Lockport Union-Sun & Journal Online

February 12, 2014

ROOT: The flickering light of hope

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Lockport Union-Sun & Journal

Lockport Union-Sun & Journal — I may not be the smartest guy in the world, but I do tend to notice things that disturb me. As an emotional person, I get aggravated easily. This latest trend is more than aggravating – it is downright terrifying.

It seems that, at least two or three times a week, our schools are getting locked down for one reason or another. I am not talking about snow days or electrical outages. I am talking about people with guns and other morons causing our children to have to be shipped to other places where they can be claimed by their terrified parents.

How can a man, who is supposed to know better, enter a school with a loaded gun? Does he carry a loaded gun so often that he just forgets it is there? How did he get past the school’s entrance, which is supposed to be guarded?

Columbine happened in 1999 and it triggered a series of copycat events. It also seemed to open an evil door that we cannot close. Were there problems in schools before Columbine? Of course. But a man in the bell tower of a Texas university shooting at people was so unusual that it made headlines for weeks after it happened. These days, it seems like a regular event.

What is wrong with us? What direction are we headed in when we have to fear sending our children to school? What kind of idiot brings a loaded gun anywhere near a school? Who still calls in bomb threats? I thought that was something that stopped years ago.

It was just a couple of years ago when a student called in a bomb threat because he didn’t want to take a test he was not prepared for. Are we really teaching our children that the best way to deal with being unprepared for a test is to pretend to threaten the lives of every child in your school?

A lot of questions – and no answers. My time on this rock is coming to a close and I am grateful for that. I love my family and I love my life. But I do not want to live in a world where a school full of children is a free-for-all with guns, bombs and mayhem.

Facebook is great for warning parents when there is trouble at a local school, but those warnings seem to be going out daily over the past week or so. We cannot continue on like this. We cannot continue to threaten our children in their schools and expect those children to grow into well-adjusted adults.

When I was a kid, school was a lousy place to be because I hate having to follow rules and I really hated being told what to do all the time. But I was a good student, so I found some solace in my good grades and succeeding at something I cared little about.

Never in my time in school would I have expected cafeteria personnel to take my lunch away from me, or that I would be shot at while I sat in class. It was unthinkable when I was a kid, but today it appears to be the norm.

You can blame the 24-hour news networks if you want, and they do bear much of the burden for glorifying violence and discord. What would happen if the 24-hours news media changed their mix of stories? What if 95 percent of the stories were about good people and good things, and only five percent were about violence and despair? I think that would be a huge step towards changing things.

What you see as news, I see as another indication that our society is rapidly crumbling around us. I am not normally this apocalyptic, but it is hard to ignore this stuff when I see it every day.

Yeah, I know. When I was a kid there were no 24-hour news networks and there was no Internet. Back in those days, if your surroundings were good, then you had a really good chance at growing up to be a decent person. But if you grew up in chaos, then chaos was all you knew. Back then, the crazies were the exception and not the rule. Today, it is quite the opposite.

Every day our schools get locked down because our children are in danger. You can look around and try to find a direction to point the finger of blame, but there is more than one source of our downfall.

Children are the future of any society. Our children are growing up terrified and in chaos. What kind of future do you think that will bring?

George N. Root III is a Lockport resident and a nostalgic old man. His column is published every Wednesday. He can be reached at georgeroot@verizon.net.