Monday, February 19, 2018

Nikolas Cruz, What Went Wrong

I was reading someone's blog today, and I can't remember just who the author of the post was, but it was pointed out that children are changing, and the change in behavior is most noticeable to old people.  Especially old curmudgeons, of which I am one.

In point of fact, children really are changing, and it's a reflection of changes in the nuclear family demographic.   If you believe Thought Co, and it seems credible to me (I'm sober right now), I am a member of the Baby Boomer generation; I was raised by the Silent Generation (SG).  The SGs lived through the Great Depression and World War II.  Their major advantages over the previous generation were a stable extended family unit, better health care, and clean running water (indoor plumbing).  Check the divorce rate, marriage rate, and the number of children born out of wedlock since 1950 - you'll see a trend.  When I was growing up, the stigma of divorce had started to ease off a bit, but having a child out of wedlock would guarantee the mother a leading position in the societal pariah group.  Abortion was illegal, but women still had them.  Prophylactics, the most common method of birth control, were kept out of sight behind the pharmacy counter.

We, the Baby Boomers, generally lacked television.  We played outside, and we had responsibilities. Somehow, one way or another, most of us grew up fairly well adjusted.  The thought of going through school with a shotgun and killing people never occurred to any of us.  At least, I would suppose it didn't. I'm no mind reader.

One item that crossed whatever remains of my mind is that some of the teachers in public school shouldn't have been there.  A few were bullies; many abused their authority, which was absolute.  Rules of conduct were arbitrary, as was punishment for infraction.  The only other authority in a child's life were his parents, who never failed to side with the school teacher.  School wasn't always pleasant.

Move ahead one generation.

The new parents of the next generation are going to remember how things were back when they were in elementary school, and those few memories of the unfairness of the world will be vivid.  They'll want a better experience for their child, and rightfully so.  Now, when Mad Jack Junior acts up in fourth grade by stashing a live garter snake in his math teacher's top desk drawer, which is where she keeps her grade book, and where she is certain to discover it the hard way during the first three minutes of class, and then screams and falls over her chair because she has a phobia about snakes (which no one knew until just then), she'll eventually get around to telling the school principal, who will in turn tell the parents.  So the parents, instead of saying, "Jackie, what the hell is wrong with you? What, exactly, were you thinking?", the new parents will be concerned and ask what else has been going on in class that would cause their little innocent child to act out, whatever act out means. The school teacher will escalate and confront the parents, who will raise even more hell and get the school principal involved, who will call the school shrink and get her crazy ass involved (and I know of one shrink who is certifiable, believe me).

You see where this goes?

Digging a lot deeper, which almost never happens, you'd find that there's more than one fox with feathers on his chops.  It turns out that Jack's teacher is a real bitch, who will routinely throw out little comments such as, "Let's go to a costume party disguised as a horse. I'll go as the head, and you just go as yourself." followed by a rim shot and raucous laughter from the class.  Or the teacher will casually walk past Jack's desk, pick up his books, and drop them on the floor with the rejoinder, "You dropped your books."  Or keep Jack indoors during the noon recess in order to have a little discussion about his behavior, then bait him until he retaliates with a childish threat, at which point the teacher slaps him across the face.  Nice, huh?

I can just imagine Mama Fargo having a conversation with some middle aged school teacher who slapped her daughter Mad City across the chops. They'd have to build a new school...

No one will ever know about this kind of crap, because they don't dig for it and don't know how to ask, and most children don't know how to tell their parents that something isn't right here, let alone what it is.  Think: How many teenagers (or preteens) do you know, or have ever heard of, that would be capable of coming home from school and saying, "Mom?  My teacher is a violent sociopath, maybe a psychopath.  She's highly manipulative and consistently lies to the authorities about her violent behavior.  Today she belted me a good one in the chops."

And even is the child could, eventually, get the point across to you, just what the hell would you do after you calmed down?

Eventually, an unstable high school student (like, for instance, Cruz) who has been through a lifetime of this stable dressing, and who has no support group at home or outside the school, will snap. Many times they just drop out and start doing a lot of drugs, because for $20 you can feel better for a few hours. But then you get that one out of a thousand who wakes up one morning, loads his daddy's shotgun, and makes the headlines. I tend to think that's what happened here.

I have no real solution, but I'd like to point out that whatever it is the school system is doing now, isn't perfect. What no one knows, and I don't think will ever know, is the number of mass shootings that have been avoided because someone at school stopped the parade and intervened before the would-be shooter went into critical mass.


Old NFO said...

Yep, lack of accountability and no parental supervision...

Bob G. said...

mad Jack:
Can't add a single thing to what you said here...because IT'S ALL TRUE!
(and yes, I'm also in the same age-range as yourself, and have noticed the same problems with the generations)

Excellent post.

Roll safe out there.

Unknown said...

My kids teachers, and principal, hated seeing my wife and I coming down the walk. They knew their regular line of bs wasn't going to fly.We asked questions, demanded answers, and weren't bullied by threats. And any backlash at the kids resulted in long nightmares, for the teachers. Don't know who was happier when they graduated. The teachers, or wife and I.

Mad Jack said...

Thanks guys. I really appreciate the comments and support.

Mad Jack said...

Trust me James, the school administrators and the teachers would be happiest. There isn't anything a typical public school teacher hates more than an intelligent, erudite, and concerned parent taking an interest in the child's education.

There are exceptions to this, but such people are rare - and the attitude works both ways. Some people hand their kids off to the system with the idea that these little miscreants are your problem now, and when I have to take them back, I will. On the other hand, my own dear mother who taught high school once observed an otherwise promising student start hanging out with the wrong crowd. Mom called the parents for a conference, and explained what was happening, ending with, "You're going to have to decide what you want for your daughter, because she could really amount to something. The way she's going now, she won't amount to anything."

The parents decided. The daughter straightened out, went to college, and has a good life. Although she never had a clue as to what happened, she did come back to visit Mom after college and thanked Mom for her efforts in teaching. Kind of remarkable, I'd say.

Sadly, the parenting is not going to get better.

Glen Filthie said...

That is so true.

My brother in law and his ex-wives are all teachers - pardon me, public school educators - and they are all left wing drips, and he is the picture of the stereotypical pooch screwing union slob. Public education is a racket - at least up here in Canada.
And - they want to make home schooling illegal because they are afraid the kids won't get properly indoctrinated about things like race and sexuality.

It is no surprise to me that their own kids are feral monsters. I am glad we dispensed with their company long ago.

Mad Jack said...

You bet they want to make home schooling illegal. Anyone with a ball point pen and a used envelope can decide if they're better off financially home schooling their kids rather than sending them off to public school, where you can't tell what they're being taught until they come home with, "Dad, Mom, I don't think I'm happy. Maybe I'm trans-multisexual curious. So, my new pronouns are Sir, Mine, and Whozit".

I have nothing against paying teachers very well indeed, but if I, the taxpayer, am going to support paying them a six figure salary, then they, the school teachers, and going to have to measure up to a brand new standard. Most will fail, and so be fired 13 weeks into the year. They'll be replaced with people that would otherwise be working in industry, earning six figures but having to work harder for it.

And the whole indoctrination business is a false front for light brain washing.

I speak from experience. My mother was a school teacher, her mother was a school teacher, and her mother was a school teacher in a one room schoolhouse with 11 students, ages 5 through 17. When my mom retired, she said the educational system was failing. Her principal, who I got to know pretty well as I went to church with him, said that on his last year in school he told the teachers, "All I want to do is get through this year without someone getting shot."

And that was that.

And yeah, although it isn't very charitable, you probably are better off without them.