hearing about more school shootings and the ensuing outrage I am
coming to the belief that I would hate to be a kid growing up
Yes, I am probably remembering my childhood more fondly than it
actually was, but I do have to wonder what kind of society kids
are looking at today.
Things seem so much different now.
When I was a little brat growing up in the suburbs in the 70s,
Mom was always home. I mean always. She was there
to kiss every bump and scrape, and she was there to whip my ass
into shape when I started acting like a little jerk (I say that
figuratively, because Mom and Dad never hit me....although they
probably should have). The TV was only on with permission.
Friends could only come over only after I finished my chores. If
I wanted the newest toy or game the answer was always the same:
"Maybe for your birthday."
When it came time for school, I had this belief that my teachers
and my parents were conspiring to make my life miserable.
It was a cooperative effort to keep me in line. Any punishment I
received at school was followed up by a worse punishment at
home. Oh, the oppressiveness of childhood.
It seems that today, kids don't receive that type of
From the moment they can turn the TV on they are bombarded with
advertisements for everything from Tinky Winkie's Ice Cream
Parlor to the ever popular Tickle-me-Castro dolls. Where are Mom
and Dad when the kids are being marketed to? Why they are both
at work, because they have this idea that they must attain the
same standard of living at age 27, that their parents have at 55
(I am just as guilty of this as anyone).
Kids aren't even home during the day anymore. They are now at
day care. This is where they are one of 16 little snot infested
ankle biters being rounded up by a 'rent-a-parent' who makes a
little more than minimum wage to raise them for 9 hours. Mom
picks them up at 5:00 and takes them home...only to rush a quick
meal of Hamburger Helper into them and hope to have enough time
to play with them and maybe read a bedtime story. Because of the
pervasive parental guilt, discipline becomes an afterthought and
to compensate for this guilt little Susie not only gets that
Tickle-me-Castro doll she also gets the Socialized Medicine Play
Doctor accessory kit to go along with it.
When it comes time for school they are immediately told from the
time they enter the building that they are special (special? I
always thought special meant you rode the short bus to school).
This false sense of accomplishment is put into every child's
head from the Kindergarten until they graduate from college. To
me, Albert Einstein is special, Stephen Hawking is
special....hell, these kids haven't even mastered the art of
shoe tying and they are being told they are special. Ugh.
It's all downhill from there.
from all the self-esteem indoctrination, schools have a problem
with the concept of discipline. Whether it be from a general
civil mistrust, or just plain lazy parenting, teachers have lost
their ability to dictate how their classes are run. They have an
all or nothing approach to discipline. If a kid draws a picture
of a raygun...immediate suspension. If a kid fails to shut up
during class...Ritalin. If some kids start a riot during a
football game...they get Jesse Jackson to come to the rescue to
When I was a youngin' (boy, that sounded like my Dad), I was
always told the my teachers have the same authority as Mom and
Dad when I am at school. Recently, a teacher was given a leave
of absence for, now get this, putting tape on the mouth of a
disruptive student. The parents demanded the teacher be fired.
Come on people, this was an everyday occurrence in my school
just 20 short years ago. Your kid is being an a-hole, the
teacher treated him as such. How about doing more to make your
kid less of an a-hole, and leave the teacher be? Had I come home
complaining about a teacher using tape to shut me up my Dad
would have said...."Maybe I should try that at home."
So we have parents too guilty to discipline and teachers unable
to discipline and your little angel goes to high school. High
school is where these kids learn that this whole 'special'
garbage is a bunch of, well, garbage. They realize that there is
a very good chance that they are ordinary. Maybe even worse,
they may realize that they are an outsider. Other kids sense
this. He gets picked on. Maybe his clothes are stolen out of his
gym locker. Maybe he is teased in front of girls. He is being
So what do we do about the bullies? Well, because they haven't
mentioned the words gun or kill they are almost immune from
suspension. If you were to suspend these little jerks, their
parents would be in there with their lawyers threatening to sue
for emotional damages. The school's hands are tied. The parents
are either at work or busy catching up on the chores and bill
paying that they were unable to do because they were at work. So
the bullying continues.
So this kid feels like a loser. He is harassed and has no
recourse. The school can't help him and his parents aren't home
to give guidance. He begins to feel out of options. He locates a
gun and takes care of the matter himself.
And somehow we are surprised.
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Violent and How We Can Save Them
by James Garbarino
Who Kill: Confronting Our Culture of Violence
by Mike Huckabee
Risk: Children Without a Conscience
by Ken Magid, Carole A. McKelvey
Scarred Heart: Understanding and Identifying Kids Who Kill
by Dr. Helen Smith
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