Thursday, March 1, 2012

School shooter must face consequences ... period

By Mike Ullery

Chief Photographer

This week brings another school shooting. The shooter was a boy, described shortly after the tragedy as “bullied and an outcast.”

Social media sites are abuzz with reaction. One of the most common is that schools are becoming too dangerous. A whole new group of folks are talking about home school.

Shootings of any kind are tragic, but teenagers who feel that they cannot cope with their peers, so they choose to kill others, themselves or both are a rising trend in our country.

As usual, the blame game commenced soon after. It is running the gamut, from this shooting being the fault of the parents, schoolmates, the gun … the list is likely to become longer. People will look everywhere for someone, or something, on which to pin the blame. They will look everywhere, except where the blame really lies — the young man who calculatedly murdered three fellow students and wounded others.

Sure, there will be psychological examinations made. The kid may even be sorry. Guess what? I do not care.

This young man must be held accountable for his actions. He must be tried, and if found guilty, punished to the full extent of the law. In my mind, that would be his immediate execution. The sentence should be carried out immediately, not in 2035, after decades of appeals. This is a case where there is no doubt who murdered the three high school students as classmates watched. Why he did it — that does not matter. The fact that he is “only” 17 years old — that does not matter.

Do you want to know why we are seeing more of these sort of things? Americans are a bunch of pansies. No one wants their child to ever feel rejected or left out. No one wants their child to feel as if they lost a game. Kids no longer learn that life includes pain and rejection.

Add to that, we have children who spend most of their time in front of a computer or television. I am not blaming violent games or television programs. I am blaming parents and kids for having no social skills. They have little interaction with other people. Nothing is face-to-face. Everything is texting or Facebook messaging.

Parents who are talking about home schooling, in order to keep their children away from such things are contributing to the problem. Kids need the social interaction … good and bad. We are raising a bunch of introverted socially inept kids. This statement, obviously, does not include everyone, but it includes enough to cause concern.

Even the “zero tolerance” anti-bullying crusade is not what it is cracked up to be. Some won’t agree with me, but look at the way things used to be done. Kids settled most issues amongst themselves. Sure, there were some fights. There were fat lips, black eyes and some bruised egos. In the end, though, the kids came out no worse for the wear and they usually ended up, if not friends, at least respecting each other.

We live in the social media generation. Kids fire off insults via text messages and Facebook, without ever having to physically face anyone. How hard is it to verbally abuse someone from blocks, or even miles away?

All of this, put together, indicates a society where nothing is ever the fault of the person accused. We have children growing up to believe there are no hard consequences for wrongdoing.

We plead, “Please don’t bully” and “Please be nice.” I have news for you. There are those in society who don’t care about and refuse to live by the rules necessary for a peaceful existence. It is true of leaders and citizens of other countries and it is true right here in America.

Those people, whether teens or adults, must be taught by the only means they truly understand. There must be sufficient repercussion to cause them to fear ever again taking such a course of action.

Some might say that violence begets violence. We may all wish for a perfect and peaceful world. It does not, and probably never will, exist.

Too many of our youth care about nothing but themselves. We must teach them, by force when necessary, that in order to have a safe and relatively peaceful society, there must be rules. They must also learn that those rules will be enforced. Period.

“Spare the rod and spoil the child.”

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