We have seen several more incidents of high school violence over the last few days, each of which seems sadder than the last. The reasons for these acts are much deeper than the excuses we get in the news media: “He’s a Goth.” “He’s an atheist.” “He’s a loner.” The incidents themselves run the gamut for nooses being hung to youths being shot and killed. It seems to be happening in schools of all types, from the occasional elementary school to middle school to college.
First, I believe we need to look to the parents of these kids with big-time problems. From Columbine to the latest incidents, what kind of a parent is it that doesn’t notice that his or her child has gotten angry enough to start collection firearms, explosives, and other weapons? These are not normal childhood behaviors, yet no one seems to notice the anger and resentment until after it is too late.
The parents live with these kids, but apparently don’t pay much attention to them. It is hard to believe that the children never brought problems to their parents; it is easy to believe that the parents just blew them off. You have to get a license from the state to drive a car, but anyone can become a parent. Home life was never like what was shown on Leave It To Beaver, but that does not mean it has to be like Texas Chainsaw Massacre either.
As a backup, maybe the teachers should notice that some students are completely antisocial, that there are bullies, that there is over racial hatred in their schools. I know that they are busy preparing kids for those absurd big standardized tests that the anal-retentive need to make sure no child is left behind, rather than giving them an actual education, but they are going to leave a few behind if they get shot, too. Teachers are busy people, often overworked, underpaid, and forced to teach in ways that they know don’t help, but they can be the last line of defense after the parents fail to parent.
Even the other kids in the school need to take some of the blame. For sure, the bullies and the noose-hangers are a big part of the problem, but all the kids need to pay attention to who is getting ready to go off. After every incident, some groups of kids say, “Well, yeah, he told me he was going to shoot some people, but I thought he was only kidding.” Despite what you see in your video games, and in your movies, kids, shooting people is not an everyday occurrence for all of us in real life. When one of your buds starts talking about offing some people, you might want to mention it to somebody.
So start with the parents. Some parents absolutely don’t get it. They are responsible for their children, even though they are unable to be responsible for themselves. Get the parents some help. If you don’t, all that they will ever teach their kids is how to have problems. If you don’t start helping out with this, people in your neighborhood are going to die. Give the teachers the time to be real teachers, and time to care and pay attention to their students as something other than a cipher that gets the school funding.
And everybody, absolutely everybody, need to pay attention to see which of the kids with whom they interact are ticking time bombs. They are not all that hard to spot. They are the ones that don’t act like kids anymore, and just seem like tightly rolled balls of hatred and fear. Get those kids some help before they start to kill people because the rest of you aren’t paying enough attention.