Are Some Parents of Violent Children The
Main Cause of Their Child’s Behavior?
Are some parents of violent children the main cause of their child’s behavior?When children commit a horrible act such as a school shooting their parents often look for someone or something to blame rather than looking at what role they, as parents, may have had in the tragedy. The often targeted entertainers, video game developers, teachers, drug companies, and writers are rarely, if ever, responsible for such tragic outcomes and, unfortunately, often become victims as a result of lawsuits filed in an attempt to censor or place blame on them. The parents of dangerous children must be scrutinized and sued alongside every other entity being blamed for the heinous crimes that children commit.
When two young men, Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold, went on a shooting spree in Littleton, Colorado, killing fifteen people, including themselves, there was a public outcry for censorship of every type of entertainment and changes in gun laws despite Eric Harris’s journal entry titled, “Last Wishes” asking that no one be blamed, other than himself and Klebold, for the massacre (“Diaries and Journals of Dylan Klebold and Eric Harris”, par. 2). After the 1999 school shooting now simply known as Columbine, a “Newsweek” pole showed that, “about half of all Americans want to see the movie industry, the TV industry, computer game makers, Internet services and gun manufacturers and the NRA make major policy changes to help reduce teen violence” (Document 1 of 4, par. 1). According to Dave Cullen in his article “Let the Litigation Begin” several lawsuits were filed against the parents of the two boys responsible for the shooting spree claiming that Harris’s and Klebold’s families, “breached their duty of care” by allowing their sons to amass a cache of illegal weapons (Cullen, par. 5). Although the boys’ parents denied such allegations, they settled out of court for $1.6 million (Cullen, par. 5). Why would parents who claimed to have been completely unaware of what their children were up to enter into a settlement with the families of their children’s victims?
Before the 1999 Columbine tragedy, there was the 14-year-old boy in Paducah, Kentucky who, in 1997, went on a shooting spree at his local school. Parents of 3 of the shooting victims filed lawsuits against 25 media companies seeking $130 million in damages, citing that the shooter, Michael Carneal, learned how to shoot a gun by playing video and computer games. The lawsuits further implied that violent movies and internet pornography were to blame for the boy’s behavior (Gibbes, par. 6).
In both the Columbine and the Paducah, Kentucky cases the parents of the shooters were sued on the grounds that they should have known, and prevented, the tragedies from occurring. According to an article written by Mark Walsh regarding the Paducah shooting, a state-law negligence suit “named 45 defendants, including McCracken County and teachers…who allegedly failed to interpret “warning signals” [referring to a paper that Carneal had written depicting a fictitious school shooting] that 14-year-old Michael Carneal would go on a murderous rampage” (Walsh, par. 4). The case against the employees of the McCracken County School District was dismissed by Judge William Shadoan, citing, “We cannot expect those teachers and administrators to be psychiatrists, lawyers, psychologists, or physicians” (Walsh, par. 15). These school employees should have never been put in the position to have to defend themselves against such allegations. They, as a result of frivolous lawsuits, have become victims simply for doing their jobs. In Walsh’s article, the lawsuit brought against the school employees seems to imply that Carneal’s teacher was negligent for giving the boy a passing grade on the assignment that included the fictitious school shooting and for not reporting the contents of the paper to some higher authority (Walsh, par....
Cited: "Diaries and Journals of Dylan Klebold and Eric Harris." Diaries and Journals of Dylan Klebold and Eric Harris. N.p., 1999. Web. 18 May 2014. .
"Gibbes, Wayan ." Times International . N.p., 17 May 1999. Web. 17 May 2014. .
Gibbs, Nancy, and Timothy Roche. The Columbine Tapes. Web. 18 May 2014. .
"Let the Litigation Begin." Saloncom RSS. N.p., 2000. Web. 18 May 2014. .
Walsh, Mark. "High Court Declines Kentucky Case Blaming School Violence on Media." Education Week. N.p., 29 Jan. 2003. Web. 18 May 2014. .
Please join StudyMode to read the full document