How Michael Carneal's peers influenced him in a murderous rampage

Essay by jokggaCollege, UndergraduateA-, December 2003

download word file, 4 pages 4.0

"I perceived my life as miserable. Nobody loved me and nobody cared." (1) This was a statement by Michael Carneal in his first interview at Kentucky State Reformatory. His high school peers influenced him greatly in this angry rampage. His belief that his peers did not respect him gave him a reason to steal a .22 caliber pistol and start going trigger-happy on an innocent prayer group.

His peers constantly jeered at Carneal and even claimed that Carneal was gay. His high school friends on the other hand could have easily prevented this from occurring. Seeing the state of mind he was in prior to his attack, his friends knew that something might happen. His friends knew that he had the potential to do something dangerous, when they had planned to take over Heath High School and "run amok." (2) There were many early warning signs from Michael Carneal however, no one really paid attention to it.

Can you really blame the peers for that? Especially when school violence was not a huge social issue, most students would not think anything of Michael Carneal's plan to "take over the school" and thought this was all a joke. However, at one point, Michael Carneal brought his father's .38 caliber pistol to school and showed it to some of his friends. This should have sent a huge warning sign that showed Michael Carneal might have the potential to go on a rampage if he was not in the right state of mood.

Amanda Jones, who was one of Carneal's ex-girlfriend, had heard from Michael Carneal himself that he was going to bring a gun to school. Carneal also told Jones that he thought the people in the daily prayer groups were hypocrites. (3) As if this was not enough...