RED LAKE AFTERMATH
It's been a couple of weeks since the Red Lake tragedy.
Of no surprise, as the world and the media move on to other
things, this even will probably fade from the memories of most
and professionals, however, will be quietly
digging through the life of Jeff Weise for awhile longer. But
I don't believe there will ever be clear-cut answers as to why
this sixteen year old went on his shooting spree.
don't know all the reasons. Yet what I do know
is that Jeff was a lonely, angry, depressed and troubled boy
who probably thought the whole world was against him and that
fate had cursed him.
suicide must have devastated him. But I
could not find any articles that gave Jeff's age when his dad
took his own life.
I am certain,
however, that Jeff needed a close friend.
He did have family living on the reservation. But having kin
nearby doesn't mean there's a deep bond.
Nowadays many family
members are more like strangers to one another.
needed someone to show him love and a healthy
dose of attention. He needed
affirmation that someone cared
about him. Perhaps, too, that
if he had one individual to tell
him "I value you" and you are a "worthwhile" person, this
disaster could have been averted.
He was on
medication for his depression, and he was
interviewed by a professional after his suicide attempt.
Nevertheless, as is often the case, his cries of despair went
unheeded; he didn't seem to know whom to ask for help or where
to find it.
there were many factors which came into play for
this to happen, and many negative events in Jeff Weise's life
converged to produce an explosive mix.
murder someone, though, is always the wrong choice.
In our culture
where young men are taught to act tough and hide their emotions, and where it is thought to be childish
to ask for help, it's improbable to think that troubled
adolescents will open up and talk freely about their difficulties,
or about the seeming meaninglessness of their lives without lots of coaxing and encouragement.
Men are taught
to keep a straight face and to be rugged.
Guns, too, can sometimes be a part of this.
In the movies and
in books such weapons are seen as problem solvers. It's
easier, young minds may reason, to dispatch a person with a
firearm than to work hard at trying to have a good relationship with
Hitler's "Final Solution" to get rid of
"undesireables", a gun or knife seems to provide a quick remedy.
Jeff Weise was ready for this. He was open
to violence. He felt he had run
out of options. His cries
for help went unanswered. No
one loved him, so he thought, and
he saw no hope of things changing for the better. Thus he
would take as many as he could with him to a dark grave.
What a waste! I am convinced that this did not have to
happen. The Red Lake High School
shootings were preventable.
Jeff needed real friends.
April 1, 2005
(c) 2005 David Berkowitz