Out of the mould:
school killer's classic signs
By Mark Coultan,
Herald Correspondent in New York and agencies
March 24, 2005
Jeff Weise displayed all the warning signs. A troubled teenager with a liking for guns, trench coats and an attraction to Nazism, he fitted the mould of previous schoolyard killers.
Some reports suggest he had become isolated from school friends and had been made fun of at school - classic factors in America's all too familiar epidemic of school shooting rampages.
What triggered him to kill his grandfather, his grandfather's female companion, a security guard, a teacher and five students at Red Lake High on an Indian reservation in Minnesota is still unknown.
Although there is a temptation to think of these people as snapping, there was, as in many previous cases, no sudden moment of madness. Quite the opposite; the teenagers had carefully planned their actions and in some cases had told people what they intended to do.
The problem, of course, is sorting out the normal sullen teenager from the unhinged.
It is not clear if Weise, 16, had given notice of his intentions, although a posting under his name on a neo-Nazi Libertarian National Socialist Green Party website last April suggested he had been in trouble at school
"I'm being blamed for a threat on the school I attend because someone said they were going to shoot up the school on 4/20, Hitler's birthday, and just because I claim being a National Socialist, guess whom they've pinned?"
A month later he wrote:
"I try not to be aggressive in most situations, I'll use force if I have to, but I'm not about to go out and pick a fight. I'm mostly defensive, I'll defend myself if someone tries something but other than that I'm a peaceful person."
He also drew sketches of people shooting each other.
"It was mental stuff, it was sick," said a classmate, Parston Graves jnr. He said he saw one sketch, of a guitar-strumming skeleton accompanied by a caption that read "March to the death song 'til your boots fill with blood".
At the time of the shooting, Weise had been barred from the 350-student high school for an unspecified violation, and was being tutored at home by a travelling teacher.
His rampage was the worst school shooting since the Columbine killings in 1999.
The tragedy happened despite a greater awareness of the dangerous combination of a nation of angry teenagers and the ready availability of firearms.
But this time US gun laws could not be blamed, at least not to the extent of previous tragedies. Weise, whose father was reported to have committed suicide and whose mother is in a nursing home as a result of a car accident, apparently got the weapons from his grandfather, a local police officer. He also acquired a bulletproof vest and ammunition. He used his grandfather's car to drive to the school, where he killed the security guard and then proceeded into the corridors, smiling and waving.
One student, Sondra Hegstrom, described Weise waving at a student while pointing his gun and then swivelling around to shoot someone else. "I looked him in the eye and ran in the room, and that's when I hid," she told a newspaper.
"You could hear a girl saying, 'No, Jeff, quit, quit. Leave me alone. What are you doing?"'
On one website Weise complained about interracial mixing and black cultural influence.
"We have kids my age killing each other over things as simple as a fight, and it's because of the rap influence. Wannabe-gangsters everywhere, I can't go five feet without hearing someone blasting some rap song over their speakers.
"It's hard though, being a Native American National Socialist, people are so misinformed, ignorant, and close minded it makes your life a living hell, but I know if we achieve what we set out to, it will be worth it all."
Recent school and university shootings
Oct 1997 Pearl High School, Jackson, Mississippi: a 16-year-old kills his mother at home, then shoots dead two students at the school.
Dec 1997 Heath High School, West Paducah, Kentucky: a 14-year-old boy kills three students at a prayer meeting.
March 1998 Westside Middle School, Jonesboro, Arkansas: two boys, 13 and 11, set off a school fire alarm and kill four students and teacher as they leave.
May 1998 Thurston High School, Springfield, Oregon: a schoolboy kills two students and injures 22. His parents are later found slain in their home.
April 1999 Columbine High School, Littleton, Colorado: two students kill 12 students and a teacher, then kill themselves.
March 2001 Santana High School, Santee, California: a 15-year-old youth kills two students. Granite Hills High School, El Cajon, California: a student opens fire, wounding five. He kills himself in jail five months later.
Jan 2002 Appalachian School of Law, Grundy, Virginia: a student who had been dismissed kills a dean, a professor and a student, and wounds three others.
Sept 2003 Rocori High School, Cold Spring, Minnesota: a student shoots dead two classmates.
MR PRESIDENT HOW ABOUT PUTTING SOME BILLIONS INTO RESEARCHING WHAT IS GOING ON IN THE LIVES OF THE CHILDREN OF YOUR COUNTRY. INSTEAD OF KILLING INNOCENT CHILDREN OF OTHER COUNTRIES. YOU SUCK BIG TIME ASSHOLE