Columbine tragedy comes close to home

Bomb arrests: Prompt action by students ensured that Glen Burnie would not become another Littleton.

May 02, 1999

GLEN BURNIE High School students are to be commended for rushing forward with reports that classmates were making threats and suspicions that they were also making bombs. Silence was a culprit in Littleton, Colo.

The accusations against the three students in Glen Burnie are alarming. One of the boys, a 14-year-old, is reported to have compiled a hit list -- a chilling parallel to the Columbine High tragedy.

Students, teachers and parents have to be frightened by the revelations that messages were scratched in a desk and written with a felt-tipped pen, warning of another tragedy. One message read: "If you think Littleton was bad, wait until you see what happens here." Other messages designated May 10 as Glen Burnie High's date with disaster.

The nation is on edge. Copycats are running rampant. Threats of violence have closed schools in Washington and a number of states. A pipe bomb was found last week on the roof of a school in Boyertown, Pa., and another was discovered in the restroom of a high school in Enid, Okla.

In Bakersfield, Calif., police arrested a 13-year-old boy who carried a loaded semiautomatic handgun and 13 rounds of ammunition into a school. The boy's backpack contained 30 pieces of paper, with the names of classmates and teachers. Written on the papers: "because they deserved to die."

In Anne Arundel, pranksters must have thought it was funny when they made scores of bomb threats in public schools in recent years, causing administrators to evacuate buildings. Bomb scares are never funny.Those who play games and make threats ought to know that schools and police have to be more vigilant than ever in the aftermath of the Columbine High tragedy.

What is worthy of emulation in all this: The actions of the Glen Burnie High students who were willing to name names.

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