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It seems to me that as you look back through history there have always been
those that push the edge. They step out of societies accepted boundaries
for attention, rebellion, whatever. It seems to be an important part of
the adolescent experience to do that which most offends their elders. If
you accept this premise, then look around. What are society's boundaries
today? Which subjects are taboo? Sex, drug abuse, profanity, graphic
violence are part of our everyday experience. How far does someone have to
go to cross the line? Is there much of a line to cross anymore?
Since we are so open about everything, our children can easily become old
before their time. Middle school students are dealing with issues as bad
or worse than ones I faced in college. When you feel as cynical as an
adult at thirteen it's hard to find promise in the future.
Add to this that we are a society that passes blame. We no longer want to
take responsibility for our actions. Suing seems to be a national pastime.
When I was a student, if there was a problem at school, my parents wanted
to know what I had done wrong. Now, a parent is more likely to ask what
the teacher has done wrong.
The news media frequently tells us about wrong doing by our doctors,
police, government officials, teachers. How often do we hear something
they have done right? If we can't trust our doctor, the police, our
president, who can we trust?
These underlying issues are not going to be addressed in quick fix
sessions. As a country, we need to take a good hard look at the messages
we send our children.
The tragedy in Colorado and other such acts are horrifying and very scary,
but on some level I'm not surprised that something like this would happen.
And that's the scariest part of all.