Society Is Handling the Recent School Shootings the Wrong Way

OK, so now I’m pissed.

I’ve been holding back on this issue for a while now, but I can’t stand it anymore. Americans have turned into a bunch of thin-skinned, lawsuit-happy pansies who take a joke about as well as Steven Segal acts (I know he can kick some ass, but his stone-faced monotony really bugs the shit out of me sometimes).

What am I talking about? I’ll tell ya. I’m talking about not being able to talk to people without having to bite my tongue because I’m worried that I might offend them in some way and get sued. It’s utterly ridiculous.

It’s getting to be so bad that you can’t turn on the television or read a newspaper without hearing about some lawsuit that stemmed from people who didn’t get their way.

The most recent of these problems is the increased violence on school campuses. The motives behind the shootings may differ, but their origins remain the same. They all involved kids who didn’t get what they wanted, so they lashed out violently. At both Columbine and Santana High School, the kids were bullied so much that they struck back with force in an effort to deal with their own discomfort. In the Granite Hills shooting, the student was rejected from the Navy and blamed it on an administrator at the high school.

If you look closely, these kids are nothing but a product of their environments. I’m not talking about the music they listen to, the video games they play or the movies they watch. I’m talking about the way that our society has taught them to think.

Think about it. From birth, people are trained to think that they have certain rights that nobody can take away. It’s the typical American mindset that we have all been sucked into. We are taught that anyone who makes us feel uneasy is infringing on our rights and that action can, and should, be taken.

These kids saw people being sued for writing or saying something that made another person feel badly. They saw people even going to jail for it. In school, they saw other kids getting detention for calling another child a bad name. They were exposed to this for their entire lives. Their brains were trained to think that it was an unquestionable system of punishment for infringing upon others’ “”right to feel good about themselves.””

That is why they were so outraged when they encountered something that made them feel badly and nothing was done about it. There were other students, and in one case even the Navy, who made these kids feel bad about themselves. When they saw that the system of crime and punishment that they had been trained to believe in and follow blindly was not bringing them justice, they decided to take justice into their own hands.

I am by no means trying to justify what these kids did. I personally think that they should be tried as adults and spend the rest of their lives in jail, but that’s another rant altogether. All that I am saying is that we, as a society, need to take some responsibility for what occurred. I concede that, in the end, it was those kids who ultimately made the decision to lash out, but we can’t absolve ourselves of all blame. We can’t simply blame it on personal lifestyles just so we can sleep better at night. If we do that, then we are simply leaving the door wide open for similar events to take place in the future.

So what is it that we’ve done in an effort to prevent these atrocities from happening in the future?

For starters, we’ve blamed it on the entertainment industry. We’ve said that it’s Eminem’s and Marilyn Manson’s music that makes kids violent. We’ve said that violent video games give kids bad ideas. We’ve even said that movies provoke kids to become more violent.

We’ve also developed stricter rules for kids who pick on other children. In many schools, kids can now be suspended for name calling. People are saying that we have to hold the bullies just as responsible for the crimes as the people who commit them.

What is this actually doing, though? This is removing blame from the students themselves and feeding right back into the system of punishing people for “”being mean.””

By blaming violence on factors such as the students’ lifestyles, we take blame away from the ones who actually made the decision to become violent. It is a way to bury the real problems behind the shootings and come up with a quick, convenient cause that absolves the rest of society from blame.

This also feeds right back into the mindset that provoked the students to lash out in the first place. It is telling them that the violence they inflict is the bullies’ fault for having called them names. It is not their fault. By punishing the bully as well, society is, in a sense, condoning the actions of the gunmen. While this “”solution”” to the problem does not go to the extreme to which the boys went, it certainly reaffirms their belief that the bullies should be punished for calling them names.

Then how are we going to solve the problem, you ask? I would say that the answer is simpler than you would think (and simpler than a lot of the “”experts”” trying to come up with a solution would think).

I say that we need to stop perpetuating this misguided belief that most Americans have about their “”right to happiness.”” Nowhere in the Constitution of this great land does it say anything about a right to happiness. There are many other rights (including a right to privacy that has mysteriously been invented) that are guaranteed, but the right to happiness is not one of them.

Whether we would like to believe it, we must accept that we live in the real world. Things are not always going to go our way. It is a basic fact of life. If we truly wanted our children to be happy, we would stop coddling them and feeding them the monstrous lie that their lives are going to be nothing but roses. I can understand that, as a parent, somebody would not want to see their child suffer, but it’s unrealistic to expect otherwise.

If somebody really wanted to help kids, he would let them know from a young age how the world works. When the child comes home from school crying, parents should resist the instinct to call both the other child’s parents and the school to demand “”justice,”” and should instead talk to the child about the incident.

Simply explaining to a child that those types of things are, unfortunately, going to happen in the real world would do them more good than simply telling them that the offending child will be punished.

Parents can instill in their children from a young age the idea that their opinions of themselves are the only ones that truly matter. If a child knows this and believes in it as blindly as he currently believes in our system of “”justice,”” then shootings such as those at Columbine, Santana and Granite Hills can be prevented.

A child who is secure with himself and has high self-esteem will not lash out just because some moron calls him a “”loser”” or a “”queer.”” Those types of things simply wouldn’t happen. You can ask any of those “”experts,”” and I guarantee that they will agree with that statement.

After you finish this article, do yourself a favor. Take a look around you. Look at the people who walk by you. How much better off would we all be if you honestly didn’t care what they said about you? How much better off would we be if the person you see sitting by himself honestly didn’t care about what some jerk just said to him?

I think that we’d be better off. But then again, maybe that’s just me.

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