(Copyright 1999 by The Tattoo. All rights reserved.)

The Tattoo

--- Making a Permanent Impression Since 1994 ---

April 26, 1999

Kids who kill: school massacre raises fears

The Tattoo
On the anniversary of Adolf Hitler's birthday, two
guys dressed in black trench coats entered a school in
Littleton, Colorado never to leave alive. They brought
with them a bloodbath that once again turned a naive
nation on its ear.
The shootings at Columbine High School terrified,
confused and shocked the world with the brutal reality
of this violence. It left many wondering if this type of
tragedy could be avoided. And, even scarier, if their
school could be next.

Many believe it is nearly impossible to prevent
potential episodes

Dave Albert, a Bristol parent, said,  "I think it can
happen anywhere, but you never think it will happen
to you. You really can't control it and there's no way
to stop it."

Several Bristol teens agreed with that statement.

Josh Krampitz, a senior at Bristol Central, said that
events like these can't be controlled by laws or

"That's something you really can't prepare for. There's
no protection against people who aren't thinking
rationally," said Krampitz.

"Itís scary. You never know what's gonna happen the
next day," said Mike Consonni, a junior at Bristol
With around a dozen school shootings over the last
three years, parents and students alike are thinking
twice about school safety. 

Chris Wilson, a father of three said, "Anyone would
be concerned that something like that would happen in
your school."

Bristol Eastern freshman Nikki Botteon said she asked
herself if an incident like the one at Littleton could
happen at her school. 

"I donít think it will," she said, "but what if it does?"

Although Wilson was concerned, he said that Bristol
schools are "as safe as can be."

The shootings made others wary of students with
particular social affiliations. 

A seventh grader at Chippens Hill Middle School,
Morgan Nigro, said of the Colorado massacre, "It
makes me nervous because we have a lot of punks at
our school."

Chris Fortner, a freshman at the University of
Minnesota at Duluth, thinks the media's portrayal of
the killers as "punks" or "gothics" will only inflame
the situation further.

"There was no need to discuss what type of students
these people hung out with or how they chose to identify-
 themselves, especially since there was no
confirmation of who these people were," Fortner said.
"If the students who did this had been on the football -
team or involved in sports ... we all know that they'd
be called 'these seemingly normal students.'"

Pat Flaherty, a teacher at Tootin' Hills Elementary
School in Simsbury, said that even though she's not
nervous about similar incidents occurring she is
"concerned about the children's safety in school."

"I don't know if you could prevent it and it's so hard
to enforce rules nowadays because of lawsuits," she

Flaherty also said of the "Trench Coat Mafia" at
Columbine High School, "They shouldn't be allowed
to wear trench coats. They conceal weapons." 

"It's sad, but I believe that if this keeps on happening,
metal detectors may need to be installed," Flaherty

Richard and Myrtle Ouellette of Bristol commented on
the shooting not only as parents, but as grandparents.

"It was the worst thing that could've ever happened,"
Richard Ouellette said. "They should've had more
security around the school in the first place."

Myrtle Ouellette expressed her disbelief that kids
"have that much guts to kill each other," and the
amount of leeway schools allow.

Albert, the Bristol father, said he's sure the parents of
the victims in Colorado are "angry at everybody."

Miriam Gustafson, a senior at Northfield Mount
Hermon School in Northfield, Mass., said the notion
of a "Trench Coat Mafia" is silly.

"Perhaps the beauty and almost idyllic atmosphere
makes places like Colorado seem very far away,"
Gustafson said. "Kids here are concerned about the
shooting   there were numerous requests for prayer
and remembrances on our school network."

Whether these murderers seem ridiculous, scary, or
otherwise, most believe you can't let fear reign.
"You have to live your life and not hold back,"
Consonni said.