October 02, 2006

A School Shooting In Amish Country

This verges on the surreal:

Six people were killed by a gunman at a one-room Amish schoolhouse in Lancaster County Monday, according to the county coroner.

Earlier, state police Cpl. Ralph Striebig said "there are a number of people dead. ... The exact number I do not know yet."

The police told FOX News that it was in fact a hostage situation and that the shooter is now killed. There were at least 12 people injured, along with the deaths, police said. Not motive is yet known.

The anti-individualist philosophy and emphasis on humility in the Amish faith makes one of their schools an odd venue for a school shooting, a crime that seems most often linked to those completely immersed in their own selfishness to a homicidal degree.

I'm not sure that anyone can precisely state what the motivations for this shooter or the others in the recent rash of school shootings may be, but I'll go ahead and argue that a society that teaches non-competitiveness on one hand and mindless recreational violence on the other is to blame as the root cause.

Not sure of what I'm talking about?

Check out the youth sports programs in your area schools and parks & recreation departments, and see if they keep score during games, or if they emphasis noncompetitive games. I know some communities where this is the case, because parents don't want children to want to deal with the "trauma" of loosing a tee ball or soccer game. Instead of learning to confront and push through losing to learn from it (which we used to call developing "character"), today's kids are often taught to avoid taking part in situations where they might lose and hurt their all-important self esteem, even if their highly regarded self esteem is unwarranted.

While these examples apply to sports, you can also look to school systems that socially promote children even though they cannot do grade-level work, or even worse, school systems that dumb-down passing grades to such a low level that passing is inevitable. Some tests for some school systems now consider "passing" to be only getting 30%-40% of questions on standardized tests correct.

Our education systems are overrun by teachers who can't teach rote facts, and more importantly, they can't teach our children to think. We are matriculating millions of American children who are completely unprepared to overcome challenges and failures in their lives.

At the same time that these same children are taught that the stupid and arrogant (Bam Margera, Natalie Maines, Paris Hilton, etc) can triumph but they can't, they ae also exposed to a media machine that cranks out slasher movies and extremely violent music lyrics and video games one after another.

We end up with children ill-equipped for success, unable to deal with failure, and programmed to see immediate violence as an acceptable answer to their short-term problems.

We shouldn't question why we've had so many school shootings lately. We should question why we've have had so few.

Update: The shooter has been identified as 32-year old delivery driver who carried out the attack in retaliation for something that happened "decades ago."

As you sow...

Posted by Confederate Yankee at October 2, 2006 01:59 PM | TrackBack

Such a horrible thing to happen. Yet the Brady Bucnh will jump on this.
Have a Blessed Week

Posted by: Patty at October 2, 2006 03:10 PM

Some people are just crazy and there's no need for an explanation.

Posted by: janek at October 2, 2006 03:34 PM

Rather than restrict guns as would be advocated, it would be safer to have better access to them and less restriction. Particularly as law enforcement has given up any pretext to making our world safer, except from hookers.

Posted by: David Caskey, MD at October 2, 2006 04:26 PM

I agree with your theory. Let me add a thought of my own here: I believe the 'child-labor' laws have added to the problem, in that we have precluded 'children' from any worthwhile endeavor that might inculcate some self-respect, as opposed to self-esteem. They are discouraged from achieving in school by a dumbed-down education system, aren't allowed competition in sports and finally, we won't allow 13-17 year olds a job in which they might learn something worth learning.

We keep them mindlessly busy, doing pointless activities and wonder why they're ignorant, bored and sullen.

Posted by: Cindi at October 2, 2006 05:12 PM

Allow me to paraphrase and condense what you just wrote:

"Although I haven't the foggiest idea about what might have caused this shooting, I'm not going to let that detain me from making an array of empirically unsupportable observations and causal claims that ultimately indict Society as the culprit."

Because until Society drained every ounce of competitiveness and character out of our children, hardly anyone had their heads blown off for no good reason.

Posted by: d at October 2, 2006 05:20 PM

Let me add a thought of my own here: I believe the 'child-labor' laws have added to the problem, in that we have precluded 'children' from any worthwhile endeavor that might inculcate some self-respect, as opposed to self-esteem.

Back to the mills and mines with them, I say! Their tiny hands must be good for some sort of productive enterprise. After all, these silly American labor regulations (which offer no exceptions whatsoever, damn them) are taking jobs away from American children and outsourcing them to Vietnam and Indonesia. Think of all the "character" and "self-esteem" our children might acquire from stitching soccer balls or sneakers all day long.

Posted by: d at October 2, 2006 05:26 PM

I almost entirely agree with you. However, your theory needs a small tune-up.

The claim that violent video games, slasher flicks etc. are the root cause of the source of violence in individiuals is demonstratably false. There are easily millions of individuals in the United States alone that enjoy these forms of entertainment and don't ever even have the smallest desire to kill/maim/massacre in the real world.

The root problem you need to address is that the violence stems from what you could consider a "lack of options". These kids are being mentally restrained by their teachers, leaving them in a position where they are physically unable to deal with reality. The result is that when they start having to deal with reality they can't handle it, leaving them confused, scared, and inevitably angry.

The next time you're really angry about something, ask yourself what the underlying emotion of that anger is. I guarantee you, the anger is not the "true" emotion. Anger generally is a cover for the true emotions that you're feeling - i.e. fear, confusion, desperation. The net result here is that these kids are left with nothing but their anger - and have probably never been properly taught to deal with such anger (just as they haven't been properly taught to deal with anything else).

There's only one cause here. Violent media has nothing to do with the ability of these kids to be law-abiding members of society. I guarantee you don't need violent entertainment in order to come to the thought of violence. Everything lies in how we're teaching our kids - and the result is becoming more apparent every day.

Posted by: JohnLocke at October 2, 2006 05:43 PM

C'mon D, you know that's not what she was sayin'. I figured someone would respond with something like that though. I have to disagree with Cindi on the basis that there are things that kids can do around the neighborhood to get some money, if they're ambitious enough to do it. Mow lawns, shovel driveways, etc.. If a kid wants to work and earn some cash, they're not gonna sit around the house waiting until they turn 16 so they can finally get a little income.

I'm not sure if I agree with all the non-competetive stuff turning kids into whackjobs, or music/video games/etc.. There were lunatics prior to Grand Theft Auto III and Cannibal Corpse.

Posted by: paully at October 2, 2006 05:48 PM

CY, you should be ashamed of a post like this. How vile. Clearly, liberals in society are at fault for this. Are you kidding me? And blaming Natalie Maines? Are you out of your skull? That is just low class.

I have to say though, I found this statement you made amusing--"We end up with children ill-equipped for success, unable to deal with failure, and programmed to see immediate violence as an acceptable answer to their short-term problems."

Sounds like the children of Confederates and Confederate sympthaizers to me.

Posted by: E at October 2, 2006 07:15 PM

No, no, E -- Confederates settled disputes through character-building techniques like duels and lynchings and such.

Posted by: d at October 2, 2006 10:54 PM

and have probably never been properly taught to deal with such anger

We just drug'em today if they're a problem. Back in the 60's when I was in grade school, there was none of that crap. If you got out of line, you got smacked. Now you get a behavioral counceling, self esteem evals, etc.

Posted by: Purple Avenger at October 2, 2006 11:44 PM

"Natalie Maines named as unindicted co-conspirator in Amish country school shooting. Dhimmi Chicks, at jihadi training in Pakistan, unavailable for comment."

Posted by: Doc Washboard at October 3, 2006 08:36 AM


You've totally missed the point with violent video games. The problem is not that they are violent - that's been around since the dawn of video games. The problem is the transition from "3 Lives and that's it" (3LTI) carry-over from the coin-op era to the current "infinite do-over"(IDO) that is common today. In the days before IDO, if you screwed up 3 times, in the home version you had to start over and in the coin-op you had to put in another quarter. This instilled a sense of responsibility, personal accountability and urgency and a desire for excellence. Now with IDO, you can screw up as many times as you want and you always can back up to the last "winning" scenario. This teaches children that no matter how many times they screw up, they can always get a do-over. This dovetails far more concretely with your other point; take away the consequences of your actions - and if you screw up and lose, that's a consequence - then it's really no big deal. Think about it.

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