poverty, try going to bed tonight without your dinner. You can say you're 'fasting' for Terri, or Good Friday...it doesn't matter. See how well you rest while your stomach is growling. "Posted by Richard Aubrey: "those who stayed on the rez were scared of getting out and preferred familiar poverty to the risks and changes involved in getting off." So their point, and yours, is that it is the WEAK who suffer the most from poverty. Wow, what an eye-opener. "Leaving the rez is perfectly legal. This process tends to select one kind of people who go and one kind who stay." So you admit to social darwinism. And you wonder why people find your kind so defective in human values. "Tony Hillerman's novels about the Navajo are interesting." Navajos are in a different class, like the Hopi. Both groups have big tourism trades. Their problems are less poverty and more the toxic uranium mining on their land. You justify the stealing and withholding of this money because you're a racist, Richard. Just admit it; you will feel better.

    Re: The Red Lake Shootings (none / 0) (#26)
    by Richard Aubrey on Thu Mar 24, 2005 at 04:25:53 PM EST
    Paul in LA. You're reaching for moonbat land. Social Darwinism? If it happens, it happens. If I acknowledge that it happens, so what? If it happens and I insist it does not, then what? The Columbine shooters were not poor. Indeed, there was talk of overindulging and underparenting. The shooter in the Pacific Northwest, Kinkel, was not poor. The Paducah shooter was not poor. If there is any factor which does not tie these together, it's poverty. Paul. Here's another: My wife was in VISTA in 1970, in San Juan. Had her own little slum and everything. Las Monjas was the district, although I hear it's now a cloverleaf. Her view is that some people struggled to get out, some suceeded and then, guess what? They weren't there any longer. There's an axiom in physics that no object can occupy two separate spaces simultaneously. So the ones who left weren't there any more. Hard to see why that's a puzzle to you. And to the extent they had more gifts, those gifts left with them. "Racist". Paul, that wore out a long time ago. It's a manipulative scam that nobody believes any longer. The problem is that you didn't get the memo. Try to keep up. Also, here's something that will probably keep you up all night. Find someplace where I said anything about who gets to keep the money.

    Re: The Red Lake Shootings (none / 0) (#27)
    by Richard Aubrey on Thu Mar 24, 2005 at 04:41:08 PM EST
    Tris: Apparently I missed them. What's up?

    Re: The Red Lake Shootings (none / 0) (#28)
    by Talkleft Visitor on Thu Mar 24, 2005 at 05:00:59 PM EST
    "Posted by Richard Aubrey: "Social Darwinism? If it happens, it happens. If I acknowledge that it happens, so what?" So, you're innocent of using a social darwinist argument? How does the fact that the weak perish if not aided at all change the fact that you seem to think that's OK -- screw 'em. You bring it up as an explanation for how OK it is that the US gov't is impoverishing indians TO THIS DAY, but that's OK, they're free to become refugees in the urban environment where they are treated with every ounce of racist zeal. And if they can't survive that abuse? Tough luck, you're red. "So the ones who left weren't there any more. Hard to see why that's a puzzle to you. And to the extent they had more gifts, those gifts left with them." More social darwinism. You ignore the ongoing effects of the Carlysle schools, and other OUTSIDE forces which damaged these cultures. But hey, they're poor -- screw 'em! ""Racist". Paul, that wore out a long time ago." Sure it did, Rich. Just keep telling yourself that.

    Re: The Red Lake Shootings (none / 0) (#29)
    by Richard Aubrey on Thu Mar 24, 2005 at 05:07:46 PM EST
    Paul. Try to get a grip. Also to read. I said that the process you refer to as Social Darwinism seems to exist. Show how I said that's okay, or not okay, or presented any opinion on it at all. Other than that it happens. Show how acknowledging it happens is the same as saying it's okay.

    Re: The Red Lake Shootings (none / 0) (#30)
    by Talkleft Visitor on Fri Mar 25, 2005 at 09:30:39 AM EST
    Paul in LA, I understand what u mean by the effects of poverty. What I was responding to was that u said the boys at Columbine were "children of priviledge, with cash in their pocket, like Bush.As if to implicate that chldren who dont grow up poor commit these horrible acts. It was an irrelvant and off point comment, and I was just hoping u would bring the comment to some point that was related

    Re: The Red Lake Shootings (none / 0) (#31)
    by Talkleft Visitor on Sat Mar 26, 2005 at 11:19:38 PM EST
    my dad is interview this tragity!..


    Re: The Red Lake Shootings (none / 0) (#32)
    by Talkleft Visitor on Thu Mar 31, 2005 at 12:45:37 PM EST
    This isnt about being black, white, hispanic, indian american. It has to do with what has happened in his life. Boys are constintaly told not to show emotions and when they come out, it comes out in a form of anger, agression, and n this case murder. Why should race matter in a case such as this one? This kid saw his father commit suicude and his mother is brain damaged. Putting all those emotions into the back of your mind and pushing them down for so long, its going to explode sometime. And on top of being considered the "freak" in school and constantly being teased... its going to happen. Maybe we should not be focusing on what he was into or what color his skin is, but what he has been through in life.

    Re: The Red Lake Shootings (none / 0) (#33)
    by Talkleft Visitor on Thu Mar 31, 2005 at 05:41:04 PM EST
    You always wonder why people go to such extremes to make their points and yet the best remedy to anger is delay so what would have happened if someone had tried to DELAY him in going to try and make a difference so technically the troubled person couldve had help had the people just reached out to him