Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Teach the children well

Allow me my rantings . . .

This week I read here about an eight-year-old boy in Maryland who pointed his fingers like a gun at a class mate who pretended to shoot him with a bow and arrow as the class studied Native American culture. The "gun"-toting boy was suspended for "threatening to harm self or others." Although his "gun" was found to be unloaded, his crime was on par with bringing an actual weapon to school.

A five-year-old Pennsylvania girl was suspended for ten days for making a "terrorist threat" with her hot pink Hello Kitty bubble gun she and her friend were playing with as they pretended to be kitties.

A ten-year-old boy was taken into police custody in Virginia for showing his friends on the bus his toy gun  with an orange tip purchased from a dollar store. Hardly a look-a-like gun.  He had forgotten to take it out of his backpack from the weekend of play. He was charged with "brandishing a weapon" and fingerprinted.  He now has a juvenile record and a probation officer.

We throw the book at these youthful "offenders," punishing them to the fullest extent of the law, and then some.

On the opposite end of the power spectrum, wealthy businessmen, powerful politicians, superstar entertainers and athletes are given passes for their proven behaviors of lying, cheating, stealing, drug use, prostitution involvement, extra-marital affairs that often result in children out of wedlock, dalliances with young women in their employ, and the list goes on. These indiscretions are called "personal." Not only are their moral lapses forgiven but they are often elevated to a position of super stardom as political experts, high-paid speakers, narcissists who are immune to rules and punishment and consequences for bad behavior.  These are role models for our children. So now we circle back to the children.

Common sense is called for instead of this Keystone Kop lunacy. This from a country where directions on irons say, "Do not iron clothes on body," and on a portable stroller, "Caution: Remove infant before folding for storage," and my favorite (?): on a motorcycle helmet-mounted rear-view mirror, "Remember, objects in the mirror are actually behind you."

Really? What must other countries think of us?