According to the Boston Globe, “a 16-year-old sophomore accused of fatally stabbing a freshman yesterday at Lincoln-Sudbury Regional High School frequently boasted about his knowledge of weapons and violent crime, and once asked a teacher for acid so he could build a bomb, fellow students said.”

The suspect, 16-year-old John Odgren, reportedly has been diagnosed with Asperger’s Disorder, as well as attention deficit disorder (ADHD). The profile pieced together yesterday by Globe reporter Ralph Ranalli can be found here, but doesn’t answer the obvious question — how does one jump from being obsessed with weapons to actually using one to kill another human being?

The sad truth is that no amount of analysis of a person’s possible mental illness explains criminal behavior of this nature. A combination of Asperger’s Disorder and ADHD isn’t an explanation at all, since nearly everyone who has both of these disorders is not a criminal (and there’s no research to show that there is a greater prevalence of criminality in people with these disorders).

What we end up with, yet again, is a confused adolescent trying to grapple with his emotions, peer-pressure, and constant harassment by others who needs help (or an intervention) from an attentive adult — a school counselor, a teacher, a parent — someone in the child’s life. No amount of metal detectors or security guards can be a substitute for people who care.

 


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    Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 20 Jan 2007
    Published on PsychCentral.com. All rights reserved.

APA Reference
Grohol, J. (2007). Another School Killing — This Time in Massachusetts. Psych Central. Retrieved on January 25, 2015, from http://psychcentral.com/blog/archives/2007/01/20/another-school-killing-this-time-in-massachusetts/

 

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