Teenage Violence. Part 1

27Aug

Recently there has been a spate of teenage violence in and around the nation’s schools. Are guns and their availability really the cause or are they the symptom? Is there another answer outside of gun control?

A few months ago in an area near Glendale, California, two teenage boys were killed in an alleged “drug deal gone bad” — one with a rock. There were no guns involved. What is the cause of this anger and hostility perpetrated by our nation’s youth?

I’ve spoken with many people who told me that when they were growing up, weapons were rarely, if ever, found in their high schools and certainly not in their junior or elementary schools.

I’ve also heard that many people are blaming the easy access to guns. Well, we had easy access to a gun in our home and never considered taking it to school or even down from the shelf it was on. Just to look at it struck fear in our very souls at what would happen if it was found to be touched.

Blaming guns, which are inanimate objects, seems to me to be the easy way out — the way to deny responsibility. It’s like doctors who remove tonsils without finding the cause of infection. The tonsils as are the guns are the alarms. Remove the alarms; yet keep the fires burning?

So what is the answer? First of all — discipline. When I was growing up, and my parents said “no” they meant no. I could always count on them to keep their word. When they said, “do not touch this or that without one of us being around” we did not touch this or that. “This or that” included the TV, the telephone, the radio or any other electrical equipment and, especially, the gun because we knew whatever the promise was it was kept.

Nowadays, I hear of five-year-olds (and younger) having control of and destroying hundreds and even thousands of dollars worth of electronic equipment. Parents are afraid of disciplining their children.

Why is that? Partially because many homes are now single parent and each one is vying for the “love” (read popularity) of the child so the child runs the show. The other is that even in a two-parent home discipline is lax. The parents know not what their children are doing.

A friend recently told me of a time when a woman brought a three-year-old into his home. Immediately the child headed for his “$3,000 stereo.” He let him get halfway across the room to see if the mother would stop him, and when she didn’t he tripped him, picked him up and handed him back to her. Her comment: “What was that for? He was ‘just’ going to play with your stereo.”

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