Even in small town America
On Nov. 29, 2010, in a small town called Marinette, a young teenage boy held an entire classroom at gunpoint. The stand-off lasted several hours. He never hurt anyone and some of the hostages were released for different reasons. Then he fired off a couple rounds at a computer in the classroom, and the police charged into the school. Rather than be taken into custody, he shot himself, according to Fox 11 Online.
Now a teenage boy is dead and no one knows why. There was no note, no clues, no hint to anyone as to what had caused him to do this. But one thing is clear: He felt so desperate, so utterly alone, and so completely out of options that the only choice he believed he had left was death. He was only 15 years old.
It is everywhere, even when we don’t hear about it
Violence is rampant in America. It is in movies, video games, mainstream media, music, television, and real life. The example cited above is not exclusive. A certain number of violent acts takes place in some schools every day. Thankfully not on the same magnitude, but most of us take it for granted that in places like inner city schools, some kids are beaten, stabbed, and raped on a recurring basis.
Yet we are not as surprised by it, as we are when it happens in a small town. Instead we tend to gloss over it and look the other way. Why? Because we have come to expect violence and crime in areas of poverty. Which begs the question: In an economy like we face today, what happens if all of America ends up in poverty? Will crime and violence take over the country as we know it?
A simple truth
The more you are exposed to something, the less sensitive you become to it. We get so used to hearing about violence in third world countries that seem so far away, it is almost unreal. Likewise, we are so used to the assumption that violence takes place in poor neighborhoods and underprivileged schools, that we almost accept it as a commonplace event.
It is not until something big happens, in our own backyard, that we are truly shocked by it! We have become desensitized in much of our thinking, but violence is a real issue, and unless we acknowledge that and deal with it on a fundamental level (in schools, in our homes, in our relationships), it will never go away.
Kristin Crowley – http://www.fox11online.com/dpp/news/local/north_counties/Marinette-hostage-talks (Marinette Hostage Talks)
School of Education, University of Virginia – http://youthviolence.edschool.virginia.edu/violence-in-schools/national-statistics.html (Virginia Youth Violence Project, National Statistics)
Media Awareness Network – http://www.media-awareness.ca/english/issues/violence/violence_entertainment.cfm (Violence in Media Entertainment)