Let’s say you’ve just been tasked with finding “the next school shooter™.” if such a creature exists in your school. You’re on the look out, but you are dismayed that the indicators such as mental illness that you were counting on to make your life easy to CYA are really difficult to assess. Those who would have gone to their school counselor to have a chat about some issue or other now hesitate because they are afraid that they’ll be labeled for life as being “the next school shooter™.” Education about getting advice is the way to go, of course. Great! You say you’re only looking for “the next school shooter™” so that students will feel comfortable about discussing other issues. But it also means that “the next school shooter™” will avoid counselors like the plague.
In the graphic exercise above, find the dog among the pandas. It’s really easy. The pandas are all nice and, for that matter, the dog is really nice too.
Find him? Congratulations! The guy in Florida was predicted. “I’m gonna do it.” That was ignored because everyone is entitled to be a jerk. But the shooter often doesn’t turn out to be the odd dog out, but just another panda that looked like all the other pandas. What to do?
The Las Vegas shooter, Stephen Paddock, to date – at the time of this writing some five months later – did not have any discernible motive, according to the usual pundits anyway. It depends on what the criteria for motivation are. I wrote about that: Stephen Paddock’s motivation and our motivation in not finding his motivation.
The problem in these United States especially with the policies of our education system is that we think that best practices for assessing students are to be structured first of all by thinking of students as the picture above, vacuous Styrofoam no-identity zombies, whether pandas or dogs, precisely the kind of Styrofoam person for whom the vacuum is filled by “power” with no structure. The lashing out is a complaint that they have been stripped of the one bit of education without which all else is nothing: identity, character. If the one thing that is hailed as virtuous is to have no identity and no character, you will see power with no structure.
It’s happened before.
The late 1960s and 1970s saw pop-psychology zero-identity, zero-character aficionados become the gate-keepers of Catholic seminaries. If any applicant had indicators that he might not be a team player, might not be always and in every way be totally politically correct with anyone and everyone, someone who was not merely vacuous Styrofoam, that candidate was rejected as inappropriately rigid, blah blah blah, as if the Cross was not counter-cultural, a sign of contradiction. This modus agendi was even admitted to be a mistake by a number of these pop-psychologists later in life when they saw the catastrophe that they themselves had created with their style of gate-keeping.
One might object that the latest school shooter was hearing other things from the ROTC, and I’m sure he was. But this was taking place in the much bigger societal structure of nothingness.
So, what’s to be done? Let’s start with understanding the First Amendment of the Constitution about the free exercise of religion correctly. It doesn’t refer to separation of church and state. It doesn’t refer to religion as being the enemy that the state is to fear. It doesn’t refer to stopping people from exercising religion even in their public office. Can there and should there be chaplains even and perhaps especially at “state” schools. Yes. Should they be able to speak about how it is that one’s identity is to be fulfilled as a creature of the Creator? [emotive language, that, I know.] Yes. I’m talking identity, character, self-sacrifice, goodness and kindness, respect for others, justice, mercy, helping each other out.
But the opposite is now happening and the opposite creates the vacuity in which school shooters are spawned:
“We’re entitled to be selfish, arrogant, drugged up, rebellious activists on behalf of entitlements to be the worst jerks imaginable.”
Oh, and that’s not coming from the students. No, no. That’s from the counselors who think they are speaking for the students. Those counselors are not necessarily of any school. They come from all over and offer advice. You’ve heard it. “If anyone speaks about thoughts and prayers even while they are also doing stuff to solve the problem, make sure to tell them: ‘F*** your thoughts and prayers.'” Yep. That’s exactly how to continue the problem and make it worse: take away religion and then blame religion.
- How about let’s get back to the Constitution. Religion is O.K. Religion is good. That means…
- How about let’s promote identity, character, goodness and kindness and respect for others and justice and mercy. That means…
- How about let’s ditch entitlements to be jerks.
Update: If anyone still thinks this isn’t systemic and we’ll thought out, remember that under Obama, religion was basically criminalized in the armed forces, even for chaplains, even in private counseling sessions about politically incorrect topics.