Coverage of criminal unfair, deeper look into suspect’s past is necessary

Guest Columnist and Guest Columnist

The BG News’ report of the freshman man who was arrested for allegedly having threatened other students in Darrow Hall on Tuesday gives a one-sided, “feel-good” account of a situation that truly requires much more depth of understanding and compassion.

The story the newspaper reports is no “campus brief” in reality.

The fact that it’s treated as such insults my intelligence as it teeter-totters into the kind of mentality about criminality one would find in George Orwell’s 1984. My apparent anger is not meant to be directed solely at the editorial staff of BG, but to everyone in our culture who vilifies a person for doing nothing more than uttering a key phrase; for publicly shaming him in the same way that probably pushed him to make a threat like that in the first place.

My position is predicated on reports about Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold, instigators of the Columbine school shooting, who were heavily bullied before their shooting rampage, as well as a boy in my 7th grade class who (also ostracized) had threatened to go on a shooting spree, but eventually killed himself instead.

I do not condemn the students of Darrow Hall for having spoken up, nor do I accuse them of having done any bullying themselves.

I have an issue with not only the inappropriate treatment of this issue by the school newspaper, but also the way our society as a whole reacts to people who are different or have emotional struggles.

I can only wonder what we would find out about the man in question if we dug a little deeper into his past. BG News presupposes that we need no more information about the circumstances surrounding this alleged threat, that we will simply judge the young man with the same severity the police have done and feel safer for it. That there was a conflict, but we don’t need to know his side. That he felt weak enough to make such a threat, but further alienation and punishment on behalf of the penal system will rectify him more than love, support, or counseling ever could.

Maybe I stand alone in my thinking now, but there were times after the Columbine and Virginia Tech shootings in which we had fair and thoughtful discussions in class about what causes school shootings.

I leave you with this, BG News: Won’t you do an investigative report on this important issue, and forgo another full-page spread with pictures of students working out at the Rec Center? Is there something holding you back from thinking and reporting critically about this issue, as American college students proudly should?