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Question of the Week: 113

Pagan Problem Children: What Can We Do About Them?

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 Author:    Posted: Nov. 17, 2002   This Page Viewed: 12,953,801  

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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. Reverse Sort 

I Don't Think Kids Today Are Any Different Than I And My... Mar 12th. at 3:16:28 pm EST

Marea (Niagara Falls, Ontario CA) Age: 30 - Email

I don't think kids today are any different than I and my peer group were. I remember being strained to the breaking point because I felt lost, alone, different, tortured, weird, and unloved. I remember considering taking my own life. I remember great anger with the world around me and it's unfairness and cruelty. I also remember people who were willing to listen to me when I needed to get all that stuff off my chest. I sincerely believe that this is where we are slipping off the rails.

The common thread I see in all of these stories are kids who have obviously been feeling alienated and lost for a long time and are grasping at anything and everything to get someone's attention - eventually any attention will do, when really it should be compassionate rational conversation. Kids are totally capable of making good choices - of understanding that the violence or profanity (or whatever is the media's most recent scapegoat) is not the way that real and loving people relate to one another. The way they develop this capability is by reasoned conversation and debate with peers and adults (primarily parents). We as parents are spending waaaaaaaaay to much time concentrating on material wants and working to maintain them instead of devoting a sizeable effort to RELATING with our children. Rather than using "parental control technologies" to raise our kids, here's a thought: let's sit down and watch or listen to something controversial with our kids and have a real honest-to-goodness discussion about it - how it make's them feel, why they connect to it so much, and so on.

Oh yeah, and a solid understanding AND APPLICATION of the Rede (or the Golden Rule, if you prefer) wouldn't hurt, either!

Love and Light,

It's Hard To Pin The "blame" On Any One Thing But The... Mar 12th. at 2:18:57 pm EST

Charlayne Elizabeth Denney (Friendswood, Texas US) Age: 44 - Email

It's hard to pin the "blame" on any one thing but the one aspect of all of this that I see is that the kids aren't taught that each person has something to contribute. There is no respect for difference.

Every school experience is "get along" and "be like others". Some can fit, others don't. Peer pressure to conform is rampant and everything from fashion to gangs has this element.

And when that is the ruling value, those who don't conform are targets for the abuse that the youngsters can dish out. Most of the time it's blown off as something a kid has to deal with. "Get a thick skin" is said a lot. "Sticks and Stones may break bones but words will never hurt me" is the rhyme. But it's WRONG.

Pagans are taught that words have power. From chants to rhymes, words are the most powerful conduit to energy that there is. Every word has energy. This is why we don't have as many pagans who will engage in harassment of other groups (there ARE exceptions).

Also, we teach that we are not the "only" ones out there. It's not "our way or the Hell highway" but inclusiveness. Differences are usually highlighted and actually honored.

Thirdly, the pagan community teaches "threefold law" or karmic debt and I think that keeps the pagan children from "going off" and killing others; they opt for suicide instead. They won't harm others and they will kill themselves so they can try to escape and do the lessons next time. This is so understandable yet so very sad.

I have a daughter who fit the profile of the little girl who killed herself. She is STILL on antidepressants at age 24 from the harassment she took at the hands of so-called "loving" Christians for her beliefs. She's goth, was pagan even before I was, and just grieves that people don't respect her. She's improved a lot since those school days but she has no joy in remembering high school.

Schools MUST teach diversity, respect, honoring yourself and others. There is a zero tolerance policy against weapons and drugs--there needs to be one on harassment and hazing. Until they stop allowing this behavior, there will be more deaths.

Blessed be:

Hello Everyone. I Am A 17 Year Old Girl Who Goes To... Mar 12th. at 1:24:55 pm EST

Suzzy Bell (Burley, Idaho US) Age: 17

Hello everyone. I am a 17 year old girl who goes to high school and does not feel very safe with some of the people in my school. I think there is too high availability for kids to get guns. Most schools such as mine do not have metal detectors, sure we have cameras to help keep us "safe" but the feeling is not there. Parents should talk to their children about guns. Teenagers need to be open with their parents about the way they feel. Such as at Columbine, it seems to be the kids that are picked on that go get the gun. If there is a threat in your school, you need to tell someone. Something is happening to today's youth and we need to fix it. Thanx!!!

The Tighter This World Holds On With Its Fist Of Control, The... Mar 12th. at 12:24:00 pm EST

Snowflake (Fredericton, New Brunswick CA) Age: 20 - Email

The tighter this world holds on with its fist of control, the more people will slip through its fingers and end up shooting someone. There is no longer communication between human beings. If you stick an average child out in a campsite they will stare blankly around and sit perfectly still instead of having fun. We don't know how to enjoy life! We are plugged into a 24/7 movie that is our lives. Nothing means anything to us anymore unless it's an image that comes across a screen. People view people as objects and not as living, breathing human beings anymore. "The System" is sick and it is perpetuating the sickness of its people. I have no idea how to cure this sickness that is modernism and supposed "progress". How do we undo what has alreaady been done for years and years? We are hard-wired into this machine called society and it's breaking down and taking us with it.

One Of The Major Problems I See Is The Media Hype - These... Mar 12th. at 7:07:57 am EST

Trish Telesco (western, New York US) Age: 40 - Email

one of the major problems I see is the media hype - these children are made into heros by the press - the underdog who takes desperate action. Additionally, children see so much violence that they (and we) often become numb to it nearly saying "hey, it's only another murder" -- do we realize that if someone had shows scenes like they do today 100 years ago people would have fainted in terror (this is a historical fact)! The more you shove violence in the face of people, the more they're likely to become apathetic. Yes, we need toknow horrible things can and do happen, but they shouldn't be romaticized and turned into profitable crimes.

Another problem that occurs is that schools, while often punishing children who make violent comments, do not correct the source of those comments - namely the taunters. This only further encourages the child to lash out because they're not getting support.

Finally in the home children need to be taught strong self esteem and coping mechanisms. It's not easy to be a child these days, and if they're not getting back up from family, children are more likely to launch out on their own and do unthinkable things.

Pagan And Wiccan Brothers And Sisters. Today Is A Sad Day Indeed... Mar 12th. at 4:21:05 am EST

Sammantha Moon Silver (bay saint louis, Mississippi US) Age: 24 - Email

Pagan and Wiccan brothers and sisters. Today is a sad day indeed. Never as sad as what happened on February 20th 2001.Today I found the story and unfortunately have to write this right now. It is with sadness and tears in my eyes that I report on the suicide of a beautiful little 12 year old girl in Detroit.As I look at the image of this shy appearing girl I can not help but shed tears for her and her family. Why did she kill herself you are probably wondering at this point. She committed suicide after she was taunted unmercifully for a long period of time by her peers and fellow students for her interest in the Wiccan religion. Alone in her normal appearing bedroom much like the room of our own children, she slipped a leopard print scarf around her pale, fragile neck after tying the other end to her bunk bed and hung herself. She was rushed to a nearby hospital after mother found her alive, her little lips that used to smile and laugh, blue from lack of oxygen. There after being tested it was found that even though still alive by the help of life support that this talented girl had suffered unrepairable mass brain damage and would never live without life support and no longer had any thinking abilities. In other words Tempest Smith was gone leaving behind only an empty shell. Her organs were donated to save the lives of others and she was removed from life support. Now a child is gone because she could no longer deal with the taunting she received for her interest, beliefs, and ideas. It is horrific to know that a child lies alone and cold in the earth because of the small-minded prejudices of a community that did not understand a little girl trying to find herself and her spirituality. The worst part is these were children that caused this child her pain. These children unfortunately learned to hate and taunt anything that is considered different or beyond the normal. Many children learn this from their parents and the media. According the journal found after her death she was teased since early elementary school.(Insert from journal:" Everyone is against me. Still, death will come sooner or later for me. Will I ever have friends again?") The haunting, hopeless feelings Tempest privately expressed in her daily journal are shared by an increasing number of children. Although older teens commit the bulk of suicides, at least 300 children ages 10-14 kill themselves annually nationwide. After her death these same children saw what there taunting had done. They left apology letters at her grave. One from one child read as follows "I am sorry that it led to this, " was the message written on a placard. "None of it should have happened. If only they had understood, then you would still be alive." In this young childŐs innocence they spoke the absolute truth." If only they had understood". If only others were taught of alternative religions and given a chance to understand, this may have never happened. I personally believe this was an unnecessary tragedy. Only a small amount of education is required to stop such other tragedies from happening again. I would like to right now propose a nationwide campaign. That if successful will force every public school to hold a 4 week class regarding and teaching tolerance for those who seem slightly different. Whether it be due to religion, race, sex, age, appearance or any other basis of prejudice in this country today. How can you help? Please start petitions in your local area supporting this course as a required class. Send them into your school officials and government agencies. Also email me at the given email and join my email campaign that will be sent to Whitehouse officials and other in higher government. If you have any questions or want to help contact me. Either by email(Please put tempest storm in the subject box) or by my residence address(Please send S.A.S.E)
Sammantha Moon Silver
6156 E.Oktibbeha St
Bay Saint Louis, Ms.39520
I will be naming the campaign Tempest Storms in memory of the little girl named Tempest after being born during a violent storm. That died in a violent storm of emotional pain. Maybe together we can stop the rain of childrenŐs tears causes by cruel taunting.
Written By High Priestess Sammantha Moon Silver 3-10-2001 In remembrance of a little girl that died way too soon.Please help us stop this from occuring again.

Why Do Kids Kill Kids? Why Can't Parents Punish Their Children? There... Mar 12th. at 12:23:51 am EST

Dove (Lakewood, Ohio US) Age: 36

Why do kids kill kids? Why can't parents punish their children?

There are so many different psychological analysis that could sum up an answer to this question. But, from a sociological perspective, and political....after all...everything is political: When parents, good parents are told they can not punish their children (especially at early ages) otherwise they are considered abusers...well. There is a significant difference between abuse and punishment; between a spanking and a fist in the face. And children know this! They are not studid. For many who get their way early in life, they tend to take more, and more and more....until there is nothing left but a life a take.

What we see is not rage in these children. We are seeing full blown temper tantrums! But, they know how to get their revenge! Mommy or Daddy's guns. Now, this is predominantly in the "White Bread" suburban areas. In the inner city, it's a different story all together.

You are dealing with a survival instict that's bread in poverty in a capitalist society and these kids know they are poor. They know there are only a few ways to get out. But, the fastest, easiest is unfortunately one of the deadliest. Its's a monster that was created from a system that keeps people down, in the name of lifting them up.

What is wrong with this entire scene in both poverty and wealth is government intervention in areas it has no right to intervene and Government neglegence in areas it should be focusing on

Why Are Kids Killing Kids? I Don't Know. What Blows Me Away... Mar 12th. at 12:13:37 am EST

John (New Naumkeag) Age: 33

Why are kids killing kids? I don't know.

What blows me away is the selective focus (at least, in the U.S.) on this: a white kid kills some other white kids in a school, and it's top news; a black or latino kid kills (or IS killed) and it usually barely makes the news. What's up with that? And (duh) is *that* part of the problem too?

I think that also applies to self-killing, i.e. suicide, among kids. For example, Wren wrote about a child suicide on the cover page of this week's edition of The Witches' Voice, and she had a point to make. But here's the bigger point: that kid killed. She killed herself. (She also killed an enormous part of her mother and all the others who loved her.) Many kids were/are taunted at school, and they *didn't* and *don't* kill themselves. Why more kids are killing themselves *now* --when in previous generations they didn't do so as much-- over taunting or whatnot, is also worthy of consideration.

I do have to say this, which is kind of obvious. Whether it is a kid who shoots up his school, or a kid shooting/knifing/whatever others in the streets or a kid in her bedroom hanging herself: unless it's a case of self-defense, etc., these kids aren't the victims; they are the killers; by their killings, they *made* the victims. They --all three groups-- are all killing. For society to ignore the killing by black or brown boys, to only focus upon white boys who kill, and to treat suicides as some kind of different phenomenon is ridiculous. It's all killing.

Again, I don't know the answer to this week's question.

But, I wonder: Perhaps we should look not to pressures which can lead to killing (which have been around since the days of Cain), nor the tools which can be used in killing, but to focus instead on how to teach people to reorient those pressures so that they *won't* kill.

And on that subject, as an earlier poster stated so well, the old pagan philosophers had (and still do) have a lot to say... but that requires their words to be *taught* before they can be heard and lived.

Hi!; Do Pagan Philosophies Offer Any Suggestions About The Current Problems Among... Mar 11th. at 10:40:50 pm EST

Tarostar (Toronto, Ontario CA) Age: 58 - Email


Do Pagan philosophies offer any suggestions about the current problems among young people?

Well, they would if they were taught in the schools, as they were in my younger

I remember when Latin and Greek were taught in the High Schools and all the
Pagan Sages were used for translation practice. One would be very hard pressed to find such today in the schools. University level only teaches the Classics IF a certain number sign up for them.

Those Pagan Sages taught social, communal, national and ETHICAL responsibility.

They were removed from the class cirriculum after the Kennedy assasination,
when education experts "modernized" the system. Since then, two generations have grown up without the cultural anchors those Pagan Sages gave society.

Xtians can only say that if one would just read the Bible, everything will be alright. However, that tome has never made the World a better place; if anything,
it contributes to hatred and exclusiveness.

The Western World has inherited Classical Paganism as its bedrock direct from Ancient Times and through the Humanism of the Renaissance.

However, that bedrock has been set aside and not emphasized in the schools
and in the course of study for young people.

Pagans have had to educate themselves in these sages and pagan writers from the Past.

If Pagan Literature can again be taught, those responsible ethics will be absorbed by the young.

Xtianity is intellectually sterile compared to Paganism. Perhaps that is why the Pagan Sages are ignored.

However, the deeper one goes into Pagan Literature, the more one sees how much of a Pagan Greek Mystery Cult Xtianity really is.

It is belief in the dying/resurrecting God Man of Mystery Cult dressed in Jewish drag parading as History.

If we can put more emphasis on the available Pagan Sages, these current
problems of young people with no socially responsible roots can be solved. BB

Merry Meet. Before I Start, I Want Everyone To Remember That This... Mar 11th. at 9:00:37 pm EST

Orionova (London, England UK) Age: 29

Merry meet. Before I start, I want everyone to remember that this is just an opinion.

I believe that this is not a new phenomenon. I know of cases of people seemingly going crazy for no reason and having a killing spree that date back over a hundred years. We are the descendants of violence. Once, it was socially acceptible to go out and kill a few serfs for the thrill of it. Humans had to hunt and kill game to feed their families. There were plenty of wars to give unstable people the oppurtunity to kill and maim as they wanted. They were even made into heros for doing so.

Unfortunately, I have no answer to the question of what can be done now. I just pray to the Lord and Lady that someone better able than I can find an answer soon. I do believe that tolerence is the key. Those in our society who have been taught to respect the differences inherent in our society must be at less risk of self-destruction. Hate-mongering leads to feelings of superiority and a belief that the person has the right to decide who lives, and who dies. We as Pagans are naturally more tolerant, but also more at risk of becoming victims.

The One Most Common Factor In The Series Of School Shootings Is... Mar 11th. at 8:10:06 pm EST

Jonathan Hunter Neely (Hiawassee, Georgia US) Age: 14

The one most common factor in the series of school shootings is that the shooter(s) have always been characterized as a lonely person who has been constantly picked on by others. As a 14 year old Wiccan myself, I can understand the torment some kids go through becuase they are different or simply not liked. After the media gets hold of a shooting they always try to pin the blame on something like Heavy metal, roleplaying, books, religion, or another easy target. The school also tries not to make the shooter's classmates or the victim's classmates "feel guilty". What the school should realize though is that those classmates should in fact feel guilty. I believe that it is the people surrounding the shooter who caused such a horrible tragedy.

There Are Lots Of Excuses Out There. The Parents Don't Care, There... Mar 11th. at 7:36:13 pm EST

Ashleigh (Azle, Texas US) Age: 16 - Email

There are lots of excuses out there. The parents don't care, There is too much violence on TV, The lyrics to the song are too provocative. Well, I dont think any of those are right. I think the reason why kids are killing kids is because they are pushed overboard, they are stereotyped, they are criticed. Kids can be so cruel today. Just because someone dresses in black and thinks out of the majoraty they are rejected and stereotyped. They are being pushed beyond the point of return by there peers. The media made a big deal out of the columbine shooting because two kids who dress in all black, wear trinch coats and ae concidered "weird or different" shoot people and then take their own lives. But there are shootings all over the country who aren't publicised because of one of two reasons, either they dont want their school to look bad or they dont want to make the christian religion look bad. If a christian walked into a school and shot someone in the head and killed them, they wouldnt want the christian religion to look bad so they probably wouldn't publicise it. But if A Pegan teen walked into the same school and blew someones head off they would make a huge deal of it becaue they have the wrong perception of the pegan religion, we are preceved to be violent destructive people who are only here to cast spells and make people misrable and thats not the case at all. Blessed Be.

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