Another school shooting, more dead and wounded, the assailant a
hurting kid who couldn't handle anger. Same story,
different day, extensive media coverage, and the inevitable
"why's" of the townspeople and the telecasters.
California is a very liberal state, so expect to hear that
the guns are to blame. As if guns hadn't been invented in
my school days 50 years ago? My family didn't own one ...
but from age 9 to 15 I carried an illegal switchblade knife!
I had it for my own protection, not to harm anyone because they
hurt my feelings. Could I have become a criminal?
Sure, it wouldn't have been hard to stab some ornery kid teasing
me. Why didn't I do it? Because it was ... WRONG!
You didn't kill people, even people who made you angry or hurt
your feelings. It was ... wrong!
We just do not seem to get the message that the school
violence problem is an inside job ... the problem isn't the
weapon of choice, but the choice to use the weapon. That's
an inside job ... inside the hearts and minds of kids who are
unstable, vengeful, who have found no other way to vent their
emotions and calm down.
School rage, along with road rage, soccer-mom rage, bar room
rage, and sporting events rage is evidence that America has lost
a lot of self-control. We have "self" everything
else, but we lack self-control.
Rage has grown to epidemic proportions in the last eight to
ten years, during the leadership of a very liberal
administration and a very anti-God movement in the schools,
supported by our courts.
Meanwhile, mandatory classes in evolution are teaching that
we're just products of chemical accidents that arose from
primordial slime and will return to the dust. Murders are
a nightly routine in the cities. Drug wars run rampant
among armed gangs who have no qualms about shooting law
enforcement officers, each other, or anyone in their way.
Kids can "divorce" parents they don't want to obey and
the courts will support them, too. Families are shattered,
mixed, blended, confused, perhaps filled with domestic violence
that we don't suspect.
Few people know their neighbors well. Everyone's
"too busy" for anyone else, often times that includes
their own kids.
For a fact, I really didn't have anyone to talk to myself
during my growing years. Sometimes my mom would listen,
and sometimes half way through my words she would just explode.
My mom had a lot of problems, one of them being that she was
overly protective on one hand, and utterly unpredictable on the
other. She was also in need of treatment that perhaps
wasn't available then. But I seldom had a chance to talk.
My Dad? Oh, he wanted me out of the house from the time I
was about age three, and let me know it. Hurt? Yes,
it hurt. But I didn't kill anyone.
So why all this violence now?
First, we have not brought up a generation of children with
respect for authority. My generation was taught to
"salute the uniform, not the person." (That was
frequently heard during World War II.)
Second, my generation was brought up without violence around
to watch and imitate. The most violent thing at the movies
was The March of Time, and it was about the war.
Otherwise, the second most violent thing was a big fist fight or
an occasional bullet fired at a notorious old west criminal.
Cartoons were funny, or silly, but not violent. And the
moral to any story was that crime doesn't pay.
Third, there was some general agreement that somewhere there
is a God, even by those who weren't churched or professing
believers. Somewhere, there was a feeling of
accountability for what we did.
Fourth, we had something called "discipline" both
at home and in school. It wasn't always fairly
administered, but it was there and we were all aware of it.
It was viewed as one of those necessary things, not a reason for
Fifth, mothers stayed at home, the family was a unit ... even
an unhappy home like mine. We were family, like it or not.
And family meant something. It was identity.
Sixth, society's general standards weren't lax. Words
like "condom" were never mentioned. Girls were
sternly and frequently warned about the lifelong consequences of
being a "bad girl" and as a result, teen pregnancy was
extremely low. If a girl erred, she was shuttled off to
Aunt Susie's and the baby was immediately adopted out.
Seventh, we had a sense of shame. What Hollywood and
the media in general is producing is shameless now, so are the
lyrics to many songs I don't listen to but hear about. And
a lot of it advocates violence, both domestic and civil.
Santee is not a ghetto area, it is described as
"upscale." So is Littleton, Colorado, scene of
the Columbine shooting. Apparently Santee is a very nice
place to live. But something in the life of one kid who
turned into a raging school shooter was very wrong. That
something was on the inside of him. When I was upset I
turned to writing out my feelings in very abstract poetry (which
my mother couldn't stand until I won the Poet Laureate trophy at
my high school graduation). Now, rather than writing it
out, kids can shoot it out. Not good!
We've heard it said so many times it's ad nauseum:
parents are their children's first teachers. We have a
parental failure on our hands ... people who know how to build a
fine house but not a solid home. Then we have the violent
comic books, video games, movies, television programs and the
nightly news complete with road rage and other rage. We
are a nation that kills its unborn or dumps newly-borns into
dumpsters, and this is on the news also. We have court
decisions condemning carrying a Bible to school or discussing
one's faith in God. We have a nation of rebels against
We complain about the human rights violations of other
nations and commit our own.
We even think it's worth millions to see a movie about
Hannibal the Cannibal.
I wonder where our kids are getting all these violent
Lost Boys: Why Our Sons Turn
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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