While we’re on the topic of schools I googled and you-tube’d around and found an interesting follow-up on our friend T.J. Lane. I wasn’t looking for a followup to be honest, it just popped up when I was googling Franklin Regional High School. (Sick humour aside: is someone going to create a school massacre hall of fame? I mean who over 14 doesn’t remember the term Columbine?) Lane, you will remember, shot and killed his mother then walked to Chardon Elementary School and shot six more people, three of whom died. When the smoke cleared, lots of bloggers (including amateur little me) speculated as to his motivation. I was pretty harsh in that blog. I remember feeling revulsion when “that little prick” as I called him, flipped everyone off and smirked during his trial. That still angers me. I also agreed with a court-retained psychiatrist who stated Lane couldn’t fake the symptoms he displayed of mental illness.
In other words, yep, he was nuts. I would like to think however that most mentally ill criminals aren’t this pleased with themselves when they kill people. I do know one thing: anyone who spreads misery in this world is not a happy individual. Misery loves company, or some such thing? There is another possibility as to why he behaved so coldly: he was trying to exaggerate any symptoms he had of mental illness, or perhaps add a few more so everyone could think “well if a person would sit in court and do that, he must be crazy and crazy people aren’t responsible for their actions!” Sometimes that’s true. People who don’t take their meds or forget to or who suffer from an illness that involves threatening, violent hallucinations, certainly may not be guilty of a crime. Take Andrea Yates, for instance. God love her. My sister-in-law had a high school friend with schizophrenia. They didn’t know it going through high school because his symptoms were delayed until he wa about 18, then he had to leave school. Two year ago, living with his mother in B.C. he stabbed her to death then decapitated her. He thought she was satan. But that’s another blog entirely.
I remember a man blogging about how unfair it was that his Aspberger’s Syndrome was mentioned. (I don’t recall where I read that now…I don’t know that it’s even true). “It gives people with Aspberger’s Syndrome a bad name,” he lamented. I don’t know. When I heard about the sad Franklin Regional High School slaughtering the first thing that did not come to my mind was ‘did this kid have aspberger’s syndrome?” However, to each his own lament.
Here is a good argument for why I believe that people who commit evil acts aren’t evil. According to his past records, T. J. Lane was arrested twice in December 2009. The first time, Lane restrained his uncle, while his cousin hit him. The other case involved Lane hitting another boy in the face.To the second charge, Lane pled to a count of disorderly conduct. Although family court records concerning T. J. Lane had not been released, as of March 12, 2012, the press did expose criminal records of Lane’s father, Thomas M. Lane, Jr. The records showed that in 2002 the elder Lane was charged with attempted murder, but was found guilty of a lesser charge of assault and disruption, and served less than one year in prison. In an ordeal lasting nine hours, he physically and verbally assaulted a woman while three children were present. In addition, “he has arrests on a wide range of offenses including drug abuse and possession, violation of probation, public intoxication and disorderly conduct.”
Well now. What do they say about the apple not falling far from the tree? When you have that kind of papa, is it any surprise that one day you take a gun and go shoot innocent people you don’t even know? I don’t think so. Bizarre reactions like flipping people off and wearing a shirt with the word killer on it are meant to aggravate people as much as they are meant to boast. Why? As a youngster, there is no doubt in my mind that when Lane got in trouble at school by his teachers, he loved their reactions. He enjoyed the power he exercised over authority figures by making them angry and rendering them ineffective, especially in front of his peers, in school. The example began at home. The effect worked well at school. The crime was committed at a school, although not one he attended. Do we see a chain reaction? I do. Except Lane got to take this a huge step forward into the national spotlight. Bonus.
Anyway that’s a long build-up to blog that Lane isn’t doing so well in prison. There’s a surprise. It’s not what you’re thinking either. You’re thinking, “he’s getting prison-raped, well it serves him good!” No you are wrong. He has been charged for self-mutilation (didn’t know there was a charge for that), including getting a tattoo, reprimanded for refusing a cell block assignment, he lost 10 day of recreation time a month ago for the same thing…the boy just doesn’t learn. I’ve no idea whether he’s been abused or is just abusing himself. I don’t know that that would make the families of the victims any happier. His legal team is trying to get his life sentence overturned even though it was received through a plea deal. His lawyer put in a few words, reassuring the public that he’s a-okay: “as your television viewers know prison tats are very, very common yet they’re always prohibited. I don’t know that that amounts to anything big.” No, but shooting six people does.