Apr 21, 2006

Neo-Nazi Teens Vowed to Shoot Up School

Left: A student stands outside Riverton HS, courtesy of AP

(Riverton, KS) Five teens intended to go on a shooting spree at their high school but were prevented from carrying out the plot after one of the group discussed the plot on a Web site, according to law enforcement and school officials.

One of the arrested students had posted a message on his MySpace account in which he talked about the anniversary of Adolf Hitler's birth as well as the Columbine shootings, both of which share an April 20 date.

Police found guns, ammunition, knives and coded messages in the bedroom of one suspect, while discovering documents about firearms and references to Armageddon in the school lockers of two other suspects.

"What the resounding theme is: They were actually going to do this," said Sheriff Steve Norman. "The message, it was brief, but it stated that there was going to be a shooting at the Riverton school and that people should wear bulletproof vests and flak jackets."

Riverton school district Superintendent David Walters said the significance of the threat didn't become clear until Wednesday night. At that point a woman in North Carolina who had chatted with one of the suspects on Myspace.com received more information that there would be about a dozen potential victims, and at least one of those would be a staff member.

The woman notified authorities in her state, who called the local sheriff's department, Norman said.

The sheriff reported that the potential victims were popular students and that the suspects - ages 16-18 - may have been bullied in the past.

"I think there was probably some bullying, name calling, chastising," he said, adding that investigators learned the suspects were computer buffs who liked violent video games.

MySpace.com has pulled the related sites.

Riverton student Michaela Ferneau said Friday was told that she was one of the targets. One of the teen suspects had talked to her about the Columbine massacre in January.

"We thought he was joking because he was always joking about stuff like that," Ferneau told ABC on Friday. "I guess I told on them, apparently, when I didn't know I did. It's kind of scary to know that people from a little town like this would even try anything like that."


Sara said...

Well, at least Myspace has one good use.

Michael said...

Yes, Sara, but to monitor and keep track of stuff on Myspace.com and related teen sites seems like a nightmare.

As a dad of three (7yo and under), I'll be looking to set up search terms for my kids' names, school names, etc. for those sites. It seems the Kan. plot only was found after one student was chatting about it with someone in NC. What would've happened if he wouldn't have blabbed or the NC contact didn't take the chat seriously?

Teens attacking their schools scares me more than any possible terrorist attack. (Now, if I lived in NYC vs. Toledo, I may think differently.)

Lisa Renee said...

I monitor my bunch and I visit on a regular basis. Else they don't get to have pages. Even my older ones have been nicely reminded that even though they may be over 18 that they need to watch what they are doing and what they are posting about.

I also visit friend's pages and if I see something that concerns me, that friend is removed or nicely informed that personal information they have listed should be removed. Only people they do know are allowed to be added as friends, as in do they "really" know not "so and so says they know them". One time I did feel it necessary to contact a parent who had no idea their child even had a profile page. That's the real problem is not monitoring what they are doing. My bunch knows it's not that I don't trust them, it's that there are people out there that are not trustworthy that worries me.

Dariush said...

In my Senior year in H.S. we had an "assembly" that was open to all parents. I don't remember the exact topic of the assembly, but I'll never forget how my dad characterized it when he got home that night.

He said we were "like animals in a zoo".

That's pretty much how I felt too. Although I might have characterized us as "cogs in a warehouse".

Mike, calling these disturbed young men "neo-nazis" is extremely hyperbolic. They're no more "neo-nazis" than the Trenchcoat Mafia kids at Columbine. Kids who obsess about Hitler at that age are generally drawn to him only because they see him as some sort of personification of nihilism and misanthropy -- not because of adherence to any political doctrine.

-Sepp said...

I also doubt the neo-nazi claims. The whole thing seems a bit overblown. My guess is that this kid was trying to impress some hottie he met on myspace with tough talk and it backfired in his face. "Police found guns and ammo in his room". BB guns and bb's count as "guns and ammo" or a .22 and a box of rounds count too and are not uncommon for country kids to have. I'm also doubting that if this kid were actually going to shoot up his school he would post a warning about it telling people to wear flak jackets and body armor to school.

"Dad, can you pick me up some kevlar body armor?"

"What for son?"

"Timmy is going to murder the whole school on Friday and we're supposed to wear it".

Myspace is also a haven for those who aspire to be anything but who they really are.

Anonymous said...

if they loved Hitler so much neo-Nazi is a good way to describe them Mike.

Stefan Schmidt said...

I have to agree with Sepp here. You don’t post your plans over the internet—they either weren’t serious or were begging to be stopped.

if they loved Hitler so much neo-Nazi is a good way to describe them Mike.--Anon

No, it isn’t Anon. The world is more complex than an 8th grade history class—Hitler was truly a great man, one of the best. If you can’t acknowledge this then, well…..

historymike said...

Perhaps the headline was a bit hyperbolic, Dariush, Sepp, and Stephan.

I do bounce around between journalistic and academic circles, and that eye-grabbing headline streak runs in me.

If MySpace had not yanked the site, we could may our own determinations as to the true intent of the teens, instead of through the snippets doled to us by the police and prosecutors.

Anchorage Activist said...

The headline was hyperbolic, but not inaccurate. The offenders were focusing on Hitler's birthday, which provides at least a tenuous connection. Besides, the blogosphere is a competitive environment, and one wants to attract readers.

It serves as a reminder as to why responsible WN organizations like NA, NV, and WR limit membership to 18 and older, to preempt infatuated teenage hobbyists who are driven to react to anti-white bullying by using National Socialism and white nationalism strictly as emotional weapons to blindly lash out.

Ultimately, the best preemptive weapon against this sort of violence is parental involvement. If more parents would follow the example set by Lisa Renee, there'd be fewer problems. Parenting is more than a job; it's a calling, and kids sometimes don't make appointments in advance before they have problems.