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    Wednesday, April 25, 2007

    Prescience of the Gods: Who could have predicted that an odd, loner college student would go so off deeply off the bend? Apparently, nearly everyone - at least in hindsight.

    But odd people aren't all that unusual, are they? Not on Main Street, and certainly not on college campuses. Sometimes they are even among the faculty. So how do you predict who among those odd people is an imminent threat? You can't. Not unless they share the thoughts in their heads, which odd, loner types rarely do. We place a high value in our society on personal autonomy and free will. As a result, we don't deprive people of their freedom on the basis of their personalities, even if their personalities are disturbed. In the off chance that a disturbed person admits that he's intent on harming himself or someone else, we can separate him from the rest of the world, but only temporarily. We only lock someone away indefinitely if they've broken the law. Even then, it's not necessarily indefinitely or completely.

    Some look at this state of affairs and say that we should be able to lock away the insane forever. But the problem is defining insanity, and what level is a threat. Yesterday, I saw a little boy who was commanded to have a physical exam by his school. The reason? He made an injudicious joke. A classmate of his said he was so bored he was going to shoot himself, to which this little boy - a class clown type - replied, "No, we should just shoot the teachers." Needless to say, I didn't find any medical reason for his comment. But, before he can go back to school, he has to go see a psychiatrist. Admittedly, it was a foolish thing to say, at least from an adult's perspective. It's also beyond adult reason, however, to expect a fifth grader to recognize that. Today, he has to go see a psychiatrist, but if we expand "zero-tolerance" to involuntary commission, some day a remark like that could send a kid to an asylum.

    Here's another example, also from a little boy I know, and also from yesterday. He was asked to use the words "loathe" and "sulkily" in a sentence. His sentence, "I loathe my brother when he sits around sulkily," earned him a reprimand from his teacher and a note sent home to his parents telling them that this sentence was "inappropriate." Perhaps they should just ban objectionable vocabulary words like "loathe" or "hate" or "shoot."

    We don't want to turn our society into a prison. It's all too obvious if we do, the inmates will be running it.

    UPDATE: Political correctness is contagious. I was tempted to delete the comment below because it quotes a song parody that many school children of my generation used to sing. This blog in no way advocates violence, but the comment also won't be deleted. In fact, here's a violent song parody that was also popular in the 1960's and 1970's. I don't recall there being a lot of mass shootings in schools in those days. Then again, the kids back then were allowed to vent those feelings through funny songs without getting expelled.
     

    posted by Sydney on 4/25/2007 08:42:00 AM 1 comments

    1 Comments:

    This zero tolerance crap is just silly. Ten year old boys inhabit a world were you can't see the bullet holes because of all the blood. Deal.

    "On top of old smokey
    all covered in blood
    I shot my poor teacher
    with a .44 slug"

    By Anonymous Violence Dogood, at 1:52 PM  

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