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Tuesday, March 6, 2001

I guess I don't have much to say about the school shootings. It's a sick, sick world we live in. I can't even relate to that kind of thing. I'm passť, a refugee from the distant past, when children almost never killed their schoolmates, smiling as they blew them away after boasting about it for days.

There were nerdy loners in my high school, way back when. I know this, because I think I was one of them. I was the kid who was picked on in junior high, but by high school I was just pretty much ignored. Somehow I got through it. Besides, there were no guns in my house anyway. I wouldn't have known how to get hold of one.

I coped by staying out of people's way, as much as possible. I kept to myself, rarely spoke up, and dressed as drably as possible, anything not to attract attention. It never occurred to me that I could strike back. I also never thought about getting help, from a teacher or sympathetic classmate. Getting a gun and looking for revenge? Who, me? I couldn't do it, even if I'd thought of it.

Of course, I also didn't see school violence every day, on the news and in movies and TV shows. There was no Internet, where I could lose myself in a different, more powerful and confident identity. Teachers weren't afraid of students yet, so no one defied them (or in any event, the ones who did were shunned). As unhappy as I was at the time, I wouldn't trade places with a teenager of today.

Kids deserve to be safe in school. Metal detectors and locker searches are necessary only because we've made it too easy to get a gun. But these measures don't solve the root problem. Guidance from parents and teachers, and an atmosphere of civility in society in general, would go far toward giving young people a chance to become responsible adults, instead of headlines and statistics.

It wasn't always this way. It doesn't have to be this way.

Please read Patrick's powerful entry.

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