Teen bomb maker stopped in his tracks in South Carolina.

The parents of Ryan Schallenberger undoubtedly saved a lot of lives when they turned in their son as a potential bomber. Authorities said he had all the components he needed to make several deadly bombs.

Ryan Schallenberger had used E-Bay to order 20lbs of ammonium nitrate from a supplier in Kentucky. The teen has been described as being “mad at the whole world”. In a search of the family home, Law Enforcement officers discovered hate filled writings in which he praised the Columbine killers.

Having just returned from a Threat Assessment workshop at UCLA put on by Gavin De Becker Associates, I was able to identify many of the same characteristics that we looked at when examining other teenage killers who have wreaked havoc in schools across the U.S. Teens like this tend to have a “chip on their shoulder” and feel like they need to cause grave damage in order to “get even” or “teach people a lesson”. Unfortunately, the “copy cat” phenomenon is a common denominator and these troubled teens seem to look up to those who have killed previously.

We all have a part to play in keeping schools safe. More parents need to emulate the Schallenbergers, who were willing to turn their own son in, knowing that he will most likely be locked away for a very long time thereby ensuring the safety of others. Class mates who hear rumors need to alert guidance counsellors and teachers and not be so quick to dismiss their fears and concerns. We need to get rid of any feelings that might suggest:”this could never happen at our school”.

It is a sad fact that this terrible trend looks set to continue and violent behavior is capable of happening in any school where adequate security precautions are not taken. Whether it is from television, video games, broken homes or any other contributing factor, our youth are being exposed to higher and more toxic levels of violence every day. Perhaps we can do a better job at home and help to nip this evil trend in the bud before our classrooms begin to resemble battlefields.

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  1. Anonymous says:

    I can totally see how today’s teens show more violent behaviour because of contributing factors, such as broken homes, videogames and violent TV shows. With this in mind, I take it that you do not support the war-minded Bush administration? Instead of blaming today’s youth, how about having today’s adults account for the bad examples they set?
    Boudewijn, the Netherlands

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