Sandy Hook School – Could it happen at your school?
It is the shortest verse in the Bible and it described Jesus’ reaction 2,000 years ago to the death of Lazarus. Jesus surely must have wept again on Dec. 14, 2012 when the lives of 20 tiny, beautiful souls were brought to a bloody, abrupt end in Newtown, Conn.
Could it happen in Hickman County? Sadly, there are some red flags that have some local parents concerned.
- Many school shootings occur in smaller communities, like our own, in part because “out-cast” and bullied students who are more prone to being the shooters have less room to hide from their tormenters and few or no peer groups where they might feel more welcome.
- East Hickman parents have expressed concern that is not enough protection for East Hickman schools.
- Others have expressed need for a larger law enforcement presence in East Hickman because of the lengthy response times to get a sheriff’s deputy from Centerville to Lyles or Bon Aqua.
- Since most of these “school shooters” have no criminal backgrounds or official mental illness tag, many of the security methods such as the Easy Check system used in Hickman County just won’t work against them.
- There are relatively recent cases of extremely dangerous killers sent to halfway houses where they are not supervised and have escaped to terrorize others, including one, Kenneth Mallady, of Hickman County.
One way I listen and learn is in informal get-togethers where neighbors are free to speak without their names being printed. Recently talk turned to the Newtown murders when someone said, “If they knew there was something wrong with that kid [the shooter] they should have done something to prevent it.”
Adam Lanza, the Newtown shooter, reportedly had Asperger’s Syndrome, a form of autism. His mother, like most of us, tried to deal with and treat it privately – and died for it.
Southerners and Connecticut Yankees are a lot alike in one respect: family matters stay in the family. Obituary notices seldom mention the deceased died of cancer, because of the perceived social stigma.
Likewise, no one in this county wants to broadcast the news they’ve got a crazy aunt up in the attic or a grandpa that wanders off naked when Alzheimer’s hits. How many of you have relatives with a mental illness that is public knowledge?
I think the single biggest reason that beautiful, intelligent children such as Adam Lanza become mass killers is not a lack of gun control laws, or even violent television, movies and video games – but the abuse and torture of school bullying, something I have not seen mentioned in the flood of national media reports about the Newtown tragedy.
We are not born to be killers. Our children do not normally wake up in the morning with a plan to kill as many children or adults as they can, nor are they born to commit suicide.
Our children are born pure – sponges soaking up everything around them, becoming what they see, hear and experience. Violence in movies, on television and in video games is certainly a part of today’s experience of a child, just as cancer is now considered a “normal” childhood disease.
But millions of kids who watch TV, movies and play video games grow up to be pretty much normal, if one can even define “normal” these days.
The path of future mass killers begins in elementary school. In some cases it begins at home in an environment of physical violence, drunkenness and child abuse.
There are six main groups of students in our schools: the jocks and their groupies, the bullies, the nerds, the druggies, the gays and the Goths. The seeds of this caste system are planted in elementary school or even pre-school. There are also the racial and economic caste systems. This intensifies in middle and high school, often made worse by teachers themselves.
Too often, the school system does nothing about bullying, just shrugging it off as “boys will be boys.” I’ve received letters from Hickman County parents frustrated because their children are bullied and the administrators look the other way.
In this column, I will look at each of the five issues listed above.
©2012 by Jim Moore. All rights reserved.
Bullying and School Shootings – Google results
Lindsay Lohan Bullied: Actress Tweets About Being Bullied In High School
The Effects of Bullying
Jared High – Death by Bullying
17 Signs Your Child is Being Bullied (free PDF ebook)
How to Survive Middle School (videos)