||[Oct. 17th, 2006|10:46 am]
Neo-libertarianism - Civil discussions of neo-libe
This to, shall pass|
t's shameful. It's horrible. It's unthinkable. Well, maybe not that last one.
I was getting my coffee this morning in the break room at work and the TV was on. It was the local morning news talking about how the police in Miami were running a "Danger Drill" at a local school. It wasn't so much for the kids, but more for the cops. Basically it was training for "what to do in the event of a school shooting" and it pretty much looked like a SWAT drug bust. Riot gear, sheilds, clubs, tear gas, the whole nine.
I was a little shocked. I mean, yes, it makes sense and everything considering the current focus on school violence. But the whole thing had the air of "duck and cover" or "in the event of an air raid, boys and girls, you need to get under your desk". I mean, it's a school, not a de-militarized zone.
But imagine trying to tell that to anyone who's been involved in a school shooting. They will tell you that, yes, it was a war zone. One boy, or several, opens fire with semi-automatics and automatics. Peace turns into chaos, and tension turns to turmoil.
And then you watch the news reports. The Today show, 20/20, etc. And everyone is asking "why?" and "how?"
Well, I think I can tell you why, and maybe how.
Well, high school sucks.
When I moved to North Carolina, and enrolled in the high school up there, I was just finishing up 9th grade. So, the guidance counselor (I could write a whole other article on guidance counselors) basically tells me that I have to "pick a track" of education. That I have to know what I want to do, career-wise, so we can select an appropriate class-load. Right. I'm 15. I'm still dealing with the newly enlarged penis and rampant hormones. Haven't given a whole lot of thought to the "rest of my life". College sounds allright, and sure, I'll get a job when I'm out. But beyond that, I don't know.
And why should I know? Many adults realize late in life that they don't like their station in life and feel they could have been more successful if they had studied more, gotten better grades, a better degree, and so on. Well, maybe, maybe not. Our journey through life takes twist and turns that we could never predict. And the education system is a finite entitiy that offers few modes of pursuit of a career. Maybe some people don't fit easily into that. Maybe others do. Maybe it's not the education that is the issue, but the drive, the ambition, or the expectations.
I, for example, don't want to be filthy stinking rich. I've met rich people, and that's not for me. This seems anathema to the American dream, but I don't think it's unreasonable.
So, you've got the pressure to have a career path in school earlier and earlier these days. Florida is currently trying to pass legislation that would make you have to basically "declare a major" in high school, which I think is ridiculous. High school is for math, science, english, and history. Fine, there are computer classes, typewriting, shop, home ec, etc. And I took a few of those classes. But seriously, that's not "declaring a major". High school students have enough to worry about without having to do that.
And then there's the touchy subject for me. Being a dork. Or a nerd. Or a Jesus freak. See, in high school, I was all three. I liked Star Trek and science fiction, I was adament about my studies and grades, and I was a very conservative Catholic.
What chance in hell did I have of being cool? None. Zip. Zilch. Zero. To this day, I am still very much a dork. But it doesn't seem to matter as much in the adult world. Adults have other things to worry about like their families, bills, careers, insurance, cavities, taxes, etc. So go ahead, enjoy your episode of "The Dead Zone". No one, I wager, will say anything to you.
Now to be fair, I have become cooler than I was. And I don't put up with as much shit as I used to, but that's the difference that 15 years can make. In high school, you're sort of locked into whatever mode or label you're assigned. And it's like that for four long years. It can be very frustrating if you're not on the right side of cool. Very frustrating. You can't win. Nothing you do can change your status. And you can't escape the environment. You have to go. Parents are no help, they can't relate anymore. Teachers, same thing. So who can you tell? How can you fix it? Make it stop?
Now I know that you might be thinking, but none of this is really that big of a deal in the grand scheme of things. Well, as an adult, you might be better prepared to think on and discuss "grand schemes". But as a kid, no way. When I was a kid, high school seemed like forever. And it was all there was. I couldn't see beyond it. I knew there was a beyond, but it wasn't easy to realize. Throw in a health dose of hormones and bingo, you've got highly emotional people.
Now to be fair, I know that I'm only really discussing this from the "outcast" point of view. It took me a long time to realize that the cool kids really didn't have a pass on pain and hardache in high school. Maybe so me of them did, but the vast majority of high schoolers are dealing with a lot of shit, custom fit to their lives. Maybe it's the home life. Maybe it's the pressure to continue to be cool. But high school is the time for the loss of innocense and it is painful for everyone.
Now with all this pain and hardache, do you think it's wise for teenagers to be anywhere NEAR weapons of ANY kind? I don't. They often use the weapons on themselves, and nowadays, seem to be turning them on others.
So some kids are outcasts and don't know how to fight back, so they become armed and dangerous. Makes sense to me. If I had a gun in high school and oblivious parents, I can't honestly say that nothing would have ever happened. I might have done something.
And you've got the cool kids. The pressure to succeed, fit the mold, tow the line, etc. Maybe they would like it better if they could just blow some shit up.
I think that the media and the public realize the pain and agony of high school, but I think most adults forget the hopelessness of it. What allows adults to cope with suffering is that they realize that it can't go on forever. I don't think high school kids are in the same place. High school is such a small, confined, and unwavering atmosphere that it is easy to feel trapped. And you have very little experience to let you know that this to, shall pass.
Where's the counseling for this? Is there any? Does it work? It also doesn't help that schools have label ready distinctions like the king and queen of homecoming, or the prom. Or AP classes vs honor classes vs college prep vs standard classes. Easy to categorize someone in those ready made categories.
Inevitably, I have to wonder where the hell these kids are getting the guns. I'm fairly certain that however they are doing it, it's not kosher. Kids can't own guns, right? So who are the owners of the guns these kids have? And automatics? Are you shitting me?
I have a final point to make. (all the people say "finally") It's not all bad. These cases, while they keep popping up, are rare. That's why they make news. Stuff makes news that is rare or different. It's news. For the record, there are 2 homicides per year for every 10,000 schools in the US. That's 20 a year for 100,000 schools. Not great, but not an epidemic.