My home state is reeling this week over the revelations that John David LaDue was planning a Columbine-like school attack. LaDue is yet another teenage male with mental health issues that turned to plans of violence. Today's Strib had this as the front page story.
'Columbine effect': Alarm is rising over copycats
It's a very disturbing yet accurate piece over a phenomenon that has evolved in culture since the Columbine shooting. The piece echoes many of the things I have written about on here about young men in culture. As more is revealed about LaDue, I'm sure we will see that he had most if not all of what I have been calling the magic cocktail (mental health issues, feelings of persecution and lack of attention, taking SSRIs, easy access to weapons, played violent video games, poor parental involvement, lack of community support and/or involvement).
What is very clear from this piece is that the Columbine Effect is part of our culture now and it won't be going away anytime soon. So, what should do about it? The piece has some very general suggestions but this has become a very complex problem. It's no longer as simple as "gun problem" or a "mental health problem." It's an American Culture problem that has to be addressed in a very complex way because it evolved in a complex way.
In many ways, it's become like a puzzle with some easy answers and some difficult ones which contain solutions that will be a big lift. Getting people to stop being lazy and engage young men takes a lot of energy. I know I sound cynical but I don't think most Americans have it in them. I base this on my own experience with parents so I do admit to bias. Changing our antiquated gun laws would help but, honestly, that's a small piece of the puzzle.
This has to be a cultural shift and it will obviously take a lot of time. So, where do we start?