Instead of my usual banter, I am just going to make a comment regarding the school shooting that took place in a middle school in Nevada Monday morning, October 21. The shooter was a seventh grader who apparently snapped or who knows what went through his head. He wounded two students, killed a teacher and then himself. Read about it here. One week ago I posted a flash fiction story called "The Stand-In Guy". You can jump to that story here. While my story dealt with a seventh grade student with school problems, he takes a different course of action than this young man on Monday. Not young man--kid. The reason most people will identify with the boy in my story is that we all struggled in some way with pressures in middle school (and in elementary and high school). It can take an emotional toll. Now, I used this very common human experience to write a story of a kid who dabbles in something that eventually ends poorly for him. Personally, when I was in seventh grade and beyond, I retreated into fantasy, science fiction, and just writing to cope with these pressures, but yet, I had the same egging feeling that nothing would ever change. I was too young to see the world beyond my life in middle school. Isn't that how most kids are? In my case, I never had access to weapons, so I secretly fantasized over supernatural solutions to my problems. Of course, that would never happen. It laid down the seed for me as a writer, however.
Kids, young people, teenagers are just by nature emotionally unstable. They often cannot see past their current circumstances--to know that problems in school will eventually pass. When we are adults, we understand this, but at the time we're kids, it's not always that way. This is why kids need adult guidance in hopes they will get the reassurance that troubles in their lives right now are tough, but will not last forever. How do we give our kids the ability to cope with these troubles? Can we say at least guns and kids do not mix? Like I said earlier, kids are emotionally unstable. Emotionally unstable people shouldn't have access to guns. Do we have to just keep fearing for the next Aurora, the next Columbine, or the next Newtown and hope it's someone else or someone else's kids that are the next dead or traumatized for life? I don't think it's a matter of laws, but a matter of common sense, mainly.
One of the big morals of Jimmy Miller the Super Powerful: Forecast Acid Rain is more of a question that asks: What the hell are we doing to our kids? When kids, particularily those who are so young, are in the business of going on shooting sprees, we have failed as a society.
I am going to say that there is no way my story would have caused this kid to go off the way he did, even with the off-chance that he read it. Something else was going on or not going on in his life. Too bad he didn't feel as if he could have talked to someone about his problems. Parents should never assume everything is fine with their kids just because they haven't complained about anything. Sometimes, you have to ask the tough questions and help your child find a way to cope. My eight-year-old said it best yesterday--being a kid sucks. If they won't talk to you, find someone you can trust that your child can also trust. This is just very sad and tragic. Will we learn anything from this? Or just go on as if it's someone else's problem? One thing is for sure, all kids need help, all kids need guidance, and all kids need adults to pay attention to them, even when they tell you to butt out.
Next post, I won't be so emotionally down. Be good to yourselves.