29
Feb
12

The Artifice of Stars,Bars and God

I read the story again as I sat in a local Asian restaurant eating some Kong Pao chicken that had been steaming in a broth of salt and MSG for hours. A 17 year old kid shot a bunch of schoolmates in Chardon, Ohio. I had read the story the other day but the subject popped up on an AM talk radio program this morning  and left me bereft all day long. A few callers blamed the incident on the fact that we (our nation) had taken God and the Pledge of Allegiance out of our schools. Aside from the taking away the Pledge of Allegiance statement being a bald-faced lie (unless they did away with it last week-my kid had to go through it every day in school not more than four summers ago) I felt the simplicity of their solution to the problem was infantile, to say the least. Say your prayers and salute the flag and no one gets hurt.

The phrase “Under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all” remains in the pledge here; perhaps in some states it has been removed. If so, they should go ahead and stick it back in. Why not? It makes about as much sense to a kid as saying anything else. I felt the pledge was a droll ritual, a silly thing that parents and grownups made me do. National patriotism comes later in life as we realize the sacrifices that have been put forth so that we may enjoy the luxuries of life given to us as Americans. Kids don’t care about that shit and it certainly doesn’t affect whether or not they are going to decide to pick up a glock and start wasting their fellow students. God isn’t going to stop all the bullets. Whenever a kid goes nuts and starts shooting, it’s either as an act of despair or true mental sickness. Throwing up a picture of Jesus praying on the rock is not going to fix the isolation. Who’s watching the kid? Who helped that kid or just talked to him when he needed an ear to bend? There are a dozen different reasons a kid can go off his (or her) nut but I can’t allow my faith or patriotism to be the do-all, end-all solution to prevent massacres like this from happening again.

We have to face the fact that the box of Pandora has been opened. Getting a firearm is a very doable thing in today’s society. I can walk down Colfax Avenue and within two hours time have all kinds of weapons and drugs and I know a teenager can do the same thing. It all depends on how driven they are by their problems to do it. Are we forcing them into insurmountable amounts of stress by insisting they use every waking moment to achieve rather than allowing them just to be kids? Are false academic curriculum forcing them to feel like failures? Maybe if we worked harder at making this a country to have pride in they would feel some self respect and worth. Maybe if we gave each other the respect to be individuals and quit broadcasting reality based programs that stress the importance of dissing your opposition to the point of bitch-slapping one another we could bring some tolerance back into our society. Maybe if the God you want to bring back to class was a God that accepts a kid for who they are, regardless of color, race, sexual persuasion, etc. we might find a larger wave of peace emanating from our children and the shootings would lessen. There is no permanent cure, there will always be nutjobs out there (I don’t believe nutjob is a clinical term but I’m sure you get the picture). Rather than relying on an image of God or a pattern of stars and stripes, we should look more toward one another for support.

Peace be with the community of Chardon.

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