The opinions posted on the Pagan Perspective pages are those of individuals and are not neccessarily shared or endorsed by the Witches' Voice inc.
Posted: Nov. 17, 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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| I Didn't Realize There Was More Than One Question This Week, Until... ||Mar 25th. at 9:02:17 pm EST|
|Lucinda-June (Elmira, New York US) ||Age: 48 - Email |
I didn't realize there was more than one question this week, until I started reading the "old" answers.
My daughter was eight years old when they were teasing her because we are Witches. Her teacher told me she couldn't be everywhere. I said, "I can" and I began homeschooling her. She is eleven and just finishe reading the Harry Potter series for the second time. She has decided to read "The Secret Garden"
To kids that think they are at the breaking point and think of shooting up the school or commiting suicide I say, "Homeschooling is legal every state."
If you are over 13 and can read well, read, "Teenage Liberation Handbook" by Grace Llewellyn ISBN 0-9629591-7-0. You can do it all yourself, except fill in the paperwork. Tell your parents, "you have three choices. I can commit suicide. I can shoot up the school. Or I can homeschool. If you love me I know what you will choose."
| Kids Are Killing Kids Because Of Intolerance And A Lack Of Places... ||Mar 22nd. at 3:57:45 pm EST|
|Marcie Zylla (Placerville, California US) ||Age: 15 - Email |
Kids are killing kids because of intolerance and a lack of places to turn for help from the torments of other students and the stereotyping and prejudice of adults. Kids need someone to turn to to help them, and they need something or someone to show them that killing the people who torment them is not the way to stop these people from tormenting others in the future. There will always be people who refuse to try to understand those that are different, strange, not in the "in" crowd. Guns are not to blame for kids killing other kids. I, for one, have owned and known how to use a gun since I was about four. My father taught me that guns don't solve problems, they are something to be used to defend yourself or to go hunting with. I think that these kids who are killing other kids just need their parents in their lives more. They need someone to talk to, someone to stand up for them, someone to show them that these people know not what they say, and if they do know what they say, they know not how much it hurts. Parents are partially to blame for what their kids do, but they shouldn't be held resposible for their own shortsightedness. If they can't see how troubled their child is enough to stop them from killing other kids, then they aren't very good parents. Money and status don't have anything to do with this. Many poor/underprivelaged kids are richer than kids who have money because they are loved. They aren't just paid. Kids just need to be talked to. They need to be told that they are free to be who they want to be, and they need to have this proved to them. They need someone to talk to, to share their problems with without the fear of being rejected or tormented even more. My father taught me to always accept others, no matter how different they are or how weird they look. I think the kids of America just need to learn and accept this philosophy. Its not a hard one to understand, and its not hard to accept. Kids, actually everyone, just need someone to understand them and to keep them from going insane on other kids or other people in general.
| And Another Child Is Sacrificed To Intolerance. I Think Children See Things... ||Mar 22nd. at 12:56:46 am EST|
|Autumn Rain (Austin, Texas US) ||Age: 28 - Email |
And another child is sacrificed to intolerance. I think children see things that we as adults either don't want to admit or don't want to accept. The children that have taken their own lives or the lives of their peers have all been the victims of having ideas or personalities that are not mainstream. They have come from all kinds of backgrounds, but they share a common thread. They were all unable to cope with intolerance, and it made them easy targets to her greed. And truly this shouldn't be too suprising to anyone. We promote compitition and assimilation to the point of violence in this society. If you don't fit the mold, you should change or go away. Why are we suprised when our children do exactly what we, as a society, tell them to do?
I remember all to well checking out a book about Wicca from the local library in the 6th grade. My mother had to sign a release saying she knew what I was reading. A "friend" caught wind of my interest in wicca and cornered me in a bathroom with some friends of hers, and proceeded to "pray over" me for me to see the errors of my ways. I asked her repeatedly to let me go. She said I was speaking with the tongue of Satan. I eventually freaked out and hit her to get her to let me go. I was sent to counciling for 6 wks to curb my anger, and nothing was done to the children that held me down in the bathroom.
I know that, for me anyway, the only reason I didn't go balistic was that my parents and family were understanding and compassionate. They gave me a since of worth and encouraged my intellectual interests, no matter how odd it seemed to them. I'm sure that some of the children that have taken lives had a similar support system to mine, but sometimes the pressure is just too much to bear.
| Somber Sigh> I Don't Know How Many Times I Have Been Asked... ||Mar 21st. at 12:19:41 pm EST|
|Rain Water (Seattle, Washington US) ||Age: 19 - Email |
I don't know how many times I have been asked this question. I see all of the typical (though still thoughtful) answers represented here.
I personally think (in the case of the random school shootings) it's what many have already stated: hopelessness and delusion.
Hopelessness is the easy one. Most all of us have experienced it in some form. Delusion, in my humble opinion, arrives on the scene directly after the hopelessness has.
There is no reality when you're in a deep pit of despair. There is no compassion, no love, no consequences...one's thoughts are limited and march in single file through one's mind. Get the gun...quiet the noise...die.
In the case of gang violence and such, I believe it's hopelessness, directly followed by rage.
That rage comes (again, in my humble opinion) from a vague sense of something missing...something out of order...something lost. These children grow up without fathers, without mothers (though one or both may be present *physically*) and without guidance and love. They don't care about the person that they have just shanked in the back. The compassion has been eliminated from their beings (or very, very deeply buried) by the constant pressure of trying to live in a straight-walking world when you were raised by crooked-walkers.
I was bullied too -- and luckily my mother had taken the time to explain what could happen to me in school when I was very young, and that it wasn't about me -- it was about their own bitternesses and jealousies. It still hurt.
There was a girl, Erin, who hated me. Yes - hated. She was a white supremacist, and my being of mixed heritage (African-American and Caucasian) really upset her. She called me all sorts of nasty, angry, hateful names...and threw in "witch" for good measure. Pretty soon, the entire school was bubbling with rumors about me having a "death list" and casting spells on students I didn't like.
I was pretty miserable. Fortunately, we moved and I started attending another, more diverse and tolerant high school - although the memories of Erin (and her side-kick Macy) still haunted me.
Last year, I was flipping through some television channels late at night, and I saw her face. She was a guest on some talk show about addicts. She said that she needed help, because she had been addicted to heroin for years and had started selling herself for fixes.
The bullies and the bullied are all in the same boat...we all feel hopeless.
| My Message May Be A Short One But I Feel It To... ||Mar 20th. at 1:30:24 pm EST|
|Judy V (Alpharetta, Georgia US) ||Age: 14 - Email |
My message may be a short one but I feel it to be just as important as any other. I was, and still am, a victim of peer pressure.
Every year I have moved to a different school, and, ever since I was in the 1st grade I have been harassed, bullied, and many other things.
Frankly, it doesn't matter what religion you are these days, just your look or the people you hang out with makes you a target.
I learned about Wicca in the 6th grade but kept my beliefs to myself. I still had a lot of bullying and such because I always wore dark colors, I barely talked to anyone, and because of my race.
Yes, because I am half Chinese I have always had problems, my classmates, my teachers and even my principle have said cruel things _to_my_face_. The fact that I became Wiccan only increased the problem.
Others said I was casting spells on them, that I had a Hit List, etc...I have been given out of school suspension a few times because of this...
So, my life has been a hard one, I have thought of comitting suicide a few times but I know that it would never solve anything. I dare not try to kill any living person on this earth, it doesn't solve anything but, let's face it, people kill each other because the person firing the gun has had a rough life. The thing is, no one is doing anything about it! Yeah, you can put you kid on some drug to keep them from getting depressed but, it just doesn't work. People have to wake up and understand that kids aren't going on shooting sprees because of what's on tv or in videogames but what they have been taught growing up. If nothing is done to stop this then there will be even more deaths. Who will they blame in the future? Everyone but themselves.
| I Too Was Picked On In High School. Relentlessly. Being The Psychotic... ||Mar 19th. at 12:50:59 am EST|
|Kali (Toronto, Ontario CA) ||Age: 23 - Email |
I too was picked on in high school. Relentlessly. Being the psychotic freak of nature I was, I snapped. I changed high schools. It was that easy.... I did as well in my second school as could be expected. I'm not the most likable person. I'm rather opinionated. But I wasn't picked on anymore. Just the odd argument over noserings and nail polish.
I don't know if its the lack of upbringing that teaches kids that violence is the answer, or if its the media's coverage that encourages the copycats, but I think that SOMETHING is clearly missing. Some of the kids who are the source of said violence seem rather over coddled from my perspective. I know people who lived in russia and bosnia, they lived far worse lives than I ever did or will and they are far worse than any of the kids who have had the "liberty" of ten minutes of fame for shooting up their high schools. I think I would rather be a high school geek than be a victim of a war zone. The people I've met who have lived in those situations make the very best company, they appreciate every molecule of air they suck on. Every second of every minute of every hour of every day is a gift to them. They are happy all the time. They are full of life and they know it, thats the thing. As bad as their lives have been there will be no going "postal" for them... they know all too well how tragic it is.
And another thing, although I don't condone the "bullying" I think that the "bullys" should be spoken for. Not all geeks are completly innocent at the hands of everyone else picking on them. I happen to remember someone from my second high school who wasn't the most popular. She was a compulsive liar and people kind of thought her lies were an insult to their intelligence. That was basically her downfall. Other than that I thought she was ok personally but I still couldn't help but think that she thought I was stupid... People seem to forget that there are two sides to a story. And it seems that all the bleeding hearts out there go towards the killers, no one asks the bullies what happened, they only ask if that bullet wound closed over properly. I know people have told stories about mormons trying to convert them in high school constantly until the pleas to stop finally turn into this so called "bullying". I perosnally can only take so much come back to Jesus before I too, would resort to making fun. I personally wouldn't appreciate being shot for not converting to a religion thats not my choice.
And as "eye for an eye" as I am, I will never be "death for a comment about my ears". If someone made fun of my ears, I would make fun of their nose!
| I Remember How I Felt Around My "peers". My Experience Was That... ||Mar 18th. at 11:03:14 am EST|
|Cynthia (Hillsborough, North Carolina US) ||Age: 28 - Email |
I remember how I felt around my "peers". My experience was that I felt like I was "weird" in some way that other kids weren't, that I never "fit in", that no one wanted to be around me or talk to me. I was so painfully shy that I didn't socialize well. As an adult, I now see just how meaningless the other kids' opinions were, but when you are a child experiencing those emotions it encompasses your entire existance. I could easily have become one of the statistics...the only thing that kept me from suicide was the fact that I was too terrified of death, and that somewhere deep inside I always felt that I had some intrinsic value as a person. I think perhaps it is when children get to the point where they lose any sense of worth, that they do terrible things.
In my opinion the only thing that will truly solve the problem will be a change in the entire culture that surrounds our children. Why is competition so overpoweringly encouraged in the classroom? - individual achievement seems to be valued above cooperation. Why is getting a grade more important than learning and reasoning? Where are the support networks for the shy or "misfit" children?...most of the adults who come in contact with them see the signs, but shrug it off. Children who are less socially adept can be taught how to socialize...children who show violent or bullying tendencies can be taught other directions for their emotions. (As a side note, it was always my experience that the "bullies" were in home situations so terrible that the only control they could exert in their lives came from pushing around other children.)
Instead of believing that by acting they will only make their situation worse, children who are being bullied need to know and BELIEVE that there are networks around them that will intervene. And all of our children need to be taught that they can intervene on someone else's behalf - that when they see something bad they should speak up, instead of just hanging their head and passing by in the hopes that THEY won't get the abuse next.
| In The Movie Romeo Must Die, I Remember One Of The Characters... ||Mar 18th. at 8:48:45 am EST|
|Quest Wolfsong (Toronto Area, Ontario CA) ||Age: 13 - Email |
In the movie Romeo Must Die, I remember one of the characters saying "Guns don't kill people. People kill people." And it's true. Guns usually won't fire unless someone pulls the trigger. They don't know or care whether the person holding it is 4 or 40. They don't know whether the bullet will be shot at a wall or a human being.
And it's not just teenage boys anymore. Just a couple weeks ago, a girl who went to a Catholic school brought in a gun and tried to shoot people.
I hate hearing about school shootings. They're not as simple as people like to think. There are no simple causes and no simple solutions. There comes a point when you've been bullied and harassed so much, you just want to get back at the people who hurt you, who've been treating you like crap for years. You think they deserve some kind of payback for all those times you've gone home crying, for everytime they've talked about you right in front of your face, called you names, hurt your feelings. There's nothing left when you feel so miserable, and there's no one to talk to.
I'm not saying it's justified, or appropriate, or that students shouldn't get the full penalty of the law. We need to look at the real causes of these shootings. It's not the TV, board games, video games, movies, magazines, and media. It's not wanting to be famous. It's getting revenge and attention. No one takes a second look at you because you have glasses, braces, bushy hair, you speak differently, you're too rich, you're too poor, you don't wear fashionable clothes. It's that desperation, thinking that no one cares, and that you're all alone in the world. You're going to kill yourself anyways, why not bring down your tormentors with you?
It's not just the fault of the NRA, parents, and teachers. It's all of society's problem. And we need to learn how to solve it.
| Why Are Kids Killing Kids? Its A Hard Question To Answer. I... ||Mar 17th. at 8:08:55 pm EST|
|Aradia (Minneapolis, Minnesota US) ||Age: 16 - Email |
Why are kids killing kids? Its a hard question to answer. I think many adults want to blame someone or something like media violence, and then censor it. But what they don't realize is, what actually goes on in our lives is much worse than what is seen on TV. In our day and age, its bad for boys to show emotions. You notice, many boys and girls go through the same things but it is the boys who strike out. Girls are encouraged to cry and be emotional. Boys must be strong men. In the past, at least, men had more of an outlet in their violence. But now they can't do that either. They are teased and hurt very badly, but they can't shoe it or they get teased and hurt even more, but the cycle never stops. Finally, they lash out. I think its inevitable. Depending on the person their anger comes out in diffrent ways. I think we need to encourage openness and empathy. There will always be people who are just violent and sick, but if we care we can stop this disease from infecting innocent children.
| You Know What. I'm In Quite A Bad Mood Now. I Just... ||Mar 17th. at 4:33:36 pm EST|
|Shadow (miami, Florida US) ||Age: 17 - Email |
You know what. I'm in quite a bad mood now. I just hear about poor Tempest, and I just finished reading 52 opinions, half of which I had to re-check the web-address to make sure I wasn't on a Christian hate site. Has it ocurred to anyone that all these "children" that take such drastic measures happen to be the thinkers and phylosophers of their generation? A wise woman once told me to listen to little children whenever possible. They expect nothing and therefor see everything and usualy understand it. So the potentially great phylosophers of our younger generations end up killing themselves or a few hundred other children with the mentality of the common dairy cow. You ask what is wrong with those Kids. I ask you, what else did you expect to come from a society who hates and fears those who explore and learn more than what is already known? from a society that attempts to break the spirit of individuals and force them to fall in line with all the other cows? Shall we place the children at fault who are intelligent enough to see the mundane world for what it is? Shall we pollute and prostitute the memory of children who had the forsite to know that action must be taken? I expected as much from the leaders of the cows, but not from my kindred.
| Well, Personally, I Tire Of Blame Lying. Do I Think It Is... ||Mar 17th. at 2:36:16 am EST|
|Fey (Hubbard, Ohio US) ||Age: 38 - Email |
Well, personally, I tire of blame lying. Do I think it is one set thing that has set this off? No. I think it is at its heart a communication proble, as well as a general desensitization of children. But I cannot blame tv or games...although soem of them are violent...if they are the total blame why do not mre children kill? And parents....well we are all working more but both me and my mate work and our kids do not lift gun or knife. So it is deeper than the things blamed in media. It is a total communication breakdown and desensitization that comes from society as a whole not just one singular thing.
For every statistic that is, ie broken homes bad kids...there are exceptions...I came from a broken home..i think so far I am fairly normal. So the statistics are no help...and I hear lots of discussion after the fact what they ( ppl or parents or friends) knew was wrong with the kid...where were they before it occured.
So to me whatever the reason I want to see intervention....I want to see prevention. Do not tell me this kid that shot his school used to build bombs and post death on the internet start screaming about it before he does it...even if he never did it prevention and caution never a bad thing. The price of lessons learned is becoming to damned high.
And the only clear truth I see is there is another dead child......again.
| Why Are Kids Killing Kids? The Media Which Has More Eyes And... ||Mar 17th. at 1:36:14 am EST|
|Perrin (Denver, Colorado US) ||Age: 24 |
Why Are Kids Killing Kids? The MEDIA which has more eyes and mouths than any mythological creature ever thought of having, & is in nearly every home in the world. What the Media says goes all around the world, & if a child killer gets in the paper, guess what he/she is an overnight celebrity. I saw the Columbine tragedy as it was happening, & have no doubt that if the media had not filmed earlier sceens, that this might have been avoided.
I did read the other article related to this, and can only state that I'm sorry for what happened, but as long as "Christian" rights are driven into our children & schools, things like this will keep happening.
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