It’s important to me to keep my readers updated so you know I’m aware of the defendants I’m working with.
I read, listened to ‘911’ calls re: the recent Florida school shooter which may or may not be exactly accurate but it’s the general drift of his background that I want to compare with the guys in Marc’s case. The circumstances can be used to gauge the youth you may be dealing with.
There are indicators in youth that can give you an idea if they are a danger to themselves or a danger to society –
The FL shooter is unlike the defendants in Marc’s case. I don’t want my friends, family to think I haven’t thought about my own safety in dealing with them. There are kids out there who are open to help and some are not. Some youth feel guilt for doing wrong, some don’t.
But in the meantime we need to be aware & evaluate those around us so we don’t start fearing all troubled youth –
- The Florida shooter had a history of anti-authoritarian behavior, he had problems with teachers, different parenting authorities over the years. The defendants in Marc’s case did not have those issues with parents from what they told me..
- The FL shooter we now know made many statements both in person and online about wanting to kill people, wanting to be a school shooter, even the ex-boyfriend of his girlfriend said Nick wanted to kill him and sent him emails of his guns. The boys in Marc’s case weren’t predatory types causing mayhem where they went. They were pretty quiet, peaceful young men, not blaming others society for their problems.
- The Florida youth, (and other shooters), had FB, Instgram & Utube pages that had been reported as being very violent and disturbing. I made sure I checked Wesley’s social media and he’s …. liked, by many, and just posts general male teen stuff, some of it so sweet or silly.
- There were never any hate slurs from Andrew or Wesley in FB, or in court. But the FL shooter was in ‘chats’ with people saying he hated blacks, police, gays ….
- Wesley & Andrew never broadcasted interest in violence, while the FL shooter photographed his guns and threatened to use them to hurt others.
- The FL shooter was ‘feared’ by peers. I read he had problems with teachers in every grade, but Andrew got straight ‘A’s’, …. both Wesley & Andrew had close friends.
In all my years as an educator, I’ve noticed changes in parenting, kids attitudes, cultural norms. I wasn’t blind to our culture, but Marc’s incident sent me reeling and searching for answers. I’ve worked with young children and been aware how bullying strarts even as young as age 3 or 4. Some 4 year olds demand you answer them, they can’t take authority well. It always stuns the staff. I’ve even had children who don’t understand the right kind of touching, proper personal space to give us adults.
Nick Cruz’ host family never checked his social media, clearly their standards at home were too lax. They said they never dreamed he had violent inclinations, yet he was in a fight with their son, threatened others recently and they admitted they had disciplinary problems with him. They said they let Cruz keep a gun locked in a case in his bedroom, but …. he had the key! I would have been scared to let a teen have a gun in my home!
My author friend Crista Haskins Crawford wrote the best FB blog post the other day. She’s also by day a speech pathologist in a high school and has noticed some changes over the years. In essence she said, ‘the times have changed. Where it once was true there were few unruly kids, it’s got to the point where most of the kids act out in some way.’ I was glad she said, ‘ it’s not the kids fault but the behavior stems from the family and society being out of touch and violent oriented.’
My main point is that …. we are living during an epidemic of violence, it’s in homes, TV and in some songs. Many settings. Blaming or criticizing will not bring a sense of peace and strength to each individual but deciding your approach to violence will help you feel safe, strong.
This morning at church we prayed for the survivors, the families affected and even Mr Cruz. We can’t be a people of ‘hate’, Jesus said not hate our enemies, but ….. boy, can we be glad that boy was caught!!
We have to remember we’re part of a whole. It’s not about personal pain only but we have to move to answers and healing, for our families and our nations sake!
- The Minirth-Meier books, therapists are a great resource for emotional growth.
- Dr Ken Herman clinic has been a big help in sharing guidelines in helping youth overcome depression, learning disorders, addictive behaviors.
- Crista Haskins Crawford, Author – FB