Wednesday, 1 December 2010


“A high school student who shot himself after taking his teacher and classmates hostage has died of his wounds at a Wisconsin hospital, authorities said.

“Samuel Hengel, 15, held 24 students and a teacher for nearly five hours at a high school in Marinette on Monday night (local time) before shooting himself as police were rushing into the classroom.”

WTF? A 15 year-old kid? What on earth makes a 15 year old kid think that taking his class hostage is a sensible or viable thing to do? Why on earth would he do it? What was going through his head? At that age, with his life in front of him, what was awful enough to make him (a) create the hostage situation in the first place, and (b) decide that shooting himself was a good way out of it? Or what kind of weird-arse computer game, where nobody ever truly DIES, despite rivers of gore, did he think he was in the middle of?

I'm trying to come up with possible answers, and drawing a total blank. Obviously I'm thinking with a grown-up brain, and a relatively stable one at that.I keep asking myself the sort of questions that the news report hasn't answered:

Was he a good student? Was he failing? (because of course, most people would shoot up their school, their teacher, their classmates on the strength of a Fail grade, right?)
Was he bullied at school? At home?
What was his family like? (And how must they be suffering now?)
What did he do in his spare time?
What made him fucked up enough to do what he did? Because, make no mistake, he WAS fucked up. But so are lots of people. They don't all become potential mass-murderers though.

FIFTEEN years old... barely started on the Big Road of Life. Not old enough to vote, drink legally, have sex, have a driver's licence (well, not sure about Wisconsin...) but in any case - legally, still a child. A CHILD.


1 comment:

Anonymous said...

A child who managed to obtain, without apparent difficulty, two handguns and a duffel full of ammunition. Absent the guns and he may still have killed himself, but he wouldn't have been able to hold his classmates hostage. A constitutional right to bear arms does not require you to turn your house into an arsenal.