Give a boy a gun
Give a Boy a Gun is a series of documentaries published by Todd Strasser in 2002 to reveal the true nature of crimes committed by high school students. The series of stories were constructed by quotations generated from the story characters, mimicking the Columbine high school massacre of 1999. The story focuses on event and circumstance that resulted in a school shooting by two teenagers. Give a Boy a Gun is a story that questions the main cause of the school shootings in high school. The author wonders if it the faults of the parents, the gun manufacturers, violent video games that push children to kill those who bully them and even kill themselves to avoid the pain they felt.
Brendan Lawlor and Gary Searle are the main characters in the story, according to the storyline, both of them are students at Middletown high school. Gary is local while Brendan has just arrived in town, they soon become friends because they needed to look out for each other since the school football players kept on bullying them. Brendan and Gary are forced to deal with the daily abuses in school, especially from the football players. The two boys become angrier eventually finding alternative ways to cope in school by using alcohol. Gary being a good student in science, he developed a homemade bomb, both Gary and Brendan steal automatic guns from a neighbor.
One night when the school dance was organized, Brendan and Gary entered the venue wearing masks and armed with bombs and guns. Brendan and Gary force everyone in the room including teachers, to lie down on the floor while they fired shots in the air. They separated boys and girls, zipping everyone’s hands behind their backs. The main target was Sam Flach, who had been tormenting them for a long time; he was shot on both knees, they also shot a teacher to prevent him from calling for help. The two boys tormented their colleagues and had planned to kill everyone in the party before killing themselves. However, their plans did not succeed because Alison, Gary’s girlfriend came to the party. She had been suspicious of what the two were planning.
Gary becomes hesitant because he did not want to kill Allison. By then the police and the boy’s parents arrived trying to convince them not to carry out their plans. Brendan and Gary argue over what to do as Allison tries to save Sam Flach’s life, she uses a belt from another boy and ties Sam’s leg to stop the bleeding. Eventually, Gary shoots himself. Meanwhile, another boy unites other boys, and they eventually attacked Brendan, knocking him down. Brendan is attacked by a group of boys causing him to lapse into a comma.
The entire story recounts the experiences of those who survived the ordeal; each person revealed some signs that both Brendan and Gary behaved suspiciously in school. The victims questioned what might have influenced the boys into a shooting rampage, was it a question of gun control, home influences, societal expectation or the negative interaction in school. Many people wondered how several factors can significantly push students to react in stressful situations.
In the end, Gary’s stepsister Denise wonders if his brother could have known of other options apart from shooting to solve his school problems. Gary sister swore to treat people with respect and teach other people to do the same. She believed that semi-automatic weapons need to be outlawed and handguns should only be used by law enforcers only.
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