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Youth Rebellion

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Why The Children Are Going Down With Guns Blazing

By James Donahue

The Sandy Hook, Columbine High School killings and the other random acts of violence by children with guns in hand is a relatively new phenomenon in American history. Why is it happening?

The masses, long programmed to trust their government system of handling a crisis, are doing exactly as they are expected to do. They are forming committees to talk about the problem, listening to the advice of so-called "experts" on child criminal behavior, mental health and gun control, and out of frustration and fear, are allowing police to arrest and try these children in the courts as if they are grown adults. The theory is that a tough response to youth violence and especially gun control will put a stop to it.

That we have been having so many acts of violence by children should be signaling to those "experts" that something is seriously wrong.

It has been a few years since I walked in the shoes of a child. But my work often put me in contact with young people and I have been doing what I think the police, our public educators, lawmakers and especially child counselors should be doing. I talked to the youth and listened to what they had to say.

I don't mean listening to the superficial words. Children are smart. When cornered with a television camera and microphone in their face, they will spew out exactly what they think the adult world around them wants to hear. They only tell their true feelings when they trust the listener. For children, the adult world is so twisted they soon learn that punishment is the only reward for being honest. Consequently, it takes work for an adult to build enough trust in a child or teenager to get them to talk about what is really on their mind.

I think I know why the children are becoming anarchists, why they are rebelling against the social order we have created for them, and why a few of them are dramatically committing suicide and taking teachers, school administrators and fellow students with them.

Children in America feel totally enslaved by a system that has them funneled to either fit a certain, very narrow mold, or go down in flames. Those who have seen Pink Floyd's classic film "The Wall" should remember the public school episode, when you see children of all shapes, sizes and race riding into a brick building on a conveyor belt. Inside the building each child drops off the end of the belt into a machine that tears them apart, twists them around like a piece of clay, and then spews them out on a second conveyor belt. As they emerge, they all look exactly alike. What is shocking about the scene is that the emerging children are all dressed alike, they have no faces and no individuality. But they are accepted by the faceless society that awaits them.

"The Wall" is not a new film. It was created at least 30 years ago. The statement was true then, and the situation for children is even worse today. Any child who chooses to be creative, to attempt to look within and know himself or herself, to resist the tug and pull of the programming we have created for them, or simply question what they are being told, is trampled. That child, if he dares to speak his mind or do his or her will, is singled out by teachers, counselors, ministers, other students and sometimes even his or her parents as a misfit.

To be assured of success every child must look, behave, dress and achieve in a certain acceptable manner. The child must excel in some school extra curricular activity such as sports, music or, as it is in the agricultural community where I live, in 4-H or FFA. He or she must be relatively handsome, popular among his or her peers, get "average" grades but not be too smart academically. The child must belong to an organized religion, never question what he or she is taught, must not think of sexual activity until married, and must never drink alcohol, smoke a cigarette, or try marijuana. After graduation from high school, the student must consider going on to some form of higher learning or risk spending the rest of his or her life slaving on a low-paying job slinging hamburgers in the local fast food restaurant.

Even this mold is changing as the employment field continues to go dry. It was recently reported that McDonald's Restaurants is now requiring college graduates to work behind cash registers.

As I say, most children are much smarter than the adults around them think. They are born psychics. Many of them are choosing to rebel against the system because they know (1.) the world they are told to accept is not real, (2.) the environment that maintains the real world is crumbling, (3.) there is no future left for them, and (4.) the adults around them are nothing more than programmed slaves who are working hard to make them conform so that they can spend the rest of their lives in forced slavery. If lucky, they can go on to higher learning and become programmed slave masters for the corporations.

The children who rebel know this. They talk about it among their own trusted peer groups while they indulge in such mind-expanding (but highly illegal) drugs as marijuana and LSD. They have nowhere else to go for relief. Many are diagnosed as suffering from Attention Deficit Disorder and hooked on Ritalin or some other form of aphetamine narcotic as a way for forcing conformity.

Small wonder that many of them choose suicide rather than remain in this body and attempt to battle a system designed to destroy them.

Consider what we do to the child today who dares to smoke a marijuana cigarette, carry a knife to school, or write on paper a list of names of the people he targets as his worst enemies.

In the small town of Port Hope, Michigan, near where I grew up, a 15-year-old boy was recently expelled from school after a teacher and the school principal found a list of names in his personal papers. The list included the names of a few students, some teachers, and names of nationally-known figures. The school administration considered it a "hit-list" and turned it over to the police. A police investigation followed. The immediate fate of this boy is unclear. In the meantime, he is marked for permanent disgrace. Even though his name was not used in the newspaper stories about the incident, everybody in a town that size, knows his identity.

Consider the high school student who recently wrote an essay for his English class about what it would be like to shoot up a school and kill his classmates. The boy was obviously thinking about the Colombine school massacre when he wrote his essay. His paper was turned over to the police. The boy was arrested, tried and convicted of what I can only describe as an Orwellian "thought crime." He did nothing wrong. He only dared to think of what it would have been like to walk in the shoes of two boys who really did shoot up a school.

Then there was a story about a 17-year-old high school senior who got in serious trouble after his parents found a half-smoked marijuana cigarette in his pants pocket and called the police. The parents were programmed to "do the right thing." This boy was arrested and tried as an adult for possession of a controlled substance. He was sentenced to spend time in jail and, because he was a juvenile at the time, his case was turned over to child protective service. He was removed from his home and prohibited from seeing his parents or his brothers and sisters for fear that he would be a bad influence. Now, with a police record, this boy's life is literally ruined. All because his parents turned him over to authorities for having a part of a marijuana cigarette in his pocket. The many readers who have experienced marijuana know the truth behind this story. This boy could well have been doing worse and much more dangerous things than simply "smoking a joint" with his friends.

My wife and I raised four very bright children. Because we were lucky enough to have gone through the system when free thinkers could still slip through the cracks once in a while, we did not suffer the way contemporary children do. Also, we were both raised in the church, and for a while, thought we believed the stories that were spoon-fed to us. Because we appeared to be fitting the mold, we managed to get the training we needed to become professional people. We broke loose later in life after it was too late to stop us.

Not so for our children. All of them were singled out by their teachers. Although they had I.Q's that tested in the genius level, they were "punished" for being different, forced to sit among the special classes for slow learners, and, if we hadn't intervened, would have been given psychiatric counseling. They suffered because they dared to express a different point of view and not accept everything they were told as the gospel truth.

It is not surprising then that children are starting to rebel in such a violent manner. They hate the system of self-imposed slavery we have created for ourselves. They hate the destruction of our personal liberties. They hate the police state that watches their every move. They hate the fact that they have absolutely no civil rights while they remain juveniles. And most of all, they hate the fact that their parents and grandparents remain willing to sacrifice their own freedoms, their constitutional rights and their environment, all for the sake of the god they really worship. The name of that god is MONEY.

While I cannot condone their action, I understand the reasons behind the school shootings. These children are making a statement. What they are doing might be compared to the actions of a few Buddhist monks of Tibet, who burned themselves alive in the town square to protest the destruction of their temples by the invading Chinese.

In a sense, the dynamic murder-suicides by children in our public schools may be a last-ditch effort to teach the rest of us something important. If this is the case, I hope their sacrifices are not made in vain.