Youth safety, then and now
October 31, 2003
Following the incident at Columbine High School in Littleton, Colorado, in April 1999, states nationwide held "youth safety summits," supposedly to address the problem of youth violence. State summits culminated in a national summit held under the direction of then President Bill Clinton.
The problem of youth violence was solved. Summit participants were pleased that their "voices were heard" in the halls of government, that they were able to participate in our "participatory democracy." Everyone went home feeling good.
But was the problem really solved? Since April 1999, there have been no less than 19 incidents involving guns and schools:
· Conyers, Georgia — May 20, 1999
· Deming, New Mexico — November 19, 1999
· Fort Gibson, Oklahoma — December 6, 1999
· Mount Morris Township, Michigan — February 29, 2000
· Savannah, Georgia — March 10, 2000
· Lake Worth, Florida — May 26, 2000
· New Orleans, Louisiana — September 26, 2000
· Baltimore, Maryland — January 17, 2001
· Santee, California — March 5, 2001
· Williamsport, Pennsylvania — March 7, 2001
· Granite Hills, California — March 22, 2001
· Gary, Indiana — March 30, 2001
· Caro, Michigan — November 12, 2001
· New York, New York — January 15, 2002
· New Orleans, Louisiana — April 14, 2003
· Red Lion, Pennsylvania — April 24, 2003
· Spokane, Washington — September 22, 2003
· Cold Spring, Minnesota — September 24, 2003
· Lawndale, North Carolina — September 25, 2003
One of the predetermined outcomes of the summits was that these school shootings should not receive the media attention they had, theretofore, received. The reason given was that such would dissuade those shooters seeking their "fifteen minutes of fame." The result was that school shootings were suddenly no longer front and center on the evening news, local and national, giving people a false sense that the problem had been cured.
Obviously, that is not true; the number of school shootings has not slowed at all. In the same 4.5 year period prior to April 21, 1999, there were 15 reported incidents:
· Lynnville, Tennessee — November 15, 1995
· Moses Lake, Washington — February 2, 1996
· Location withheld — February 8, 1996
· Patterson, Missouri — March 25, 1996
· Scottsdale, Georgia — September 25, 1996
· Bethel, Alaska — February 19, 1997
· Pearl, Mississippi — October 1, 1997
· West Paducah, Kentucky — December 1, 1997
· Stamps, Arkansas — December 15, 1997
· Jonesboro, Arkansas — March 24, 1998
· Edinboro, Pennsylvania — April 25, 1998
· Fayetteville, Tennessee — May 19, 1998
· Springfield, Oregon — May 21, 1998
· Notus, Idaho — April 16, 1999
· Littleton, Colorado — April 20, 1999
In August 1998, a report was forthcoming from the US Department of Education entitled Early Warning, Timely Response: A Guide to Safe Schools. The report was "based on the work of an independent panel of experts in the fields of education, law enforcement, and mental health." The research found in the guide was funded by the following federal offices:
· Office of Special Education Programs, US Department of Education
· Safe and Drug-Free Schools Program, US Department of Education
· Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention, US Department of Justice
· National Institute of Justice, US Department of Justice
· National Institute of Mental Health, US Department of Health and Human Services
· National Institute of Health, US Department of Health and Human Services
· Center for Mental Health Services, US Department of Health and Human Services
The guide laid out the "early warning signs" of a prospective violent youth:
· Social withdrawal
· Excessive feelings of isolation and being alone
· Excessive feelings of rejection
· Being a victim of violence
· Feelings of being picked on and persecuted
· Low school interest and poor academic performance
· Expression of violence in writings and drawings
· Uncontrolled anger
· Patterns of impulsive and chronic hitting, intimidating, and bullying behaviors
· History of discipline problems
· Past history of violent and aggressive behavior
· Intolerance for differences and prejudicial attitudes
· Drug use and alcohol use
· Affiliation with gangs
· Inappropriate access to, possession of, and use of firearms
· Serious threats of violence
Obviously, the guide — for all the time and money spent coming up with it, distributing it, promoting it, and hiring personnel to implement and oversee it in schools — hasn't had the effect of deterring school shootings.
It has, however, released the flow of money from the federal government to the states to "stop youth violence," the effect of which has been to increase the power and position of the government at the federal level via requirements set forth in requests for proposals (RFPs) for grants that states must agree to in order to get the grant money.
The American people have seen this over and over again. Every time the government sets out to "fix" a problem, the problem doesn't get fixed, it gets worse. Why? Because the government must be able to justify its existence and growth. And the government does that by perpetuating the problem while claiming it is doing just the opposite. If the problem goes away, so does the funding, the personnel, the growth of big government. Can't have that, now, can we? Thus it has gone with every social issue the government has addressed.
Have the American people learned? No, the American people, by and large, still hold to the belief that the government owes them something, owes them security, and is there to see that they are taken care of. And the government certainly has done nothing to dissuade that line of thinking since such would be counterproductive to the growth of government, and would, therefore, be self-defeating.
And the states, every one, are experiencing financial difficulties. It was bound to happen sooner or later.
How do we cure this problem?
· Cut social programs and the taxes supporting those social programs. Such will allow mothers to return to the home where they belong when children reside there.
· Dump psycho-education, part and parcel, and the taxes supporting psycho-education. Psycho-education isn't about educating for intelligence, it is about behavior modification engaged in by people who do not have the clinical training or license to do so.
· Assert the tenth amendment of the US Constitution concerning states rights.
· Get rid of all unconstitutional state and federal offices and the taxes supporting those offices.
· Return our nation to the constitutional basis on which it was established.
Such would cure most of the problems known to our country today.
© 2003 Lynn M. Stuter - All Rights Reserved