Sick salve for the souls of the mad

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  1. I think the resolution lies in adoptingand adhering to a strict no-tolerance policy on bullying, and in ‘the village’ (meaning the parents, educators, and others who provide care for children) listening to what their ACs are saying – and I mean really listening. I also think that access to various activities which provide a controlled outlet for aggression, while instilling a sense of self-discipline (thereby teaching them to control their anger), is necessary. Maybe over the short term the addition of a mandatory class in ‘anger management’ to the school cirriculum (both public AND private) is necessary.
    My own AC could have developed a really nasty temper, becoming one of those who held it in until he erupted – but through his life, he has been blessed with adults who actually cared, and was involved in several programs (including martial arts training) which taught him how to control his anger. (The fact that the adults in his life weren’t the stereotypical “little league parents”, lambasting coaches and assaulting other kids seemingly at will, certainly helped.)
    Ultimately, I think ‘anger management’ is highly underrated. Somehow, we have stopped teaching our ACs this very necessary skill set – and we need to get back with the program, or else we will see even more of this type of tragedy.

  2. I say this with full recognition of how awful the killings were, and how frightening it must be for any parent to read about this stuff… but this is not a new problem. People have gone over the edge and done horrible things for any number of reasons for a long time. And even with these appalling incidents happening periodically, Americans today live in one of the safest environments in human history.
    If you can figure out why people do these things, you’ll have a solved a great mystery of human existence.
    I think it’s fair to ask, and find out, that some kid shot up his school because people picked on him. You need to understand why people do terrible things. The problem is that the question doesn’t go far enough – why did 99,999 other kids get picked on and not shoot up a school, when this one did?

  3. John – fair questions. I suspect the answers are as individual as the kids, though I think there are some underlying currents that are probably common, such as feelings (very strong feelings) of being excluded, bullied, isolated… Along with a lack of training in the skill set needed to manage one’s emotions (specifically anger), and an overexposure to others handling trivial disputes via extreme violence… One more thing I find interesting is that, oftentimes, the perp ends up taking his/her own life. Is this because they suddenly realize what they have done, and end their life in atonement, or do they plan it this way – in effect becoming like the “suicide bomber” we see in AQ, Hamas, Hezbollah, and the other “terrorist” organizations? If this is the case (and I suspect it is), then maybe those trying to deal with terrorists and those trying to deal with those who “go postal” need to compare notes.
    But, please, don’t simply declare this another form of terrorism and ship all the members of the ‘Trench Coat Mafia’ off to Gitmo.

  4. It will be very difficult to pull all the latest murders together because the Canada and Wisonsin incidents were the only ones that involved students pulling the trigger. The Colorado and Pennylvania crimes were not, and I think those two are much harder to relate to Columbine for finding a solution.
    I do think that what all that these crimes indicate is that you have lots of schools in this country, and what are schools to a sick individual but a gold mine of unarmed people that are garaunteed to be in there.
    These incidents at schools flare up and then die down in the news…you get the first school incident and then the copycat ones follow for a while…and when it is not still in the news I think it has to be looked at more as isolated incidents. There was something unique and disturbed about each case that is a significant factor. It is another danger to kids out there that is far less likely to happen than a car injury…but it has some aspect to it that feels preventable. As long as it has that feeling , then I wonder if it distorts the reality of it all somehow.
    I don’t propose that nothing be done anywhere, but each case brings with it its own steps to be taken by that school to prevent it from happening again, and there is only so much that other schools can learn from these. I don’t want to just say “accidents happen”, bad luck, etc., but there is that aspect to it and I’m not sure enough was/will ever really be done. If someone has the lack of morals/mental illness to commit such horrible crimes, schools are out of their league in dealing with that. If anger management could have solved this, it would solve a lot of other discipline problems as well…schools would have already done that.

  5. I don’t know why these things happen but I remember this little tidbit onn people:
    Animals can be driven crazy by placing too many in too small a pen. Homo sapiens is the only animal that voluntarily does this to himself.

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