The problem we are facing today with violence in the schools is a major concern with communities everywhere. Juvenile homicide is twice as common today as it was in the mid 1980’s. It isn’t the brain that the kids are born with that has changed in half a generation; what has changed though is the easy access to guns and the glorification of revenge in real life and in entertainment. Crime in and around schools is threatening the well being of students, as well as the staff and surrounding communities. It also affects the learning and student achievements.
Two boys at an Arkansas middle school killed four girls and one teacher in what police called a carefully planned ambush on the afternoon of Tuesday March 25, 1998. Nine other girls and one other teacher were also wounded in the attack at the Westside Middle School, located in a quiet rural area just west of Jonesboro, Arkansas. In a similar incident in Littleton, Colorado, two students, cloaked in black trench coats and armed with guns and bombs, opened fire on the morning of Tuesday April 21, 1999 at Columbine High School, killing 15 people and wounding 28 others in the worst school shooting in U.S. history. What do both of these real-life scenarios have in common? Juveniles or young adults committed all of these crimes.Order now
What is it that ignites such violence in troubled juveniles such as the ones mentioned? Many different factors cause violent behavior. In this paper I will explore the roots of juvenile violence in order to understand why the atrocious acts in Jonesboro, Arkansas and Littleton, Colorado were committed.
Violence is not committed without a reason. Violence is the act of intentionally hurting someone. A number of reasons could lead to a violent outbreak. Individually, the more factors present in one’s life, the more likely that person is to commit an act of violence.
Some factors that contribute to violent behavior include homes where parents are abusive or absent, need for attention or respect, feeling constantly, disrespected, access to or fascination with guns. Each of the characteristics above can be summed up into two major categories, family problems, and social problems.
Social problems were present in both the Westside Middle School and the Columbine High School murders. One thing that was associated with all of the murders was bullying. Bullying is where a child or group of children keep taking advantage of the power they have to hurt or reject someone else. Some young people are bullied for many reasons, but mainly because they will not stand up for themselves.
Having been victims of bullying, Harris and Klebold were constantly disrespected. “He Harris was going after jocks. He hated them with a passion, because they always made fun of him and they always threatened him. They did it especially his sophomore year, and he just hated them.” Why do some children bully? The main reason children bully is to get attention or make other people afraid of them. Another thing in common with both murder cases is that the victimizers had easy access to guns.
Access to guns is the biggest predictor for people committing homicides. If kids don’t have guns, these kind of situations wont escalate as fast. Eleven-year-old Andrew Golden learned to shoot from his father. Prior to the Columbine High School murders Eric Harris would talk of buying guns in class. As classmates stated, “Harris talked constantly in philosophy class of buying a gun, especially since he recently turned 18-years-old.”
Family problems, is the second major category of juvenile violence that perhaps is the most prevalent cause of juvenile violence.
To simplify it repulsively, parents are not doing the jobs they used to do in terms of transmitting values to kids. The slack is being picked up by the entertainment world, whether it’s television or movies or rap music or video games. On the same note, a staff psychologist referring to the Columbine High School murders stated that violent children live in homes where parents are abusive and absent. A lot of times, an absent father is a predictor for violent aggressive males. Which was also the case with both 13-year-old Mitchell Johnson of the .