I've interviewed Wayne Lo for Giant Robot, and these days, we're penpals. I once asked him a few questions about school shootings, and in light of today's event, I thought maybe, it would be a good time to have people read what he has to say about school shootings, to hopefully understand them just a little more.
On December 14, 1992 Wayne Lo killed 2 and injured 4 at Simon's Rock College. He's often forgotten about when school shooters are mentioned, and each event is just as tragic as any other. He's now serving a life sentence at MCI-Norfolk in Massachusetts.
What's your opinion on the recent school shooting wave?
My opinion? It sucks every time another one happens cause I know how much sadness and anguish the victims feel. I wouldn't call it a wave cause what is a wave? 2 in a day? 3 in a month? 4 in 2 months like recently? I believe there were 3 in 1992 when my incident happened. Any one incident is too much. We shouldn't forget about school shootings when it doesn't happen, and we shouldn't get overly worked up when a few happens in a row.
Why is it happening?
Well, 2 of the past 4 shootings were committed by non-school related individuals so I cannot speak about them at all. But of course, those committed by ex students, it's pretty simple. They felt wronged somehow and wish to exact revenge. I don't know if people copycat. Cause I doubt anyone commits a shooting merely to imitate another incident. There has to be some kind of underlying problem already.
Do you feel any responsibility for them?
Well, I guess it would be very conceited of me to think I have responsibility for any shootings that happened after my own. But I also wonder if anyone saw my case and decided they would do the same. Again, I have no idea if people copycat. But if someone came out and said, "I did it cause Wayne Lo did it," then it would be devastating to know cause I have inflicted enough pain as in my own case. Maybe I need to say people shouldn't do what I did? I don't know if that would help.
Do you think you understand what the shooters were / are going through?
Well, I can understand them in a very general way and that is they must be angry and depressed and they are obviously getting no help from their surroundings. I haven't heard of a shooting which wasn't planned out. So obviously there is a "cry for help" in the planning stages. If we can reach them during this period, then we can avoid tragedies.
It seems most are bent on killing themselves after they kill, did you want to do that?
I think or I have read that suicide and homocide are the same thing. Suicide is merely self-homocide. So you may ask why don't people just commit suicide rather than taking out innocent people as well. Well I guess people find it necessary to exact revenge before they end their own life? I have no idea really. I didn't feel suicidal. I did not wish to harm myself. I surrendered to the police after the shooting. I believe not all and not most of the shooters wished to kill themselves. I think when the police comes to the scene, it may make the killers make the suicidal choice. But that's only my speculation. Of course I would recommend you view the secret service study on school shootings available on the net. They may have more detailed info. Also, they went to interview all those who have committed school shootings including myself, so actually most school shooters are alive.
Is life that grim to be doing this?
Well, life isn't too grim for most people. But we've all been through school and we all know how horrible it must be to be an outcast in school. Especially when one is young and hasn't matured enough to deflect the harassment from classmates. Of course not all harassment is real. One may have personal, mental issues whch make them think they are being made fun of. I guess the bottom line isn't really about guns or metal detectors, it's about detecting the feelings of each individual student and that job falls on everyone- from parents to teachers to students.