American mayhem

School shootings

When did teenagers start gunning down their classmates and teachers? Over the past two years, nine different schools have become scenes of murder. Twenty-one people have been killed and 46 injured at the hands of high school or middle school students. Adolescence has always been a time when alienation, uncertainty, aggression and aimlessness mix in volatile ways. Acts of teenage nihilism are not new. But at some point aggression started being acted out not with words or fists but semiautomatic weapons. And the target now may well be not one person but a cafeteria full of fellow students.


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