Ta2ati2d's Weblog

Out of control | April 10, 2008

Who is running this show?

Well, first it started off with girls (cheerleaders, apparently) beating the hell out of another girl because of some kind of MySpace fiasco involving a local guy.  The punching dummy now has bruises on the left side of her face and, if I understand it right, problems hearing in her left ear.  She lost consciousness for a bit, and had a concussion.  They waited for her to wake up, and started to verbally and physically assault her again.  They refused to let her out of the house.  It was videotaped (the abusers wanted it taped) and put on YouTube.  The girls who participated in the attack have now been brought up on charges.  Personally, I would see fit to inflict the same kind of fear and pain they brought down on the girl.

But now there’s a new story out there, as I saw Matt Lauer interview a Baltimore high school arts teacher this morning, Ms. Jolita Berry, who was pummeled by a student (no, this is not a “Disturbia” sequel).  Isn’t art supposed to make people happy?  Ms. Berry explained to Matt that this girl had good days and bad, and could be easily influenced by her peers.

Apparently this beating was brought on as “revenge”.  Revenge of what, I don’t know.  Other kids in the class were egging the girl on, too.  Nobody intervened, but one student did call for help on her cell phone.  When the confrontation began to escalate, and the girl was moving in on the teacher, Ms. Berry told the girl she was invading her personal space, and if she had to, she would “defend herself”.  Cue the revenge beating.  When it stopped, Jolita Berry went to the office and reported what happened.  The principal, Jean Ragin, told her she provoked it.  The principal told her she provoked the girl.  Because she told the child she would defend herself.

So the principal is telling Ms. Berry it’s her fault that this stupid, disrespectful BRAT doesn’t know when to step off and go back to her desk and behave like a civilized human being, like a child who minds their place.

Who is running this show?

I admit I’m of the old-school way of thinking, where I agreed with the teacher telling off the student when they were misbehaving and needed to be disciplined.  I’m not saying I think it’s right for a teacher to call the kid names and be verbally abusive to them.  But if a kid is cursing or throwing a tantrum, or say, BEATING YOU IN THE HEAD!!!, yes, protection and/or discipline is warranted.  If the third is happening, you’d better believe I’d be punching her right back, hard enough to get her off me.

Adults, and more specifically, parents, are so concerned with being “friends” and “cool” with their kids, they’ve lost almost all focus with the fact that they are, in fact, the parents!  They decided to bring the child into this world, nobody else.   They are the child(ren)’s guides into this world.  The parents are the kids initial teachers.

You’re probably asking “Do you have any kids?”

No.  I don’t want children.  There was a time, 10+ years ago, where I thought I wanted 2 or 3, but in this day and age?  Where I would a bring a child into this world, only to have to constantly worry and panic about whether or not I can protect it from the world?  I don’t think it’s just the pedophiles and murderers we have to worry about now.  We have to worry about protecting our kids from other kids now too!

YouTube is filled, FILLED with clips of teenage catfights, boys (in school) beating the holy hell out of each other for a myriad of reasons.  This is Columbine on a daily basis, minus the guns.  This is teenagers with so much anger and hate, so much poisonous venom in their bodies, lashing out at the people around them.  And to be honest, this really isn’t a new problem. 

Twenty odd years ago, kids, teenagers and adults were killing and getting killed for Air Jordans, for Nike jackets.  Maybe ten years ago, it was those stupid, insipid Tickle-Me-Elmo dolls people were breaking into and robbing stores to get.  The people who did buy them for their kids would spend $300, $400 and anywhere up to $6-700 on a damn flash-in-the-pan fad than would be boring to the child within a few months’ time. 

Now we’re in a finer digital age where it’s cell phones, laptops, PS3, anything Apple that gets stolen from people.  When everyone was waiting for the next “Harry Potter” book to come out, and it was released, we’d have to hide the book in the trunk of the car for fear someone would break in to get it if they could see it in a vacant car’s backseat.  When the IPhone came out, there was so much security around the trucks dropping off the phones and the stores selling them.  People, full grown adults, were lined up around the blocks, waiting to buy one.  As if it were just being released for one day.  We’re in the age of MySpace and YouTube, where everyone gets to be famous.  Even if it means brutalizing other people to “send a message”.

Is it these things in our life that make us crazy?  Or is it time for the people in this country, in this world, to take accountability and responsibility for our actions, and stop using pop culture icons and items as our excuses.  We do this to ourselves, people.  We see a shiny new object being dangled in front of us, and we jump on that bait like maddened sharks.  We’re willing to kill, seriously, to end another person’s life, either out of anger or jealousy or just on a lark.  We keep doing it, which encourages these companies to keep making more things that will get us to do it again.

We’re in a never-ending vicious cycle where big corporations get to keep spinning the wheel.  Where parents are afraid to get on their kids’ bad side and let the children have more control than they really know what to do with.

Just before I get off my soapbox, I want to leave you with one last thought…when you’re in a confrontation with your child, and he/she tells you “you’ve ruined my life!” take a good hard look at them.  If you have the guts, ask them for an example of how.  If you don’t, just keep looking at them and try to figure it out for yourself.


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