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Saturday, June 1, 2013

The Sandy Hook School Shooting

Partial exterior of Sandy Hook School with police just arriving.

Time has stood still since 26 people, very young students and teachers lost their lives at the hands of a fellow student who shot them in cold blood. I don' t think that anybody knows why it happened. The why is important because the answer might possibly stop it happening again.

I have a theory as to why this might have happened, as well as all those other school shootings that occur by students. It is only a theory, but I think it is both plausible and dangerous. Because the children at Sandy Hook were so young I don't think that they, as victims contributed in any way to the tragedy, but the actions of others may have.

I'm talking about the all too common practice of bullying among students. It occurs in every school all over the world and seems to be a part of our human nature. It is a fault in the make up of human nature to find someone to pick on so that we feel more superior.

I was a sutdent who was the target of bullying, and I can tell you that had I access to guns I would have shot and killed every one of my tormentors. My story is a long one, but here I give a  summary to show how someone who is bullied can be driven to such an incredible breaking point:

I first joined with a great group of guys who were not interested in gaining an education, but later when I realised I was wasting my life I tried to buckle down to school studies. My "friends" decided that was not going to happen and they turned on me with a deadly frenzy of bullying that culminated with them doing unspeakable things to me in the boys toilet. A teacher came to my rescue, but in the class following the lunch break, which was gardening, the teacher stepped away to report the incident to the school principal. The head bully came over to me to continue the harrassment, taking no notice of the fact that I had a pitchfok, and for his efforts I drove the pitchfok throungh his foot, as far down as it would go, pinning him firmly to the ground. His blood came spurting up through his shoe, and because he was a fat person, I remember his flesh  jerking up and down. I ran around and around, crying and screaming, like a banshee, with no apparent reasoning. However, I was looking for the hoe, and had I found it I would have chopped his head off.

I later taught the second in command a firm lesson, and I scared the leader of the girl's gang so badly she stayed away from school for a week. There was police intervention in the meantime and of course, intervention of my parents and the school administrators. About two weeks later a delegation of the boys who had been my tormentors asked to speak with me. They said that as I had scared the leader and his deputy so badly that meant that I had automatically become the leader, and that they would do whatever I wanted.

I remember excatly what I said and can quote verbatim: "In case you knuckleheads don't realise it, this is a school, a place of learning. We come here to get an education, so what I want you to do is get an education for yourselves, and to leave all of the other students alone who are trying to get the best education they can.  And one more thing, if you don't leave me alone, I will kill you!"

They left me well alone!

I am a very tranquil, non-violent person. My mood and attitude is the same every day. I learnt from that episode to control my anger. When someone provokes me my reaction is generally to go stone cold. If they go on to hurt me, rather than getting angry, I get even. I recognize that my temper is a dangerous thing and I have learned over the sixty-six years since then to control it.

Unfortunately, children are unaware of the danger of their actions when picking on others. They can have no idea of the powerful seeds that they sow, and when the worm turns they will be the first to be surprised.  Schools need to conduct regular reminders of the harmful effects of bullying and to encourage the reporting of such actions when they take place.

As a parent, I cannot imagine how those affected are able to face each new day without their child, struck down in such a heartless manner, especially as at Sandy Hook. Time is frozen for them and there is absolutely nothing that anyone can say to soften the blow. As someone who was driven beyond all reasoning when I was only eight years old, I'm relieved that my reaction did not result in any loss of life. To that I credit the fact that I lived in a society that outlawed guns.

Something to think about!

Copyright (c) 2013  Eugene Carmichael