What’s Going On With These Kids Today?

I’m currently reading a wonderful novel by Wally Lamb called The Hour I First Believed. So far, it’s a very heart-wrenching read, and it’s got me thinking.

It’s about a man named Caelum who is a school teacher. His wife, Maureen, is a school nurse. They’ve just moved to Colorado and have been working at Columbine High School for a year or so.
On the morning of April 20, 1999 when hell reigns at Columbine, Caelum is across the country arranging the funeral for his Aunt Lolly, the last remaining member of his family.

His wife, Maureen, is hiding inside a cabinet in the library at Columbine High as two monsters murder children on the other side of the thin plywood cabinet door.

I remember the Columbine shooting. I was graduating high school that year, and until then, school shootings were generally unheard of. I guess you could say Columbine started the evil, sickening fad.

As I read this book, I’m thinking about all the bloodshed that has followed. From Virginia Tech to Sandy Hook… colleges to elementary schools. It makes me wonder what happens to people to make them capable of something like that.

I live with my share of mental/mood illnesses. I’ve been through the teenage angst stage. I was never the most popular, and I never had a serious boyfriend in school.

The recovered journals of these boys who killed so many innocent people show two kids with low self-esteem, kids desperate for girlfriends, kids with a hatred for the “popular” group. These kids were hurting, acting out, even writing papers about killing people and turning them in for school assignments.

Now I know, at the time (pre-Columbine), this wasn’t taken seriously as a threat, but where were the people who read that stuff and thought, “hey, this kid needs somebody to talk to.”

Why do I see videos on YouTube of three and four year old little boys with sagging pants imitating thugs while their parents laugh in the background? Why have I met a 12 year old smoking a cigarette who told me to mind my own fucking business when I asked him how old he was?

When did being dangerous, threatening, and “bad” become funny or okay? I read a short story once about a woman who was afraid of her teenage son. He’d hit her if he didn’t get his way. The story ended with her killing him in his sleep.

There is something wrong here. If people don’t start stepping up and raising their children right from the start, the compassionate, law-abiding people will be a minority. If ANYTHING good can come from these heart-breaking stories, it should be a warning.  Stop letting kids raise themselves. Will there still be a few bad apples? Yes. But something’s gotta give.


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