Last week, an Ohio juvenile court judge ruled that T.J. Lane, the alleged shooter in the February 27, 2012 incident at Chardon (OH) High School will be tried as an adult. Lane, who is just 17, is charged with six felony counts, the most severe of which is aggravated murder. As a juvenile, the maximum sentence would only have kept Lane in jail until he turned 21. Now, the teen faces life in prison for the shooting which left three high school students dead and two others injured. Authorities claim that Lane admitted to firing shots from a .22-caliber pistol at a cafeteria table full of students that Monday morning, meaning that much of the trial will focus on his mental state and current psychological diagnosis. A juvenile court judge did find Lane competent enough to stand trial. However, that ruling will need to be reaffirmed in adult court. [caption id="attachment_1146" align="alignleft" width="300" caption="Image courtesy of Simon Howden"][/caption] Confusion Surrounding Tragedy: What’s the Motive? Unfortunately for many of us, the reality of school and workplace shootings is all too familiar. Though the tragic consequences of the violent actions of a few people have not diminished, as a society our meter for tragedy has been severely skewed. What’s particularly interesting about this case, however, is its outlier status in relation to other mass shootings in this country. Unlike the shooters at Columbine, there is no indication of bullying. Lane didn’t even attend Chardon High School, but rather an alternative school for which he caught a bus at Chardon each day. There is no indication that Lane was under the influence of drugs or alcohol at the time of the shooting either. In fact, drugs, either use or dealing thereof, have no apparent connection to this incident at all. Lane, as far as anyone knows, is not a part of any sort of radical fringe group – by all indications he acted alone. Indeed, the biggest mystery surrounding this case is the why of it all. Questions Abound According to the Associated Press, there is a security video of Lane during the shooting which has been viewed by the judge and the trial’s lawyers as well as Lane’s family and the families of the victims. However, they are all under a gag order regarding the details of footage. This leaves a lot of unanswered questions in the mind of the press and the public. What was Lane’s mental state that day? Is there any indication of his motives? What signs may there have been which could have prevented this tragedy? The confusion surrounding this tragedy remains. Perhaps it will be revealed at trial, but then again, perhaps not. As educators and human beings though, this mystery should concern us more than anything else. In this age of violence in places that are supposed to be safe, what can we do to prevent it all from happening one more time? Or can we do anything at all?
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