you hear those three words all the time. Another horrific school shooting? "Only in America". Crazy lawsuit? "Only in America". Entire families killed "Only in America". (Absolutley no offence is intended to my American friends by the way!!)
Now, we have to add Australia to the list, because our society has gone mad. Yesterday morning, at a school ten minutes from my house, a twelve year old boy was stabbed to death. Absolutley devestating, I agree. Now lets add the minor detail about his murderer, being a thirteen year old classmate. Personally (and with no proof!), I think the kid who attacked, was probably bullied.
What in the hell is wrong with our world! We fight wars against terrorism. We send our troops into battle to look for Mass Murderers. And somehow, back here at home, our kids are dying. Not in war. But in their schools.
Three months ago, a 16 year old boy was stabed to death in a shopping centre carpark, two hours away from where I live, by another 16 year old boy. Last year a group of students from one school, invaded another. They took meatcleavers. Two students went to hospital with severe injuries, seven were arrested and charged. Police had the school locked down for four hours, while they tried to get the situation under control.
Yet we can't believe things can reach such a breaking point that a thirteen year old boy takes a knife to school, and kills someone.
God knows bullies aren't dealt with in our society. The victim is treated as the "bad guy". He or She is told not to take it so personally, to walk away, to tell a teacher. All of which do the sum total of nothing. The bully denies it, and the victim continues to get beat up, harassed, emotionally and verbally assulted, and is kept as an outcast. If every person in our schools had two friends they could rely on, I firmly believe bullying wouldn't be nearly as catastrophic as it is. But this isn't a book. You can't just write two reliable friends into young teens lives. They're too independent, to determined to do their lives their ways. Which is ok, as long as they aren't down behind the shed attacking some other person becuase they don't look the same, talk the same, or believe the same. Two friends, that could be relied on to stand up for their friends, not to get caught up in the high school politics, for every person at a school would mean that every person would have someone, a peer, to stand up for them. Bullies are enabled becuase those around them are too scared, or too into the drama to stop them, to stand up for the victim.
Teen Suicide rates are skyrocketing. Obesity is skyrocketing. Depression is skyrocketing. And anti-social, public attacks are skyrocketing. Don't tell me they aren't all related!
I firmly believe that the only reason we haven't had a mass school shooting, on the scale of Columbine, or Virginia Tech, is because in Australia, Guns aren't easy to get. That's the only change, The only difference.
Knives, can be found in any canteen, any kitchen, any Home Ec class, and can be bought, most of the time without even flashing ID, despite the law saying it's required. They are accessible. And these kids, the bullied ones, aren't going to sit back and let themseves be bullied forever. The ones who are hurt enough, angry enough and feel justified enough? They are the ones in our schools, right now, simmering under the surface, dreaming of their day. Their revenge. Their attack. Or their death. Some will fight back, others will just take their own lives, leaving us again, watching the news and shaking our heads in disgust.
They are dangerous. If yesterday has taught us anything, It's that these kids are dangerous. Once upon a time, thirteen meant you were innocent. Twelve meant you were innocent. Apparently, these days the early teen years means you are to be feared. It means your unpredictable, it means your not rational, unreliable and potential deadly. But why is anyone suprised? It's been happening, and escalating for years.
Our kids walk into high schools full of promise, yet so many come out broken, alone and depressed. Every high school teacher used to say "these will be the best years of your life". I don't think they use that spiel anymore. Even they know its all lies. High School is dreadful. It's traumatic. Some days it's downright scary! Do we have ten year reunions to show that despite how horrific we all were in school, that we did turn out to be reasonably decent human beings? Or do the old cliques, the old fears and uncertainties remain? How many people worry about going to their reunions? How many people feel they aren't good enough, don't measure up, and aren't worthy?
This is what high school does to people. We can say "only in America" but the truth is, Australia is no damn better. And it makes me so bloody angry to hear and see people looking stunned, when it's been happening for years and nothing has been done. Maybe now, that it's public, now that some poor kid has gone and destroyed his, and someone elses lives, we as a society will put our feet on the ground and stand up for what is right and wrong, and stop turning our backs and saying "too hard too hard", or worse, ignoring the problem all together.