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Experiences in misery - Is your child at risk?
By James Kraemer
In the weeks following the Columbine High School massacre
all sorts of traits to watch out for in at risk kids were presented from a wide variety of sources and agendas.
Hasso Hering, an
Albany Democrat Herald Newspaper editor, (Albany, Oregon), mentioned most of them in his May 5 (99)
editorial, "How the Legislature could help schools." Warning signs of "at risk" kids included: A history
of tantrums, frequent cursing or abusive language, habitually making violent threats, a background of
disciplinary problems, preoccupation with weapons or explosives, cruelty to animals, having been
abused or having witnessed abuse, preferring music and videos with violent themes and rituals,
showing mostly anger and the "dark side of life" in school essays, big mood swings, and suicide
Psychiatrists refer to a "triad" of childhood traits -- animal cruelty, setting fires and
chronic "bed-wetting" -- as a reliable indicator of future criminal behavior. And, the "catch-all"
statement that makes virtually every kid suspect: "My child would never do that."
Various items some claim should be banned are: guns, illegal guns, things that look like guns, bombs, knives, baseball bats,
bullying, anger, spanking, casual clothing, trench coats, blue hair, clicks, cigarettes, various prescription and over-the-counter drugs,
illegal drugs, violence on TV and the internet, violent arcade games, violent sports, common household products, nails, propane tanks, and dear hunters.
If we are really going to follow this line of logic, then we should also ban cars from school grounds.
Just recently (Monday May 3rd, (99) in Costa Mesa, CA), a 49 year old adult deliberately drove his
Cadillac onto a playground killing two children, Sierra Soto (age 4), Brandon Wiener (3), and injuring
several others. The assailant told police he used his car as a weapon for this reason: He was "going to execute
these children because they were innocent."
Most of these behaviors (and access to various devices), occur at some level among many kids and
adults. Yet, only a small fraction would ever take their behavior to the point of killing others.
What may actually be happening is a nation of panicked adults are now demanding the right answers and right
Susan Greene, Staff Writer for Colorado's Denver Post, in her May 2 (99) article, "Assigning blame
a common reaction," includes this wise advice from Steven Gorelick, a sociology professor at City
University of New York who studies cultural responses to traumatic incidents.
Gorelick warns against knee-jerk political reactions to tragedies like the one at Columbine. Politicians
feel "under the gun" to come up with policy bandages to the community's pain, he said. Others, he
added, use crises for political gain.
"I'm always stunned by people I call 'issue vultures.' They're like birds who come and pick at the
carcasses of traumatized people to advance their political agendas," Gorelick said.
But true political leadership, Gorelick added, comes in restraint, in telling the public "to take a deep
breath and calm down," because there are no easy answers.
Kids can find amusement in shocking others. In the confusion of the current panic these kids are taking
advantage and pitting adults against adults in the process. For whatever reason it seems to be a fun
thing for some kids to do. New York alone received over fifty gun and bomb threats within the few weeks
following the Littleton event. The same thing happened across the United States - more events than any
specific newspaper or TV station could hope to report on.
Some kids never grow out of this SHOCK attitude. As a result, some adults make their living
shocking other adults. Howard Stern is one of America's richest talk show hosts. Among the things alleged he said
on his talk show, concerning the April (99) Columbine High School massacre, includes this quote
from the Denver Rocky Mountain Post: "Did those kids (the suspects) try to have sex with any of the
good-looking girls?" he asked? "They didn't even do that? At least if you're going to kill yourself and
kill all the kids, why wouldn't you have some sex?"
Stern successfully shocked the entire Colorado area and much of America. Sponsor's of his
show responded by withdrawing their advertising. Within a short time, he'd lost every sponsor in the
Denver area. Business disciplined Howard Stern's misbehavior.
Kids often acquire permission for their misbehavior from adults, and all-to-often the most
dysfunctional behaviors are promoted outside the control or awareness of the child's parents, sometimes by
organizations considered decent and honorable, even cherished by our society.
The American Library Association's weblink with Columbia University's, "Go Ask
Alice" promotes kids rights, health and censorship issues as the reasons for making
alleged sexually explicit information available to kids at public libraries. Not the mild, "Why is Sally's body different
from Johnny's," but issues probably prohibited printing in the mainstream press, including details to kids on
how to engage in safe sex with an animal (bestiality), and how to clean body fluids off the whip after engaging in Sado-Masochistic activities.
Toys R Us, a major contributor, didn't buy the ALA's explanation for some of Go Ask Alice content
and withdrew support for the ALA's Children's Reading Rooms in Libraries, thanks to the efforts of a
well known radio broadcast therapist, Dr. Laura Schlessinger, who encouraged listeners to complain to
the toy conglomerate.
Last year another reputable organization, the American Psychological Association,
published a controversial article that reported child molestation
with "willing" children may not be harmful, and may, in some cases, even be beneficial.
The APA's July 1998 Psychological Bulletin, article. "A Meta-Analytic Examination of Assumed
Properties of Child Sexual Abuse Using College Samples," by Bruce Rind, Philip Tromovitch
and Robert Bauserman, disrupted the courts. Pro-pedophilic organizations
started useing the article as justification for molesting young boys. Some criminal cases were
dismissed, while others were put on hold until an investigation of the controversial article
Unlike the ALA, after pressure from Schlessinger, child protection organizations,
and many pro-family legislators, along with support from past and present APA officials,
forced the APA administration to admit the alleged unscientific article was seriously flawed
and a mistake to publish.
The APA went on to unveil a resolution condemning all "sexual relations between children
and adults." This time, business, politicians, Dr. Laura listeners and the APA's own
disciplined the current APA officials serious error in judgement.
In the process of building the 2safeschools "IN LOVING MEMORY" Memorial Directory, I found
hundreds of YAHOO pages referring to the schoolhouse murderers and their contributions to death; and
very little (sometimes nothing) concerning the victims and their contributions to life.
According to a June (98) article, "High school shooting earns disturbing praise on internet," by Helen
Kennedy, Knight-Ridder Newspapers, reported that www.blackplague.org had added a page with a
statement, "dedicated to the exciting new trend sweeping our nation's schools: brutal calculated
Holocaust perpetrated by disgruntled and desperate outcasts."
Another page at the same website reads, " Keep up the good work, boys," The page continues,
"We hail our young comrades in their bravery and perseverance. These young revolutionaries define
|Should a law (or city ordinance) require kids expelled from school be supervised by an adult during school hours?|
The site concludes, "We would like to express our ... sincere contempt for all victims
Business disciplined blackplague. The internet server shut down the website. However, an e-mail address
remains active at the same location.
Another computer user with an address at Stanford University posted an ode to Springfield, Oregon's
Kinkel, which includes the lines: "What talent you had! What charm and grace!; Your revenge holds
promise for our human race."
The Detroit Free Press reported on Monday, May 17, (1999) that Port Huron, Michigan Police alleged two 14 year old boys
were charged as adults with conspiracy to commit murder and ordered held on $100,000 bond apiece. Two other suspects, ages 12 and 13 were
charged as adults in juvenile court with the same crime. If convicted, they could be sentenced as adults.
The four planned to kill more people at Holland Woods, which has about 560 students in grades six through eight,
than the April 20 massacre in Littleton, Colorado, where 12 students and a teacher were fatally shot by two gunmen who then killed themselves.
Kids caught doing these things are now getting their "just-desserts." Exclusion, expulsion, psychiatric evaluations and criminal charges.
I accepted Professor Gorelick's advice. I've taken deep breaths and calmed down for a few weeks before including
the following thoughts. These thoughts are what I allege appear consistent among the killers and
may well end up the real "RED-ALERTS" to watch for, concerning at risk kids:
(1). Kids that derive pleasure from strangling, torturing (not teasing, although some say
that's bad, too), domestic animals to death.
(2). Kids that derive a sense of control or pleasure from making repeated verbal threats to kill themselves, to
rape or kill kids, parents, teachers, other real adults; and/or threats to blow up (or burn down) real buildings, including schools with real people inside.
(3). Kids that dwell on thinking about, talking about, hearing about, writing about or making plans about
raping or killing real people in their lives and/or blowing up (or burning down) real buildings, including schools with real people inside.
Turning our nations public schools away from violence and back to educating kids is easy - yet - as
hard to accomplish as the most difficult things can be. Here's a reality foundation toward moving our public schools back on track:
(1). Moms and Dads must help restore their childrens' school teachers to their rightful authority in the
classroom. This does not mean supporting teachers that molest children or agreeing on whatever curriculum is handed down from the
bureaucracy. It means HONOR your teachers and backup their authority in the classroom.
(2). School teachers must help restore parents to their rightful authority in the home. Here also, this
does not mean supporting parents that actually beat their kids, burn them with cigarettes, molest or
otherwise torture them. It means HONOR Mom and Dad, by keeping parents informed at least once a week,
concerning their child's academic progress and behavior at school. It also means supporting parents
when restricting their out-of-control child's activities, including backing up parents, with law
enforcement when needed, to help parents maintain a child's restrictions.
A child's behavior
- not rights -
determines the level of supervision and privacy.
Expect that doing these easy (but hard) things would eventually restore "value" to our public schools -
what the voters need - and also return the structure and hope - what the kids need - back in control of
the adults directly involved in the kids lives.
It's so easy - yet - so very hard. It's gonna' take a lot of daylight before our nation's parents and school teachers
are restored to their rightful posts in this nation - and back to the business of raising and educating kids.
PS: Parents, schools and public libraries. Pay attention to what your kids are accessing on the
Your comments about this story; Subject Keywords:
Excellent Book for Parents and School Staff
Read about how one family took charge of their out-of-control teenager. A Mother's Story
How to help keep your child's school bus safe
A short article from "In Loving Memory"
The 40 external and internal "developmental assets" that all youth need to grow up healthy.
Excellent information from "Search Institute"
You can't tell a building by its label
A closer look at the Go Ask Alice! controversy.
June's Adult To Adult.
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