amanda bowdenI'm not sure which part of 19-year-old Amanda Bowden's story is the most disturbing: The fact that she's facing charges for allegedly planning a "Sandy Hook-style shooting" at a Connecticut community college, or that she now claims she wasn't "actually planning any shooting or bombing but was seeking to be accepted by the people she was exchanging messages with." Thankfully, whoever Bowden was texting about making napalm bombs and shooting security guards had the good sense to cooperate with the FBI, so we'll never know if her threats were, in fact, empty.

But the real question here is, when the hell did expressing the intent to kill lots of people at once become a way to earn ... acceptance?! I guess teens doing outrageous -- and outrageously stupid -- things to fit in or be "cool" is nothing new. But back when I was a kid, keg stands and the occasional mailbox-smashing/traffic cone-stealing were about as shocking as anyone's attention-getting stunts got.

I never, ever thought I'd see the day when teens would actually consider something like a mass shooting as a one-way ticket to popularity. And as a parent, I have to wonder: Are kids more desperate then ever to feel seen and heard or have we become so desensitized to violence as a society that planting a bomb in a community college is something that would even occur to a lonely 19-year-old??

Either way, something is very, very wrong here. How are we supposed to prevent things like this from happening? No doubt there will be some who say the only answer is for parents to spend more time with their kids in general. Which is a lovely idea, and one I'm sure many of us would like to try, if we didn't have the pesky problem of earning a living to support our families in the way. Or maybe we need to make sure all kids find some area -- a talent or hobby or sport or subject -- in which they excel, some positive way of getting attention. But that would imply that someone like Adam Lanza was merely lacking in extracurricular activities, and clearly the truth is a million times more complicated.

And, not that looks mean anything, but watch this clip and you'll see that Amanda Bowden appears to be just another 19-year-old -- nothing about here sets off any alarm bells:

So maybe she was only "faking." Really, it doesn't matter. I'm still scared.

Do you think teens are getting more twisted? Is there anything we can do to prevent these things from happening?

 

Image via DailyNews