20 years after Bethel High School shooting gunman makes no excuses, but the media does

20 years after Bethel High School shooting gunman makes no excuses, but the media does

I haven’t posted much about the Bethel High School shooting that happened in Anchorage, Alaska, back in 1997. Back then a 16-year-old Evan Ramsey took a shotgun to the school and opened fire killing Principal Ron Edwards and student Josh Palacios. Ramsey was tried as an adult and was sentenced to close to 200 years in prison. Back in 2008, Ramsey gave an interview to Nightline where he blamed the shooting on everyone but himself. He blamed everything from video games, to bullies, to the kid who taught him how to shoot a gun. He even tried to claim that he didn’t think death was permanent at the time of the shooting.

Now, with the 20th anniversary of the shooting having just passed yesterday, the Alaskan media have spoken to Ramsey and he seems to have changed his tune.

From the Alaska Dispatch News

Ramsey said he is not making excuses or blaming video games, rock music or anything else, unlike how it sounded years ago in an interview with CNN’s Anderson Cooper. He is not looking for sympathy. He said he is speaking up to say how wrong he was and to help others, like school counselors, understand the rage that took hold.

“I can’t say that I am sorry enough,” Ramsey said. A correctional officer announced time was up. He said he hopes everyone he hurt will find closure, peace.

From KTVA

“There’s a part of me that will always be sad,” Evan Ramsey said. “Sad for what I did. But the small amount of sorrow that I have, others feel more.”

Evan Ramsey says he’s sorry for his crime and wishes he had known then that his high school years would pass quickly and his frustrations over bullying would be over.

So for once it seems that we have a school shooter that’s finally owning up to the responsibility of his actions. However, that hasn’t stopped the press for making the excuses for him. For example, the ADN headline reads “Evan Ramsey’s tattered life filled him with rage. Then he brought a shotgun to school.” Both articles I link to spend more time going over Ramsey’s childhood then they do about the victims of the shooting. They spend paragraphs on Ramsey’s father being sent to prison for his own attempted mass shooting and how his mother became an alcoholic. They talk about the bullying he suffered at school ad nauseam. Both articles are written in such a way that Ramsey’s childhood is supposed to somehow excuse the double homicide he committed.

If Ramsey is willing to accept responsibility for his crime the press is doing a major disservice by playing up his childhood issues. By doing so, they’re not only excusing his actions but they make them seem acceptable by potential school shooters.

Leave a Reply