Tuesday, April 17, 2007

No, not again.

Well, another sicko caved in from the weight of his own shit-for brains yesterday, killed a bunch of innocent people at his school, Virginia Tech, and blamed the carnage on anyone but himself. "You caused me to do this," he said in a note left behind, although it wasn't clear from the ABC report I read who exactly he thought was at fault.

I am sickened by this. Massacres like this happen far too often. Once is too often. The loonies out there will now be calling for yet more gun control, as if restricting guns is going to prevent any similarly idiotic behaviour in the future. It won't help. Teaching our young how to suck it up and be strong would help. Teaching our kids to stop whining, to stop using the "woe is me, I can't help the fact that I am a useless sack of shit," excuse for doing every idiotic thing that pops into their tiny little brains, would help.

I tell my son: "life is tough, kid. get used to it."

He and I had a long talk yesterday as the drama unfolded in Virginia. His high school had drills about this very sort of possibility last week, starting with mock attack announcements over the public address system and followed by a full-scale lock down. I was in his grade, grade nine, in 1959. We never heard of such a thing as a school invasion and massacre. I don't imagine you did either. Were our lives easier than the lives of kids today? I don't think so. Mine surely wasn't. I don't imagine yours was either.

Why didn't you or I go out and shoot up our schools when we were upset about something? There was scarcely a home anywhere that didn't have at least one gun in it, often loaded and standing in a closet or hanging on a wall. It never would have occurred to us. We were taught to be strong, to accept responsibility, to tough it out, to cope with our problems, to respect life.

Too many parents today don't spend enough time with their kids. Everything, anything, is more important than interacting with the kids: committees, church, friends, work. Kids aren't taught values. They aren't taught that there is a real difference between right and wrong. They are taught to 'follow their hearts,' and do what 'feels right.'

Where has that got us?

I told my son yesterday that in a situation where he might be confronted by a madman with a gun, or explosives taped to his body, or knife in hand, or swinging a baseball bat, he might as well consider himself already dead. You can't reason with a madman. You cannot plead for your life with someone who doesn't value life. You cannot expect the police to come and save you. They can only react, almost always when it is already too late. The only thing you can do is try to stay out of the way, if that is at all possible, or if you come face to face with the son of a bitch, try to take him down.

I hope none of our children ever has to face what the kids at Virginia Tech faced yesterday. Those who died will never get to graduate, have kids of their own, or ever tell their parents again that they loved them. The students who survived will never be the same. How could they be? And the parents of the kids who died. . . how will they ever cope with their loss?

There are times when I am ashamed to be part of the human race.


  1. Too many parents today don't spend enough time with their kids. Everything, anything, is more important than interacting with the kids: committees, church, friends, work. Kids aren't taught values. They aren't taught that there is a real difference between right and wrong. They are taught to 'follow their hearts,' and do what 'feels right.'

    Amen.. and here is the root problem I was writing about in the comments forum of Julie Pippert's site.

    Thanks for unpeeling one of the layers. There's been too much blame placed on things outside of ourselves.. the guns, the video games, the movies.



  2. And now, in the aftermath, comes the touchy-feely, bullshit-ourselves aprons of figleaves to cover up the naked truth that the only crime greater than that this happened is that we let it happen.
    The powers that be knew what had to be done, and didn't.
    Thomas Jefferson DID NOT write: "to secure these rights, governments are instituted among men to hold their hands, salve their guilty consciences and provide armies of humanist priests to psychoanalyze and rationalize it all away" but that's exactly what will happen! Orca/Oprah will write a best-seller about "conflict resolution" or some such crap. Paging Dr. Phil M'Crack-in, call the gay bar.
    And you're diagnosis is right, Sieg: The end result will be more calls to disarm the law-abiding citizens, not a resolution to lock up the whack-jobs and start punishing criminals.
    The first step down the slippery slope was feeling sorry for murderers, rapists and dopers and making sure their cells all had color TV and WonderFoam beds. Somewhere along the slide down we forgot punishment was supposed to be a deterrent, not a vacation!

  3. Oh do I ever hear your anger and share your pain.

    I just don't know that I can quite go along with the theme of modern parents stink, society today sucks, and kids these days lack backbone and discipline...especially as the reason why.

    I also think my childhood was a lot easier than my kids' childhoods today. I have to work a lot to harder to keep a lot more Not Appropriate out of their lives than my parents did. They have to process a lot more because they have access to a lot more.

    Not to mention: it's nearly impossible for a lot of people to maintain the lifestyle in which they were raised on one income. And the standards keep going up adding more and more pressure.

    Society has evolved faster than culture has changed. KWIM?

    Our priorities are askew, no doubt. We've got to move, quickly, to get on track. I can't even express in words what a plea this is straight from my heart.

    But these aren't excuses, and I don't intend them as such. Just addressing a few points.

    It's true: it's our responsibility.

    It's true: we let it happen, we let it get to this point.

    What I hope is that we don't just say to kids as a standard: suck it up.

    What I hope is that we do say to kids: that stinks...now how can you solve this?

    I hope we empower children, so that they can both take personal responsibility and know they can solve problems without harming others. So they don't feel hopeless and powerless.

    I hope we can discipline children, so that we prevent a need to escalate to punishment.

    I hope that we teach children so that they develop their own internal moral code and don't rely on external deterrants.

    I hope we lead by example so that children understand what really matters.

    I hope we teach people that neither dogs nor, more importantly, children raise themselves. Kids need guidance and discipline, and the truth is, this is HARD and takes a lot of TIME. Moreover, it requires you to have your own act together.

    I can't speak for the entire world, Sieg, but I do teach my kids values, therefore take heart: at least two young ones out there are learning.

    Check out Piglet of Fire's blog (linked on my site). He has a great list of information he compiled. Facts.

  4. Thanks, Chani and Galt. I'm afraid I was a bit snarly when I wrote that post. The danger in any reaction to something is resorting to generalization. The difficulty in trying to say something meaningful in a blog post is that there is seldom enough time, and that if you write a 2,500 word post no-one is going to read it.

    Julie: You make excellent points. We both know that not every parent is as described in my post. But many are. I lived until last September in an upper-middle-class area in a village near here. Summer nights were filled with the screams of 12 and 13-year olds as they traipsed through the neighbourhood, sometimes long after midnight. Houses were egged, including ours. Things were stolen. We had the telephone wires pulled out of our junction box. Why were kids out at that hour? Where were the parents?

    This shooting in Virginia is something quite different, and I recognize the fact. The shooter may or may not have been depressed and on medication, he may have had girlfriend problems, and who knows what other 'reasons' might explain away his actions. What I am upset about is that there are things happening today that didn't happen, or at least rarely happened, a generation ago.

    I try really hard to be a good parent, and from reading your blog,
    I can see that you try very hard too. There are, however, a lot of parents who are neglectful and irresponsible and it is what their kids might do that we need to be worried about.

    I enjoyed your examples here of how we should teach and coach our children. I couldn't find anything that I disagreed with. I think that those points should be wrapped in a blog post all their own, on your site; they might ultimately be very useful to parents who find their way to your blog.

    Thanks for the tip about Piglet of Fire's blog. I read it and found it very interesting. I will add him to my blogroll.

  5. I'm just glad you took my comments as the friendly discourse I intended. I figured you would, but you know, when you say, "well yeah but..." on someone's blog, eh, it's always a relief to know it's okay. Awesome reply, I'll take your suggestion to heart, and thanks!

  6. I've got so much to say and not enough time.

    But, I'll be back, after exams.

  7. Your last point, considering the parents, is where my heart lies now. Perhaps at one time it was with the college kids, who often think they're invincible, but now it lies squarely with the parents who must be absolutely devastated. Not to mention the parents of Cho himself...I'm sure this has rocked even them. It makes me almost afraid to send my son to school, to go to school myself, and yet we are not given a spirit of fear. We must not let it overpower us.

  8. I have to tip my hat to the Canadians: They don't put up with this kind of insanity when it goes down, and it doesn't go down very often.
    I believe this to be because they are more self-disciplined, and have retained something Americans have been destroying and disposing of for decades now.
    That something, is called culture!