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We are all horrified, confused and hurt by what happened in Littleton. But I must agree with Marc and the others who have suggested that we need to take care not to judge too hastily the parents, or to place the blame too quickly on the availability of guns, our depraved society, the absence of religious faith, violence in media, video games, etc.
Certainly none of these things help the situation. But I don't think they tell the whole story either.
In a situation like this, it is perfectly natural for us to want to place the blame somewhere. We want to be able to explain it, and identify the causes so we can take care to eliminate them. If we know what causes it, then not only can we try to fix it, we can tell ourselves "not my community, not my school, not my kids..."
I remember when I was a teenager. I come from an upper middle class background. I was most definitely not NEGLECTED (i had a stay at home mom, and a devoted father). I had always gotten excellent grades, and people said I would go far.
But I also remember quite well the stigma of being different and not fitting in. I'll bet alot of us remember....so I found a group of people like myself. None of us fit in, we were the trenchcoat mafia of the day I guess. In my mom's time, we would have been called greasers, in the sixties I guess we would have been hippies, in the seventies we were the "heads."
None of this is new...there was an incident in my high school in 1976-77 where a couple of guys who hid in the woods that surrounded the school and shot at a group of black athletes during football practice. I knew a group of guys who went around blowing things up and setting things on fire (including but not limited to crosses). None of it got into the national news though. I'm not suggesting that any of this behavior is acceptable, just that it is not new.
I have to tell you, there was a great deal my parents DID NOT know that I was involved with. It wasn't through any lapse in parenting...they did the very best they could. But I chose to run around with the wrong sort of people ...and there were plenty of drugs, guns, sex, heavy metal music, etc.
I watched friends shoot up and overdose, knew kids that threatened violence, threatened suicide and some of them that actually went through with it. I knew kids that were killed when drug deals went bad, and it was only by the grace of God that I was not among those that died.
The one place that I did fit in was art class. It was the one thing I was successful at, and it was a powerful means of expressing my feelings of alienation and angst. That art teacher had a profound impact on my life, because she gave me a vehicle for identifying and expressing what I (and alot of other troubled kids) were feeling.
She probably doesn't know the effect she had on my life...but I want you all to know that after battling drug addiction and alcoholism, it was Art that gave me ( a high school drop out) a way out. Friends had been telling me I should go to college, and study art. Everyone told me I was talented. I believe that God works through people, and I was one of the fortunate ones...I got sober, got my GED and went to college. I graduated with honors in Art History and Studio Art and went on to get a Master's Degree in Art Education.
I have children of my own. My son is 13, my daughter 9. I worry about them, as any parent would. I am devoted to them. But I also know that I can only do what my parents did, and that is to try to raise them to the best of my ability. I can give them what my parents gave me, their unconditional love and strong roots in faith. It was these things that sustained me. I also work hard to communicate with my kids, because there was much that I wanted to tell my own parents, but never thought that I could.
For myself, I think that not only is allowing kids the opportunity to express themselves through art, music, literature, dance and the theater important, it is imperative. For kids like myself, Art was the only voice I had. I think we owe it to our young people to give them a voice. We also owe it to them to listen when they use their voices and reach out to them when we can.
To my high school art teacher....I don't know if you are on the list...I went to Spruce Creek in Daytona Beach (76-78)....
I just want you to know you changed my life. Thank you for giving me a voice.
>>> <BluesTruth> 04/25 5:52 PM >>>
That was some story. To tell you the truth, I feel worse for the kids and
their parents of the 15 families that died at the hands of this "good
neighbor" Eric than I do for Eric's so-called parents. In other words, I
have no sympathy for those "good neighbors." So they were nice to the
neighbor and helped him out. So maybe they were good neighbors, and
NEGLECTED their kids. Obviously, this kid was not cared for as he should
have been. They had to be big gaps in parenting there. You are dismissing
and making excuses for a kid who idolizied the Nazis (Perfectly normal for
young boys?!?!?) and keeping the gun barrels on his dresser in his
bedroom-(-oh well, he was "fascinated" with guns. Boys will be boys). Making
bombs in his garage? So he had a little hobby.
Do you have children, Marc? I do --Two teenage boys. If they were loving
Hitler, making bombs, collecting guns like bubblegum--I would walk, not run
with both of my kids in each arm, to the nearest therapist or mental
hospital & tie them up on the therapist's couch and not let them leave until
they are o.k.
Get real. Your sympathy for the wrong people is very misguided to say the
least. Those parents are responsible.