On Sunday, 18-year-old Matthew Lovett was arrested along with two other teen-agers who allegedly plotted to kill three teens and then go on a random killing spree.
They were armed with rifles, a shotgun, several handguns, swords and 2,000 rounds of ammunition.
Neighbors say the New Jersey teen was fed up with the teasing that he and his younger brother endured for many years. Teen-agers who knew Lovett say he kept a list of enemies and people who had mistreated him since elementary school.
On Tuesday morning a man went into the Lockheed Martin aircraft plant in Meridian, Miss. armed with a pistol and an automatic rife and shot 13 people -- killing five before he turned a gun on himself.
There has been much speculation about the seemingly increased number of killing rampages that have taken place in the United States in recent years. It is difficult, if not impossible, to identify any one reason for the violent killings. What's frightening is how many of these deadly incidents involve children with guns.
Bullying and teasing in schools has always been a part of childhood. Unfortunately, we live in a society that seems to be glorifying such behavior and creating an atmosphere where it is not only accepted, but is also labeled as entertainment. This is evident in the many reality television shows and talk shows that not only encourages such violent or rude behavior, but actually cultivates it and packages it for profit. The producers of these shows strive for a violent outbreak that showcases one person demoralizing another. It's sad to see that so many Americans are inviting this trash into their homes and often placing it in front of their children on a nightly basis.
There was a day when parents diligently taught common courtesies and respect for others. Parents and community leaders knew it was expected of them to be good examples. It's hard to imagine what parents of past generations might think of what we allow to influence our families today.
Bullies and those who express violence or out-of-control anger need to be sharply reproved. Schools, civic leaders, parents and society as a whole should work to reverse the acceptance of bad behavior and bring back an emphasis on courtesy, dignity, self-control and respect for others.
Lovett's father told the news media that Matt has been the love of his life. Isn't every child the love of someone's life? Don't we owe it to them to create a better world where violence and disrespect are not considered entertainment?