Jewish World Review Apr. 26, 1999 /10 Iyar 5759
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After Paducah, Ky., after Jonesboro, Ark., after Springfield, Ore., the pattern is familiar. With chips on their shoulders, grievances in their hearts and weapons in their hands, students who should be planning for life instead plot death. They wound and kill fellow students for reasons known only to demons. Are these cries for help from the abused, neglected and abandoned generation, or is this the price we continue to pay for believing we could live as we wish, laugh at morality and imagine judgment day would never come? Why should young people take life seriously when their overworked, aborting, day-care, euthanasia culture does not? Life is so cheap, relationships are so meaningless -- children get the message.
We await the psychiatrists' explanation, but don't we secretly know what it is? When you mix the ingredients for a cake, you get a cake. When you mix the volatile ingredients of corrupted culture, vulgar entertainment and broken, loveless families, you get child killers. Okay, so these are rare, but their rarity is small comfort when you are the victim or the parents of a dead child.
The initial profiles of the young people allegedly responsible for the killing fields that have now come to Littleton, Colo., are familiar: They were into Satanism, Nazism, hate and violence. What is making so many young souls so sick? There will be the predictable explanations from clinicians. And factual reports. But who can adequately explain this?
The end of the Cold War was supposed to usher in a new age of world peace and security, but we are less secure than ever. Genocide occurs in our "enlightened'' age, and mass murder occurs at home. This is progress? This is peace? This is security? Wasn't the Brady bill supposed to protect us from such things? Or maybe it was those 100,000 police officers.
My high school experience more than 30 years ago was benign compared to this. One of my classmates stabbed another student late one night and not on school property. He went to jail, and his actions were denounced by the rest of us. There were a few in our midst who had, on occasion, too much beer to drink. A shooting in the school, even bringing a gun to school, was unheard of. What has happened since yesterday when I was young?
Kurt Thompson, a Washington, D.C.-area psychiatrist whose clients include adolescents, sees today's teens suffering from "a horrid sense of disconnection.'' They're connected technically through the Internet, but they're disconnected relationally. Too many parents, he says, think by the time their children become teen-agers their job is almost done and that other forces will complete the shaping of young minds and spirits. Oh sure, we can put metal detectors at the schoolhouse door, but who makes mental and moral detectors?
The pace of life can be just as fast in a big city as in a small town, says Thompson, and kids who are on the edge, or over it, are hard to spot. One who looks strange might be making straight As, while another who appears together might be plotting mass murder in the windmills of his mind.
It's not all the parents' fault. Teens are free moral agents. But Thompson says too many don't spend enough quality and quantity time with their children, nor do enough pray with and for them, or tell them how much they are loved and appreciated.
Government officials are making predictable statements. Look for some to suggest adding
more gun laws to the thousands already on the books that didn't stop this latest shooting.
Politicians are powerless; parents are not. Parents have the best chance of curtailing violence
in the heart before it reaches the head and the
04/22/99: Those wild and crazy (Democrat) tax-cutters