Valentine's Grim Wrap

National Shame

Why is it we always have such great solutions to problems after a horrible incident has occurred? Seven shootings within days of each other is a national disgrace. Tougher laws. Treat little boys as adults. Off with their heads. Society collectively murmurs, "ain't it awful," inching down a little further into the protective cocoon in which they have surrounded themselves. Insulated people, behind high walls and gates seek more privacy and insulation from outsiders, those who are different, the disaffected, look or dress differently, and lonely become more so.

Even physically dimuitive, in a wheelchair, often others reflexively shrink away from me, as if my presence has violated THEIR space. Get away! They scream silently--you make me afraid. When I wheel to the parking lot, car doors are hasitily locked as furtive eyes peer back in the dark to see if I might swing a mighty sword or hammer that I have somehow hidden and use to break into their car and do--what? Beg for a quarter?

Narcissism is in full dress and it is pitiful. Your type is hiding behind a wall somewhere, probably at home, gazing into a mirror and checking the alarm system. When you started your first class around 9:am a few years back, I had already been up for six hours learning how to fight so you wouldn't have to. Despite you head start, I still became a professor and not a wheelchair axe murderer.

Who was it got the corporal punishment rule thrown out of schools? Bring it back. Bring back the switch and the paddle, let the teachers swat one of these kids where there is lots of muscle, no permanent damage there. The kids feelings about this? They would be glad to get some attention, any attention other than the cool, aloof, professional and institutionally meted out paper justice that is a record that follows the child as long as he is in school. He is a marked kid and everybody knows it.

Most of the shooters take their revenge or whatever grudge they are holding on innocents who have no idea they are to be a maniac's target that day. The school's reaction is to quickly clean up the scene and attempt to "get on with it." In other words, "this didn't happen and the sooner we forget about it the better."

If there is no way to solve the problem of guns in the wrong hands(though I'm not sure it has ever been seriously tried in the US, due to the gun lobby)then shouldn't there be some effort made to look at the atmosphere within schools that seems to ignore the not so hidden menace of hate and bullying of the weaker and different members of the student body? should a student die because he is gay or talks differently, or comes from a different background than the majority? Should a loner even exist in a larger, forced atmosphere such as that created in a school setting? What happened to the teaching of civics and the purpose of government as it pertains to protecting all members of society?

What is school if not a mirror image of society at large? Who are we as human beings that we can fill the churches on Sunday and not speak out against preaching that fosters hate against those they perceive as somehow unworthy or different?

We can beef up security, put everyone within range of a camera, at all times. We can build walls, higher and more of them, create more laws and more prisoners to fill the newest growth industry in the US, the prison system. We already spend more on a prisoner than it would cost to give one a college education. New prisons are so secure it is impossible to escape, and nobody has. All prisoners are simply locked down without accessibility or contact with another human being. They are numbers and treated as such. Some are locked in solitary confinement for years on end. We don't see the cost in this. Prisoners vow never to go back to prison. Now when a parolee or ex-con is confronted about a new crime he will do anything to avoid capture.

Already talk is directed away from the real source of the problem. There is only talk of more security and of everyone becoming more "watchful." Are we really that callous of a people that we will ignore the real problem, a national slaughter, so that life can go on as usual? How about looking out for somebody else? Did anyone ever think of that?

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