by Joe Kirkpatrick
This month I am combining two previous articles I have written. I first wrote "Prayer and Whoop Ass" in 1999 as a response to the massacre at Columbine High School. In 2008, near the 10th anniversary of Columbine, I ran the same article again with an additional two paragraphs at the beginning to update what had happened from 1999 - 2008. Sadly, I must write this preface here in 2012 after the Newtown, CT massacre this month, which was the second worst mass killing in the history of the United States. After Newtown, there has been an immediate cry for laws to increase gun control. I am not a gun owner, nor do I allow them in my home. Fact is, more people are shot by people they know than are shot in acts of violence by strangers. As I write this, the nightly news from our local TV station just reported about a three year old boy who found a gun in his home and accidentally shot himself, and he later died in the hospital. However, despite all of this, I am a realist. I have seen how well increased anti drug legislation has worked out (yeah, right!), and even though I do not believe in having guns in my home, I feel increased anti gun legislation would mean law abiding citizens would have less guns, and the criminals would have more. If you are for increased gun legislation, let me leave you with one question: In nearby Chattanooga, there have been over forty gang related murders by guns in the past year. How many of those guns do you think were legally owned and registered? Below are the past articles concerning this growing problem:
In the past nine years, I have written and published over 100 articles in The People News, as well as other publications. However, the article below that I wrote back in 1999 is what I consider to be the most important one that I have ever written. I wrote this article shortly after the massacre at Columbine High School, which marked the beginning of a wave of school killings that were to come. Since my article was published, security has been tightened at most every school in the United States, and many now have a full time police officer on the premises. Despite all of that, there have been over 100 school shootings since Columbine, many involving multiple fatalities.
Why have all these added security measures failed? It's simple: We created safer schools, but we failed to make safer students. Many schools instituted "Zero Tolerance" offenses, only to water the policy down, where in many cases, it is a joke. Even for a school system that tries to enforce it, the federal government passed laws exempting "special education" students. For those of you who don't know, mentally retarded students are now just a small part of "special ed." Even a child who is gifted can now fall under the special education classification. Approximately 50% of prison inmates have a mental capacity or mental condition that would qualify them to be "special ed" if they were in a public school.
What is the solution? I stand by what I offered in 1999, 100 plus school shootings ago:
Prayer and "Whoopass"
As I was sitting through the honors program at a local middle school the other night, the overall length of the program gave me about an hour of idle time, something I rarely get. As I read and re-read the program to have something to do, it hit me as to what is wrong with our schools today as far as the elevation of violence. In the program, there was a list of all of the faculty members. In looking at the list, one position leaped out at me: "Time Out and Attendance Teacher." What the hell is "Time Out?" I'll tell you what it is if you don't already know: It's when a teacher takes a misbehaving student, sends them down to the "Time Out" teacher so they can "reflect" on what they did wrong. Does it not occur to anyone but me this might just give this student time to think of what they need to do to GET EVEN?
We've become a generation of new affluence. I don't know of hardly anyone who doesn't have a better lifestyle today than what they had as a child. Thusly, many people do not want their children to endure the hardships they had as a child. Teachers today in elementary schools are many times confronted by "problem parents" before they encounter "problem children." Parents today are quick to go confront a teacher over minor discipline - a big departure from my generation. In my generation, we had no school shootings. In my generation, very few parents ever confronted a teacher. In my generation, we had PRAYER AND WHOOPASS!
Do any of these "problem parents" who don't want their children to have any type of corporal punishment ever stop to think we did not have school shootings back when we had "Prayer and Whoopass" in our schools?
When I was in school, we had plenty of both. My elementary school was not a "Christian School" by today's standards, but we had classroom prayer every morning, and old Miss Boyd taught our mandatory weekly Bible class. I can still remember her shouting out the books of the Bible like a football cheer as we were made to memorize them. When I was in fourth or fifth grade, somebody somewhere complained about having their child having to take Bible class, so it became where a student could bring a note from their parent and get out of taking it. Well, I saw this as an easy way to get out of work, so I forged a note, signing my mothers name to it, and got out of Bible class. A few weeks later, a woman who attended our church called my mother and asked why she had written a note to exempt me from Bible class - seems her child had given her the old "Joe's mother let him get out of it" spill. You know what this minor little infraction of mine got me? I got a good dose of Prayer and Whoopass, and I sure didn't forge any more notes from my mother! To be honest, I didn't mind the prayer part, but the "Whoopass" part always got to me.
What is it going to take to turn things around? Well, unfortunately, it has taken a recent tragic wake up call at Columbine High School to get the country's leaders at least thinking about what to do. Stricter gun control, though maybe needed, is not the answer. Parents supporting discipline, and letting God have a foothold back in our schools is the answer - because as I said in the beginning of this article, when Prayer and "Whoopass" was in our schools, there was no such thing as school shootings.
Any comments? You can contact Joe at his e-mail address at the top left of this page.