IJMC - I Bat A Thousand
Now then, this is a little different and a lot longer than usual. Many
of you may choose to simply skip this...we've all heard enough about the
Colorado school shooting. I don't want to turn the IJMC into a political
soapbox, other than my own, of course. So I've compiled most everything
anyone has written me in response to last week's post about this event.
It's all here, read on as you like. If you want to comment, fine, but
you'll be commenting to me, not to the IJMC as a whole. These emails
represent several different viewpoints, take them as you will. Open your
eyes, see the other side, broaden your mind. Jokes to follow soon. -dave
The following message came to me straight from the source. As Richard is
understandably overwhelmed now, I took the liberty of removing his last nam=
and contact information from the headers of the message he sent to me.
Please pass this message along to your friends and associates, and please b=
sure to keep the date in it so that people will know when it was written an=
my references below so that people will be able to verify its authenticity.
Here's an article that attempts to explain how the shooting came to pass, a=
it makes perfect sense to me - particularly because I didn't fit in in scho=
(fortunately my experience wasn't as bad as some people's):
[attached below for IJMC subscribers or forwards]
I called the U.S. Bank branch mentioned below at (303)585-8585 to be certai=
that they had the mentioned fund set up and found that the account number i=
103656516160. I also filled in the account number below for your convenien=
For reference, you can find out more at:
- To search for news stories relating to Columbine HS.
- A school web page
- The official school URL.
- Crisis communication page run by the school system, including ways to hel=
On Monday, Apr 26, 1999, Richard wrote:
Jim. Today, I was able to establish a holding tank at US Bank for funds
called the "Thirteen Stars Over Columbine" fund. An explanation of the wha=
I am doing follows later in this message in the form of a letter. I have
also included this letter in an attached text file.
Your help in getting this message out to your families, friends, business
associates and the net would be greatly appreciated.
My family lives in Leawood. Our home is approximately 3 blocks from
Columbine High School. Our son, Toby, graduated in 1998 from Columbine.
Zachary, our youngest son, is a fifth grader at Leawood Elementary. We hav=
lived in Leawood for 10 years.
The emotions of horror, disbelief and sadness are incomprehensible. On ou=
block alone there are five families who have been tragically affected. Fou=
houses away, our neighbor's daughter is dead; another 5 houses over,
another=92s daughter is in serious condition and should she survive, she ma=
be physically and emotionally scarred for life; another dear friend who wor=
at the school was in the classroom with the teacher who died; next door, ou=
close friend led one of the SWAT teams that entered the school; and several
houses away, the teacher/librarian resides who was in the library during th=
slaughter. There are also a half dozen Columbine students on our block who
have lost dear friends from this tragedy.
I have purposely left names off this message. It has been a media frenzy i=
Leawood. The media vultures are everywhere. We need to stay as low profile=
possible so we are not exploited. I left for the office very early on
Wednesday morning, the day after the massacre, hoping to slip by the media
that had congregated in masses at Leawood Elementary. A reporter boldly
stepped into the street and stopped me in an attempt to interview me; she
wanted to know....=94how do you feel about this tragedy=94....I declined in
disgust and asked her to =93just leave us alone=94. I understand that this =
major network predator started a door to door campaign several hours later =
Leawood. I expect that our community will be held hostage for many more da=
to come. Zac=92s school is still in a =93lock down=94 situation having all=
doors locked and having an armed guard at the front door of the school. We
have been told that the school will continue to be guarded and controlled a=
least until the end of the school year.
Our little Leawood neighborhood has been very tight knit. There are perhaps
400 families here that have their children attending Leawood Elementary and
Columbine High School. We have been here for one another for years. My wi=
Judy has been actively involved in the PTA as President and other offices,
soccer mom, the list can go on and on, more functions than I could even
remember. Judy was at Leawood on Tuesday typing lists of names of the
Columbine High children as police got the kids out of Columbine and into
Leawood Elementary. She and others then assisted in matching the names wit=
horrified parents as they waited for what seemed an eternity. Since then,
Judy and scores of others have been grocery shopping, cooking, delivering
food, etc... to the families most greatly affected. She is a strong lady; =
must admit that she is keeping things together far better than I am through
all of this.
There is so much I want to do to help, and right now anything I do seems so
inconsequential. After a great deal of reflection, I have come to the
conclusion that I will use my strengths in the areas of people, technology,
sales and marketing and will focus on delivering a monetary support conduit
directly into our community. I have received numerous contacts asking if
there is anything that they could do to help. Now, I have an answer. Ther=
are many good charitable organizations involved right now requesting
donations. It is going to take millions of dollars being spent right here =
the Leawood/Columbine community to even make a dent in the emotional and
physical devastation of our community.
I have chosen to support my community at the grass roots level. I am askin=
that monetary donations be made payable to either the =93LEAWOOD ELEMENTARY
PTA=94 or =93COLUMBINE HIGH SCHOOL PTA=94. Both are 501C-3 organizations, =
donations will be tax deductible. I can assure you that every dollar these
organizations receive will be used right here, in Leawood and Columbine.
Also, because both of these organizations are =93volunteer=94 organizations=
there will be no =93administration=94 costs. Your money will be going dire=
to help the students, parents, and families.
I hope that you will understand and respect the following request. Please =
not call, fax or email me right now about this. I have truly appreciated a=
of your communications, but quite frankly, we need to grieve and maintain
focus. The calls, emails, etc.... are starting to get out of hand and quite
honestly this is escalating and has the potential to be unmanageable right
Friends, I would like to thank you all in advance. Please also ask your
friends, employers and others to consider helping us out.
My thanks to all.
Please make checks payable to either:
=93Leawood Elementary PTA=94 or =93Columbine High School PTSA=94
Please mail your donations to:
Thirteen Stars Over Columbine Fund
% US Bank
8441 West Bowles Avenue
Littleton, CO 80123
This is the first time I have ever had something worth sending in to you.
It is something that I feel very strongly about. For days I've been going
nuts with all the information that I was getting about the tragedy in
Littleton, because no one was addressing the real issue behind it. This
article put into words what i was feeling. I wish I knew who wrote it so I
could give them credit . Please, please, please consider posting it.
Amanda L. Evans
[I found the author...reprinted with permission...-dave]
Voices From the Hellmouth
written by Jon Katz
In the days after the Littleton, Colorado massacre, the country went on a
panicked hunt the oddballs in High School, a profoundly ignorant and
unthinking response to a tragedy that left geeks, nerds, non-conformists an=
the alienated in an even worse situation than before. Stories all over the
country embarked on witchunts that amounted to little more than Geek
Profiling. All weekend, after Friday's column here, these voiceless kids --
invisible in media and on TV talk shows and powerless in their own
schools -- have been e-mailing me with stories of what has happened to them
in the past few days. Here are some of those stories in their own words,
with gratitude and admiration for their courage in sending them. The big
story out of Littleton isn't about violence on the Internet, or whether or
not video games are turning out kids into killers. It's about the fact that
for some of the best, brightest and most interesting kids, high school is a
nightmare of exclusion, cruelty, warped values and anger.
The big story never seemed to quite make it to the front pages or the TV
talk shows. It wasn't whether the Net is a place for hate-mongers and
bomb-makers, or whether video games are turning your kids into killers. It
was the spotlight the Littleton, Colorado killings has put on the fact that
for so many individualistic, intelligent, and vulnerable kids, high school
is a Hellmouth of exclusion, cruelty, loneliness, inverted values and rage.
From=20Buffy the Vampire Slayer to Todd Solondz's "Welcome To The Dollhouse=
and a string of comically-bitter teen movies from Hollywood, pop culture ha=
been trying to get this message out for years. For many kids - often the
best and brightest -- school is a nightmare.
People who are different are reviled as geeks, nerds, dorks. The lucky ones
are excluded, the unfortunates are harassed, humiliated, sometimes assaulte=
literally as well as socially. Odd values - unthinking school spirit, proms=
jocks - are exalted, while the best values - free thinking, non-conformity,
curiousity - are ridiculed. Maybe the one positive legacy the Trenchcoat
Mafia left was to ensure that this message got heard, by a society that
seems desperate not to hear it.
Minutes after the "Kids That Kill" column was posted on Slashdot Friday, an=
all through the weekend, I got a steady stream of e-mail from middle and
high school kids all over the country -- especially from self-described
oddballs. They were in trouble, or saw themselves that way to one degree or
another in the hysteria sweeping the country after the shootings in
Many of these kids saw themselves as targets of a new hunt for oddballs --
suspects in a bizarre, systematic search for the strange and the alienated.
Suddenly, in this tyranny of the normal, to be different wasn't just to fee=
unhappy, it was to be dangerous.
Schools all over the country openly embraced Geek Profiling. One group
calling itself the National School Safety Center issued a checklist of
"dangerous signs" to watch for in kids: it included mood swings, a fondness
for violent TV or video games, cursing, depression, anti-social behavior an=
attitudes. (I don't know about you, but I bat a thousand).
The panic was fueled by a ceaseless bombardment of powerful, televised
images of mourning and grief in Colorado, images that stir the emotions and
demand some sort of response, even when it isn't clear what the problem is.
The reliably blockheaded media response didn't help either. "Sixty Minutes"
devoted a whole hour to a broadcast on screen violence and its impact on th=
young, heavily promoted by this tease: "Are video games turning your kids
into killers?" The already embattled loners were besieged.
"This is not a rational world. Can anybody help?" asked Jamie, head of an
intense Dungeons and Dragons club in Minnesota, whose private school
guidance counselor gave him a choice: give up the game or face counseling,
possibly suspension. Suzanne Angelica (her online handle) was told to go
home and leave her black, ankle-length raincoat there.
On the Web, kids did flock to talk to each other. On Star Wars and X-Files
mailing lists and websites and on AOL chat rooms and ICQ message boards,
teenagers traded countless countless stories of being harassed, beaten,
ostracized and ridiculed by teachers, students and administrators for
dressing and thinking differently from the mainstream. Many said they had
some understanding of why the killers in Littleton went over the edge.
"We want to be different," wrote one of the Colorado killers in a diary
found by the police. "We want to be strange and we don't want jocks or othe=
people putting us down." The sentiment, if not the response to it, was
echoed by kids all over the country. The Littleton killings have made their
lives much worse.
"It was horrible, definitely," e-mailed Bandy from New York City. "I'm a
Quake freak, I play it day and night. I'm really into it. I play Doom a lot
too, though not so much anymore. I'm up till 3 a.m. every night. I really
love it. But after Colorado, things got horrible. People were actually
talking to me like I could come in and kill them. It wasn't like they were
really afraid of me - they just seemed to think it was okay to hate me even
more? People asked me if I had guns at home. This is a whole new level of
exclusion, another excuse for the preppies of the universe to put down and
isolate people like me."
It wasn't just the popular who were suspicious of the odd and the alienated=
The e-mailed stories ranged from suspensions and expulsions for "anti-socia=
behavior" to censorship of student publications to school and parental
restrictions on computing, Web browsing, and especially gaming. There were
unconfirmed reports that the sale of blocking software had skyrocketed.
Everywhere, school administrators pandered and panicked, rushing to show
they were highly sensitive to parents fears, even if they were oblivious to
the needs and problems of many of their students.
In a New Jersey private school, a girl was expelled for showing classmates =
pocket-knife. School administrators sent a letter home:
"In light of the recent tragedy in Littleton, Colorado, we all share a
heightened sensitivity to potential threats to our children. I urge you to
take this time to discuss with your children the importance of turning to
adults when they have concerns about the behavior of others."
This solution was straight out of "1984." In fact, this was one of the
things it's protagonist Winston was jailed for: refusing to report his
friends for behavior that Big Brother deemed abnormal and disturbing.
Few of the weeks' media reports - in fact, none that I saw - pointed out
that the FBI Uniform Crime reports, issued bi-annually, along with the
Justice Departments reports (statistical abstracts on violence are availabl=
on the Department's website and in printed form) academic studies and some
news reports have reporters for years now. Violence among the young is
dropping across the country, even as computing, gaming, cable TV and other
media use rises.
Unhappy, alienated, isolated kids are legion in schools, voiceless in media=
education and politics. But theirs are the most important voices of all in
understanding what happened and perhaps even how to keep it from happening
I referred some of my e-mailers to peacefire.org, a children's rights
website, for help in dealing with blocking and filtering software. I sent
others to freedomforum.org (the website Free!) for help with censorship and
free speech issues, and to geek websites, especially some on ICQ.com where
kids can talk freely.
I've chosen some e-mailers to partially reprint here. Although almost all o=
these correspondents were willing to be publicly identified - some demanded
it - I'm only using their online names, since some of their stories would
put them in peril from parents, peers or school administrators.
>From Jay in the Southeast: "I stood up in a social studies class -the
teacher wanted a discussion -- and said I could never kill anyone or condon=
anyone who did kill anyone. But that I could, on some level, understand
these kids in Colorado, the killers. Because day after day, slight after
slight, exclusion after exclusion, you can learn how to hate, and that
hatred grows and takes you over sometimes, especially when you come to see
that you're hated only because you're smart and different, or sometimes eve=
because you are online a lot, which is still so uncool to many kids?
After the class, I was called to the principal's office and told that I had
to agree to undergo five sessions of counseling or be expelled from school,
as I had expressed "sympathy" with the killers in Colorado, and the school
had to be able to explain itself if I "acted out". In other words, for
speaking freely, and to cover their ass, I was not only branded a weird
geek, but a potential killer. That will sure help deal with violence in
>From Jason in Pennsylvania: "The hate just eats you up, like the molten
metal moving up Keanu Reeve's arm in the "The Matrix." That's what I though=
of when I saw it. You lose track of what is real and what isn't. The worst
people are the happiest and do the best, the best and smartest people are
the most miserable and picked upon. The cruelty is unimaginable. If Dan
Rather wants to know why those guys killed those people in Littleton,
Colorado, tell him for me that the kids who run the school probably drove
them crazy, bit by bit. That doesn't mean all those kids deserved to die.
But a lot of kids in America know why it happened, even if the people
running schools don't."
>From Andrew in Alaska: "To be honest, I sympathized much more with the
shooters than the shootees. I am them. They are me. This is not to say I
will end the lives of my classmates in a hail of bullets, but that their
former situation bears a striking resemblance to my own. For the most part,
the media are clueless. They're never experienced social rejection, or
chosen non-conformity'Also, I would like to postulate that the kind of
measures taken by school administration have a direct effect on school
violence. School is generally an oppressive place; the parallels to fascist
society are tantalizing. Following a school shooting, a week or two-week
crackdown ensues, where students' constitutional rights are violated
with impunity, at a greater rate than previous."
>From Anika78 in suburban Chicago: "I was stopped at the door of my high
school because I was wearing a trenchcoat. I don't game, but I'm a
geekchick, and I'm on the Web a lot. (I love geek guys, and there aren't
many of us.) I was given a choice - go home and ditch the coat, or go to th=
principal. I refused to go home. I have never been a member of any group or
trenchcoat mob or any hate thing, online or any other, so why should they
tell me what coat to wear?
Two security guards took me into an office, called the school nurse, who wa=
a female, and they ordered me to take my coat off. The nurse asked me to
undress (privately) while the guards outside the door went through every
inch of my coat. I wouldn't undress, and she didn't make me (I think she
felt creepy about the whole thing).
Then I was called into the principal's office and he asked me if I was a
member of any hate group, or any online group, or if I had ever played Doom
or Quake. He mentioned some other games, but I don't remember them. I'm not
a gamer, though my boyfriends have been. I lost it then. I thought I was
going to be brave and defiant, but I just fell apart. I cried and cried. I
think I hated that worse than anything."
>FromZBird in New Jersey: "Yeah, I've had some fantasies about taking out
some of these jerks who run the school, have parties, get on teams, are
adored by teachers, have all these friends. Sure. They hate me. Day by day,
it's like they take pieces out of you, like a torture, one at a time. My
school has 1,500 kids. I could never make a sports team. I have never been
to a party. I sit with my friends at our own corner of the cafeteria. If we
tried to join the other kids, they'd throw up or leave. And by now, I'd
Sometimes, I do feel a lot of real pure rage. And I feel better when I go
online. Sometimes I think the games keep me from shooting anybody, not the
other way around. Cause I can get even there, and I'm pretty powerful there=
But I'd never do it. Something much deeper was wrong with these kids in
Colorado. To shoot all those people? Make bombs? You have to be sick, and
the question they should be asking isn't what games do they play, but how
come all these high-paid administrators, parents, teachers and so-called
professional people, how come none of them noticed how wacked they were? I
mean, in the news it said they had guns all over their houses! They were
planning this for a year. Maybe the reporters ought to ask how come nobody
noticed this, instead of writing all these stupid stories about video
>From ES in New York: High school favors people with a certain look and
attitude - the adolescent equivalent of Aryans. They are the chosen ones,
and they want to get rid of anyone who doesn't look and think the way they
do. One of the things which makes this so infuriating is that the system
favors shallow people. Anyone who took the time to think about things would
realize that things like the prom, school spirit and who won the football
game are utterly insignificant in the larger scheme of things.
So anyone with depth of thought is almost automatically excluded from the
main high school social structure. It's like some horribly twisted form of
I would never, ever do anything at all like what was done in Colorado. I
can't understand how anyone could. But I do understand the hatred of high
school life which, I guess, prompted it.
>From Dan in Boise, Idaho: "Be careful! I wrote an article for my school
paper. The advisor suggested we write about "our feelings" about Colorado.
My feelings -what I wrote -- were that society is blaming the wrong things.
You can't blame screwed-up kids or the Net. These people don't know what
they were talking about. How bout blaming a system that takes smart or weir=
kids and drives them crazy? How about understanding why these kids did what
they did, cause in some crazy way, I feel something for them. For their
victims, too, but for them. I thought it was a different point-of-view, but
important. I was making a point. I mean, I'm not going to the prom.
You know what? The article was killed, and I got sent home with a letter to
my parents. It wasn't an official suspension, but I can't go back until
Tuesday. And it was made pretty clear to me that if I made any noise about
it, it would be a suspension or worse. So this is how they are trying to
figure out what happened in Colorado, I guess. By blaming a sub-culture and
not thinking about their own roles, about how fucked-up school is. Now, I
think the whole thing was a set-up, cause a couple of other kids are being
questioned too, about what they wrote. They pretend to want to have a
'dialogue' but kids should be warned that what they really want to know is
who's dangerous to them."
>From a Slashdot reader: "Your column Friday was okay, but you and a lot of
the Slashdot readers don't get it. You don't have the guts to stand up and
say these games are not only not evil, they are great. They are good. They
are challenging and stimulating. They help millions of kids who have nowher=
else to go, because the whole world is set up to take care of different
kinds of kids, kids who fit in, who do what they're told, who are popular.
I've made more friends online on Gamespot.com than I have in three years of
high school. I think about my characters and my competitions and battles al=
Nothing I've been taught in school interests me as much. And believe me, th=
gamers who (try to) kill me online all day are a lot closer to me than the
kids I go to high school with. I'm in my own world, for sure, but it's my
choice and it's a world I love. Without it, I wouldn't have one... Last
week, my father told me he had cancelled my ISP because he had asked me not
to game so much and I still was. And when he saw the Colorado thing online,
he said, he told my Mom that he felt one of these kids could be me'I am a
resourceful geek, and I was back online before he got to bed that night. Bu=
I have to go underground now.
My guidance counselor, who wouldn't know a computer game from Playboy Bunny
poster, told me was Dad was being a good parent, and here was a chance for
me to re-invent myself, be more popular, to "mainstream." This whole
Colorado thing, it's given them an excuse to do more of what started this
trouble in the first place - to make individuals and different people feel
like even bigger freaks."
>From Jip in New England: "Dear Mr. Katz. I am 10. My parents took my
computer away today, because of what they saw on television. They told me
they just couldn't be around enough to make sure that I'm doing the right
things on the Internet. My Mom and Dad told me they didn't want to be
standing at my funeral some day because of things I was doing that they
didn't know about. I am at my best friend's house, and am pretty bummed,
because things are boring now. I hope I'll get it back."
Forgive me for adding to the continuing argument on this subject, but
after reading yesterday's IJMC I had to say something. I don't want to say
that the contributor's feelings were wrong -- there's a lot of different
ways of dealing with this and all of them are valid, even if you or I
don't agree with them. But I think they're missing the point.
This is NOT the first time something like this has happened.=20
Yes, it is the bloodiest of the incidents that have plagued our schools in
recent years, with a body count above ten and double that in wounded. The
death toll will undoubtedly get higher as some of the wounded who are in
critical condition lose their respective battles with their wounds. I am
in agreement with all of those who say that this has gone too far and that
something must be done NOW to keep our schools from becoming even scarier
than they already are.
What I don't agree with is how long it took for people to begin realizing
where this trend is leading us.
I went to public school in the District of Columbia for 12 years. As a
white girl in a high school where most of the kids were black or hispanic,
I got pushed around a lot, but I was able to avoid any serious conflicts
with other students, and generally I regard my experiences there as
positive. In fact, I don't think I would have wanted it any other way. I
saw a lot of violence in my time at DCPS -- fistfights, the occasional
knife fight, the usual kind of stuff you'd expect in a modern high school.
But, like most urban schools, we had our share of senseless, deadly
violance. There are three incidents that I can remember. One happened in
1989, when I was still in elementary school, and the other two happened
last year. Security measures at the high school (and at the nearby junior
high) were stepped up and parents and teachers made speeches about how the
violence must be stopped. But nothing was ever really done about it. We
got a few more security guards, and last year they put in metal detectors,
but for the most part things went on normally. Life goes on, as they say.
The President never said a word to our school. Celebrities didn't talk
about it, concerts weren't cancelled, and it only made the local news.
Somehow, when a kid in an urban school is fatally stabbed in front of the
school building, or when a student with a semi-automatic weapon shoots
four of his classmates, it's not as big of a deal as when the violence
occurs in suburbia.=20
I'm not saying that the violence that happened on Tuesday is any less
tragic because it didn't happen in an urban school. It is a true tragedy,
and I for one am sickened that our country has sunk this low. What I am
saying, though, is that the Colorado massacre never should have happened
in the first place. Shootings in urban schools should have been a
warning to the rest of the country that things were getting out of hand.=20
Instead, people chose to ignore it and say it only happens in cities.
Whites fled the city in droves for the suburbs, and thought they were
safe. But violence left unckecked, only begets more violence. The recent=20
rash of "copycat" shootings and bomb threats in other areas is one
illustration of this fact.=20
You can't go back to the "good ol' days" -- it just isn't possible. We
have to begin dealing with this problem in ways other than making our
schools look like prisons. We need to get to the roots of the problem:
violence on TV and in society, lack of parental participation in their
childrens' schools in places that aren't affluent, lack of adequate funds
and intelligent teachers.
If the nation had paid attention to the violence in urban schools ten
years ago, the horror in Colorado might still have happened. But maybe
we'd be closer to making it the last incident of its kind.
When I was a kid, I moved around a lot. I went to schools that were as=20
"country" as you could get, I went to schools in the heart of big cities, a=
schools that were in between.=20
Like your buddy, whose email you published, there were no worries about any=
of those schools being unsafe. From time to time guns were brought to schoo=
Not through any ill will, but just to show off the latest aquisition. There
were constantly weapons of various sorts on campus, but they were not
used on other students.=20
Your buddy's assertion that your guns should be locked up is typical of
people who, as he readily admits, know nothing about guns. Both guns and=20
ammunition were readily available to me and to most of my classmates from=
the time we were born.=20
If they had been locked away, they would have been the "forbidden fruit" th=
curious kids WILL find a way to get hold of. Instead, we were simply taught
to leave them alone except when our parents took us shooting. We were train=
usually from the age of 3 or 4, to properly handle firearms. Gun safety was=
something we grew up with. By the age of 10 or 12, most of us had guns of o=
My kids were taught in the same fashion and there were no problems. There=
were occaisionally bad kids then as there are now, but today's silly
regulations would not have affected them in any way other than to make
them worse. It sickens me to see people blaming guns instead of blaming
bad parents and bad kids. This is simply passing the buck rather than
addressing the problem.
If easy access to guns was the cause, or even A cause of tragedies such as=
the school shootings, the numbers now and in the past would be reversed. It=
doesn't take a great knowledge of guns to realize this, just a few minutes =
actual personal thinking instead of mere acceptance of the crap spewed out =
an anti-gun media and government.
What is the answer to these problems? Will metal detectors do the job? No,=
the murderers in the latest killing were shooting before they came in the=
school. Will a zero weapons tolerance at schools work? No, guns were not=20
allowed at any of these schools where the killings took place. Would a tota=
ban on guns work? No, both guns and ammo are extremely easy to make,=20
even for a 12 year old kid. The ancient Chinese had no problem making both=
even with no modern tooling. So much for government regulations and throwin=
Better parenting would be a good start. Less regulation and less taxes woul=
be a boon to better parenting. Being afraid of jail time for spanking your
kids does not enhance parenting. Both parents having to work to support the=
government does not help. If taxes were lowered to the 1950 rate, one paren=
could work and have the same amount of money to use for the family that two=
working parents presently have. This would leave one parent to take care o=
the kids. The government would, however, not be as big, as all powerful,
and not be able to waste as much money as they currently do. Goodbye$600
These things, however, have to be thought about. You won't catch the media=
and the government studies and speakers telling you about these solutions.=
They would rather simply disarm us, tax us, then pass more stifling
regulations to "protect" us.=20
As to what would save the lives of innocent kids, the first thing that came
to mind when I heard about the recent shootings, was a question. Why were
the teachers, principal, and other school personnel not allowed to have
a gun at school? A single teacher rushing to the window with her pistol
could have stopped those murderers before they even entered the school
building. It would still have been a tragedy because killing even the bad
people is a harrowing experience. It would, however have left the
innocent ones alive. Making sure everyone in the schools is disarmed is
simply providing an easy target for those who would take advantage of it.
Below is another view of the events that took place in CO. This is a
statement from Steve Dasbach of the Libertarian Party. You can bet that
this politician's statement won't be plastered all over the government
Dasbach's comments followed the horrific massacre on Tuesday at the
Columbine High School near Denver, Colorado. At least 13 students and
teachers were killed by guns and pipe bombs after two students went on a
Unfortunately, the tragedy in Littleton was part of an increasingly common
trend: At least six similar school shootings have occurred over the past
18 months, killing 14 people and wounding another 46, noted Dasbach. All
the shootings happened at public schools, which prompts Libertarians to
ask: What's wrong with government schools?
"We're not suggesting that public education in and of itself caused these
shootings," said Dasbach. "However, it's a fair question to ask-on behalf
of grieving parents who have lost their beloved children-whether there is
something about the culture of public education that encourages these
kinds of gruesome events."
And, in fact, there is evidence that public schools are more vulnerable to
mass shootings because of federal and state regulations, the massive size
of many government schools, and the lack of control by parents over school
policies, he said.
For example, federal and state mandates make it very difficult for
government schools to remove dangerous students or enforce standards of
conduct, he noted.
"State and federal funding comes with strings attached: Public schools are
required to maintain certain graduation rates and required to minimize
drop-out rates," noted Dasbach. "This means that schools will lose some of
their funding if they expel too many students. So many public schools
allow dangerous students-and students who exhibit the same kind of
disturbing behaviors as did the teenage killers in Colorado-to stay in
school, putting all the other students at risk.
"Government schools also have to jump through bureaucratic hoops to expel
or discipline unruly students. So students can push the boundaries of
acceptable behavior without facing serious consequences.
"By comparison, most private schools have much stricter standards of
conduct, and much more liberal policies about expelling troublemakers," he
said. "There is no so-called right to attend private schools, so
discipline and safety take precedent over turning a blind eye to disturbed
or dangerous students."
The size of many government schools also seems to be a factor, he said.=20
"Columbine High School had close to 2,000 students. In such a massive
educational factory, there is simply no way that teachers or guidance
counselors can treat each student like a unique individual, and learn
about their unique hopes and troubles.
"By comparison, private schools tend to be smaller, and can devote more
personal attention to students. That's even more true with home schooling,
where loving parents can lavish attention on their own children," he said.
Finally, public schools, run by government bureaucrats, taught by
politically powerful unionized blocks of teachers, funded by mandatory tax
payments, and populated by students who are required by law to attend,
make it more difficult for parents to exercise real control over the
school environment, he said.
"In government schools, parents are not customers-they are supplicants to
the political process that funds and manages those schools," said Dasbach.
"As a parent, you have only marginally more influence over public schools
than you have over the Post Office or the DMV. As a result, you have very
little control over the curriculum, policies, or employees that determine
your child's educational environment in public schools.
"By comparison, at a private school, if you want stricter safety policies,
or tighter controls over dangerous students' behavior, or better
educational standards, they must listen to you-because, if they don't, you
can take your business elsewhere. And home schoolers have almost complete
control over their children's educational environment." So, what's the
solution to the epidemic of school shootings?
"There is no perfect answer, and we can't promise that such a tragedy will
never occur in a private school," acknowledged Dasbach. "However, it's
clear that government schools make the problem worse, not better-and that
moving in the direction of a free market educational system would make our
children safer, and would make a Columbine High School-style tragedy a
rare exception, rather than a growing problem."
=09Just my thoughts on the current issue. More for my benifit than
anyones, do with them as you please.=20
=09As the mother of a 4 year old the last school shotting really got
to me. I had never given them a second thought. I am Canadian, we just
don't have these types of problems. There has never to my knowledge been a
mass school shooting in Canada. I never had a fear for my daughters life
by simply sending her to school. Now that my circumstances have changed
and she starts in the Atlanta school system in September, I quite frankly
=09I sit and watch the news and my heart goes out to the
community as a whole. Most to the students who watched their friends die,
and to the teachers who were powerless. Something is terriably wrong in
America today. It wasn't just guns. It would seem that their intention was
to blow up the entire school.=20
=09What scares me the most is the first one was a shock, this last
one was just truely heart wrenching, but how long will people sit back and
wait for it to be common place.=20
=09I watched an interview with an American clebirty last night. He
felt the second ammendment should be thrown out. The theory was, limit
access and at least stop making it easy for kids to have guns. We live in
two very comparable countries. So what is the big difference between our
kids and yours?? Why do you have a school shooting every few
months compared to our never?? I wish I had the easy answer. I am not
about to tell you we raise better kids, as much as I would love to
believe that I am not nearly that naive. Maybe the problem is an access
problem. Maybe the reason is if our kids want guns it costs them a
fortune. The black market is not cheap in Canada. Maybe the second ammendme=
has to go. Face it, your constitution is NOT always right. The right to
keep slaves was written into your constitution, and you see where that
=09I don't know where this is going other than to try to relieve some
of my current fears. And most of you I am sure can't even imagine the
fears. If you have a child I am sure this shooting has hit you hard as
well. This shooting has taken its toll on a continent, not just a country
this time. I would be interested in hearing anyones solution to the
problem. Anything I can do to help keep my daughter safe.
=09Thank you for listening Dave. In some ways writing this helped.=20