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Torment, killing aren't new

We hear so much about children shooting children at school or killing each other at "play." It seems so new and something so hard to comprehend.

Almost 40 years ago I was sophomore at a high school in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, a city then of about 80,000 people. We were sitting at lunch when we got the news that a boy had come to school with his father's gun and killed another boy in his gym class and shot another boy.

His victims had tormented him endlessly day in and day out from the beginning of the school year. His teachers had thought it would all "work out in the end" and taken no action on the abusers. His parents didn't know the torment he suffered day after day because as a boy he "should be able to take it or stand up for himself."

His friends knew but thought he'd been "only joking" when he talked about killing the abusers or himself. Step by step he had become more and more isolated in a world that only saw him as the "goat" — someone who wouldn't or couldn't fight back.

Last year I was doing some family history and reviewing the Deseret News and Salt Lake Tribune for 1930 through 1947. Many times I saw stories of children killing younger children — not just accidents — on purpose.

I don't think that what we see today is so very different from the past. The biggest difference now is that it is reported to the community and the world. We mourn on a grander scale and reward the offenders and victims (killers and tormenters, thoughtless teachers and uncaring parents) by sharing the front page and nightly news with them. It is no longer just a family tragedy or a community failing but a national disgrace.

Maybe we'll all learn something in the end . . .

Elizabeth Bogue

West Valley City