<<“I’m the ruler,” said Yertle, “of all that I see. But I don’t see enough; that’s the problem with me.”>>

This quote from Dr. Seuss’s Yertle the Turtle sort of sums up what I’m thinking about today. I was out & about this morning, stopped to get a USA Today (good science & technology articles for my high schoolers), and the front page had a picture of the 17 year old from the Ohio school shooting earlier in the week. Of course, the people who “know” him describe him as being an “average and happy” teen — first mistake is saying that. No teen I know is both happy AND/OR average!! haha….

Anyway, what hurt me was the picture of T.J. Lane. He’s looking down, blank expression, wearing a bullet-proof vest on top of his button-down, crisply ironed, tan shirt. “What has this kid been through?” I wondered, looking at the picture on the way back to the car. “And who’s hurt him so much that he thought killing people was a good idea?” When I read the article, it was clear to me that he was neither “average” or “happy” and no one, it seems, could “see enough”. I think that’s hurtful, and mostly why I wanted to work with problemed kids.

But then, I hear stories like the one on NPR this morning about Los Angeles giving tickets to kids who are tardy to school, and there’s the answer: we just aren’t nice to each other. We punish people first and ask questions later. Like Yertle the Turtle, we keep to ourselves rather than get to know the neighbors (guilty!). Or only associate with people who look like us, believe like us, and act like us. We’re afraid to learn another language if we’re native English speakers because somehow that’s bad for American society (I’m probably generalizing about that!). It’s all around us, especially since what happened on September 11, 2001. I mean, I don’t think being mean is something new, but it seems to me that it’s at the forefront (anyone been watching the Republican presidential candidates lately?).

I don’t think anyone will really know what kind of home life T.J. Lane had, or really why he shot other kids in his school; however, I think it’s safe to say that something was wrong  way before this — and it doesn’t look like anyone took the time to notice. The article does say that he had been sent to an alternative school for a while, and since I’ve worked in that environment, I’m wondering what those teachers are saying/thinking? Did they see this coming because they saw his sociopathic nature? Or was he a confused kid in an environment where people just looked the other way?

Geez…what a depressing topic for the first day of the Slice of Life challenge???? Sorry to be such a downer, but the visual image from the newspaper sort of caught me off guard this morning….