Saturday, May 19, 2018

oops turned around and there was another school shooting. now that i'm in a school every day i should probably pay attention; over half of my students have access to one gun or another, and i just made about half of them very angry. not sure if it's the same half. but i can tell you this: there's a general lack of respect around that didn't used to be that way.

i partly blame the movies. my own kids spend hours on movies, and i know they turned away from having truly good people win about forty years ago. now the ones who win are the ones who show no respect, in one way or another. they're too cool for politeness or for at least honoring the system. once i explained to my students who dirty harry was. he was one of the first to be a good guy, and to tell the local police department to shove it. and this was a best-selling movie. after that, every movie was like that. the good guy was the maverick, who didn't care to follow the rules.

now a lot of people blame mental illness, and figure anyone who would go home and get a gun, or a AR-50 or an arsenal, and bring it back and shoot up the school pretty much has to be sick. like they can't distinguish between the shoot-em-up video games they play all day long, and an actual situation with hallways and real people. well, they have a point, and that is that if you spend six or seven hours shooting up video-game people, and only an hour or so walking in those hallways, which is more real? no question that the real guns are real; they're all over the place. i think what becomes unreal is somebody trying to tell you where to get off. people don't do that anymore. if some teacher does it, or god forbid a sub, as i am, then, it's all over. talk about unreality.

i have kids who can't read too well, ninth graders who seem to have been passed along without doing much actual reading. they reach a point where they have to read something, and they can't, partly because they never really have. they have some other tricks they do instead, but sometimes they don't work. sometimes a little thing points out how little they have actually read. sometimes you can just tell: almost nothing. so what do they do? i don't know but it doesn't prepare them very well for anything. it prepares them, really, for an overwhelming frustration, and a sense that the whole world is speaking a language they don't understand. there are a lot of these kids. in a system with classes of thirty students, it's almost impossible to keep them from getting answers from their friends.

this is not to say they don't know the world of games, though. put them in a room full of computers and they have halo up in minutes and they're wandering through some empty warehouse with goons off in the distance that they have to shoot or they themselves will be shot. when they hit one he does a little flip off in the distance and their points go up in a gratifying way. sometimes it's their team, and they have an alliance with some other kid or kids in the room.

i suppose it's like their backup plan. if things don't work out, go grab a real one and go wandering through the halls.


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