Thursday, March 15, 2007

Can kids be kids?

“It takes a village” – apparently those in charge actually thought that meant that someone needed to step up and be the village idiot – so they all stepped up (okay nearly all).

It does take a village – let me illustrate.

Remember when you were in 5th grade (make appropriate changes to reflect your personal experience) and you stole some Benson & Hedges from your mom (maybe even bleah menthol) and snuck off to the park with friends to test them out??? Remember how none of you could even get them lit for the longest time? Between trying to light matches in the breeze/wind, which none of us were very expert at anyhow (in spite of scouts), and trying to inhale hard enough to light them, that took a good bit of time anyhow. Did you stand in the middle of the street and do this in front of G-d and every neighbor driving by on their way to the grocery store – OH HELL NO! You hid in the best place you could think of – for us it was a big drainage pipe that ran under the road to the church – we called it “the tunnel” (this was also the first place I ever got kissed – because again, we weren’t going to risk the neighbors ratting us out to our parents). Why did we hide? Because we were afraid of getting caught – you bet your ass we were. Because we knew that any adult (even a stranger) who saw us would rat us out – you bet your ass we did. Because our parents would kick our butts (figuratively) when that happened – you bet your ass they would.

Have you ratted on a neighbor kid? Have you grabbed a kid and dragged his butt home for bad behaviour and confronted his parent? I have. It ended badly. The parent was offended, they didn’t care what their kid had done, they totally took their kids side against me ‘the enemy’. It had absolutely NOTHING to do with what I was saying or my motivation for doing so. There was no way in this world that dad was going to do a damn thing about it – since I, a total stranger, was somehow implying that he should – which is apparently some sort of insult to his parenting. Was my dad insulted when the neighbor dragged my brothers home after they caught them doing something – NO – my dad probably offered Mr. Baker a beer, went to the basement with the boys, came back and had another beer with Mr. Baker and was grateful that Mr. Baker took the time to care about his boys. Did knowing that Mr. Baker had ratted on my brothers prevent me from egging his next door neighbors house (The Wells’ brothers) after they terrorized me after a football game by telling me a dead rabbit they had was my pet rabbit – YEAP. I knew Mr. Baker had good hearing and would totally drag my ass home for something like that. Did I still want to egg the Wells’ house – oh yeah.

I also remember when some girls picked a fight with my cousin when she was in Jr. High. About twenty kids showed up at my aunts door to tell on them, and since no adults were home (and I was the oldest person there), I took on the responsibility of breaking up the fight. I wasn’t very good at breaking up fights however and I pushed this girl Princess (I swear that was her name!) into a batch of cactus to get her off of my cousin. Then it was that I, a senior high student, had fought with a Jr. High student – but that wasn’t my intention and when my aunt and my mom got the story – they listened to my side also and I didn’t get in too much trouble – but I still got in some trouble, for making a bad choice.

Now let me tell you something – something I don’t want you to forget while I rant after this about what a bunch of fucking morons those in charge of kids are.


I live in the same county as Columbine High school. We knew families who had children in the school that day, kids who saw things that will haunt them for the rest of their lives. We knew teachers in that building that day – teachers who were confused and thrown into a situation they never could have planned for that did everything they could to protect the students around them. This did not happen thousands of miles away from me; this did not happen to total strangers. My little brother lost friends. My minister’s son was in the cafeteria that day.

Our Sheriff’s actions and decisions were brought under such absurd scrutiny and criticism that EVERY single Police/Sheriff officer in this county is completely devoid of logic now. They have no room for judgment in any action they consider – just absolute, cut and dried, black and white rules. The same is completely true of our school district.

This reaction is NOT THE RESULT of the events of 4/20/1999. This reaction is the result of too many people wanting to blame the ‘authorities’ after 4/21/1999. Sometimes it’s no one’s fault – and Americans are totally blind to that. Sometimes it’s just a lesson. Occasionally a very profound lesson – one that we all must learn from. Should the Sheriff’s office have a plan for a school terrorism event – Damn straight. Did this plan possibly save lives in Pine last year – I would like to think so. Should the school district enact drills and teach faculty how to handle a terrorism situation – hell yeah. Have they – yes. Should the Police/Sheriff pay closer attention to kids that have the potential to commit a hideous heinous crime – maybe. (Oh your screaming at me now aren’t you – that of course they should – but… it depends, and ‘it depends’ is always the right answer). Should the schools be more alert to threats – clearly they should. Should kids who make a movie about killing fellow students be scrutinized – clearly they should. Should every student who makes a negative comment about another student or their school be suspended, reported to the police, and made to feel like Gary Gilmore. FUCK NO! Go back, read my question – “Should the Police/Sheriff pay closer attention to kids that have the potential to commit a hideous heinous crime?” Let me stress the word ‘potential’. Who determines what quantifies ‘potential’ – because apparently in Jefferson County Colorado – it’s whoever in the county has the biggest straightest firmest stick up their ass. According to school authorities – and I shit you not, this is a factual story – a student, after having served a suspension that he felt was unfair – approached the teachers who reported his behaviour and confronted them with their written statements and asked them to explain. He did this as respectfully as a 14 year-old who feels unjustly treated could do. He now faces expulsion from the entire district. You heard me, he was suspended (for not behaving maturely enough) and these geniuses (read with very heavy sarcasm) have determined that by exercising a mature approach to attempting to understand is now under even more fire. Are they trying to mold young adults who will contribute to society or are they just interested in flexing their muscles and preventing even the smallest conflict that they might be questioned about? You see growing up is full of conflicts – its absolutely normal and necessary for kids to experience conflict in order to grow up. Are fist fights okay – no. Should a normal school yard scrap be handled by the police – FUCK NO. I am very passionate about this in case you haven’t guessed. I had six brothers, none of them would be the men they are if they hadn’t had a scrape or two. Fist fights are a normal part of male development – by preventing them we are creating a monster that we won’t know what to do with. Should a fist fight be disciplined – yes. Should they be eliminated from the school yard – no. Do I encourage fighting – oh G-d no. Would I have liked for my son to kick the asses of the boys that did something awful (really really awful) in front of my daughter and her friend – oh yes, yes I would have.

Now – and you can answer in your head – how many of you played doctor? How many played doctor with a relative (cousin, sibling, etc.)? How many of you were sexually aroused by the experience? Here’s my guess on what they answers are. Everyone played doctor – a huge percentage played with a cousin/sibling. Practically none were sexually aroused. It isn’t about sex, it’s about curiosity. It isn’t about attraction – it’s about opportunity. Would anyone want to have a sexual relationship with that person – not very damn likely. Is the person you played doctor with a pervert now? A sexual predator? Are you a pervert now? A sexual predator? Again not very likely (I’m sure that if you were any of those things you would have somewhere else to surf beside my little boring corner of the blog-world). My mother was telling me about how a young man that played doctor with his foster sister (he was 14, she was 12) – just touching, nothing more – is now in prison. He was tried as an adult, he will have to register for the rest of his life, he can have no contact (for the rest of his life) with any of his female siblings. He was an eagle scout, a good student, and a good young man. Did the system fuck this up – well it certainly sounds like it.

So – it does take a village – but I sure prefer the logical/rational/reasonable 1977 village to todays bunch of overzealous, lega-phobic (my own word, read as overly afraid of lawsuits), village idiots.

Remember – Discipline comes from the latin root for ‘Teach’. Punitive comes from the latin root for ‘cause pain’. Do you think we should be teaching our youngsters or causing them pain?

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