The Usual Suspects: America Looks to Lay the Blame for Littleton

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But in the face of such horror -- not to mention the apparent suicide of the young gunmen -- few have the heart to trace the blame to the homes that produced the killers. Doubtless too many parents can see themselves in that position to confront the uncomfortable, unfamiliar reality of suburban teenage anomie. In a country where burning yourself with a very hot cup of coffee is considered grounds for a lawsuit, the temptation to place the blame on someone -- anyone -- else is apparently irresistible, especially in the face of such an unconscionable act.

Nor has this instant platform been lost on our politicians. Newly minted political thinker Jesse Ventura suggested that if controls on concealed weapons were relaxed, the killings might not have occurred -- positing the novel concept that a well-armed student body is the best defense in a democracy. Gary Bauer opined that too few children have been told that they're created by God. A few, like Lamar Alexander and Ben Nighthorse Campbell, directly addressed the responsibility of parents, but stopped short of blaming these particular parents. Such specificity of guilt is uncomfortable for America, which prefers vague, generalized culprits less offensive to its smiley-face sensibilities -- and where tales of childhood beating are somehow supposed to sway the jury in the trial of Charles Ng, who tortured and murdered 11 people. Thus such intangibles as the Internet, Goth culture and "The Basketball Diaries" (which was pulled from video store shelves Thursday by MGM) will all take their lumps, as Ozzy Osbourne and "Natural Born Killers" did before. But at least two homes in Littleton will not be able to escape the terrible burden of being the exact place where such evil hatched, grew and finally took flight.