Monday, November 17, 2008

Teen-age Female Shooter Arrested on First Degree Murder

The Miami Herald reports on the tragic high-school shooting that took the life of one student and put the other behind bars.

15-year-old Amanda Collette was gunned down by a classmate in a school hallway Wednesday.

Teah Wimberly, 15, who is accused of killing Collette, sat Sunday in the Broward Regional Juvenile Detention Center. She is charged with first-degree murder.

Friends of the girls say Wimberly and Collette exchanged a series of emotional text messages Tuesday in which Wimberly said she loved Collette, but Collette rejected the advances.

Where does a 15-year-old with a grudge get a gun? Where does a 15-year-old with a grudge get the idea that shooting is the answer? This is exactly where I stand against the idea of arming the good guys in order to combat violent offenders. The pervasive message that shooting is the answer would only be perpetuated by arming teachers and arming law-abiding citizens. This mistaken philosophy is already too prevalent in our society. We need to teach negotiating skills, the art of compromise, love and peace, if you can stand that cliché.

Why is the female shooter so rare? Is it a question of testosterone and estrogen? Is it a learned behavior, boys learn it girls usually don't? What do you think about that?

Is a female offender more likely to receive leniency? Those who rely on statistics should say yes. Being female she's much less likely to repeat. And isn't that the whole point, to protect society? On the other hand, perhaps she should be tried as an adult, held accountable for her actions and sentenced to death? What do you think?


  1. She'll get off easy. Probably in a Juvenile facility until she's 21, then a parole.

    I would say something this gross and wanton would warrent the death penalty (or Life in Prison if you somehow see a difference)

    So with a Cupcake sentence, Society has just EXCLAIMED shooting IS the answer.

  2. shooting is not the abswer, as if there were only one. but shooting can sometimes be an answer --- and when it is one at all, then it's often the only one that'll work.

  3. Mike,

    I take a crack at answering some of your questions.

    First where does a 15 year old get a gun? From her parents, from her community (remember Weer'd talking about community guns), how about from boyfriends , how about an older brother?

    I thought about this on the drive to work this morning. I remember my dad storing guns in our house, usually locked up some how. One was the display rack on the wall with a simple bar locking the rifles in place. Another was a glass fronted display cabinet. Front and drawers were locked but in both cases I knew where to find the spare "hidden" key.

    A better question is what type of environment did a 15 year old girl grow up in that she thought that fatal violence was an answer to a high school grudge. As I said, I always knew ways to get firearms, I'm not sure where you grew up but it is that way in many parts of America. We never thought that using firearms was even in consideration for high school issues. It's a matter of culture.

    The pervasive message that shooting is the answer would only be perpetuated by arming teachers and arming law-abiding citizens

    I completely disagree with you on this statement. I think arming teachers and other law abiding citizens sends the message that predatory violence will no longer be allowed to go unanswered. There are two distinct types of violence, the type that attacks, that destroys, that commits crimes is predatory. The criminal is using his/her willingness to commit violence to get their way. Protectionary violence is up-holding the law. How would that be a bad thing?

    We need to teach negotiating skills, the art of compromise, love and peace, if you can stand that cliché.

    It another cliche to give the criminal what they want, right? What if they want your wife, your children for the criminals sexual gratification; are you going to negotiate with the criminal?
    Will you try to compromise with the burglar stealing your car-taking hours of your life spent earning it?

    What compromise or negotiation can their be with a murderer?

    Do you think that the victim Amanda Collette should have tried harder to talk her way out of being shot?
    Maybe a teacher, an unarmed teacher should have set them down at a table to discuss their problems. Of course if they couldn't come to an understanding, would anything be available to stop the predatory violence?

    I think the mistaken philosophy in our society is that criminals are just misunderstood victims themselves. Some people are just not willing to live by the rules society has in place, until we, each and everyone one of us, stand up and say no more predatory violence it will continue.

  4. We need to teach negotiating skills, the art of compromise,

    wow, i missed this on first reading.

    how do you compromise with somebody who wants to kill you dead? offer to let them chop you in half, so you only end up half dead?

    also, what bob said; arming people does not necessarily send the message that "violence is okay". depending on just who gets armed, it may instead send the message of "this we'll defend", and that some things are worth defending even if it takes deadly violence to do so.

    (e.g., arming cops does not merely escalate violence; arming cops can serve to end or even prevent violence.)

  5. Obviously I'm not talking about negotiating with a violent criminal in the moment of attack, just like I'm not talking about doing peace and love on them in the heat of the moment. I'm saying that's what we need to teach kids from a young age. The message has to be that violence is not one of the answers.

    Having said that, again, I must admit, Bob gave me pause with the differentiation between the two types of violence. I'm not so sure they can be separated, but it's an interesting concept.

  6. Mike,

    I'll illustrate with a true life example. Saturday night my wife was up late watching TV in the family room when she heard a noise outside and saw tail lights stopped in front of our house.

    I dressed, got a flashlight and my nightstand firearm (Ruger GP-100 4' barrel for the gunnies) and went out the back way to investigate. Luckily there was no one there, just a van delivering the early edition of the Sunday paper and a limb that came down out of a tree.

    Now, IF there had been somebody out there trying to break in; would me stopping them be predatory violence or protectionary?

  7. I'm saying that's what we need to teach kids from a young age. The message has to be that violence is not one of the answers.

    that may have to be one of the lies we teach to children, at least until they get old enough and mature enough to distinguish based on intent and goals. the problem with such teaching is that, fundamentally, it isn't true, and at some point the deeper and more complex truth must be substituted for that simplification.

    violence certainly can be an answer --- not to every problem, not in every situation, and never as a first resort, but even so it can be. very rarely, it must be; that's why we give guns and truncheons to policemen. at some point in raising any child, that fact must be confronted. preferably before puberty, as that tends to be when violent aggression starts to develop, and children must be taught to control and channel their own capacity for mayhem.

  8. A story from my own childhood comes to mind. I was maybe 5 years old, and my Mom came running out into the yard at the sound of my crying. The neighbor's kid was bashing me over the head with a tree branch. She thought it was pretty amusing, I didn't....but I was just standing there. My Mom snatched the the branch from her and let her folks deal with her however they chose, and she took me inside.

    "Why did you just stand there with her hitting you?" She asked me.

    "Because I wanted to hit her back but you told me hitting was wrong." I replied.

    "When somebody is hitting you, hitting them back so you can get away is NEVER wrong." She told me.

    My Mother told me that story many times while I was growing up, making sure I never forgot that lesson, and I never have.

    A Deadly force scenario is essentially a situation where if you allow the first (or next) blow to fall it could concevably leave you in a condition where you CANNOT get away or fight back.

    In those situations its NEVER right to simply allow oneself to fall prey to those who think they have the right to do so.

    Unfortunately people get away with such acts, often do to people with a sympathetic mind like yours, Mike. What does that lesson teach?

  9. Weer'd, I think you misunderstand me. In a violent situation, I'm not suggesting non-violence. I'm all for doing what you have to do in a heated moment. I'm talking about what we teach our kids. It may be too late to reverse this deeply entrenched mentality, but I'm talkin about teaching kids negotiating skills, the art of give and take, compromise, all that good stuff. I'm afraid it's exacerbating the problem to show the kids that daddy or teacher is armed and if someone steps too far out of line they get blasted. The whole mentality is bad news. I know, you what facts and stats to back that up. Sorry, I don't have 'em.

  10. That stuff can help, Mike...But still take the best teacher in the world to teach a kid all those great people skills...then send that kid home to an empty home in a neighborhood filled with gangs. What will will that recipe yield?

    On the other hand, take a two parent home with two devoted parents who are both filled with praise for good activities, but very strict on bad behavior, and stuff them in a shithole DC School (the worst in the country) and what will be the net result?

    Sounds good that somehow we can mandate such bad things away, but you really just can't. Instead the only way is to do everything the best for yourself, and lead by example.

  11. Mike,

    Perhaps you are looking at this from the wrong perspective, the anti-gun one.

    Currently, because concealed carry and open carry is so restricted, so costly, so frowned upon; very few children grow up with parents that have visible firearms that aren't ever USED.

    Think about it, who openly displays their firearms to their kids now days? For the most part it is the gang bangers, the drug users, etc. On the other hand,you have a parent like Melanie Hain, the PA soccer mom that was in the news recently for carrying at a kid's soccer game. Here was a woman who didn't loose her cool and start blast everyone. Isn't that the type of role model you want kids to see?

    Instead what we have is mostly urban poor in a high crime area showing that firearms are an acceptable method of solving problems.

  12. My ideas of teaching kids alternative ways of dealing with conflict, I realize, is a utopian one. Weer'd said it best, "Instead the only way is to do everything the best for yourself, and lead by example." I like that.

  13. Mike,

    I disagree that your way is a Utopian way, it is the way that many people raise their kids.

    For over 3 years now, I've had firearms in the house. All my kids know this, they know the proper handling methods, when to handle them, etc.

    In that time, I've been mad a a couple of people. I've fought with my wife a couple of times. My oldest son and I had a few blow ups. And in all those times, not once did the firearms come out and be used. Instead, we talked about the issues, we resolved the problems. What the kids learned is that no matter how mad I am, I would NEVER pull a firearm. How did they know that....because as mad as I got I NEVER pulled a firearm. Leading by example, right?

    This is the example over 300,000 concealed carry holders set every day in Texas for the most part. The conviction rate for all crimes for concealed carry holders is ridiculously small. Out of 61,539 total convictions in Texas in 2006 only 140 of those where CHL holders - 0.2275%

    Isn't that a positive example that people can carry firearms but not use them for crimes?


    If the new data shows that Police should IMMIDIATLY confront "active shooters" and that waiting for backup and/or SWAT just means MORE dead.

    Can you see the advantage of a trained teacher able to engage the attacker before even the first Officer might be on scene?

    Also when enugh "massacres" become "attampted massacres" and the assailent is either killed, or arrested quickly, how many more misguided students will choose to do that?

    Again, just look at hatred of police, and the number of Police station massacres on record.

    They also point out the correlation of Massacres and Gun-Free Zones.

    None of this should be new to you, Mike, but it's always nice to hear it from another source.

  15. To follow up on what Weer'd said, research school massacres in Israel.

    It is a complete validation of the Harrold Texas School District approach.

    Also apply that same training for school shooter with mall shooters, armed robberies, etc.

    Isn't a gun in the hands of a lawful citizen better then having to wait for the police to bring one to confront the criminal?

    I'm not knocking the police, they can't and shouldn't be everyone all the time.

  16. No knock of police at all. Its a very slim minority of people who are REALLY Anti-gun....just many assume that a shiney badge and a twice-anual trip to the range for some VERY simple drills (Most of the gun ranges I shoot at are used for the local PD's qualifications, so I've watched a few. Most involve less than 50 rounds fired at no more than 25 feet, stationary target, and stationary officer. Usally a few shots from a read postion, and a few from the holster I'd say the average CCW holder does twice that amount of shooting in a month on average, and most do double that every WEEK!) makes them safer than a person who elected to carry a gun for personal protection (note "Packing a Gun" is rarely the reason why a person becomes a peace officer).

    So when things get VERY ugly EVERYBODY is Pro gun....the big question is, do they have one, or do they have to wait for the cops to bring theirs?

    I see it simiarly to going to the Pharmacy to have your heart medicine script filled when you have the first signs of a heart attack.

    If a shooter makes his presence known in a school or a mall, likely there isn't an officer on scene, or they are not in the imidiate area. Even in the time when an officer in the building can respond people can die.

    Allowing eligable staff to descreetly carry allows for MUCH quicker responce.

    And at what harm? Its not like there is any evedence of CCW holders misusing their permits with exception of a few rare cases that amount to a handfull NATIONWIDE.

    So the risks are none (hell if a teacher is crazy and wants to shoot students, he doesn't need permission to bring a gun to school) and the payoff is HUGE.

    Why would ANYBODY be against this?

  17. Mike,

    Predatory versus protectionary violence clearly demonstrated in this story.

    PHILADELPHIA -- It all happened in a matter of moments. A Philadelphia business owner said he had to make a split-second decision to pull the trigger in order to protect himself and his 9-year-old son.

    The West Oak Lane barber who police say killed an intruder at his shop last week spoke Monday night exclusively with Fox 29's Nefertiti Jaquez.

    Llord B. Cross said he fulfilled a lifelong dream when he opened his own shop four years ago.

    But that dream became a nightmare Thursday night when a man knocked on the door and asked if his shop was still open.

    "He was digging into his pockets, and I was thinking basically that he was just going in his pockets for either a cell phone or a wallet," Cross said. "… He turned around with his gun pointed directly at me."

    The gun-wielding robber, police say, was 19-year-old Hakeem Birch.

    "I just kept saying, 'I don't want no trouble. I'll give you my money. It's right here,'" Cross said.

    "And then he told me that, 'This is not enough.' And I was sitting there thinking to myself that I'm dead," Cross said.

    Birch removed money from Cross' jeans pockets and from the cash register.

    "And so then he starts walking to the back, and I'm scared because my son was with me," Cross said.

    Cross believes the robber heard the TV in the back room and realized someone else was in the shop. His son was in the back playing video games, waiting for his dad to close up.

    "I said, 'Please do not hurt us. My son is in the back.' And I said, 'I've given you everything that I have,'" Cross said.

    Suddenly, Birch walked out but quickly returned while Cross was trying to lock up.

    "So, I'm thinking, 'What do I do? … So I pull my handgun … and as he comes right up on me, I grab him by his collar, and I put him against the wall. … He puts his gun into my midsection, and I have a split second to think about what to do, and I had to make a choice. … My choice was, 'I'm either going to die. He's going to shoot me and potentially my child is going to be harmed, too.' … So, I shot him in self defense," Cross said.

    Birch was fatally shot in the head.

    The gun Cross used was licensed, and police said he won't be charged, but he said the events of Thursday night keep playing over and over again in his mind.

    Fox 29 also spoke to Birch's family, and they said they are hurting as well. They buried the 19-year-old earlier Monday, Jaquez reported.

  18. That is one of the few times when a head-shot is the ONLY option. Had he shot the man even in the heart he could have fired back before he died....

  19. One thing I think I've noticed is you guys are the ones who are using theories. The main one seems to be that armed teachers would prevent crimes like this. I don't think they would have with this girl. And she's probably more representative of the school shooters than the Columbine or VA Tech kind. They sneak a weapon into the school and start blasting. It's already too late.

  20. Correct....but you want even more common is school murders from stabbings. They're so common they don't even make the local papers.

    Plus they're usally gang-land minorities. Papers don't care about them.

  21. Mike,

    You are wrong, we aren't using theory at all. I suggested you research school shootings in Israel, have you?

    Think of the possibilities there, a huge number of folks walk around armed, there are armed teachers, staff and volunteers in the schools.

    Israel has enemies that will not, have not hesitated to kill innocents. Violence occurs on a near daily basis, per capita I bet it's higher then USA in the worst cities.

    So, how many shootings in schools, not just high schools, all schools has Israel suffered?

    You challenge our bias, our perspective all the time; isn't it fair if you ask us to re-think our beliefs that you do the same?