The other side of Columbine

From the Anchorage Daily News:He [Tom Maloney] was fascinated by rockets and airplanes, mastered rock climbing, and obtained his pilot’s license at age 14. Fifteen months after he enrolled at Central, on a Saturday morning in November 1998, the eighth-grader strung up a rope and hung himself at his parents’ home. When paramedics arrived, he had no pulse. After 15 minutes of CPR, they were able to get his heart going. But the boy had already suffered extensive and irreversible brain damage. His family sued the School District in 2000. Among their claims: School staffers refused to work with the boy’s psychologist and destroyed records pertinent to the boy’s situation, including documentation showing when and how he was harassed by other students. The suit claimed district employees erred by “punishing Thomas equally or worse than his attackers whenever an assault on Thomas was reported.”

…Tom looked defeated and told his mother that he wasn’t going to be blamed anymore for things he didn’t do…. The next morning, after speaking with her son, Tom’s mother left the house for 20 minutes or so to drop his younger sister off at a sewing class, she testified. When she returned, she found him hanging from a rope strung from the ceiling.

This sort of thing makes me feel soulsick. It is the other side of Columbine. Notice how we’ve never heard of this story, because Tom Maloney chose to direct his desperation at himself. Color me ruthless if you will, but I have far more sympathy for the Columbine killers than I do for the kids who drove them to it.* Klebold and Harris may have become lethal monsters, but they did not do so without significant help from others. In any case, it’s a pity that none of these bullied, suicidal children were homeschooled, as that would have almost surely prevented both tragedies. Read the Anchorage piece and notice how the so-called educators don’t appear to care much about anything except that their indifferent, incompetent posteriors are not held responsible.

The Rocky Mountain News wrote: No matter how exhaustive, the official report will never tell the entire story or measure the deep scars this tragedy left on the victims and the community…. Why? “I think I know why they did it,” the FBI’s Fuselier says. “It was because they were so filled with hate. But the real question is why they had so much hate inside them.”

The kids know why.

* Yes, of course the two killers are the only ones who were responsible for their actions; their suicides argue that they were quite willing to pay the price.