When I'm wrong, I like to admit it. This keeps things from getting all out of proportion when I finally wind my way back to whatever topic or thread I may have been on when I made my misstep. I get stuck on items about guns and schools and I try my best to keep my facts straight, but I heard from a friend and loyal reader that I made an error: Kip Kinkel is still very much alive. He was not among those who I listed as being confused enough about their purpose on the planet that they first decided to kill a great many innocent victims before taking their own lives. Kip is alive and well, and anxiously awaiting a new trial as he serves a life sentence without hope of parole for the murder of his parents and two students at his high school in Oregon. His crimes took place in May of 1998.
Mitchell Johnson was, until earlier today, wandering around free. Mitchell was thirteen years old when he got it into his head to lay in wait while his eleven year old buddy Andrew Golden pulled the fire alarm to provide him with a schoolyard full of teachers and students. He shot and killed a teacher and four students. That was back in March of 1998.
Mitchell didn't kill himself either. He was sentenced to the maximum sentence allowed by Arkansas law, and with an additional Federal firearm count, he was kept locked up until his twenty-first birthday. Under the provisions of his release, he was allowed to own guns. And guess what? He did. On New Year's Day, 2007 he was arrested on misdemeanor charges of carrying a weapon (a loaded 9 mm pistol) and possession of just over twenty grams of marijuana. He faces up to ten years in prison and a two hundred fifty thousand dollar fine when he is sentenced. That would be two more years than he spent in jail for killing five people. An employee of Wal-Mart, Johnson said he said he needed the gun because "people were after him." He didn't mention why he needed the pot, but I suppose convicted murderers working at Wal-Mart generally feel the need to self-medicate. Mitchell Johnson is alive and well and awaiting sentencing for his second felony. He can be out again before he turns forty.
In an otherwise unrelated story, British and U.S. researchers found that happiness for people ranging from Albania to Zimbabwe follows a U-shaped curve where life begins cheerful before turning tough during middle age and then returning to the joys of youth in the golden years. I wonder how Mitchell will cope with that.