Two weeks after the Columbine shootings, the government charged a high school student in New Hampshire, with disorderly conduct for compiling a list of more than 30 students that some believed to be a hit list. The student, Angel Catino, recently gave in to government pressure by pleading guilty to “causing fear” in her school. She received a sentence of 50 hours of community service and $1,000 fine that can be suspended after two years of good behavior.After the Columbine massacre, Catino feared a backlash that would threaten her and her friends, many of whom are in the “Goth” crowd. According to Catino, they received threats such as “take that trench coat off – or watch your back.” In response, Catino wrote up a list of people who may have been in danger, many of whom avoided coming to school.
This list was probably not a hit list because it even included one of Catino’s friends. Also, the news report did not mention any means for her to carry out a Columbine-style massacre. The police probably searched her house but found nothing.
However, Catino may have hurt her chances of avoiding conviction by initially claiming that she did not author the list. She eventually admitted her involvement but told school officials that the list was not intended to be a threat.
The list even included many of Catino’s friends including Katie Nitchie who said, “You could see it in her [Catino’s] eyesâ€¦She was scared. After Columbine, it put everything into groups.” Catino just wrote out a list of people and then government school officials went nuts. Instead of allowing students to defend themselves with handguns, school officials are arresting peaceful students that make lists of fellow students. These types of arrests will actually make students hate their schools and will lead to more Columbine massacres.
It is unfortunate that Catino caved in to government demands by pleading guilty to the charges. Perhaps she did not have a good attorney or her parents wanted a quick end to the case. Maybe next time she’ll fight to the end.