Yesterday's mass killings at Virginia Tech has made Joseph Lieberman, author of The Shooting Game: The Making of School Shooters, seem prescient and his book suddenly, tragically relevant.
The book, published by Seven Locks in March 2006, looks back over 30 years of such shootings, putting them in historical and social context. From his home in Eugene, Ore. Lieberman told PW that he was already revising his book when he heard about rampage at Virginia Tech, the most deadly school shooting in U.S. history. He said he wrote The Shooting Game for school administrators, parents, law enforcement and others trying to make sense of the shootings. “I realize the book could make a difference if people knew about it,” said Lieberman.
During an interview last fall, which was the most violent school shooting season with 25 incidents leaving 12 dead and 34 wounded, Lieberman predicted that a very violent attack would happened in April 2007 near the anniversary of the Columbine shooting on April 20.
There are still many questions surrounding yesterday's slaughter, which left 33 people dead, including the shooter. The biggest question is, why? When PW asked the author why he thought this and other shootings were happening, he answered with an ancient Chinese quote: “Society prepares the crime; the criminal only carries it out.”
When Seven Locks publisher James Reardon turned on his car radio yesterday on the way to his Santa Ana, Calif. office and heard about the shooting at Virginia Tech, he knew he would have to call his printer. “I can have more books in a week,” he said. “I’m not happy about it, but as a publisher, it’s about learning and teaching.”
Lieberman hopes to have the book revised in time for BEA in June and said he will address the violent events from the fall (including the Amish shooting) and the Virginia Tech shooting. He asked Danny Ledonne, author of the videogame Super Columbine Massacre, to write the new introduction to The Shooting Game.
Lieberman knows Ledonne is an odd choice for the intro, but he also noted that Ledonne, a self-described one-time despondent, dejected teen who saw himself heading down the same path as Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold at Columbine, has insight into the subject.
As a former high school and college teacher, working much of his life in Japan, Lieberman said listening to kids is vital to stopping violence. “One thing people tell me when they read my book is that they will never say again, ‘it can’t happen here,’” said Lieberman.