Fuel-air Explosives and the Next Highschool "Tragedy"

1999 William J. Beaty

To the WEEKDAY panel on teenage brain development:

About the "underdeveloped" brains of teens, and the blaming of teen suicide upon "violent videogames"...

I have a question regarding "nature vs. nurture", but first I have some comments.

I must remind the group that we are not discussing "those teens." We are discussing ourselves. I myself have very clear memories of my own experiences in high school. I'm sure that everyone here does also. When we describe the "problems" that are presented by "those teens", then we are blinding ourselves to the fact that *we* are those teens ourselves, and we should not adopt a stance of superior-sounding hypocricy while pathologizing "those teens" who are such a problem. Why not discuss ourselves and our own experiences regarding our own "developing brains" as we went through school? It would be a far more honest and humble approach.

Second, I believe that I have a good idea of what causes teenage problems. High school was living hell for me. My self-image was entirely destroyed by the constant ridicule. My only respite was in the computer room and video studio, and also on summer vacation where for a brief time I again could see myself as a powerful and normal person, before being forced back into the concentration camp where I magically was converted once again into "damaged goods." The only thing I didn't know at the time was that a very significant portion of other students were in exactly the same predicament as I. Had I know it, I think it would have helped a lot. However, knowledge of the size of the problem was (and is) specifically covered up by nearly all school administrators, and by former teens who grow up to become adults who deny that they ever were damaged children trapped in the in highschool nightmare.

My conclusion is that for many of us, public schools simply are "living hell" in fact.

The reason we don't fix them is that we carefully maintain a conscensual blindness to the problem. It is Denial on a global scale.

Third: the Littleton/Columbine tragedy. Why would children murder others? I'll tell you why. While a student in high school, I myself frequently entertained vengeance fantasies. I was a fairly normal person, and not deranged in any way as far as I know. Yet I wanted to torture my tormentors slowly to death. I thought in those terms for a simple reason: because the situation really was that bad.

At present we sometimes discuss learnedly the "problem" of teen suicide. Why are "those teens" killing themselves left and right. Hmmmmmm. Maybe they are in the same situation that I once was, but they unfortunately had a lower tolerance, or maybe they had to deal with even more soul-destroying ridicule/bullying that I once did.

Fourth: Let me make a prediction. Columbine/Littleton has breached the barrier, and teens now realize that, when they are about to kill themselves, they can take their tormentors with them. Back in high school, if I had decided to kill myself by blowing up the school, then I wouldn't have messed around with subconscious "crys for help." I was well aware that REAL crys for help are entirely ignored, and always had been. And I was already extremely competent in home-built technology at the time. If I had reached the end of my rope back then, and had decided to kill myself and erase my highschool, then for awhile I would have once again had a reason for living. I would have performed proper testing of my creations in advance. There would have been redundant systems in place.

There would have been no survivors whatsoever.

My prediction: an intelligent and competent student will be driven to suicide, but this time they won't make subconsciously-motivated mistakes, and they won't indulge in foolish egotistic posturing with handguns, and their simple little fuel-air explosives will kill every single person in a heavily-populated school building.

To prevent this from occuring, we need to breach the collective denial in a very big way, and we need do it very VERY quickly. If we do not, then the next "event" will breach it for us, and we won't be able to lie to ourselves anymore. We won't be able to blame it on "gun-toting Goths" or on "violent video games" as we did with the recent high school tragedies.

Fuel-air explosives were found at Columbine. They failed to function. Doesn't anyone understand what this means? Are we so stupid that we start a coverup to protect our own asses rather than confronting that which is about to occur in this country?!!!

Fuel-air explosives are equivalent to small tactical nukes. A smart child can build one quite easily. We should feel fear: profound fear which cannot be covered by the usual amount of denial. All-consuming fear would be a healthy response to the situation. Denial is the worst possible response at present. No, wrong, the worst possible response would be to blame the victims, and to strive to demonize "misfits", and to start heavily-funded programs to attempt to keep "bomb plans" out of the hands of suicidal students. The problem is not "bomb plans," the problem is school administrators who CREATE suicidal students by their actions, and who protect themselves by covering up this fact.

Sorry that I didn't get a chance to ask the group my own question on the Monday WEEKDAY show. Here it is:

What is the difference in teen suicide rate between public schools and homeschooled students?
I suspect that the answer will be very telling.


Just to show that I'm not a kook, please realize that I'm age 41, a professional electrical/software engineer, site developer of SCIENCE HOBBYIST website, home owner, married, with one child... and with clear and lasting memories about what American public high schools really are like.

If you wish to use my above "letter", then remove my employer's sig from the bottom of this message. I include it only for effect, and Microscan Systems has nothing at all to do with this.

((((((((((((((((((( ( ( ( ( (O) ) ) ) ) )))))))))))))))))))
William Beaty
Software Engineer
Microscan Inc. 425-226-5700 x1135
Renton, WA
Bill Beaty. Mail me at: .