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We never saw it coming

February 6, 2008

The Browning family murders are the big news in Maryland. I believe it also went national with mentions on Drudge and other sites. A boy (who has apparently confessed to the crime) is charged with shooting his entire family (Mother, Father and two brothers) while they slept. Nobody is denying that this is a tragedy and a horrible event, but frankly I’m getting tired of hearing the same damn thing every time a story like this hits the news.

This event has spurred two of the typical responses to a story like this. First, a flood of comments from people who knew the kid/family and ‘never saw it comng’ (more on this in a bit). Second, a rash of discussions about gun control. Would people feel better if he used an axe or a knife? No? I didn’t think so. The gun didn’t cause the crime to happen. But enough on that. Lets talk about the ‘never saw it coming’ comments.

For the past few days there have been quite a few stories in the papers and on the local news about how the accused murder was a nice kid, an honor student, nearly an eagle scout, and on and on. Basically the stories all followed theme of “He was such a great kid that we never saw anything like this coming.”

Well yeah, except for those times where he talked to the kids on his bus about killing his parents.

Police say ‘no explanation’ why Browning family murdered

Police may be confounded by the boy’s actions, but students who rode the school bus with Browning say the teen recently began talking about killing his parents, but none of them took him seriously.

“He talked about how rich his father was, how he wanted some of that money,” said one middle schooler, whose father asked The Examiner not to publish her name. “He didn’t like his father because he used to always yell at him and stuff. He called his mom a ditzy, dumb blonde. We thought he was kidding.”

So yeah, if you ignore that minor detail, nobody saw it coming.

That brings me to another story from the Baltimore Examiner:

Kids Who Kill Offer Little Warning

Browning, who turns 16 on Saturday, had no history of violence, mental health problems or drug problems, according to court documents. His father was a highly regarded business attorney, and the family lived in an affluent suburb. Browning played golf and lacrosse, was active in his church and was close to becoming an Eagle Scout.

See? There was no warning. Well, except for him saying he was going to kill his parents.

Narasimhan noted that because mental health records are confidential, it’s impossible to know for sure whether Browning was suffering from mental illness or had shown other warning signs, such as bullying at school or cruelty to animals.

Really? No other warning signs like bullying at school? Lets jump back to the first news story for a second:

The students said Nicholas Browning used to pick on his younger brothers on the bus — and would punch Gregory, 14, when he wouldn’t listen.

Sounds a bit like bullying to me. Not ‘extreme’, but a form of bullying nonetheless. Actually, I think you’d be hard pressed to find siblings that don’t tease each other at some point. However, add this behavior to his previous statements and you start building some warning signs.

So lets recap: He picked on one brother, hit the other brother, stated he wanted his fathers money, called his mom a ditzy, dumb blond and openly talked about killing his parents to other kids on the bus. So other than all that, this is a complete shock.

And finally, I’ve noticed quite a few references in these stories to ‘sealed mental health records’. I won’t be surprised in the slightest if its eventually revealed that this kid was on some type of ADD/ADHD or anti-depressant medication.

From → General

  1. Jeeze permalink

    Look at this statement printed in a CNN article. “The biggest risk factor that was not prevented was his access to firearms, and I think that’s the biggest tragedy,” said Dr. Anandhi Narasimhan, a Los Angeles-based child psychiatrist.”
    This idiot has a strange idea about “the biggest tragedy”. Attitudes like this make me sick!!

  2. The biggest risk factor is that no one ever took the kid seriously or paid attention. Of course the nut job failure mental health professionals have to blame someone or something other than themselves.

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