Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Where the Killers Come From

Recent teen suicides in Howard County have prompted soul-searching, heartbreak, and anger.  How can this be happening to our children?  What kind of a culture do we have that proves so toxic to our adolescent children? Where do bullies come from? Why?


I can't answer why, but I think I know where.

I recently got involved in a war of words on the Hoco Blog Tales of Two Cities. I took issue with the following comment:

 "Yup. And remember, the HCEA (Howard County Education Association) cares about one thing: its members. Don't let them try to convince you that they give a crap about education or students. They're all about the $."

I found it to be "rude, ill-informed, and sadly out-of place."  Rude--teachers don't give a crap; ill-informed--they only care about the money; sadly out-of-place--because it didn't promote open-minded exchange of ideas. Well, then the avalanche began. It was as though I had asked the heavens to open and pee on the whole Choose Civility movement. 

Now, I am an adult, and I expressed my opinion in an open forum. I'm a big girl, and I made a choice. I could have held my tongue if I feared the consequences.

But that is just the problem--today, especially on the internet, we have to be afraid. Because there are bullies out there who use any expression, employ any technique to rip you to shreds if you disagree. Or even if you oppose meanness and bullying.

These people, every day, are creating and perpetuating a world that is to be feared. And what they write is read by others. And modeled by others.

And these people may have children who learn to share their methods, and their values.

When thoughtful people stand by while another gets eviscerated, they are a part of the torment.
And yet they do--we do--because we are afraid. Because we don't want to get involved. Because we think it's not really our cause to fight.  Sound familiar? It would to our teens.

"By their fruits ye shall know them."  Oh, we know them.

Now what?



  1. Excellent post as usual!! I understand completely the idea of not getting involved, so as not to get ripped as well. I am guilty of this from time-to-time as well. Somedays, I just cannot stomach the poor behavior of some posters, particularly the anonymous as they have nothing to loose. I will not post Anonymously because I think it hurts the civility of the discussion. I don't talk to someone thru a solid wall because I want to know who I am talking to, I am engaging, and sharing, not tossing over the wall. I am sorry you had a bad experiece and continue to Post on. You are my hero for the day!!

    1. Al--I enjoy seeing your name come up as you comment around the blogosphere, because I know that what you say will be thoughtful, courteous, and fun to read. Your voice is a valuable one. Write on!

  2. Whenever people try to boil down politics into blurbs - "The Union blackmailed its members into voting" - they are trying to create fear. There was a great Outlook column in last week's Sunday WaPo about how conservative people are much more likely to believe outright categoricals more strongly than more liberal people. Fear plays into that psyche as well, as liberals are typically better with change. Conservatives fear change, thus using scare tactics is a more common technique & more appealing to their already existing base.

    And I think calling out somebody as rude & uninformed is not're merely asking them to contribute more discussion points.

    1. Thank you for highlighting the issue of fear-mongering. So, so true. It's been a rough week for me on that score, as you might imagine. Thank you for your intelligence and forthrightness--I'm a fan.


Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.