Jonesboro 1998 Middle School Massacre Candid Responses From Locals

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Blake Gelderberg

Jupiter, FL

#1 Nov 26, 2012
Good afternoon,

I am writing an in depth report for high school about the 1998 Jonesboro middle school shooting by Johnson and Golden at Westside Middle School. This will discuss and debate about if lower middle class white males are prone to mass murder more than other races and classes. It will also discuss what those two men are doing today, and a few other items of note that are worthy to the topic.

Jonesboro statistically looks to be an average lower middle class community with a high percentage of hourly, blue collar workers. It is lower than the national average in education and home prices, is higher than the national average in the number of churches per capita, and has a higher than average number of churches with low annual financial commitments (lower middle class and poor churches), and has about the national average in terms of different religions in the area, however Baptist does appear to be above average than nationwide Baptist averages.

I am not trying to put down your town or discourage your town from bettering itself or where it is at on the national socio-economic scale, but I do want to hear mostly from people who fit those descriptions. Extremely poor people and people who are in the top income earning group in your town, you can add to the discussion, but are not relevant to my report.

I will also be debating on how towns like Jonesboro are apt to breed more future mass murderers than other extremely poor, or at the other end, more wealthier enclaves.

I would like candid responses from locals who lived in Jonesboro at the time and how the town reacted to the tragedy, what changed with the way schools are run today, if there were any groups (such as socio economic classes or religious affiliations) that pitted themselves against other groups (such as socio economic classes or religious affiliations)in town at the time during the trial, and also of course what you thought of how the two shooters were sentenced, and their lives today etc.

Any help is appreciated. Thank you.
hey you

Jonesboro, AR

#2 Nov 26, 2012
you say your not saying anything bad about us .... LIAR
hey trouble maker

Cabot, AR

#3 Nov 26, 2012
Why don't you just research everything on the internet and leave the families of this area alone? People are still hurting from this tragedy. Why are you trying to stir up trouble with people's 'opinions','feelings', etc. even with the two shooters and their families?
Go away! Jonesboro and the area are not breeding grounds for mass murderers!
Actually

Blytheville, AR

#4 Nov 26, 2012
You are asking how a town like Jonesboro bred a mass killer? How about California?(9) Colorado (3)
Texas (4) 3 in wisconsin etc..Your thesis sees to be biased, uninformed, and simply started, to provoke a reaction. Arkansas has had one spree (or mass killing) and although he was the youngest recorded mass murderer, I highly doubt it had anything to do with the geographical location of his upbringing.Since 1982, there have been at least 61 mass murders carried out with firearms across the country, with the killings unfolding in 30 states from Massachusetts to Hawaii, and you want to know about this single incident why?
Blake Gelderberg

Jupiter, FL

#5 Nov 26, 2012
Actually wrote:
You are asking how a town like Jonesboro bred a mass killer? How about California?(9) Colorado (3)
Texas (4) 3 in wisconsin etc..Your thesis sees to be biased, uninformed, and simply started, to provoke a reaction. Arkansas has had one spree (or mass killing) and although he was the youngest recorded mass murderer, I highly doubt it had anything to do with the geographical location of his upbringing.Since 1982, there have been at least 61 mass murders carried out with firearms across the country, with the killings unfolding in 30 states from Massachusetts to Hawaii, and you want to know about this single incident why?
I'm surprised there is so much hostility. I was given this assignment so you may want to ask my teacher as to why your town's killing was picked for me. Actually I drew it out of a hat but it was the only mass murder in the group of topics. They were very random and of big national news stories from at least 10 years ago or more. I do know of the Colorado school killing and the one this summer at the movie theaters. I'm using the Columbine shooting also and it is interesting because that area is a slightly more well off suburbia area than your Jonesboro. I do find it strange and interesting that most modern day mass murders are done by middle class and lower middle class white males. Not too many in completely poverty stricken areas or in very wealthy towns either. Religion definitely has something to do with it all I am convinced and being that Jonesboro is in the bible belt, I'm going to go into that angle also. The more religion a lower middle class white male is exposed to, or forced to participate in as a child, I will put it that way, the higher the odds of these types of bad things. Obviously a very tiny percentage of the population, but better odds nevertheless. When this is finished by February, I will put a link to it on reddit and twitter. Thank you.
Sad

Jonesboro, AR

#7 Nov 26, 2012
I will give you some insight from my prespective. Of course my opinin is just that. No scientific data, or facts. Its just my opinion.

Westside people should be the area you look at most. I don't think religion played a part. I do think Westside people in general have a chip on their shoulder. What I mean is, it never gets full respect, as other schools in the region get. So the people who are born and raised in the Westside area, have severe chips on their shoulder. Go back and look when the area consolidated schools. Many parents at the time did not like this but it was forced upon them. So now you have kids competing for athletics and parents truly hated this. Kids made such and such team, and others didn't. All the way from basketball, to football and cheerleading. You got to understand sports is the only thing Westside people have. Education is secondary. They will not ever say that, and I am sure some will raise hell over that statement, but it's true. So now you have all these kids which were stars at their school, now consolidated with Westside, and yes some of these kids took spots from original Westside players. Parents were furious. So now you have na enviroment which creates competetion within itself. This rolled along from several years. People adjusted, but still you heard rumors of this parent or that parent creating a ruckus over this coach or this teacher. Things just never seemed settled. Kids were complaining they were bullied, but teachers always said otherwise. In my opinion, the school turned a blind eye. If you look at the culture of Westside people, you see a strong desire to win in sports, but lacking in educational desires overall. The sport stars could do no wrong. They placed athletes above all. The whole school in my opinion was very clickish from parents down to students to teachers. In my opinion this creates a enviroment of resent, anger and turmoil. Kids who were on the outs, felt lonely and detached. On face front you see this competetive school, but deep rooted, you had all this anger building with some students. Then you had the shooting.

After the shooting you saw, parents stunned and shocked. How could this happen? Where could this anger come from? You had a pulling together for a while, and I thought personally the school was going to heal and be a better school. But I go back to lack of education, and parents with chips. Then the fighting started on who would get names on new buildings, and one husband of teacher, started getting lambashed with rumors. The same ole resentment started rearing its ugly head again. I believe kids are what their parents make them. If your uneducated and you work paycheck to paycheck, and a schools sports program is the only relief from daily grind. You start to instill this trait to your kids. You place your priorities on things that don't mean a whole lot.

Then the state started to recognize schools for their education achievements, and a adjoining school to their district, started to gain recognition, then the ole chips on the shoulders of Westside reared its ugly head again. And still goes on till today.

Westside people so dearly want to be held up above all other schools in the region. You can see this, but in retrospect they hinder their own selves by the chips they carry. Instead of taking a bad thing, and making lasting changes, and look deeply into why two kids would commit such a brutal crime. And look at why, they only looked at who. And without ever looking at why, they will never heal and change. The facts are, these kids came from that school. They went to the school with intent to shoot and kill. They pulled the fire alarm to get them outside. We will never fully understand the murderers. But if you look at Columbine, those kids were shunned outcast. One can only imagine how outcasted these two students were at Westside. I pray they will get inner peace as other schools around them have found.
Sad

Jonesboro, AR

#8 Nov 26, 2012
Blake Gelderberg wrote:
<quoted text>
I'm surprised there is so much hostility. I was given this assignment so you may want to ask my teacher as to why your town's killing was picked for me. Actually I drew it out of a hat but it was the only mass murder in the group of topics. They were very random and of big national news stories from at least 10 years ago or more. I do know of the Colorado school killing and the one this summer at the movie theaters. I'm using the Columbine shooting also and it is interesting because that area is a slightly more well off suburbia area than your Jonesboro. I do find it strange and interesting that most modern day mass murders are done by middle class and lower middle class white males. Not too many in completely poverty stricken areas or in very wealthy towns either. Religion definitely has something to do with it all I am convinced and being that Jonesboro is in the bible belt, I'm going to go into that angle also. The more religion a lower middle class white male is exposed to, or forced to participate in as a child, I will put it that way, the higher the odds of these types of bad things. Obviously a very tiny percentage of the population, but better odds nevertheless. When this is finished by February, I will put a link to it on reddit and twitter. Thank you.
Also this hostility is some of the chips I am talking about. Welcome to our little community. They don't represent everyone in the region, I promise. Goodluck on assignment, and glad your looking at this region.
Wondering

Jonesboro, AR

#9 Nov 26, 2012
hey trouble maker wrote:
Why don't you just research everything on the internet and leave the families of this area alone? People are still hurting from this tragedy. Why are you trying to stir up trouble with people's 'opinions','feelings', etc. even with the two shooters and their families?
Go away! Jonesboro and the area are not breeding grounds for mass murderers!
Why can't someone look into the real reasons this happened? Are you afraid of the real results? I would welcome anyone wanting to research the real problems of what happened back then. Its been a long time since that day, and I feel its time to get the real reasons. Other school shootings have had deep researxh, but Westside never really had any answers. Was it because people in that area, cannot fathom if the reasons are a cultural part of what happened? Why are there so many rude and disrespectful Westside people? Could this have raised a generation of kids who have no morale base?
really

Blytheville, AR

#10 Nov 26, 2012
First, You don't come to topix for any facts! Everything here is gossip.

Second, Jonesboro is not a poor community. It's a large fast growing community.

Third, these kids that shot up the school were being bullied. Did they handle their frustration correctly? No they didn't.

The school should have prevented this entire thing. Most school teachers sit on their a$$ and don't do their job.

Schools should take bullying more serious and bullsh!t like this wouldn't happen.

By the way, Arkansas has only had one school shooting. How much violence has Florida had? Next time, do a report on Florida and their dirty beaches, school violence, and Casey Anthony. Have you noticed how many sexual predators Florida has? The most I've ever seen.

I would rather live in Arkansas and keep my kid safe than live in Florida anyday!

This is my opinion about everything.
guest

Garland, TX

#11 Nov 26, 2012
Blake Gelderberg wrote:
Good afternoon,

I am writing an in depth report for high school about the 1998 Jonesboro middle school shooting by Johnson and Golden at Westside Middle School. This will discuss and debate about if lower middle class white males are prone to mass murder more than other races and classes. It will also discuss what those two men are doing today, and a few other items of note that are worthy to the topic.

Jonesboro statistically looks to be an average lower middle class community with a high percentage of hourly, blue collar workers. It is lower than the national average in education and home prices, is higher than the national average in the number of churches per capita, and has a higher than average number of churches with low annual financial commitments (lower middle class and poor churches), and has about the national average in terms of different religions in the area, however Baptist does appear to be above average than nationwide Baptist averages.

I am not trying to put down your town or discourage your town from bettering itself or where it is at on the national socio-economic scale, but I do want to hear mostly from people who fit those descriptions. Extremely poor people and people who are in the top income earning group in your town, you can add to the discussion, but are not relevant to my report.

I will also be debating on how towns like Jonesboro are apt to breed more future mass murderers than other extremely poor, or at the other end, more wealthier enclaves.

I would like candid responses from locals who lived in Jonesboro at the time and how the town reacted to the tragedy, what changed with the way schools are run today, if there were any groups (such as socio economic classes or religious affiliations) that pitted themselves against other groups (such as socio economic classes or religious affiliations)in town at the time during the trial, and also of course what you thought of how the two shooters were sentenced, and their lives today etc.

Any help is appreciated. Thank you.
First, this mass murder did not occur in Jonesboro. It occurred in rural craighead county. Second, topic is a poor choice for research. Third, you information and assumptions about Jonesboro are incorrect. Jonesboro has less unemployment than average (much less than Jupiter, fl.), more graduate degrees and 4 year degrees than average and is ranked number 6 in the nation for places to do business (Forbes). Jonesboro has a very low cost of living and is more diverse ethnically than most areas. Start by doing accurate research and do not make ignorant assumptions.
SadIsAnIdiot

Vilnius, Lithuania

#12 Nov 26, 2012
Valley View is the hellspawn capital of Jonesboro and you know it. I've lived in several areas of it and they're all the same, with Candlewood being the worst of the worst. The ALL raise their monsters to believe anything they want to do is the right thing to do, lying, cheating, stealing, whoring around on the net and in person. They are violent and have no morals whatsoever. Their vocabulary is all built around "f u c k" and they walk around in public talking about sucking d i c k and worse. They have no respect for anyone, including their addle-brained parents who are their prime examples of being walking, talking garbage and white trash. They teach their kids to disregard the law and rules, to be sneaky little liars and send them out in the streets to do crimes with their blessings and their instructions. I have friends and family all over Jonesboro sending me video clips of them tearing up the roads with their four wheelers (illegal and dangerous), stealing, having screaming bitch fits, cussing adults, throwing rocks, shooting pellet guns and bows and arrows at the neighbors, stealing, and damaging private property. They're trying to get hard copy proof of the little monsters torturing animals right now; it's one thing to know it and another to prove it in Jonesboro because the authorities don't want to get involved with protecting the small decent part of the population in general from the crackhead/alcoholic majority. The kids are spoiled brats, never expected to do more than the bare minimum to get through school and with no responsibility otherwise, no one to teach them about being decent, responsible men and women. I'm seeing nothing but potential murderers, etc., on these videos. The nuts don't fall far from the trees.
anonymous

Irving, TX

#13 Nov 26, 2012
Blake Gelderberg wrote:
<quoted text>
I'm surprised there is so much hostility. I was given this assignment so you may want to ask my teacher as to why your town's killing was picked for me. Actually I drew it out of a hat but it was the only mass murder in the group of topics. They were very random and of big national news stories from at least 10 years ago or more. I do know of the Colorado school killing and the one this summer at the movie theaters. I'm using the Columbine shooting also and it is interesting because that area is a slightly more well off suburbia area than your Jonesboro. I do find it strange and interesting that most modern day mass murders are done by middle class and lower middle class white males. Not too many in completely poverty stricken areas or in very wealthy towns either. Religion definitely has something to do with it all I am convinced and being that Jonesboro is in the bible belt, I'm going to go into that angle also. The more religion a lower middle class white male is exposed to, or forced to participate in as a child, I will put it that way, the higher the odds of these types of bad things. Obviously a very tiny percentage of the population, but better odds nevertheless. When this is finished by February, I will put a link to it on reddit and twitter. Thank you.
.

I don't think anybody is trying to be mean. This is a very sensitive topic for all of us. I was only 11....I saw and heard stuff that I will never get out of my mind and lost my best friend. It was a lot we had to take in and still trying to take in and understand.
guest

Alexander, AR

#14 Nov 26, 2012
I don't know that you can pin the reasons behind the shootings on the kids' socio-economic-religious conditions. I think both shooters came from good, hard-working families. The victims came from good people too.
I guess you could find out what the shooters' families did for a living and what their income was but, again, I don't think that contributed to why they shot people.
That day was a really sad day for Jonesboro.
guest

Oklahoma City, OK

#15 Nov 26, 2012
Why don't you get an opinion or facts from a person who was there.. Who was 11 years old and witnessed their best friend be shot in the head? Who has lived in fear for many years.. I can assure you these boys that did this were NOT bullied.. I understand that everyone is entitled to their own opinion.. And have their own beliefs as to why this happened.. But take it from somewhere who was there.. Yes it's a very touchy subject in our community even though it happened 14 years ago.. Put yourselves in the shoes of an 11 or 12 year old that had to witness this.. Or a parent that lost their child..Then you can decide if it's somewhat ok for us Westside people to be a little bitter about it..
you know

United States

#17 Nov 26, 2012
SadIsAnIdiot wrote:
Valley View is the hellspawn capital of Jonesboro and you know it. I've lived in several areas of it and they're all the same, with Candlewood being the worst of the worst. The ALL raise their monsters to believe anything they want to do is the right thing to do, lying, cheating, stealing, whoring around on the net and in person. They are violent and have no morals whatsoever. Their vocabulary is all built around "f u c k" and they walk around in public talking about sucking d i c k and worse. They have no respect for anyone, including their addle-brained parents who are their prime examples of being walking, talking garbage and white trash. They teach their kids to disregard the law and rules, to be sneaky little liars and send them out in the streets to do crimes with their blessings and their instructions. I have friends and family all over Jonesboro sending me video clips of them tearing up the roads with their four wheelers (illegal and dangerous), stealing, having screaming bitch fits, cussing adults, throwing rocks, shooting pellet guns and bows and arrows at the neighbors, stealing, and damaging private property. They're trying to get hard copy proof of the little monsters torturing animals right now; it's one thing to know it and another to prove it in Jonesboro because the authorities don't want to get involved with protecting the small decent part of the population in general from the crackhead/alcoholic majority. The kids are spoiled brats, never expected to do more than the bare minimum to get through school and with no responsibility otherwise, no one to teach them about being decent, responsible men and women. I'm seeing nothing but potential murderers, etc., on these videos. The nuts don't fall far from the trees.
Your seriously a wack job . Trust me you have no problems except some unsupervised kids on four wheelers . We have all read your rhetoric over the last year. Here is the deal. This is about Westside! Two kids who shot and murdered people. Stop dragging kids into something it's not about. Go to you candlewood thread and post away. Jonesboro has so much teenager crime, drug dealing and breakins to robbery. But to hear you talk it's all kids from candle wood. Sorry but your a liar cause I live there.
jubberish

United States

#18 Nov 26, 2012
guest wrote:
Why don't you get an opinion or facts from a person who was there.. Who was 11 years old and witnessed their best friend be shot in the head? Who has lived in fear for many years.. I can assure you these boys that did this were NOT bullied.. I understand that everyone is entitled to their own opinion.. And have their own beliefs as to why this happened.. But take it from somewhere who was there.. Yes it's a very touchy subject in our community even though it happened 14 years ago.. Put yourselves in the shoes of an 11 or 12 year old that had to witness this.. Or a parent that lost their child..Then you can decide if it's somewhat ok for us Westside people to be a little bitter about it..
Look I see military kids come back from war that had less bitching and complaining about bad dreams or mental trauma. People see bad shit all the time. People see women and children killed every day. Ole Mitch sure played the grieving husband until the cameras were turned off and Diana slipped in bed with him.
guest

Jonesboro, AR

#19 Nov 26, 2012
The smart parents took their children out of the white trash area.
SadIsAnIdiot

Oklahoma City, OK

#20 Nov 26, 2012
I like sticking my fingers in my butt and smelling them!
Bystander

Jonesboro, AR

#21 Nov 26, 2012
Not sure that I would say "white males are more prone to mass murder more than other races and classes." Aside from the various things some people have mentioned on here, I would argue the definition of "mass murderer." True, the lower/middle class white males are more prone to "mass murder" in the sense of high profile cases like you're looking at, but look at gang violence? How many "mass murders" have taken place in terms of gang wars? Depends on how you look at it.

The second thing I would say is that there are many more high profile cases out there that do not involve white males. Using Wikipedia, which isn't a very reliable reference, as a starting point, you may want to look at the racial make-up of all of the killers in the Americas: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_rampage_... Minorities, too, are high profile mass murderers.

Last, I would like to comment on the Westside School shooting. Many people are quick to point out the various cliches that these kids were "bullied" or these kids just snapped under pressure, trying to give "cause" to their actions...I would argue, instead, that they weren't victims in any form or fashion. Victims are people that are killed or who suffer...not killers. These kids were and still are killers. Period. The victims are obvious...those who lost their lives and those who are still suffering. The obvious flaw in the State of Arkansas is in the legal system when dealing with minors who are killers. Instead of trying them as adults and giving them a one-way speed pass to the electric chair/lethal injection cot/noose, etc, you put them in a mental facility and try to "rehabilitate" them. Now, saying that I was a killer, that would really prevent me from killing someone...rehabilitation and I'm out at 18? I'll take it. Maybe you should focus on that issue in your paper as well...and maybe there is a correlation there between "consequences" or "perceived consequences" and class? Just a thought.

Good luck with your paper.
cat lover

United States

#22 Nov 26, 2012
SadIsAnIdiot wrote:
Valley View is the hellspawn capital of Jonesboro and you know it. I've lived in several areas of it and they're all the same, with Candlewood being the worst of the worst. The ALL raise their monsters to believe anything they want to do is the right thing to do, lying, cheating, stealing, whoring around on the net and in person. They are violent and have no morals whatsoever. Their vocabulary is all built around "f u c k" and they walk around in public

talking about sucking d i c k and worse. They have
no respect for anyone, including their addle-
brained parents who are their prime examples of
being walking, talking garbage and white trash.
They teach their kids to disregard the law and
rules, to be sneaky little liars and send them out
in the streets to do crimes with their blessings
and their instructions. I have friends and family
all over Jonesboro sending me video clips of
them tearing up the roads with their four
wheelers (illegal and dangerous), stealing, having
screaming bitch fits, cussing adults, throwing
rocks, shooting pellet guns and bows and arrows
at the neighbors, stealing, and damaging private
property. They're trying to get hard copy proof of
the little monsters torturing animals right now;
it's one thing to know it and another to prove it in
Jonesboro because the authorities don't want to
get involved with protecting the small decent part
of the population in general from the crackhead/
alcoholic majority. The kids are spoiled brats,
never expected to do more than the bare
minimum to get through school and with no
responsibility otherwise, no one to teach them
about being decent, responsible men and
women. I'm seeing nothing but potential
murderers, etc., on these videos. The nuts don't
fall far from the trees.
OMG! That is the funniest post I've ever read! Bows and arrows? What are they Indians?

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