Another Columbine Specter

Georgia boy targeted with homophobic harassment arrested for bringing gun to school.

Change.org has a story up right now about a Georgia student who was arrested on December 7th for brining a gun to school.  According to the original news article  a female student reported the gun after she, “heard the boy say he was going to “shoot up the school Columbine style” after other students made derogatory comments about his sexuality.”

The story immediately reminded me of Kimmel and Mahler’s study of school shooter accounts back in 2003:

(The authors) undertook an analysis of secondary media reports on random school shootings from 1982 to 2001. Using the shooters’ names as our search terms, we gathered articles from six major media sources—the three major weekly news magazines: Time, Newsweek, and U.S. News and World Report (in order from greatest circulation to least); and three major daily newspapers: USA Today, The New York Times, and the Los Angeles Times. In conducting our analysis, we found a striking pattern from the stories about the boys who committed the violence: Nearly all had stories of being constantly bullied, beat up, and, most significantly for this analysis, “gaybaited.” Nearly all had stories of being mercilessly and constantly teased, picked on, and threatened. And most strikingly, it was not because they were gay (at least there is no evidence to suggest that any of them were gay) but because they were different from the other boys—shy, bookish, honor students, artistic, musical, theatrical, nonathletic, “geekish,” or weird. Theirs are stories of “cultural marginalization” based on criteria for adequate gender performance, specifically the enactment of codes of masculinity.

You can read their analysis of 28 cases of boys negotiating masculinity, sexual orientation, and violence by bringing guns to school here.

Why is it that, as a culture, we are more comfortable seeing two men holding guns than holding hands? 
~Ernest Gaines

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  1. Pingback: In the news: Macho matters of life and death | Schooling Inequality