Sunday, October 15, 2006

Lawyers, Guns and Adolescents

I felt so privledged the other day at work: while I was waiting for my student to get ready for afternoon tutoring, Karen, my boss, wanted me to do something, so I got to write the journal entry that everyone else has to do to practice their writing skills. You probably remember these from your school days, utterly inane hypothetical questions designed to engage your imagination and give you a topic to ponder, nominally to open your mind, practically to get you writing so the English teacher could pick at your grammar.

That day's was: "If your home was on fire and your family and pets were safe, but you could rush in and save one thing, what would it be?" I saved my record player, a perfectly absurd answer to an absurd question, considering State Farm would have to buy me a new record player in the first place.

That's not fair. Inane questions can provide illuminating insights into a person's psyche, if by a backhanded means. I feel bad about not taking them seriously, though, since I'm supposed to be a good educated role model to the kids, and all that. I find it difficult to take things seriously in my writing, if you can't tell.

So, i was glad I didn't have to answer this week's, which was "Why do think has caused the rash of recent school shootings, and how do we stop the violence?" Ugh. I couldn't, because here's my answer: I'm shocked that there aren't more. Really. Our "culture of life" condemns and villifies sex, the act of creating life, but has no problem with explicit violence, the destroyer of life. Weapons are omnipresent and fairly easily accessible. And adolescents are crammed into schools with other adolescents, all in some stage of highly frail psychology. Put them all together, and I think it's a testaments to the strength of social norms that more short-sighted hormonal teenagers aren't shooting other ones.

But I can't write that at my job, where social workers try to get troubled teens back on track. I just laugh when the local hip-hop station that blares violent crap all day long launches a benefit concert campaign to stop the violence. Let the forehead slapping ensue.

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