School stabbings. School shootings. School bombings. Children molested by trusted adult. Nanny murders children. Mom drives minivan full of children into ocean. Terrorists bomb the Boston marathon. Teenagers knock out unsuspecting adults for “fun”. Teens lure an unpopular teen out to some deserted place and kill him because they are bored. Kids cyber bullying kids to the point of suicide. Young girls get gang raped and videotaped while others watch. WTF America? Does anyone else feel like the world has become the unsafest place in the universe? The world used to feel safer; more innocent. Less cynical. It seems that lately no one is safe, anywhere. Unfortunately, as people are no,t as of ye,t living on Mars, this is all we’ve got.
When I was a child, we played outside until the streetlights came on. We rode our bikes up and down the block with no supervision. We walked to school with a group of friends. Our parents trusted our friends’ parents and people were kinder to one another. There was a modicum of respect for human life. It wasn’t perfect, we had serial killers and we were cautious. Sure, there were assholes. There always are but for the most part, when you let your kids out of the house to go to school or left them with a babysitter, you weren’t afraid that it was the last time you’d ever see them.
The other day, I saw a video from 1987. It was a group of 18-year-old guys in Orlando at a convenience store with their camera asking strangers questions. Actual strangers interacting with one another, no smart ass comments, no knock out game, no bullying, no bullshit..just simple human communication. There was no real point to this video. It was just a rare snippet into an innocuous moment in history before every moment was documented. It made me nostalgic for those days before whatever this is happened. If you tried that same thing now, you would be ignored or worse, assaulted.
When I was a teenager, back in the 80’s, high school boys would call high school girls that they didn’t even know because they had seen them in the hallways or a friend told a friend about so and so, actual human interaction. Yes, boys would actually cold call girls on a landline telephone. Start a fucking conversation and try to impress her, maybe even ask for a date. Hell, some guys would even pull up after school and offer you a ride home. If the girl liked him, more often than not, girls would take the ride or at the very least give him her phone number. Sounds crazy, right? Sounds like something that would give me a heart attack if my daughters did that today. Back then, either there was not so much danger or we just didn’t know about it because there was no social media and Internet. I miss those days. I miss my ignorant bliss in a time when people knew what consequences were.
I am sad that my girls live in a world where they will never fully know trust in another human being. They will never not be exposed and bombarded by social media. I am sad that they might never know the butterflies that you get when a boy who likes you walks over to you and makes adorably awkward conversation because now it’s all text and social media and there is nothing “adorably awkward” about a teen boy’s penis in a sext or finding out your hotness rating on some website. The world has become to in-your-face for my liking. It’s abrasive and feels unsafe to me.
Yesterday morning, Alex Hribal, a 16-year-old at a Pennsylvania High School went on a stabbing and slashing spree for no apparent reason. At 7:15 in the morning, he ran through the hallways slashing and stabbing anyone he could get; 22 people in 5 minutes. His attorney says that he is “confused, scared and depressed”. Yeah, well, guess what? Who gives a shit what he is. His time for fucking counseling is over. The only ones who have a right to be confused, scared and depressed are his vicitms…the American people that this asshole has made feel, once again, unsafe in their own homes.
I am so sick of the Alex Hribal, Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, Adam Lanza and James Holmes of the world. So they were a little weird and misunderstood. So fucking what? We’ve all been an outcast at some point or another. We’ve all felt alone but that doesn’t give you the right to take it out on innocent people. They say he might have a mental illness. Get therapy. Take your meds. Talk to your parents. Change your life but don’t take other people’s children with you because you’re having a fucking bad day! Many of us have mental illness but most of us don’t go batshit crazy and try to kill everyone in sight.
We live in a world where every single morning when I drop my little girls off at school and watch them walk toward the school hand-in-hand, I get a knot in my stomach and pray (literally PRAY) that this is not the last time that I see them. How twisted is that?
Something has got to change. We can’t unring the technology bell that has gotten us to this point. We can’t make people like people but we can raise our children in a world where they are not taught that if everything is not going their way they can just go crazy and kill people. It’s a fucking temper tantrum. It’s a poor pitiful me pity party of epic proportions. We hover and coddle and then we turn our children loose into the teen years with no social skills and an expectation of instant gratification. They don’t know consequences and they feel like the world owes them a pound of flesh because everything’s not going their way and they exact their punishment. We are raising a generation of narcissistic assholes who are so detached from human emotion that they can walk into a school and stab 22 people, shoot 26 elementary aged children, bomb an entire marathon of unsuspecting onlookers, shoot up a theater with families and not give a shit because all they care about it how they “feel”.
We have to change this. I can’t bear to hear about one more school stabbing or shooting. It starts with us, the parents. We need to teach our children that there are consequences to their actions. We need to teach them that life is not always about getting what you want or how you “feel”. Sometimes life sucks but we make changes, we talk it out, we get help, we fight for ourselves and we move on.
We teach them that these bad days don’t last forever. We quit raising kids who think the world revolves around them; who think that if they fail it’s the end of the world. We teach them to learn to get over rejection and work harder to be better. We teach them to respect human life. We teach them tenacity and self-confidence. We let them know that we are there for them and that we love them unconditionally and we pray that’s enough.