Monitor: Columbine High School massacre - Armed and trigger-happy kids

American comment on the shooting dead of of thirteen people in a Colorado school by two teenage pupils, members of the self-styled `Trenchcoat Mafia'

Arizona Republic

IT IS no longer enough to simply wag our fingers at the raft of usual suspects. This time, we can't allow ourselves to simply scowl at the National Rifle Association. Or at disintegrating families and bleak, cynical television that trivializes life. We can't simply rage at bloody video games. Not this time. This Black Death is spreading too far, too fast. This time we cannot just cluck our tongues and, when the wailing is done, simply walk away.

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Free Lance star

Virginia

WHAT HAPPENED comes easier in a culture where much of the "entertainment" is blood-drenched and where gunsmoke is depicted as redemptive. When we endlessly "consume" this drek, something else is being consumed in the process. "I looked into his eyes," a survivor said of one of the killers. "There was nothing there."

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Huron Daily Tribune

Michigan

EVERY SCHOOL has its outcasts. Every child exposed to TV has seen hundreds of portrayals of killings. Are we fated to have more senseless mass murders? We must find a way to defuse the anger and end their hopelessness. How we do that isn't clear - but we must find an answer.

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Intelligencer-Record

Philadelphia

SOCIETY ITSELF is to blame for much of what's been happening in our cities and suburbs, on our streets and in our schools. Life has been cheapened; values have been compromised; doing the right thing has been replaced by doing anything. Can we really be genuinely surprised when young people see solutions in violence? After all, they have a lot of source material (the actions of adults) from which to draw.

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The Corning Leader

New York

LITTLETON IS no different than a thousand other communities struggling with the impersonal texture of modern suburban life. It has hurried boulevards clogged with commuters, clone-home neighborhoods filled with professional- level migrant families, parents holding down multiple jobs, overworked police trying to keep a lid on vandalism and vagrancy, and giant schools where hurting kids scream for help with silent voices. We believe the time for talk and excuses has passed. We should pledge to give our children what they need - love and personal attention. We must not give in to the evil of humanity's violent history, but must overcome evil with good.

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Denver Post

Colorado

In stunned disbelief, we have watched the tragedy at Columbine High School unfold. We have prayed for the students and faculty. We have prayed for the families who waited in numbed torment to learn the fate of those they loved. We have prayed for the police who risked their own lives. And we have no answers. The reasons behind this act of mindless, senseless violence elude us now and, perhaps, will elude us forever. Nor will any answer ever be acceptable.

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Washington Times

HOW DO we prevent another school shooting from happening? We try by making sure that this nation's children grow up with the awareness that we are created in the image of God and that therefore the loss of even one individual is a tragedy - let alone the loss of 15 youngsters who should have had all their bright lives before them.

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Corpus Christi Caller Times

Texas

WHATEVER DEVILS plague a tortured psyche, access to a gun magnifies them. Every bloody rampage by the disaffected and the deranged is an argument that this nation pays a terrible price for its reluctance to restrict firearms. We must also try to understand the anger and disaffection that is growing along the fringes of the teen-age crowds. We may not understand what causes such dark fantasies to grow or what nurtures them. But we can stop them before they explode as they did on Tuesday.

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The Washington Post

THE NATIONAL arsenal of America is notorious worldwide. Outcasts seeking attention get it when they are armed. It emboldens kids in rural as well as urban settings and from all social groups. Law enforcement authorities - those on the front lines - continue to urge more attention to public safety, as do voters in more and more states. How many more tragedies like this one in Colorado must it take for the country to stop feeding firepower so freely to its youth?

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