Bullying As Seen On TV: Criminal Minds- Part 2

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Some of the team from Criminal Minds

For this post, I’m back on the subject of bullying as seen on TV. The television series “Criminal Minds” has given me three episodes worth of inspiration. The first one was posted about two weeks ago on school shootings. Today’s post was inspired by the eleventh episode of season nine, simply called “Bully.”

The story as far as I’m concerned, begins with a man being murdered while he was out jogging. What really astounds the BAU, as well as local police, is the ferocity of the attack. Here is a well conditioned man who appeared able to handle himself but he is beaten really badly to death. Things get more interesting when the team discover a young couple who suffered the same fate a year earlier. There is debate whether the two murders are linked and that provides an interesting counter plot but I’m not here to review the programme.

Another murder happens and that leads to the big breakthrough in the case. A husband and wife are murdered in their house and the team interview the young daughter who has to come back from university to deal with her parents’ affairs. She tells the team of a young boy who was believed to have committed suicide because he was bullied so badly. This boy was forced to wear girl’s underpants in front of the entire school. One can only imagine the humiliation and it makes me glad that I didn’t have such an ordeal. It turns out that the murdered jogger was a substitute teacher at the high school at the time and saw the bullying but didn’t do anything about it.

Here comes the murderer. We discover that in the years after he dropped out of high school, due to the bullying, he has become a physical fitness fanatic aided by taking steroids. Viewers get a full look at his now extremely aggressive tendencies. They also get a flashback to when he was bullied by having his head stuck down a toilet. In the end, the team locate him at the high school after he was beaten up but not yet killed another teacher who was present at the bullying of his friend but sorted the problem by making the victim and the bully shake hands. Unlike so many American cop shows, the murdering victim is not shot but taken into custody on the promise that he would get to tell his side of the story. After reading the books, “Nineteen Minutes” and “Endgame,” I wonder how much of his story would be told and would anybody listen?

While I be the first one to admit that murder doesn’t justify anything like this, I couldn’t help feeling a lot of sympathy for the killer. I know that Mark in “He Was Weird” would have felt it too. Both of us faced bullies but unlike the teacher who didn’t effectively deal with it on the programme, some of my teachers actually tried to turn it around and blame me, the victim. I highlight this quite a lot in the book. Another interesting personal link to this episode was that although I didn’t take steroids, I did join the marines after high school because I wanted it to give me the physical tools to deal with any bullies. Even though the horrendous bullying I endured was in junior high school, it had still left a mental scar that is still present today. It’s just faded a lot.

To buy He Was Weird, go to: https://www.amazon.co.uk/He-Was-Weird-Michael-Lefevre/dp/1909740942/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1492712964&sr=1-1&keywords=he+was+weird

 

 

 

 

 

 

High School Does End

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Bowling for Soup

My previous post based on the episode from the TV show “Criminal Minds” has given me food for thought. In that episode, ten years after a school shooting occurred at their high school, there was one group that saw continued to see themselves as above the others. They were even called the “Top Ten.” This group still excluded one young man who felt he should have been part of that group but wasn’t and was still excluded. That exclusion was what led him to start killing members of that group.

That episode and post, along with seeing the video for the song, “High School Never Ends” by Bowling for Soup, had me reflecting on my post high school days. In high school, I was nearly what one of the characters in “Crime Scene Investigation” used to describe his high school days, a ghost. I did engage in some extra curricular activities in school and I wasn’t bullied, except for the odd occasion but unlike most of junior high, I never walked the halls in fear. Saying that, I was considered a ‘loser’ or weird or other things by a number of students.

However, in my own mind, I did return to my old high school in triumph a few months after graduation after I became a marine. Walking the halls in uniform with stomach in and chest out and receiving no hostile or even patronizing rebuffs from anyone, I felt I put any specter of high school to rest. I had become a marine and had made something of myself.

At the conclusion of the previous post, I mentioned how I ran into some former jocks and had a beer with them. I was never friends with any of them in high school so I thought barriers had been broken down. However, I saw one of them a few weeks later and he gave me a patronizing “Hi.” Like those in the “Criminal Minds” episode, he obviously saw me in the same light as high school despite the fact that I had served my country and seen the world through my own eyes, which he had only seen on TV and textbooks.

I’ve never been to a high school reunion. I did try to go to my five year one but no one answered when I dialed the phone number given in the radio advert. By the time the ten year reunion came around, I was already living in the UK. By chance, my mother crossed paths with someone I was in high school with and who was on the committee for the reunion. Not wanting to go on record as ‘whereabouts unknown,’ I instructed my mother to tell this person that I was living in London and married with a baby boy. Since then, I have always speculated if it was announced I was living in London and what the reactions of my graduating class would be. I believe a good number of people would have been impressed that I was living in such a city. However, there would have been others, the ones who thought I was a loser, would have claimed that I was living in the biggest slum in London and working at McDonald’s. Neither speculation would have been correct.

Jello Biafra

Nowadays, I wonder if I’m still listed as living in London at reunions. I don’t anymore, I live in rural Gloucestershire. I amuse myself once in a great while by speculating what those from the Mainland Regional High School Class of 79 would make of me should I ever run into any of them. After all, while I’m not some corporate big wig or a star in the arts, although I have written and published two books, I don’t think I’ve done too bad. However, in the end, I choose not to worry about it because like Jello Biafra once said, high school isn’t all that important and it’s not the best years in most people’s lives. It certainly wasn’t for me. Although I didn’t hear him say this until 2005, I’m glad I followed his advice in regards to my high school years and those awful years before by pissing on its grave and getting the hell out of town. When you do that, the less significant those days become.

To buy He Was Weird, go to: https://www.amazon.co.uk/He-Was-Weird-Michael-Lefevre/dp/1909740942/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1492123102&sr=1-1&keywords=he+was+weird

 

 

Bullying and School Shootings As Seen on TV: Criminal Minds- Part 1

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Some of the team from Criminal Minds

Last week, I posted about bullying and school shootings from an episode of the long running TV series, “Crime Scene Investigation.” This week and for the next two after, I will talk about similar episodes from the series, “Criminal Minds.” I’ll start with the earliest episode on the subject and move on to the most recent which was from the current season. Therefore, this post will deal with the fourth episode of season seven entitled “Painless.”

A brief synopsis of the programme: Ten years prior, a school shooting and bombing took place at a high school in Boise, Idaho. As the survivors, along with family and friends of the slain, prepare for the ten year memorial service, the principal of the school is murdered the same way as the shooter had done ten years earlier. While the service is allowed to go on, two of the survivors are also murdered. The investigation by the Criminal Minds team reveals that those two survivors were part of a group called “The Top Ten.” These were students who survived the ordeal and who afterwards, went on tours of schools and talk shows to tell all about what happened on that fateful day. They comprised all the high school social groups, jocks, stoners, nerds, cheerleaders, etc. As the climax unfolds, we learn that one young teen is wrongfully left out and that the one popular boy who was murdered actually lied about his role in the shooting. He said that he was the only one who looked the shooter in the eye when in fact it was the boy who got left out. We also learn that this left out boy was knocked out by the bomb that was set off and therefore, he didn’t get the chance to tell his story. This is why he killed the principal and the other two survivors because he was wrongfully denied his chance at fame. Unfortunately for him, he never will get his chance to tell what really happened because the Criminal Minds team is forced to shoot him dead.

While I was watching it, comparisons and contrasts to my book, “He Was Weird,” came to mind. First the contrasts: Unlike Mark in my book, the shooter in the Criminal Minds episode was a popular kid and captain of the wrestling team. That is what befuddled investigators as to why he carried out the massacre. It also turned out that he had assistance from another boy who was never suspected because at the time of the shooting/bombing, he was satisfying his marijuana addiction. Mark, on the other hand, was the complete opposite of this guy, badly bullied and totally acted alone. Another contrast is that after the shooting on the TV show, the shooter’s family becomes national pariahs and are unable to move out of Boise. Contrast that to Mark’s family where his mother reverts back to her maiden name and with the help of relatives, are able to relocate to another state. And although the school officials know about what Mark has done, they are willing to give his younger sister and brother a fair chance.

Similarities between the programme and the book come in the fact that “He Was Weird,” ends with the ten year memorial service of the shooting. At the end of the programme, those at the service light a candle to honour the dead with each person lighting a candle and saying the name of someone who died that day. The younger brother of the shooter, who was killed in the bomb blast, says the name of his older brother. At the ten year service at the end of “He Was Weird,” Mark’s sister points out that actually eighteen people died that fateful day and not the seventeen that had been talked about for the past ten years since her brother carried out the shooting.

On a personal note, one thing I gleaned from this particular episode was the comment that even after high school, the social structures don’t change. The “Top Ten” still thought they had an air of privilege about them, even ten years after graduation. When I came out of the marines, four years after graduation, I ran into three of the jocks and outside a bar and had a beer with them. I thought that the high school group crap was no more. However, when I saw one of them a two months later, he said “hi” to me in a patronizing tone. I took this to mean that even though I had served in the marines, I wasn’t good enough for him. Maybe he was still in high school in his mind. I didn’t let it get to me and if I did manage to get to a high school reunion, I wouldn’t be ashamed of who I’ve become and what I’ve accomplished in my life.

To buy He Was Weird, go to https://www.amazon.co.uk/He-Was-Weird-Michael-Lefevre/dp/1909740942/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1491412808&sr=1-1&keywords=he+was+weird

 

 

Bullying and School Shootings From TV- CSI

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As I stated in my last post, there are over fifty books that deal with school shootings, many of which show the shooter as a victim of bullying. My book, He Was Weird, is one of those. However, in spite of all of these books, Hollywood has not picked up on this and made any films about school shootings. In fact, the only movie I know of about a school shooting is a BBC production of Lionel Shriver’s book, “We Need to Talk About Kevin.” I wasn’t too impressed with the film as it left out what I felt were important parts of the story and the shooting scene was crap. Lionel should sue. Fortunately, television hasn’t been afraid to deal with the subjects of bullying and school shootings and I will be looking at these in my next few posts.

Scene from the Bully for You episode on CSI.

The first one I know about appeared in Season 2 of “Crime Scene Investigation,” CSI for short. The title of the particular episode explains it all, “Bully for You.” It opens with the discovery of a dead body of a boy in the boys’ bathroom of a local high school. Almost immediately, the investigation of the CSI team uncovers the fact that the dead boy was a high school bully. Therefore, all of the victims of the bully are interviewed who tell their individual stories of how they were bullied, some are rather bad, but it is deduced that none of them could have shot the bully.

Further interviews and the obvious great forensic work by the CSI team lead to the inevitable twist in the story. In the end, it is discovered that the shooter was a female guidance counselor at the school. A background check showed that she was traumatised by an school shooting at her previous school, where she was assistant principal and happened two weeks after Columbine. At that school, one day, eleven people were shot and killed by the shooter. She explained it all happened because some Sophmore  didn’t like people making jokes about his glasses. That was her justification for shooting the bully. It was better to shoot one bully than to have a mass shooting like the one she experienced. Does she have a point? Maybe, but it was no excuse for murder.

What I liked about this particular episode was that it neither glorified the bully or justified the murder. For me, it reinforced my belief that bullying is wrong but there are better more effective means of dealing with it than taking lives.

To buy He Was Weird, go to https://www.amazon.co.uk/He-Was-Weird-Michael-Lefevre/dp/1909740942/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1490815891&sr=1-1&keywords=he+was+weird

 

 

 

Literary Cyber Bullying- He Was Weird

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There are now over fifty books about school shootings. In fact, school shootings has become its own sub-genre in books. I am proud to say that “He Was Weird” is one of them. Because there are so many books on the subject, I, as an author, have to explain how my book is different. While I haven’t read all fifty books, I can talk about the other four I’ve read and posted about on here.

One big difference between “He Was Weird” and the other four books is that when you begin reading the story in those other books, the school shooting has already taken place. Each of them go back in time before the shooting and talk about all the events which lead up to the big event. While doing so, they present reasons as to why the shooting happened in the story. Well, I don’t do that in my book. “He Was Weird” opens with the family moving to the new town and Mark, the protagonist, excited about his new adventure. As the story progresses, we read how Mark is worn down by the constant bullying to the point that he finally snaps and shoots up his school. All events are as they happen and not told past tense like the others. One point I take great compliment in is that some of those who read “He Was Weird” were hoping that somehow Mark wouldn’t go through with the atrocity he commits. That hope has been a good hook in the story.

The other difference is the amount of cyber bullying that goes on. In the other four stories, there is very little if any in each of them. Even in the one book I feature in my last post, there isn’t a whole lot. That is different in “He Was Weird.” Mark is subjected to some really bad cyber bullying. Most of it was on Facebook where the other children do say horrible things about him. One instance is a pretend post onto Mark’s Facebook wall, supposedly from his hero, hockey star Kip McClary, who says that he doesn’t want a faggot like Mark as one of his fans. Another is the use of mobile phone camera where someone films Mark getting badly bullied and then uploads it onto the site. On the morning of the day Mark becomes a pop star, he reads some more mean comments from people online and that only strengthens his resolve to carry out his massacre.

On the other hand, Mark does use social media to his advantage for his big day. On the day after the shooting, the reader discovers Mark’s dying declaration on Facebook. He names some of his worst bullies and states that he is going to get his revenge. He also lets everyone know how mean they were to him and that they won’t escape his wrath either. That post has its backers and haters. While friends and relatives of the victims of Mark’s carnage say horrible things, there are others praising him for having the courage to do what he did. When it is finally taken off Facebook, his dying declaration has over 1000 ‘Likes.’

The cyber bullying I write about in the book is totally from the recesses of my imagination. Unlike the other bullying experiences Mark faces, it isn’t based on anything I experienced directly. Social media and the internet didn’t exist when I was going through all that hell forty years ago. That’s probably a good thing because if my bullying experiences had been in modern times, I’m sure those who bullied me in the physical sense would have bullied me online as well. Probably more because there would have been those who would have hurled insults at me under a cloak of anonymity. So, I dodged a bullet there but I am still very supportive of anyone who falls victim to this type of bullying.

To buy He Was Weird, go to https://www.amazon.co.uk/He-Was-Weird-Michael-Lefevre/dp/1909740942/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1490044713&sr=1-1&keywords=he+was+weird

 

 

 

Literary Cyber Bullying- Rupture

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My last post about the horrible new cyber bullying game and the brave young lady who spoke out against it gave me incentive for this and my next post. I was always intending to write one or more posts about cyber bullying and after last week, this is as good a time as any.

Like I have done with several topics, I have decided to look at cyber bullying through the books I often cover on Peaceful Rampage. Unfortunately, there is absolutely no cyber bullying in either “We Need to Talk About Kevin” or “Endgame.” In Jodi Picoult’s “Nineteen Minutes,” the only instance is when the bullies spam their victim’s personal email to a girl he likes all around the school. That leaves my own book, “He Was Weird” and Simon Lelic’s “Rupture.” It’s the latter, I’ll focus on in this post.

If you aren’t familiar with the story, “Rupture” is about a teacher who is bullied by both colleagues and pupils to the point where he snaps and carries out a school shooting. The police detective assigned to investigate the shooting uncovers something called the “Bum Blog,” which is written by pupils and hurls insults at this particular teacher. What’s worse is the fact that the Head Teacher knows about this bullying blog but allows to go on because of free speech. Simon Lelic only treats us to a few highlights of some of the things written in the “Bum Blog” but it is enough to let us know that this blog is nasty. A clear cut case of cyber bullying and it leaves the detective with little doubt as to why the teacher shot up his school. Further proof that even in fiction, cyber bullying stinks.

To buy He Was Weird, go to https://www.amazon.co.uk/He-Was-Weird-Michael-Lefevre/dp/1909740942/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1489443538&sr=1-1&keywords=he+was+weird

 

 

 

 

A New Cyber Bullying Game and the Girl Who Stood Up To It

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Last night, while reading my Google Alerts for Bullying, I came across a very interesting but disturbing story. The link on the alert led me to an article about a new bullying game on Snapchat. In this game, players are encourage to come up with the worst possible insults they can hurl at another person, be it about their appearance, personality, weight or anything else. My reaction to this was, “Who in their right mind would come up with something like this?” I mean isn’t there enough crap in the world without people wanting to hurt others through a game. The article was published in several British newspapers so the game might be just in the UK, although it will probably spread world wide if allowed to continue. Personally, if it does, I think that any victim of this Snapchat abuse should do the American thing and sue the game’s creator. Obviously, there are a lot of sickos in the world.

Rachaele Hambleton and her 12 year old daughter Betsy

Fortunately, this story has a happy side to it. One 12 year old girl from Devon, UK named Betsy Chamberlain stood up to all those who play this game. She wrote her own story on Snapchat saying how disgusting this game was and it was cruel and mean and that she would have no part in playing it. Betsy’s mother, Rachaele Hambleton states how proud she is of her daughter for taking this stand against this horrible bullying game. Well Rachaele, I’m proud of Betsy too for the same reasons. Rachaele has now written about this game in her own blog, Part Time Working Mummy, to warn people of the potential dangers of this game. She has also alerted many parents to it as well. Hopefully, this will go far in getting victims to speak out if they are being bullied online or anywhere else.

An additional thought, inspired by my beautiful Aspergers mind, came from the only online comment on the article. It simply states, “Now blogger is an employment option.” You sorely missed the point here mate. Yes the mother works part time and yes she writes a blog but she doesn’t do it for a living. I don’t know anyone who writes a blog for a living. In my case, there is a indirect financial motive for writing Peaceful Rampage and that is so you will all go out and buy my book, “He Was Weird.” But I work a full time job plus two part time ones and none of them are to do with blogging. The thing is that Rachelle Hambleton wrote her article in order alert others to the dangers of this game and to rightfully give praise to her daughter Betsy for being brave and standing up for what she believed was wrong. I praise Betsy too.

To view the newspaper article in The Sun, here’s the link: https://www.thesun.co.uk/living/3016323/mum-horrified-when-daughter-tells-her-about-new-snapchat-bullying-game-but-is-left-proud-by-her-response/

To buy He Was Weird, go to https://www.amazon.co.uk/He-Was-Weird-Michael-Lefevre/dp/1909740942/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1488915055&sr=1-1&keywords=he+was+weird

 

 

 

I Should Have Told My Story

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With all my reflection of my past, another ‘what if’ arises to play with my Asperger’s mind. This one goes back to late 1986, early 87 when I attended Queen Mary College in London. During that time, I was feeling very angry towards the United States after receiving a letter that for me at the time was the straw that broke the camel’s back and had me declaring that I hated my country. That event was the Veteran’s Administration refusing to give me any of my Veteran’s Education money on the grounds that my course of study wasn’t approved.

I told my immediate friends, both American and British, about my feelings and all of them were very sympathetic towards me. However, I toyed with the idea that I should tell my story to the college newspaper. I thought it might be a good story about how an American veteran is being so badly treated by his country. I’m sure that many a British student and a good number of Americans would have been surprised an impressed at what I had to say. So why didn’t I?

The main reason was that I was afraid of being thought of as an attention seeker. This was something I was accused of being in my childhood and in my young adult life, I went too far the other way out of fear of being thought of as such. Furthermore, there was the two extremes of British politics at the college. On the left, I would have been seen as a martyr against the Imperialist American state. The positive being that they would have jumped on my story as proof of how America treats the working class, even though they served the country. I know I would have been caught up in that furor. Meanwhile, the right would have been quick in their attempts to discredit me. They would have tried to make me out to be some whinging crybaby and downplay the validity of my accounts. Not that I feared anything from them really. Then of course, it would have put the other American students in an awkward situation, again, I wouldn’t have cared too much about that. However, most would have said nothing in public while secretly wishing me that it all would work out for me.

Another thing to note would be the fact that I would have said something a few British students might not have liked. See, during my year at Queen Mary, there was this stereotype by British students that all American ones were filthy rich. That surely didn’t apply to me and because of that, I would have attacked that stereotype. Some British students would have taken offense to that. I don’t think the college administration would have been too happy with me either for accusing the college of thriving on the myth that all American students were rich. In my defense, I would have likened myself to Fredrick Douglas, an escaped slave who spoke for the abolitionist cause. When he was talking about slavery in the South, he was a hero but when he spoke out against prejudice in the North, it didn’t sit too well with people. It might have been the same with me in regards to the US and the UK.

In hindsight, I think that I should have told my story to the college paper, warts and all. I would have gotten it all off my chest and not have been such an angry young man. I realize now that most of my anxieties over why I didn’t do it wouldn’t have impacted much on my story and it would have explained a lot to people about me. It wouldn’t have been attention seeking either and I think that people might have been generally interested in what I had to say. Of course, if there were blogs thirty years ago, it would have been that much easier.

To buy He Was Weird, go to https://www.amazon.co.uk/He-Was-Weird-Michael-Lefevre/dp/1909740942/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1488318403&sr=1-1&keywords=he+was+weird

The Role of Music in Literary School Shootings: He Was Weird

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mybookcover

After reviewing two prominent books about the role of music in the school shootings which take place in their stories, I have decided to write about my own novel, “He Was Weird.” Before I launch, I would like to point out that, originally, I read both “Nineteen Minutes” and “Endgame” while I was writing my own story out of fear of being accused of plagiarism. Those fears were put to rest quite quickly although reading about the role of music on those stories gave me ideas for my own in that regard.

Mark, the protagonist from the story, is never really into music. In fact, in one scene, he states that Marilyn Manson is Satanic. Therefore, you, the reader, don’t really get much insight into his musical tastes because there is none to get. However, after Mark carries out his big atrocity by shooting up his school, it doesn’t stop some people from insisting that he was driven to his crime by music. During a phone in radio programme, some caller insists that he Marilyn Manson and violent video games were the reasons behind Mark’s killing spree. Even the talk show host downplays those comments.

Marilyn Manson-

Marilyn Manson-

The argument that music was at fault for Mark’s school frenzy doesn’t end with the radio phone in. Maybe one of the officers from the Ramsgate Police Department was listening to the broadcast because when they go to Mark’s house and confiscate his things, they do so with the idea of him being under the influence of films, games or music. Sadly for them, they find nothing to substantiate their claim. The only computer games they find are the Age of Empires games and an ice hockey game. Though that doesn’t stop some from stating that Mark’s amazing ability to play the Age of Empires games influenced his decision to shoot up his school. As a result and I’m going off track a little here, parents of the victims try to use it to get a teacher at the school fired and one tries to sue Microsoft. The same goes for films. The only two they find are for “Saving Private Ryan” and “A Bridge Too Far.” Both are bloody World War II films but no one would want to admit that they were an influence on a school shooting. Although watching those films before the big day does help de-sensitize Mark to all the blood he sees when he shoots everyone. That leaves music. Well, the police only find two CDs belonging to Mark. One his a commercial rock sounding band called the Guiding Lights and the other is a hardcore thrash metal band called Demonslayer. However, despite the different genres, both bands have one thing in common, they’re both Christian rock bands! After a couple of songs about Jesus on both CD’s, the cops have to conclude that music couldn’t have influenced Mark to shoot up his school.

After much thought and four posts, I am left to conclude that music has very little or nothing to do with anyone shooting up their school. There are other factors as to why this happens and often the case, as in the three books, it is bullying. Unfortunately, most people don’t want to accept that bullying may have something to do with it and find it easier to blame music no matter how preposterous it might sound. I think that until something changes, then music will continue to be wrongly blamed for terrible tragedies.

To buy He Was Weird, go to: https://www.amazon.co.uk/He-Was-Weird-Michael-Lefevre/dp/1909740942/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1487691409&sr=1-1&keywords=he+was+weird

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Role of Music in Literary School Shootings: Endgame

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endgame

As there were no victories for the bullies to post about, I am able to continue my theme of the role of music in school shootings in books. This post looks at the novel “Endgame” by the late Nancy Garden.

R.I.P Nancy Garden

 Nancy Garden

Since it’s been awhile since I have posted anything relating to this very good novel, I thought it might be a good idea to do a quick run through. The story is about a boy named Gray Wilton who is on trial for shooting four of his fellow students dead and wounding several others at his school. “Endgame” is centred around the conversations between Gray and his lawyer. Gray tells the lawyer all about the bullying he had suffered at the hands of the jocks at the school. Many of the things done to him are some of the most horrible account of bullying I have ever read about. It’s no wonder why in the end, Gray snaps in the way he does.

Now the million dollar question: What did music have to do with the shooting? In this case, the answer is fairly straight forward. Gray is a really good drummer. So good in fact that he plays at the Christmas concert. Unfortunately, this also leads to another bullying incident because right before the concert, his bullies destroy his drum kit. Furthermore, Gray does find relief in music and that is used against him after he carries out the shooting. Pupils and teachers say that he’s into rebellious rap music and heavy metal, although that’s never mentioned in the story. However, it is enough for many out there to conclude that Gray was influenced by music to carry out his crimes. Once again, we see music being wrongly blamed for a shooting just because it is easy to do so.

Actually, Endgame had me reflecting back to the Jonesboro, Arkansas shooting. I keep thinking of that teacher saying about one of the shooters that, “He was a fine boy before he started listening to that Tu-Pac Shaker and Bugs Harmony.” I wonder if Nancy was thinking the same when she wrote “Endgame.” Unfortunately, she is not with us to ask her. Still, I think she would agree that blaming music for Gray’s actions is completely ridiculous.

To buy He Was Weird go to: https://www.amazon.co.uk/He-Was-Weird-Michael-Lefevre/dp/1909740942/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1487108071&sr=1-1&keywords=he+was+weird