Death in a classroom

Samuel Hengel died today. He’s the 15-year-old who held a Wisconsin classroom hostage yesterday until police stormed the room. He shot himself.

If there’s any positive in the aftermath of the tragedy, it may be that a kid bringing a gun to a classroom is still unusual enough to make the news. Everyone seems to be asking the right questions: How did it come to this for a kid? What can be done to keep it from happening to someone else’s child.

In other similar incidents, those questions had a somewhat easier answer. The shooter was bullied or teased (as was apparently the case in Cold Spring, Minnesota in 2003), or maybe prescription drugs played a part (as some suggested in the school shootings in Red Lake in 2005)

But six of Hengel’s best friends were in the classroom he held at gunpoint yesterday, and none of those friends has any clue what set him off:

The most frightening possibility in the aftermath of the incident is that it didn’t happen for any particular reason.

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