Wednesday, 24 September 2008

Aftermath of Luther College incident

Police approach Luther CollegeToday's media offerings on the gunman incident at Luther College High School have mostly consisted of journalistic cud-chewing. However, I did find a couple of interesting things hinted at in today's CBC article.

Charges have been laid against the young offender, who obviously can't be named. True to form, his parents are shocked and say that their son is basically a good kid. Sometimes, the modern interpretation of "good" is so elastic that the word becomes essentially meaningless, seeing as it seems to exclude nothing. Granted, it's obvious the young fellow wanted to make a statement, rather than killing people, so he's not as bad as he could have been. But still... Not knowing enough about the whole situation, I won't say anything else. I know parents always want to believe the best of their children and it's pretty devastating when you are dramatically confronted with the proof you were wrong. Denial is perhaps necessary for emotional survival, at least in the short term.
Brad Tilling, the boy's lawyer, told reporters after the brief appearance that his client was calm and understood what was happening.

Tilling said the parents of the youth were shocked by the allegations against their son.

"They would like people to know that he is a good kid and obviously there was some difficulty the other day," Tilling said.

"There's apparently quite a story behind that," Tilling added and suggested that details would come at a later time.

"But basically they want people to know he's a good kid and this is an aberration," he concluded.

I have a hard time imagining a "story" that would justify the boy's behaviour.

The other thing that really caught my eye is that the College may have alerted the authorities in regard to this young fellow as early as last year.
Perlson (the College president) said the student was expelled last year, but declined to say why.

"I can tell you there was concern. And we expressed that concern to authorities."

Which raises the question: what concerns did they share with "authorities" and should the police have picked up on it? Or were they relatively inconsequential, putting the boy on a list with hundreds of others who seemed only likely to indulge in minor mischief? I'm not one of these people who expect authorities to have perfect foresight, but I'm also aware that they drop the ball sometimes, and the results can be fatal. I hope somebody is pressing the issue. If the boy had been intent on killing, things would have turned out very differently.


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5 comments:

Jared said...

I'm so glad to hear that everyone's okay. Physically, at least.

A similar incident happened two years ago at my wife's alma mater--a private, Christian school--where she also currently teaches. A student sat in the school parking lot, with a loaded rifle, threatening himself. No other students were involved, and the drama ended with the police shooting the student in his leg.

He'd gone to the one place he felt safe.

As you've said, it's futile to speculate about reasons without knowing the whole story. I'd imagine it's less than useful even when you do.

All we can do is thank God for his grace, and pray that, in him, these students find the comfort and solace they so desperately need.

Janna Qualman said...

The parents were surprised? That I don't doubt. But there must have been "some trouble that day"? They're going to have to dig a little deeper, it sounds like.

Janet said...

Grace it was indeed. This young fellow, while obviously disturbed, was not disturbed enough to want to kill people. It is virtually impossible to guard against someone who has been harbouring secret grudges and suddenly does something that seems entirely out of character. The "sleeper psychotic" if you will.

Not all things are preventable. But I am still very curious as to the nature of the "concerns" voiced to "authorities". Was this perhaps foreseeable in this case?

By people other than the parents, I mean. You can't seriously expect parents to see these things coming. And I'm not being sarcastic.

colbymarshall said...

These things are so scary...thank goodness this didn't turn out to be another VA Tech. How horrible.

Thanks for stopping by my blog...please come back anytime :)

Janet said...

Colby, I am grateful too.

Through this I contacted my old English teacher and discovered that he too is a writer, although he doesn't teach English anymore. He was the new hire when I was in grade 10...

 

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