Friday, April 20, 2007

Is THIS the America I want my kids to grow up in?

When you ask most Americans what they think represents England most to them they'll give you three answers.
  • Double Decker Buses
  • The Royal Family
  • Tea.
If you ask most people overseas what they think represents America most to them, they may come up with three answers.
  • American Flag
  • War
  • Guns.
Astounding. When my aunt came to visit us here in the U.S. once, she had an almost apoplectic fit when she saw a Police Officer in McDonalds, having lunch while wearing his gun. I know that before I came here, I thought naively, EVERYONE had guns and that on a daily basis, someone somewhere was getting shot. Not in an an apocolyptic way, just kind of how you see in TV shows as that was the only source of information we mostly got.

Having lived here now for over 8 years, I can safely say, that isn't the case! Really! Aside from the fact that I have never heard of anyone getting shot, I work at the Police Department and in the 2 and a half years I have worked there, we have never had anyone shoot at someone or have someone being shot.

Yet disturbingly, things have changed.

About two weeks ago, a student at my son's high school recently took his own life. He was apparently found in his fathers vehicle, and had used a gun. The Principal UNBELIEVABLY announced this suicide over the loudspeaker system installed in the school. He actually used the words "This morning, a student of ours was found dead after having shot himself in the head". HE USED THOSE EXACT WORDS! I shit you not... I believe the school brought counselors in and they were available to all students. I would assume after being told in this manner that everyone took advantage of those counselors.

Yesterday, ANOTHER student killed herself. Someone must have spoken with the Principal about how he managed his last announcement, as this time, teachers went into each individual class room and spoke with the students in a more personal way. The note we got home yesterday stated that an "Outside Crisis Intervention Team in addition to staff psychologists and social workers" has been brought in to help.

WTF is going on??????

Elsewhere in the U.S. (as I'm sure you are all aware) there has been the recent Virginia Tech shootings. Scary scary stuff. Scary, that we can't send our kids to school without wondering whether the News Break that suddenly appears at noon is something that may be happening to the school that my child attends. Scary that when I see Mentor Public Schools on my Caller ID this morning I IMMEDIATELY panic that 'IT' has happened and I sent my child to school. (It was just the school confirming an appointment - luckily). Already today, a local school has been closed with threats.

This morning before Daniel went to school, he told me that on the local teen MySpace pages (that almost every teen in the world uses) there have been threats of copycat shootings and other revenge ideas going around. Dan said that many students weren't even going to school today. Yet I still sent him. Once he had left, Georgia came in to the living room all upset, eyes red and informs me that there have been lots of threats made (again via MySpace) to her school and that the local Police Department is aware of this and the school is on High Alert and that she doesn't want to go to school. Yet I sent her.

What am I supposed to do? I feel bad but should I bow down to idiot kids who want to disrupt everyone's life?

Oh, and as a side note, today is the anniversary of the Columbine shootings.

Blimey, the only thing I had to worry about when I went to school was my sewing teacher "Baggy Bowler" and whether I had done my homework to scratch....

When I moved here to America, I never thought I would be in this situation. There are really so many fantastic things about living here in America, so many it would take all day to tell you, but it only takes one or two events to make you wonder......

No comments: