As I write this, the latest terrorist act is by a Saudi aviation student at an American military base in Florida.
In the first place, why on God’s great green earth are we still allowing ‘students’ from hostile countries to learn their terrorist skills at our facilities and on our dime? Saudi Arabia is an ‘ally’ in name only as are any of the countries whose majority population wants us either dead or converted to their religion.
When this shooting first came across the wire, I’d expected to hear that is was some spoiled brat of a kid who’d enlisted thinking that the military was going to mirror his experiences with ultra-violent video games like Call of Duty or Medal of Honor. For a young man who never got his butt blistered for misbehavior, was always sheltered from responsibility and who’s been raised on games that reward him for piling up as many dead bodies as possible, the military would be a rude awakening.
I was relieved that, this time, it wasn’t one of our own kids who had gone off the rails, but there are still grieving American families whose questions must be answered.
Those questions may get to terrorism or military and governmental policies but will probably begin with ‘Why my child?’ When your innocent child (of any age) is killed by someone else’s damaged child of any age, the pain is unimaginable to the rest of us.
One of the stark realities of parenting is that we bear some responsibility for the kids we raise. If we vote for idiotic measures that ‘protect’ the insane by refusing to lock them up, we’ve made our country a more dangerous place. If we don’t teach our kids to respect authority, we’ve taught them defiance. If we don’t teach them that they’re expected to earn their own way in life, we’ve taught them dependence. And if we don’t teach them that REAL guns, knives and vehicles, if used improperly, kill REAL people, then we’ve seriously damaged our kids and our society.
Defiant, dependent, damaged kids who are allowed to hide out in the video mindset are not being well parented.
It’s important to teach our kids that, if confronted by a cop, teacher or other authority figure, the default response to an instruction to jump is: ‘Yes Sir! How high, Sir?” If the cop is actually a jerk, then there are measures that can be taken, but respect for authority (including ours) should be the baseline. Teaching our kids that they don’t have to answer to anyone is not giving them the tools to integrate into society. Children have parents precisely because they are children and require guidance. Autonomy will come soon enough.
It’s a fine linguistic line between ‘school shooter’ and ‘terrorist’ but they’re all some version of insane. I’m glad the Florida killer wasn’t a home-grown terrorist. But I wish we would get serious about keeping our own insane off the streets and protecting our own children from them.
Leslie Baker is a native Arizonian who retired from the construction and real estate industries. She volunteered for over 20 years with various Hospice organizations. She and her husband, Phillip Mojica, live in Linden.