Clinton Asks Reno To Probe Arkansas Shootings
KIGALI, Rwanda (AllPolitics, March 25) -- President Bill Clinton said Wednesday he would ask Attorney General Janet Reno to investigate
the Jonesboro, Ark., school shootings, plus two others in West Paducah, Ky., and Pearl, Miss., in an attempt to find ways to curb school violence.
Clinton, touring Africa, said he deplores the "horrifying events" that took place in his home state Tuesday.
"Our thoughts and prayers are with the victims, their families and the
entire Jonesboro community," Clinton said in a statement.
The president's comments came just a day after two boys, ages 11 and 13, opened fire on students and teachers at Westside Middle School in Jonesboro, Ark., killing five and injuring 10 others.
"This is the third incident in the last few months involving young children and violence in schools," Clinton said. "And I am going to ask the attorney general to find whatever experts there are in our country on this terrible tragedy to see if there are any common elements in this incident and the other two, and whether it indicates any further action on our part."
Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee offered condolences to families of the victims and also expressed shock over the shootings.
"I don't know that there's anything, quite honestly, that we can absolutely do to guarantee" the safety of young people in schools or shopping malls or other places they congregate, Huckabee said.
Huckabee blamed the schoolyard killings on a national culture of violence fueled by film and television.
In a live interview with CNN, Huckabee also rejected comments by crime experts who said children in Southern states might be more likely to commit violent acts because they often grow up with guns in their homes and go hunting with their parents. The Jonesboro incident is the latest in a series of high-profile shootings at schools in the South.
Huckabee's office said he would go to Jonesboro and meet with the families of those wounded and killed.
In Washington, Senate Minority Leader Tom Daschle (D-S.D.) said Wednesday his party feels "very strongly" about the need for adopting legislation on juvenile crime this year.
Daschle said differences between Democrats and Republicans need to be worked out, adding, "I intend to do all that I can to make that happen."
"The horrific tragedy [Tuesday] is another illustration of the need to do an array of things," Daschle said.