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Austin Cline

Harry Potter Books to Blame for School Shootings

By October 7, 2006

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Everyone is shocked and outraged over the recent series of school shootings, all of which appear to have targeted girls in particular (though the media seems to be trying hard to avoid acknowledging or investigating this fact). Some, though, are unashamed to be using these tragedies for their own political demagoguery. One case in point is Laura Mallory in the Atlanta suburb of Loganville.

Laura Mallory has been trying to argue to the Georgia Board of Education that the presence of books like the Harry Potter series is to blame for the school shootings not directly, of course, but because they indoctrinate kids into witchcraft and this creates and atmosphere where violence is possible. Make sense? Of course not.

Referring to the recent rash of deadly assaults at schools, Mallory said books that promote evil - as she claims the Potter ones do - help foster the kind of culture where school shootings happen.

That would not happen if students instead read the Bible, Mallory said. She added that the books were harmful to children who are unable to differentiate between reality and fantasy. The children, she said, try to imitate Harry Potter and cast spells on classmates.

"They're not educationally suitable and have been shown to be harmful to some kids," Mallory said. She argued that teachers do not assign other religious books like the Bible as student reading.

Source: Daily Mail

As Victoria Sweeny, an attorney representing the Gwinnett County Board of Education points out, removing all books that include references to witchcraft or characters that are witches would extend far beyond just the Harry Potter books. The two examples she cites are Macbeth and Cinderella, but that's just the tip of the iceberg.

Then there is the fact that the Harry Potter books simply aren't about Wicca as it is currently practiced. J.K Rowling researched Wiccan practices and incorporated a few elements in order to give her books a bit more of an air of reality, but she and Wicca are drawing upon the same corpus ancient traditions and stories so similarities are inevitable. They certainly aren't a sign that the books work to "indoctrinate" people into Wicca as a religion.

Even if it were, though, what would this have to do with school shootings? Did any of these people have anything to do with Wicca or witchcraft? What possible connection could there be between Harry Potter and the murders of the Amish girls in Pennsylvania? There's no connection whatsoever and that's why I say that Laura Mallory is engaging in a very unethical misuse of these tragedies for her own political purposes. She should be ashamed of herself.

 

Christian Right & Christian Nationalism:

Comments
October 7, 2006 at 4:46 pm
(1) TJ Malone says:

Blaming a book for someones violent behavior is a crock. It is the individuals fault for their actions not a book. Grow up.

October 7, 2006 at 4:51 pm
(2) Katie says:

It appears that she is the one that cannot tell the difference between fantasy and reality, not children.

October 8, 2006 at 1:45 am
(3) Marc says:

“That would not happen if students instead read the Bible, Mallory said.”

Numbers 31:7 – They fought against Midian, just as the Lord had commanded Moses. They killed every man.

etc., etc.

October 10, 2006 at 3:59 am
(4) Sir Loin of Steak says:

“Should be ashamed”?

Like hell. She should shoot herself in the head and rid us of her stupidity.

October 16, 2006 at 12:33 pm
(5) Patti says:

As mom to three boys who would never read anything longer than cereal boxes, but who devoured all the Harry Potter books and went on to become voracious readers, I challenge Laura mallory to actually read the books she so loudly condemns…which she admits she hasn’t done.

October 16, 2006 at 1:02 pm
(6) Todd says:

No, not Harry Potter, we all know that The Matrix, Marylin Manson, Dungeons and Dragons and Ozzy Osborne are to blame!

December 6, 2006 at 5:33 pm
(7) Amanda Mitchell says:

I just done understand how people can think that Harry Potter has any thing to do with ACTUAL witchcraft and shootings. That is why it is placed in the science fiction and fantacy section.

May 19, 2007 at 11:50 pm
(8) Gerry says:

Blaming witchcraft and the use of spells in Harry Potter novels is absolutely outragous, for one, a wand is different then a gun, two, kids use Harry Potter novels as an escape into fantasy, they return to reality with a need to try out these spells but not with a gun…For god sakes they run around pointing their fingers at one another yelling spells and then faking being hit. Books don’t create voilence, the family, people and manor in which he/she was brought up creates the eventual voilence. Think before you write trash about a book being the centerpeice of all high school/university shootings, and don’t think for one second that what you said acually had a positive impact on anyone, or made you look smart in any way wutsoever.

December 10, 2008 at 8:24 pm
(9) Casey says:

Who is this woman? What on earth does HARRY POTTER have to do with these shootings? And not everyone is Christian – she is being incredibly biased by saying schools should teach the Bible. What about the Muslims, Hindus, Biddhists, and Jews? Should they learn the Bible, too?

February 5, 2009 at 1:38 pm
(10) Allie Palley says:

Blaming school shootings on Harry Potter is absoutely ridiculous. I think that Mallory is just trying to look for someone to blame. Mallory is completly wrong, and should realize that school shootings are the result of consistant bullying and the victim has a hard time finding options

February 21, 2009 at 6:10 am
(11) BECKY says:

WHY DO PEOPLE CONSTANTLY WANT TO INFRINGE ON OTHER RIGHTS. BOOKS ,REGUARDLESS IF THEY ARE FANTASY ,HORROR.ETC ARE THERE FOR US TO LEARN AND TO MAKE OUR OWN CHOICES. BOOKS DO NOT MAKE ANYONE DO ANYTHING THEY DONT CHOOSE TO DO. I HAVE READ ALL OF THE HARRY POTTER BOOKS AND SEE NO CONTENT IN IT THAT COULD POSSIBLY LEAD ANYONE TO SHOOT AN OTHER PERSON. ESCAPE TO A WONDERFUL DIFFERENT WORLD MAYBE AS ALL BOOKS OF THIS KIND ARE INTENTED TO DO.

April 9, 2010 at 2:43 pm
(12) Erin says:

The only reason she’s scared of the books, is because she believes everything that comes from her own book… the Bible.

June 23, 2010 at 5:08 pm
(13) Syd says:

This is ridiculous, these books are wonderful examples of good literature, which kids need to grow and learn lessons. I have read the series a good number of times, and the books probably have some of the same lessons the bible does.

December 4, 2011 at 1:19 am
(14) Ryan says:

As a person who considers himself a strong Christian, I have to say, the Bible is MUCH more violent than the Harry Potter series. Laura, how much of the Old Testament have you actually read? People like her disgust me and give Christians everywhere a bad name.

April 22, 2013 at 7:26 pm
(15) George says:

Obviously she hasnt read harry potter

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