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Student’s actions, Chardon tragedy were impossible to predict

Thomas Ondrey/ The Cleveland Plain Dealer

The ability to predict the future is something that mankind has long been sought after.

But as it stands today, it’s damn near impossible to do. Sure, you can get lucky once in a while, but for the most part you have no idea what the future holds.

I was scanning some major news sites Thursday, consuming every piece of information that I could find on the Feb. 27 shooting at Chardon High School, just outside of Cleveland. After all, it’s a horrific tragedy and as a consumer of news, I wanted to know everything I could.

Mostly, the content was the same, though one article in particular stood out to me. Most other media content detailed how the juvenile being charged in the case, Thomas Lane, is believed to have chosen his five victims at random and featured interviews with friends and family of the victims.

Daniel Parmertor, 16, died several hours after Lane opened fire in the school cafeteria, according to multiple reports. Russell King Jr., 17, died later that night, and Demetrius Hewlin, 16, died the morning of Feb. 28. Two other students were injured in the shooting. One was released from the hospital; the second remains in serious condition, according to a Saturday report from the Associated Press.

I cannot begin to understand what the victims’ families are going through, and I won’t pretend to. It’s the media coverage of this event that caught my eye as a journalism student.

The article that really grabbed my attention differed from the rest in that it took the time to frame Lane’s life previous to the incident and cited two incidents in which Lane had problems with the law. The first incident involved Lane pleading guilty to disorderly conduct as a 15-year-old. Lane is also reported to have just recently had his license reinstated to him after he was ticketed for “failure to control” a vehicle.

The article also detailed the family environment that Lane grew up in, showcasing how both of his parents were charged with domestic assault. Lane was in the custody of his grandparents at the time of the shooting.

After reading this article, I’ve been led to believe that Lane had a violent history leading up to the incidents of last Monday. I might even go as far as to say that, based on this article, someone should have noticed that Lane’s problems might lead to some sort of drastic action.

But that’s where I take exception with the article.

There have been plenty of kids who were troublemakers when they were younger. I’m sure everyone can think of at least one friend who was involved in a physical altercation at some point while growing up or someone who’s had their license suspended for doing something idiotic.

The point is that, up until last week’s incident, Lane made mistakes that many other kids his age had before him.

Whether the writer or writers of the article realize it, they are insinuating to the reader that some third party within Lane’s life should have picked up on his tendencies.

But how could they?

The answer is simple. They couldn’t have.

What Lane did was disturbing, violent and the victims’ families of the tragedy in Chardon, Ohio, had their lives changed irreversibly.

To act like someone could have known that Lane would resort to something of this nature is foolish.

After all, if someone could have seen into the future, this surely wouldn’t have happened.

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