I've heard authors say, “Well, we can’t take responsibility for what a reader will take from a book. It could be anything.”
Dylan Klebold and Eric Harris could have been reading Judy Moody just as easily as The Catcher in the Rye.
It's a tempting idea for anyone who has ever written anything. You write what you write. Readers take whatever they want from it. May the reader beware.
No one blame Author X if kids start filleting one another in the woods (or Author Y if they start fellating).
That is absolutely fair. But as any workshop or football coach will tell you, don't accept the compliments if you won't believe the criticism.
Probably one of the more interesting discussions you'll have with yourself today: are YA novels getting edgier? And, if teens are responding with increasingly edgy behavior, is it the fault of the authors? Do we hold books responsible? Do books have a power for evil? Because, surely we all agree that books have the power for good... don't we???? Caveat lector at CBC Diversity.