A few attorney friends and I were having dinner and among the discussion topics was the tragic elementary school shooting a few days ago. We talked about the shooter’s background, his possible motives and whether tightening gun control would prevent future school shootings. We all agreed that the shooter was mentally disturbed, must have felt that he had nothing to live for and he did this to get attention or make some kind of point.
I suspected that my friends were thinking the same thing I was but just didn’t want to say it. So I tried to ease the topic into our discussion. I brought up the Virginia Tech shooting while mentioning that had the shooter been alive today and the massacre didn’t take place, he may have applied to law school.
One of my friends looked at me with disbelief. “No way!”
The other gave a quick one-liner. “Its possible. Strange people are being admitted to law school these days.”
I gave a dull response before changing the subject. I decided that it would be better to talk about this in a bar after a few shots.
Some time later, I decided to check out a few internet forums on colleges and grad schools. Sure enough, there were discussions about whether their schools can be the next target. Many people said that it takes only one shooter to create an epic tragedy. Others were so disgusted with the current education system that it would take a mass shooting to motivate change.
Before people start calling the cops or otherwise think I’m crazy, I will make this clear: I have no plans to shoot up my alma maters. The best way I can express my displeasure at my schools is to not donate and not hire my school’s graduates at least until they get their act together. But I am going to talk about this for the sole purpose of preventing an avoidable tragedy.
It’s common knowledge that law schools pump out more graduates than the economy can absorb. I like to believe that almost all new lawyers are proud of their educational accomplishment and will continue to work hard and persevere until they achieve their goals. Most will initially tough it out for a few years doing various jobs or living off parents or unemployment until the right job comes along. Others will adjust their expectations and settle for what they can get and somehow later come to terms with their life.
For a small number of people, law school made their situation worse. Some left a stable but boring job to go to law school believing that it would lead to an exciting, lucrative career. But instead, they graduate unemployed while their co-workers were promoted.
Many new lawyers are depressed due to the lack of job security and fear of what the future holds. Their self-esteem may have taken a hit because they did not meet the expectations of their friends and family. They were told that their situation was their fault and theirs alone. When they see the law school fraud lawsuits being dismissed on the grounds of caveat emptor and new law schools are being accredited, they believe that the future will only get worse.
The large student loan debt and low salaries will put new lawyers in financially dire positions for many years. Many will default on the loans and ruin their credit which will hinder their career and marriage prospects.
You can go to the numerous anti-law school forums and blogs and see the many scared and unhappy people posting their frustrations. I have seen one or two people comment ominously about a possible school shooting. Take heart that most of them will do nothing more than whine and complain anonymously.
With all of this, I think it is possible that someone will take matters into his own hands and take violent action. This person will have serious mental problems – most likely depression. Also, this person will likely be at a very low point in his life where he feels that he has nothing to lose and nothing to live for.
The chances of a school shooting is very low, but remember, it takes only one person to create an epic tragedy.