March 25, 1998 – In the small Arkansas town of Jonesboro, gunfire erupted at Westside Middle School where four students and a teacher were killed the previous day by a jilted 13 year-old boy and his 11 year-old cousin as they opened fire on 14 students and two teachers who responded to a false fire alarm. Of the wounded, one was still listed as critical while the others were elevated to stable condition. The two young suspects were identified as 13 year old Mitchell Johnson and 11 year-old Andrew Golden and were to appear in court later that day. A memorial was held where the stunned students grieved and prayed while Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee blamed a “national culture of TV and movie violence. President Clinton got word during his trip to Uganda and said he was “profoundly sad and disturbed” by what had happened in his home state. Arkansas, where President Clinton was governor for 12 years, has no law preventing minors from purchasing shotguns or rifles.
Meanwhile, President Clinton, while on his trip to Africa visited Rwanda and met with survivors of a 1990 tribal genocide campaign against the Tutsis and moderate Hutus. With the news of the shootings in Jonesboro, Clinton made a comment about man’s dark nature saying that “We are reminded of the capacity in people everywhere, not just in Rwanda and certainly not just in Africa, but the capacity for people everywhere to slip into pure evil”. President Clinton’s visit to the Killing Fields in Rwanda, where four years earlier some 4 million lives were lost, prompted the President to confess that world leaders, the U.S. included, must share in the responsibility for being slow to recognize what was going on and to respond to it. To that end, the President announced that the U.S. would contribute $40 million over the next five years to establish systems of justice and conflict resolution, to prevent a recurrence of the 1994 slaughter.
And that’s just a small slice of news for this March 25, 1998 as reported by The CBS World News Roundup.