Violence re-enters D.C. agenda
WASHINGTON — The release of homevideos made by the two teenagers who went on a deadly rampage in Littleton, Colo., has renewed calls from Congress for the creation of a commission on youth violence.
Sen. Joseph Lieberman (D-Conn.) and Senate Commerce Committee chairman John McCain (R-Ariz.) have called on Congress to vote on a broader juvenile justice bill that includes a mandate for the youth violence commission.
“The chilling reality of what we’ve learned from these videotapes is that these are the kids next door. No simple answers work here,” McCain said. “We must do a better job of parenting our children, stopping the flood of dehumanizing violence that invades their minds, improving enforcement of laws designed to keep guns out of the hands of children and pursuing technology that would only allow a gun’s owners to fire the weapon.”
Because McCain is a front-runner in the Republican presidential campaign, it is not unlikely that concerns about violence in popular culture will emerge as a political issue in the new year.
In the tapes, the two teenagers talk in graphic detail about their plans to kill fellow students at Columbine High School. Ultimately, 15 people died in the shooting spree, including the two shooters.
Lieberman, a longtime critic of Hollywood, also said the tapes show that government needs to take a closer look at youth violence: “These tapes may be the most powerful evidence yet of just how complicated this problem is, of how difficult it is to discern exactly what is in this toxic mix that is turning kids into killers.”