Archive for the ‘TJ Lane’ Category

Ohio School Shooting

February 28, 2012

Hello, Friends.

I haven’t had much to say lately.  Life is very busy and has been a little rough.  However, Monday’s news out of Ohio leads me back to the computer.

On Monday, a young man reported to be TJ Lane, walked into his local high school and shot several people.  Two young men are dead and TJ’s life is over.  I have to wonder how many of those children will carry the terror with them for the rest of their lives.  Reports are still mixed – but many people are reporting that TJ was a victim of bullying.  It seems to me that he probably had specific targets – it’s not really like he was shooting randomly.  There were Twitter and Facebook posts that showed that this kid was looking for someone to do something to make him stop. 

I was the victim of bullying as a child.  In fact, I was bullied daily in my school, and it wasn’t always just verbal.  Sticks and stones might break bones – but words can never hurt me.  That’s bullshit!  Words – they hurt and they become a part of our psyche in a way that creates a lifetime of problems.  I struggle with negative self talk – those hateful little voices in my head that remind me that I am ugly, stupid, annoying and not worth loving.  My husband says that I shouldn’t judge myself so harshly – but I can’t stop those voices some days.

There has been a lot of research about how to stop school shootings – and teenage suicide – since most all of them are related to bullying.  There was an article on a website today that said, “Someone should have called authorities about those Facebook and Twitter posts.”

I’m sorry – but by the time someone is making an outcry on a social website – we are way past the point of “calling an authority.”  The only people who seem to be learning anything from these school shootings are the kids who are being bullied.  They are learning how to take things into their own hands – and they are throwing away precious young lives…theirs and their victims.

I was watching a news report about this and someone said, “being bullied is part of growing up.”  Why?  Why is being treated like shit part of growing up?

Liz Trotta, Fox News, reported that women who serve in the military should expect to be raped.  Why?  Why is being raped part of military service.

I can see the links between these two statements.  Rape is always about power and control; bullying is always about power and control.  It is about subjugating and humiliting another human being. 

Frankly, what the terrorists did on 9/11 was about subjugation and creating fear…and this nation has given everything to make sure that never happens again!  Why…Why do we treat these other issues like they are “part of life.”  Imagine if our Nation’s leadership had stood up on 9/12 and said, “We live in a dangerous world and we should just expect to have our citizens murdered.”

Since lots of other people are giving their opinions on how to stop school shootings – I figured that I would give mine.  Mine comes from experience…not just my own, but I have watched my children face down their bullies as well.

First – children are stupid and they cannot see the consequences of their actions.  I promise you that not a single “high school bully” is looking at this news thinking – “Wow…I better change my ways and be nicer to people.”  Not happening. 

I have taught my children to be kind to everyone, not necessary to be everyone’s friend, but they do have to be kind.  This doesn’t prevent them from being bullied – it just means that the minimum standard of their behavior is to be kind.

My daughter has been bullied, alot.  I used to think that the beautiful girls didn’t get bullied – but she has shown me just how wrong that is.  I have taught her to be kind to everyone, but don’t be a door mat.  Stand up for yourself.  Luckily, she has two older brothers, who have also been taught to protect their sister.  Don’t start anything – but be prepared to finish something.  When she was in second grade she had a third grade boy who wouldn’t leave her alone.  Yes, I know he had a crush on her, but he was also becoming physically violent with her.  He would push her down, pull her hair and try to touch her inappropriately.  The school was called over and over and over again.  There was no result.  Finally, I had enough.  My daughter was given specific instructions to wait with the yard monitor for her brothers to get off the bus at her school and they would take her home.  Her brothers were given specific instructions to beat that kids ass if he started anything.  Don’t kill him – just scare him.  (Her brothers were in 4th and 6th grade.)  Then, I told the Principal the “new” plan for my daughters protection.  The Principal apparently informed the other parents and her tormentor – he never got near her again.

The one thing that I have noticed about school administrators and teachers is that they really don’t know what to do with a child who is being tormented.  If I had a nickle for everytime someone said to me, “You bring it on yourself,” I could have gone to Harvard or Yale.  Yes, it was my fault that I was different.  It was my fault that I preferred baseballs to Barbies.  It was my fault that I was reading Edgar Allen Poe and Shakespeare when the other kids were reading Judy Bloome novels and comic books.  It was my fault that I was fascinated with science and biology.  It was my fault that I loved to learn and study and play football and catch worms.  It was my fault that when my female classmates were buying bras I was still buying baseball cards (I love that gum!)

It was my fault that I joined the Army.  It was my fault that I was a woman.  It was my fault that I was good at my job.  It was my fault that I was a threat to a man’s ego.  It was my fault I got hired for a job he wanted.

WHEN IN THE HELL ARE WE GOING TO STOP BLAMING THE VICTIMS!

There are all of these programs in schools about character and about tolerance.  The thousands of dollars we are spending on these programs is not helping.  The programs are useless.  If they were working we wouldn’t be talking about another school shooting – about another teenage suicide.  All of this transcends into adulthood, for both the perpetrators and the victims. 

Administrators and Teachers – stop and look.  Don’t blame the victims.  It is okay in this world for someone to be different.  I had a very special teacher who taught me to write.  She gave me little story starters when I was done with my work (mostly so I wouldn’t disturb others – I have always been a social person.)  That was over 30 years ago…and I still like to write.  She would take 10 minutes out of her day to make little notes in the margain – and to tell me I was special.  I was blessed, I had a lot of teachers who were kind to me, and they made school bearable.  I also had a handful of administrators who considered me a problem.  Never the other kids…just me…because I was different.

I am different.  I have learned to be more accepting – although I still have times where those ugly voices in my head remind me everytime I say something stupid.  I still like baseball.  I still like medicine.  I like Poe and Shakespeare.  I like to write.  I still love those few teachers that took a moment out of their day – they are in my prayers.

The difference between a shooter and a survivor?  Hope.  Hope that tomorrow will be better.  Hope that out there in this nasty world is someone who will love us for who we are. 

Hope for peace – both in our world and in our heads. 

Peace,

Joan

Advertisements