Tuesday, October 03, 2006

I Don't Like Mondays

I was in ninth grade when the song came out, and back then I thought it was ironic and socially conscious and in my adolescent shallowness, could enjoy a song about a girl who shot at school children and when asked why, answered "I don't like Mondays."
Yesterday was Monday, and when my wife called from the road to tell me she was on the way home from her parents' house in Seattle, I told her there was another one, another school shooting, the third within a week.
This time it was an adult man who burst into an Amish school and executed girl children, singling them out as if they were cows culled from a herd for slaughter. Details are emerging about the killer, that he confessed to molesting children decades ago, that he hoped to do it again.
Another of the shootings last week was an adult man singling out adolescent girls, another was a boy who'd been teased.
What is happening at our schools?
As a mother of three, my advice to the kids has changed as the years have passed. When my oldest son was in kindergarten, school shootings were rare enough that there was no expectation that standing up to a bully would lead to an assault rifle at school, nor would a bully be advised that sometimes the worm turned up with a handgun.
Shortly into parenting, it became clear that non-violent conflict resolution techniques weren't just about raising healthy, peaceful adults, it was about them making it to adulthood. Fights ending in a knife in the back, or a gun in a locker began to be very real.
And now there doesn't even have to be a reason for violence to break out.
How can we guard against this?
How can we teach trust in the safety of our schools, when that safety has been broken again and again?
School should be a place of safety, like home.
30% of homes in Oregon have guns. Maybe school is like home. How many of those guns are used within the home, against family members? How many of those guns are taken by adolescents to school, to mete out revenge, anger, sorrow or hopelessness?
How can we make homes and schools safer, and human beings more sane?
Tuesday has been a better day.

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