Archived Story

Societal change is to blame

Published 9:19am Wednesday, December 26, 2012

What have we become? We live in a very sick and dangerous society! The Sandy Hook Elementary School massacre is just one more tragic example. The senseless waste of so many innocent young lives is truly heartbreaking. The knee-jerk response is going to be “let’s ban the guns.”

In reality we know that’s not possible. When I was in high school over 50 years ago, you occasionally would see a student carrying a rifle or shotgun down the school hallways on his way to woodshop, where he planned to refinish the gunstock as a class project. No one felt threatened, and no threats were ever made. During this same era at least half of the boys who drove to school had a gun in their car trunk as they planned to hunt after school. This was an innocent and safer time. If you lived in the rural areas, you probably did not lock your doors. The attitude was if someone wanted in bad enough they would break the door down. If the door was left unlocked, whoever wanted in would hopefully close the door on the way out, keeping the cats, dogs and chickens out of the house.

What changed? What have we as a society done that has caused the current wave of mass shootings often focused on our schools where we have children shooting children? We had bullies 50 years ago; getting beat up is not a new occurrence. But our generation did not grab a gun and shoot our antagonists. The thought never even crossed our minds. Consider when mass shootings began. There is a correlation with the advent of violent video games and Hollywood’s violent and bloody movies. Our youth have become totally desensitized to violence. We their parents let it happen!

There is also an increase in mentally unstable individuals living among us, who often live in a fantasy world of video games. These unstable children and adults are not diagnosed as dangerous, until after the fact. Add drugs and alcohol to the mix and you have a recipe for disaster. Could it be that our teachers so fear repercussions from parents they just look the other way when they see a troubled youth? Could it be that the help for these disturbed youth is not readily available? How can we keep our children safe?

The school in Connecticut was locked down when school was in session. More precautions would have been difficult. Generations ago, if you acted up in class, you either got a rap across the knuckles with a ruler, stood in a corner in front of the class or sent to the principal’s office with the threat of an old-fashioned paddling. Justice was swift and firm. Currently if you misbehave in school, mom and dad will threaten the school with a lawsuit. It’s getting to the point where our teachers deserve combat pay. We as a society are at fault!


Don Sorensen

Albert Lea