Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Not Again!

Have you ever felt as though you needed to say something, but just couldn't find the words? All I could think of yesterday was, "The unthinkable has happened, again."

I told Jay that if this sort of thing had been happening, even occasionally, when he and Kell were ready to go off to college, I wouldn't have let them go. It was hard enough letting go, as it was.

Now, we're hearing that the young man who killed all those people at Virginia Tech was considered to be disturbed for a long time before he snapped. All day, one person or another has said things like "All the signs were there." Congratulations to them. They were absolutely right.

Someone said "We knew he was troubled, and tried to get him to agree to get help, but he wouldn't." OK. Maybe he coudn't be forced to get help, but they didn't have to let him stay in school if he refused. They could have spoken to his parents - I don't know if they did or not, actually. But, if they did, it obviously didn't do any good.

We keep hearing that, as an English major, he wrote papers and stories full of darkness and rage. We hear that he had exhibited stalking behavior in the past. This can't have started all of a sudden. How far back in his schooling do we have to go to find out when he weirded out? Did he pull feathers off of birds or try to drown the cat when he was three? Or, did he start the downward spiral at the onset of puberty?

Enough. Too much.


Cazzie!!! said...

So so sad no words can say enough.
Yet again, the damage done by the psycho here in Port Arthur Tasmania, the worst one man shootings in the World so far, comes to mind.
Gun laws became very very strict here after that. It still does not get the guns off the streets but it has done something when you look at the stats here in Australia to the number of shootings occuring since that massacre.
Those poor families of the kids that were killed :(

Kell said...

It's just so terrifying and sad. I saw one of the teachers on a morning show and she said they all should take some of the blame.

I don't know how you recover from something like this. It's so awful.

Anonymous said...

Dear Other Self,
I am one of the teachers who worry about what the kids I have will do. My responsibility is to tell the next in line. I do this. Once I had a little, troubled boy with little pock marks all over his arm. Told the counselor about it...she said oh, that is nothing. I thought it was burn from a cigerette. I looked her in the eye and said"By law I am telling you and by law you are to report this to DHS and it had better be done".

In the last 6 months,
one young man I taught killed a baby while his girl friend was working at Popeye's chicken.
In Little Rock a young man raped and killed a 2 year old and yes, I taught him.
Last winter a young man executed a fellow drugie in the forest...yes, I taught him.

I will not take the blame. I am one. I don't hold the key in the little time they are with me. I do my best but am overwhelmed by what society is sending me to school. School is a reflection of society. We are your mirror. We can add a little makeup to a face, wipe a tear, but a school is just a reflection of what is out there. We do not control any of it! I will not take the blame for killings I am doing all I can!
Other Betty

Ellie said...

I think soemtimes people are afraid to say something becuase they're afraid of sounding paranoid or hurting someones feelings, far too often we think someone else will take care of it. But in the end we can all just do our part.

Cazzie!!! said...

Other Betty, the letter you wrote I just read it. I think it is right, kids are at home more thsan they are at school. It is why I don't GET IT that some parents dont give a shit what their kids learn at school, don't assist with reading, all that...you know, guess I am saying, teachers do do their best, they have so much to give, but the people at the other end have to WANT to receive the giving. The incentive, is from home to learn.
I thank my Dad for giving me that. Because he said to me, "Ypu can be whatever you want to be, you are the one who has to learn and listen"

Melina said...

Actually as a teacher I can say that kids are at school more than they are at home. Teachers are the parental figures in many instances. That being said, our hands are tied in many ways to actually make a difference and our professional opinions often ignored.

Annie said...

Sad to say, though, Better, even is he'd been terminated from school, the same thing might have happened. There's really no way to prevent violence when someone is determined to commit it.

Betty said...

I don't blame the teachers at all. In fact, I'm not qualified to assess any blame - just speculate about why things weren't handled differently since he had been evaluated and found to be a danger to himself and/or others. We have the same questions with every occurrence of this kind. I guess we just wish something could be done, and nothing really can be.

Queen of Dysfunction said...

This is awful and it pisses me off when I hear people say "well all the signs were there". Then why the hell didn't you do something about it back then? Why didn't someone intervene?

gawilli said...

Where do you draw the line between wierd, and wierd enough to blow someone away? What constitutes wierd? Who is going to make that judgement call? And what are we going to do with the ones we have decided are too wierd? Lock them up? Boy this stuff is as scary to me as what happened.

I agree, Betty. I really wish something could be done. Sometimes it just hurts so bad that we want an answer so that it will never happen again. I really don't know that we have it in us as a people to stop these awful cycles when they begin rather than clean up the mess and point fingers afterward. We would have to be truly interested in the well-being of those around us. We would have to look out for the downtrodden and mistreated. We would need to seek to understand the loner and try to bring them into our circles. We would not be able to pass the problem on to someone else and assume that they were taken care of. We would have to make a real investment.

Oh heck. Who am I kidding?

Betty said...

You're right, Gawilli. His roomate was interviewed today and said he knew the kid was weird, but he never talked, and stayed to himself, so the roomates just left him alone. I'm sure everyone just left him alone. They can't be blamed, either.

Newt said...

I am who I am because of my family, my friends, my teachers. But also because deep inside of me I have a sense of honor, and a deep repect for all the wonders of life. I got the best start/foundation a kid could hope for. I can't say what makes a kid snap. I don't know if anyone has that answer. Some kids pull themselves up by the scruff of their own necks and do right by this world. Other kids, with seemingly priveleged lives commit atrocities. Life is beautiful, unique, strange, and frightening.