Just because a teenager is into heavy metal, gory movies and guns does not necessarily mean that one day he will snap with the intent to inflict pain and terror on his family and a school environment, right?
What about discovering the following on a 17-year-old boy’s Facebook page:
- List of “likes” for assault rifles: AK-101, Heckler & Koch SL8 and Steyr TMP;
- A photo of himself strumming an electric guitar with a skull on the shoulder strap;
- A list of his favorite movies dominated by blood, gore, combat and fighting;
- His favorite authors are Stephen King and Edgar Allen Poe;
- He enjoyed hunting indicated by a picture of him dressed in hunter’s orange, posed with a slain deer with a rifle draped over it.
Are these indicators of a cold-blooded individual intent on harming others?
What about the fact that this same 17-year-old boy idolized and studied the shooters responsible for the 1999 massacre at Columbine High School?
The chilling truth is that this 17-year-old boy is real. His name is John David LaDue; he’s from Minnesota and all the above details are facts about him.
In a “dear-diary” fashion, found in a 180-page notebook, LaDue kept detailed notes on how he would kill his mother, father and sister; start a fire in the rural town of Waseca to distract first responders; go to Waseca Junior and Senior High School to set off bombs during lunch; kill the school resource officer; set fires and then open fire on students. What’s more spine tingling? This teen actually had access to the materials to successfully carry out his plot.
Two days before his planned attack, a watchful citizen tipped off police, reporting that they saw what appeared to be a teen boy acting suspiciously at a storage facility. When police arrived, they found LaDue along with bomb-making materials in a locker: a pressure cooker, pyrotechnic chemicals, steel ball bearings and gunpowder.
Apparently the teen went willingly with police to the station for questioning and there he described his plan in detail, indicating that he wanted to carry out his attack on April 20, the anniversary of the Columbine massacre, but because April 20 this year was Easter, school was not in session. LaDue even told police that his plan was to die in the attack.
Further investigation led police to recover seven guns, among them a SKS assault rifle and a Barretta 9mm handgun; ammunition; three bombs from LaDue’s home; black clothing and a ski mask.
Ryan Lano, who taught the teen guitar for four years, said, “He would almost always come in with his sister, who played the drums. They played music together. They were very close.”
Even Thomas Lee, LaDue’s superintendent indicated that school officials hadn’t had major issues with him and even described him as “shy.”
“It’s not like he was unknown to us,” said Lee. “He was known. People made lots of contact with him. We tried to do everything we possibly could do to build relationships with him as well.”
LaDue has been charged with four counts of attempted murder in the first degree, two counts of attempted criminal damage to property in the first degree and six counts of possession of an explosive or incendiary device.
Just think if LaDue had succeeded in his master-minded plot to kill and destroy.
What type of school security measures could have possibly stopped this?
What should schools be doing to prevent this type of attack from happening, from the inside out? (I think schools are getting better at deploying security measures to keep the “bad guys” from getting in, but what about when the “bad guys” are already inside?)
What should other schools be doing to prevent copy-cat events, such as this?
Where were LaDue’s parents while all of this was taking place?
Looking forward to a candid discussion with our readers.