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Posted: Sep. 8, 2002
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Question of the Week: 32 - 3/12/2001
Why Are Kids Killing Kids?
And what can be done about it? Is violence so prevalent in societies today that it is inevitable that it will trickle down to our kids? What do you think are the causes of violence, uncivilly and alienation in today's world? What roles-if any-do you think the availability of guns, the 'cult of individuality,' the changing family structure or the fast pace of life play in these situations? Should schools keep the same hours as the workplace so those children are not alone for hours until the parents return from work? Are parents responsible? Should the right of all children to personal privacy be breached in order to curb the violence of some? Do Pagan philosophies offer any suggestions on how to help mitigate the problems facing a society in which violence is an almost daily occurrence?
| Reponses: There are 60 responses posted to this question.
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| Why Are Kids Killing Kids? I Think That This Question Has Several... ||Mar 13th. at 11:23:14 am EST|
|Joanna Ball (Madison, Ohio US) ||Age: 21 - Email |
Why are kids killing kids? I think that this question has SEVERAL answers and several conditions have led to the state of this country today. Perhaps I should outline the first ones that pop in my head.
1) The American People's ACCEPTANCE of Violence as a Whole. Pick up your remote control for your TV and flip through the channels, Count how many subjects of shows do not contain Sex or Violence. Notice how Sex is associated with Violence, eg; James Bond, Every "Action Adventure" movie, and so forth. This has established a very Unhealthy relationship of Sex and Violence in America. A HUGE contributor and a Huge favorite of several adolescants is the WWF, wrestling federation. Almost every 12 year old boy I know loves watching wrestling. Not that I am blaming anyone, I am just making a point.
2) TIME: American children have way too much time on their hands. And while leisure time is nice, it is very important as to how one spends their spare time, which in many families is Unsupervised and Unmonitored. Once again, I am not attacking anyone or any way of life, but I don't see kids from closeknit and "involved" families opening fire on their school mates. Now, what do our children do in their spare time? When I was little (10 years ago), we were too poor for a Nintendo. My mom told me to "go play outside" and I did. I had many wonderful adventures in my back yard and I recieved my share of fresh air and exercise. Now try to tell a kid to "go play outside", they will look at you like you just stepped off the Mother Ship. Kids have lost their Creative Abilities. If they don't have an electrical outlet near, they don't know what to do! (Check out the Current Obesity Stats on kids today, what is it like 60%???)
1) Video Games...Many of the same Video games our kids play are used by the United States Military in training soldiers hand eye coordination AND as a tool of Desensitizing ones acceptance of violence. And we don't think these Video Games will hurt our kids? (I am not talking about Mario Kart here, Check out Resident Evil or others of the same category, The ones with the adjustable Blood spatter level and detail of victims Faces and Gore).
3) Music and TV...Well, You know what I am talking about here.
4) THE LOSS OF SOCIETY AS COMMUNITY ORIENTED. The Focus of America is on the INDIVIDUAL, Not on The Good of the community as a whole. This is a reflection of the Overall Loss of Pagan ideals. In America, the emphasis is on You, the Individual. Our schools don't teach the impact of how a Community needs to stick together for the success of the Community as a whole. Instead we teach our kids to do whatever they have to do to get "ahead" whatever that means. This teaches people an Indifference to their fellow Earth. Kids need to understand that They aren't the only shark in the sea, that we all need to work together, in harmony with our Mother Earth.
5) The changing structure of the American Family. I hold Commercialism 90% responsible in this category. Every second of our normal daily life, we are bombarded with commercialism. "Oh, you have to have nice cars, designer clothes, so many toys you lose your ability to be creative, etc. America is run by BIG CORPORATE Interests telling Us what we Need to buy to Be "SUCCESSFUL". This tells parents that they have to make 40 thousand a year minimum or they aren't "providing" the proper environment for their children. And what happens when little Jonny doesn't have designer clothes? His little school friends harass and humiliate him because he is "poor". Kids are cruel and I blame that on Corporate America and the Peoples inability to tell Corporate America enough Is Enough!
6) Trickle Down Theory. YES IT HAS AN IMPACT. EVerything has an Impact, we are all Connected and Interlinked. But We aren't teaching this relationship to our kids! If Universities pay Economic teachers to teach Trickle down theory..Umm I think It means something.
7)I think that the Most important thing one can do while raising Children is too establish a Comfort Level with your child! Talk to your kids about what is going on and don't set standards they may not be able to reach. Let your child know it is Ok if they don't quite fit in, I certainly don't want to be a part of "the popular crowd today". Teach your children Compassion and Tolerance! Teach them some people follow the crowd and some don't and that It is OK. Don't just ask them what they did in school today, Ask them HOW THEY FEEL about their school. I am sure once you start talking about feelings you will be quite surprised by what they say. And for Goddess' Sake, If your kid is not fitting in in school and feels alienated, Then It is Your responsibility to find something else for them to fit into. Children need a Support System! And one more thing- TURN OFF THE TV!
| I Have To Say That Even The Zero Tolerence Policies That Schools... ||Mar 13th. at 11:33:34 am EST|
|Kaylara Nightshade (Ocean Twp., New Jersey US) ||Age: 19 - Email |
I have to say that even the zero tolerence policies that schools have are not enforced. My brother who is twelve goes to a school that has such a policy. But he has been routinely harrassed, beaten, and bullied, with out the school doing hardly anything. The other kids involved were spoken to, but not actually disiplined in any way. Do you think that their parents were called?
I don't have the answer to this weeks question, but I think that schools need to practice what they preach.
| Children Killing Children...is That So Far Different From Men Killing Men... ||Mar 13th. at 12:20:50 pm EST|
|Deagan (Jacksonville, Florida US) ||Age: 21 - Email |
Children Killing Children...Is that so far different from men Killing men, and Women taking the lives of Other Women?... I fear not. Children have a far shorter childhood now than ever. innocence and Wonder has been given up in the place of mass culture and popularity. When you go to your local schools, you see not happy children playing and learning, but minature adults mocking and cursing each other, dragging themselves down into an increasing degenerative world. Recently we have lost a young member of our community, and the death of Tempest Smith. Is to me, the last and final straw. Our politicians and focus groups call for control over the media, the ideas, and the focus of faith. Our Children do not need faith, they need parents and friends. They need a world to explore in innocence until they choose to become adults. Our Children slaughter each other for they feel they have no other recourse, or even more tragically they take their own lives before they have time to blossom. Forced into a position by mockery, fear, and hatred. Values instilled by their parents, and the media. Despite Our tradition of vocality and the illumination of the media, our position has not improved, I fear for the future of our children and indeed our faith. if even inncocent children are not safe, what shall become of us? Our Children are the hope for the future...Will mine even live to see their promise of life fulfilled? Or shall they too be taken away. I for one will no longer stand for this, it is time not for calm words, but for the heat and fire of passion. We MUST make it known that as a community this is intolerable whatever the Child's Faith.
I walk not in Light, but in fear and readiness.
See not that your own Children are taken from you, Let us do something.
The time is NOW.
Walk All of you in safety....
| Actually, Kids Have Been Killing One Another For A Long Time. We... ||Mar 13th. at 12:41:29 pm EST|
|Aed Rua (Prophetstown, Illinois US) ||Age: 35 - Email |
Actually, kids have been killing one another for a long time.
We need to put what is happening today into some kind of historical perspective. Are this decade's school shooters really any worse than last decade's gang bangers? Or than the Hitlerjugend in the 1930s? Or than the Komsomol under Stalin? Or than the Red Guards of the Cultural Revolution? Or the Khmer Rouge, most of whom were teens and pre-teens? Or than teenage settlers slaughtering Indians? Or teenage Indians slaughtering other teenage Indians? Or than any of the other tribal warriors, freedom fighters, gang members, and other assorted killers, young and old, of every ethnic group, religion, sex, and race throughout several million years of blood-drenched human history?
Violence has been with us for a very long time. We should know this. If anyone can see these events in the light of what has gone before, it should be we, who are reviving religions with thousands of years behind them.
The rage, hate, and violence of our school shooters is not new. The expression is. The current fashion in violence is what has changed, not the impetus toward violence, which is eternal.
Why, then, has opening fire in schools suddenly become fashionable among young killers? Well, for one thing, as a result of adult examples. "Going postal" has been a popular way of expressing frustration and anger among sociopathic adults for several years now, and people tend to do what they know can be done, whether they hear about it from television, or newsreels, or newspapers, or bards, or word of mouth. As soon as one teenage killer "does a Columbine", others hear about it, and think to do it. This also, is not new, not really.
Of course, the Rambo set has diffused the knowledge of how to strip, oil, put back together, lock, load, and fire an AK blindfolded quite widely through American society. While firearms are a very old part of our culture, the "cammo warrior" mentality is not. Likewise, the Tim McVeighs of the world have made sure that many, many people know how to make explosives with common household chemicals. This they would have done with or without the internet, even if they had to write it longhand. Teenage killers of today find that mass violence is rather more feasable than twenty years ago, and this plays a role.
Violent vieogames and movies no doubt play some role, but really, any more than the violent propaganda of the last century, or the stories which inspired Celtic warriors to revel in slaughter? Given the remarkable skill our ancestors had in killing, I rather doubt it.
A lot of people are doing everything they can to capitalize on these killings, to use them to promote hysteria and to advance a totalitarian agenda. We could, of course, censor our media, ban guns and common, household chemicals, turn our schools into mini-prisons, destroy the internet, and hunt down deviants.
But the only result would be that the Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold of tomorrow would find a different way to express rage and hate. Perhaps they would skin a single enemy alive, or burn someone to death with gasoline (hard to ban, that). Would that really be worth giving up our freedom?
In the end, the sad fact is that we must do what every generation has done with violence. We must live with it, channel it to more productive ends, if possible, and teach our own kids the values that keep them from turning into casual killers. If we teach honor, discipline, truth, great-heartedness, moral courage, loyalty, and gentleness, to name a few good values, we can probably help reduce the numbers of killers. If we live these values, perhaps we can reduce the numbers even more.
But we can't make everybody teach good values to their kids, no matter how much power we give to the censorship squad. Nor, even if we somehow entirely eliminated violence, could we ever make our children immortal.
| I Don't Have A Traditional Response To Post. In Light Of All... ||Mar 13th. at 12:54:16 pm EST|
|Randall Stracener (Leesville, Louisiana US) ||Age: 18 - Email |
I don't have a traditional response to post. In light of all the anti-pagan happenings in the news, and especially in light of the suicide of Tempest Smith, I have written an extremely pissed-off piece, and wanted to share it.
It won't win any of us any points with the mainstream, but i tneeded to be said.
"Never Again the Burning"
a young man weeps
at an old man's bedside
cover the heartache
cover the old man's eyes
cover your sorrow
before they catch you clinging
covered in snow
a young man's crying
lost and alone
without the flame to guide him
we cling to our youth
let us never forget the past
we cling to anything
and nothing is all that lasts
And we cry
oceans of blood and sweat
we built the city on the bones of the dead
with the ghosts of a deadly past
we are alone without the flame to guide us
like I told you to
away the consequence
when there's no more to reach for
A young man dies
at the hands of a senator
the frontlines are full
at the hands of a government
bloated and blue
choking on it's own two feet
we'll pull through
America in the red
there's nothing left for us here
we took it all and we threw it to the wind
a glint in the eye of an old man dying
is the burdon in the hands of the young men everywhere
and they said
like I taught you to
away the consequence
you learn the most
when there's nothing to reach for
I knew a girl
she took the hardest way
with liberty for all
and all you stupid martyrs
on the cover of magazines
We never made the front page
but we still learned
Life isn't easy
but I know it wasn't meant to be
with blood, sweat, and tears
we build a new democracy
on the bones of old men
and their dead philosophies
let the lion have his way
we will rise again some day
Never again the burning
never again the burning
never again the burning
never again the burning
We are alive
we are awake
we see the things
That you deny
We are aware
we'll have our way
We will rise again
we will rise again
we will rise again
The old ways are the hardest ways.
| I Believe - As The Mother Of Two Teenagers - That Biggest Contributer To... ||Mar 13th. at 1:01:52 pm EST|
|arielle (Seattle, Washington US) ||Age: 43 - Email |
I believe - as the mother of two teenagers - that biggest contributer to any kind of violence in the schools is what it has ALWAYS been. Lack of true parenting. Most of the children I see have parents who are worried about the most obvious outward signs a child displays, but not about their self esteem or happiness. They want these things for thier children, but they assume they will magically happen if the child follows the path the parents set out for them. Most parents won't go to the school and force the administrators into action. I did once. In elementary school a boy tried to kiss my daughter - who promptly keed him in the groin. His response was to beat up on her younger brother daily at lunch. The lunch duty attendants did nothing. I went to the principle and thwarted his efforts to avoid the issue by threatning to go to the school board if it happened one more time. I also talked to the bully's teacher and made her aware of the problem. Most parents will not do this. They don't want to make a fuss. If a child knows their parent will stand up for them, then they are more likely to tell of such problems. Mine do. I've taught both my children how to thwart bullies by not reacting as they wish, and with the promise to raise a fuss in the office if it doesn't work. I think the principle of the middle school really dislikes me because I made him deal with several problems (not bullying) that he tried to explain with psycho-babble. Unfortunately for him, I just made it clear i wanted a solution not a warm fuzzy answer. The same goes for bullying situations. If the parent gets involved and won't back down, the problem will be handled. It has always worked for me.
| My Son Was Going Through A Lot Of Bullying And Harassment At... ||Mar 13th. at 7:11:25 pm EST|
|medusa (seattle, Washington US) ||Age: 50 |
my son was going through a lot of bullying and harassment at school and i talked to teachers and the principal and other parents. nothing had any effect. In fact both my sons had this problem. It seemed as if the crux of the problem was that i had taught them to be non violent and to follow the rules.. Then one day it dawned on me. Every day that we send our kids to school we offer them up on the altar of conformity to society. that is especially true today when diversity is a dirty word. of course it always has been, but even more so today. as long as that is true teenagers will find ways to scream out their outrage at being fit into such a small narrow definition.
| As A Teacher I See What Happens In School Everyday. I Know... ||Mar 13th. at 8:16:44 pm EST|
|Skyler Lashley (Whitehall, Montana US) ||Age: 26 - Email |
As a teacher I see what happens in school everyday. I know from experience that in my classroom I don't allow any bullying or teasing of that nature because it is not condusive to a proper learning environment. However, I can only be in one place at one time and I have to say that teachers are not always to blame for a student being teased by another student. As teachers and schools we are only able to do what the community and parents allow us to do. Parents voicing opinions at school board meetings would give the school the expectations the parents want.
Yes it is true that kids can be cruel to each other and yes sometimes teachers and schools don't see what all happens. But I do have to admit I have seen teachers that have allowed things to happen while they're standing in the vicinity. If I'm around I usually step in because of the high standards of conduct I have for myself and what I expect from students.
I have to honestly say that I feel that in todays society we have forgotten the individual and have become to focused on the group mind. Slowing down in our lives helps us focus and to put things into perspective. Its no wonder our children act the way they do they learn from their parents. I see it everyday in my work and I always wonder what will happen as this kid matures and leaves high school. Will they continue the same behavior and pass it on to their children because thats all they know? Will their behavior or intolerance and hatred continue? Probably, but you never know.
Parents are responsible for their children and they need to step in and let their voice be heard. How am I as a teacher to know what happens when I'm not there. Its not fair to blame schools entirely.
| Children Today Have Alot More Stress Than We Did A Couple Of... ||Mar 13th. at 8:38:40 pm EST|
|John Schreiber (Sparrowbush, New York US) ||Age: 42 - Email |
Children today have alot more stress than we did a couple of years ago. They have more homework than I ever had in school. Children also have more important tests which figure out if they pass or not. Children also are not educated about differences. The only way you fit in is if you are good at sports, can afford expensive clothes, and are like most of the other kids.
| Kids Today - Myself Included - Are Pressured Way Too Much. I'm A Teen... ||Mar 13th. at 9:18:57 pm EST|
|Leilani Tempest (PSL, Florida US) ||Age: 17 - Email |
Kids today - myself included - are pressured way too much. I'm a teen Pagan, and to the other teenagers in my school this comes as a shock. I'm called all things: Devil worshipper, immoral, and more. I even attempted to committ(sp?) suicide once because of all the teasing going on.
I'm a high school teen - a senior who will soon be graduating. Just being a teen is stressful. I've had anxiety atttacks from college worries, high school worries, and more. I hold down a job just to pay the bills that come from being a teen. College isn't cheap, and with the financial problems in my family, it won't be easy to pay for it. I worry about it so much that I start going senile.
Kids kill kids who torment them. The smallest torment may mean life or death to kids. I've seen kids in my school get "written up" for saying anything about killing someone, even when that kid is the top student and not like that. Sometimes we do stuff like that for attention, sometimes not.
My opinion is that kids do what they think is right, but not what is right. Take Tempest, the kid who committed suicide because of the tormenting. The kid who has my magickal name, the kid who I now think of when someone calls on me. Now I think of her and the problems of the world when I hear things like that. The kids who tormented her may not have meant for it to cause her death, but in a strange way it did kill her. Lack of friends and love cause a person to do bad things - things they wouldn't do if they had the love and friendship that they wanted.
Kids rights shouldn't be taken away, just because of a few bad seeds. What really needs to happen is for every kid to be counseled when a problem is seen or suspected. Maybe things like the shootings and killings would stop. Maybe not.
The world is going through a crisis - when morals are low and family values don't matter anymore. This isn't the way we need it to be if we are to survive as a population. Kids think that since they don't get punished for doing small things, they won't get punished for doing bigger things. Goddess help me, for this is not true. Karma has a way of coming up on us, and serving to us what we served to them.
| I Bet Everyone Thinks Stuff Like That Only Happens In Public School... ||Mar 13th. at 10:35:54 pm EST|
|Amanda (Providence, Rhode Island US) ||Age: 21 - Email |
I bet everyone thinks stuff like that only happens in public school.
One of my best friends, my boyfriend, and a few other people went to a private Quaker school system. While there, they were different, or geeky, and each of them earned daily beatings from the school bullies from it. Teachers were told, they talked to thier parents, nothing got done. My boyfriend's mom works for the local school system as a child psychologist, and told him that it wasn't really that bad, that he was probably just imagining that it was that horrible.
Once they got older, they found each other and banded together for support. After that, they didn't get beat up anymore, they just got taunted and teased mercilessly. Now, four years after graduating high school, one of them carries no less than 2 knives on him at all times (we're glad he downgraded from 4), and my boyfriend doesn't sleep well. Every time he wakes up crying from a nightmare he can't remember, I curse everyone who didn't do anything for him.
The other guys seem to be getting along better than those two, but it's obvious to anyone who listens to any of them for even 10 minutes that they all have serious self-esteem issues. All this was at a PRIVATE school. A Quaker school for pete's sake. You would think that a non-violent group of people like them would have less tolerence for bullies. Were they all born even five years later maybe the one that carries all the knives might have gunned down half the school. Maybe if they hadn't banded together, I would be denied the love of my life right now.
So for everyone who thinks it's someone else's problem, that it can't happen where they live, that thier kids go to a good school and things like that don't happen there, it can. I don't have a solution for all this, and I wish I did. No one should have to go through all of that.
PS. Those kids who teased Tempest *should* feel damn guilty. They killed her sure as if they tied the knot around her neck themselves.
| This Latest Incident Really Has One Main Root: A Kid Was Teased... ||Mar 13th. at 10:46:43 pm EST|
|Annie (Williamsburg, Virginia US) ||Age: 22 - Email |
This latest incident really has one main root: a kid was teased so much and so badly that he was pushed past the breaking point. Unlike many others in the same predicament, he decided to turn the anger, despair and pain OUTWARDS rather than inwards. He hurt other people instead of hurting himself- which is the more usual reaction. Isn't it interesting that he wouldn't have made national news if he'd just killed himself instead of other people?
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