Speaking of rhetoric

“Killer was home schooled” is a subtitle of an article in the Daily Telegraph.  “Adam Lanza, the 20-year-old who killed his mother and 26 people at a primary school in Connecticut, was “very, very bright”, his aunt claimed as she disclosed his mother had chosen to home school him after “battling” education authorities.”

And yet, in the article itself, it refers to former classmates, his junior high school basketball team, the English class in which he read Steinbeck at 16, his membership in the high school computer club, how he sat alone at the table in the school lunchroom and on the school bus, and the way he graduated in 2010 from a high school with a yearbook.

This is not an accident.  A dialectic reading of the article will rapidly cause one to conclude that the bright, but mentally unstable kid should have been homeschooled from the start.  Instead, he was thrown into public school hell, socially rejected, and eventually took vengeance upon those serving as proxies for the individuals he perceived to have harmed him.  It wouldn’t surprise me to learn that he had serious issues at school dating back to first or second grade; there is a reason he went after the little ones even if we don’t know what it is. 

But the intended rhetorical effect is for one to draw a connection between being homeschooled and being a murderous freak.  Which is deeply ironic, considering that homeschooling would help solve the problem from both ends, first by making it much less easy to slaughter large numbers of young children gathered in a single confined and defenseless place, and second by reducing the amount of abuse suffered by mentally unstable social rejects in their most formative years.