I have been mulling over the news recently that a 14 y.o. in Philadelphia was arrested (and charged currently as a juvenile) for amassing an arsenal and trying to recruit another teen to help stage a “Columbine type” massacre at his former school.
In and of itself, this may be news, but not new. We’ve seen it in other places since the tragedy at Columbine. But there were a few quirks to this one that drew my attention.
- This boy was home schooled because he had been the target of bullies. That means his parents took appropriate action to keep him safe. That means he was around his parents a lot of the time – or at least one of them.
- His mother bought him the “real guns” he had: 22 caliber hand guns and a 9 mm rifle.
- His guns (“real” and pellet air guns), knives, swords, home-made grenades, DVD of the Columbine shooting, home-made bomb “cook book” and other paraphernalia were exhibited in plain view in his room.
- Little mention has been made of the father, but he lives there.
- He had been called “fat” (which he certainly is) and “strange” (to be determined?) in school.
Let me address these quirks.
- If every person that is called fat or strange acted out like this, with the current state of health in this country and the current rate of obesity, it would be all out war. I’m generally a pacifist, so I would have to take a non-combatant role. But I’m fat and you all know that by now. Just look around you. How many fat people do you see? While many of us are relatively well-adjusted, you can bet we know what folks see and think when they look at us. It’s hurtful sometimes. Our choice is usually self-destruction instead of mass destruction: when we’re in pain, we tend to eat more. Obesity is a slow form of suicide sometimes. So what originally put the idea of mass destruction into the head of an obese teen who has an obese mother. Hmmm…….
- Where is dad? He has not been mentioned or arrested. He has not been photographed that I have yet to see. Is he one of those “absentee” dads – present in body but absent in mind? I wonder what he looks like. Is he obese, too, or does he feel outweighed … I mean, outnumbered … by the obese persons in the home? He certainly doesn’t appear to “wear the pants” if he allows mom to contribute to the obviously growing arsenal. What is he thinking?
- This boy was being home schooled to remove him from the bullies. That would seem to be a smart move on the parents part. The boy gets his education and doesn’t have to put up with other kids who are intolerant of his differentness (adults are really no different than the kids who call others names – they think some of the same things, they’ve just learned to self-censor themselves better). The question for me is “What was this kid being schooled in at home?” Was he learning algebra and American literature? Or was he learning about terror and killing? A bomb making manual? Home-made grenades? Is this chemistry class?!! And who supervises the home schooling? Certainly someone within the Philadelphia school system is responsible for children who get home schooled. How do they monitor what the kids learn? Just one visit to the home would have provided a view of the arsenal of weapons being “collected” by this teen. Surely we’d have all heard the alarm bells go off, wherever we live. So mom and dad get an “A” for effort but an “F” for content.
- Was this a family of recluses? If this arsenal was displayed for anyone to see, wouldn’t a visitor to the home have seen it? How could they not be concerned? If you visited someone whose child had an arsenal displayed in his room, wouldn’t you express some concern?
- Lastly, what about this mother? What mother buys her son one gun, let alone three? I just can’t fathom how a mother, whose job it is to protect her children, would do something that would put that child in harm’s way! Was she humoring her son? Did she think if she bought him the guns he wanted, he would feel less pressure from bullies? The teen is being given a psych evaluation, which he obviously needs. How about the mother? She was arrested – has anyone questioned the sanity of a mother who would provide weapons to her teen son? I think she must have some major issues of her own! What else would explain such insanity?
I was completely – please pardon the expression – blown away by the idea of a parent buying guns for their young teen to collect. These were not hunting weapons. I’m not anti- any guns. I don’t understand the proliferation of them but I’m not totally gun control. I’m a moderate, I guess. I actually got trophies at my local Girls’ Club when I was a teen for shooting a BB gun at a target. I enjoyed target shooting. But this boy’s obsession was way beyond that.
I think people ought to be screened before they have children – not genetically, but morally!