¶ … validity, and for school administrators Goldstein's points should be discussed and debated. Goldstein suggests that without violating students' privacy rights, instructors / teachers nationwide need to be far more alert to weirdness, aggressiveness, "creepiness," Nazi-related hatefulness, "Fierce racism" and homophobia.
Students that have obsessive video game habits -- with a daily dose of violent games like "Grand Theft Auto" -- are potentially antisocial individuals that need to be watched (Whiteman, 2013). There is ample evidence in the literature that impressionable young men and boys that play the most violent video games are living in a violent world of their own (Jaslow, 2013). Those working towards the prevention of homicidal violence in Germany's schools have employed anti-bullying programs and the "Leaking Project," which mirrors what Goldstein proposals; this should be studied by American school leaders (Leuschner, 2011). Also, those troubled students, known to be suffering from depression -- such as the shooter at Virginia Tech -- should be identified and helped whenever possible (Harwood, 2011).
Moreover, a strategy that has potential to reduce school massacres is to pass legislation that makes it more difficult for boys and young men to obtain weapons. No alert person would suggest that by making assault weapons illegal and insisting that background checks be conducted at gun shows that gun violence will cease. However, the American public has been polled again and again and up to 90% believe it is reasonable to conduct background checks at gun shows. That said, conservatives in the U.S. Senate that are under the financial influence of the National Rifle Association have used the filibuster to block this legislation (McAuliff, 2013). So the public needs to elect senators and members of congress who will do the will of the people and not the will of the gun lobby.
Narrative Argument -- Education -- Outline
ONE: teachers, administrators, professors, parents, students and staff: pay closer attention
There should be a willingness on the part of students to report weirdness, bullying or hatefulness when they see it in other students
In Germany the "Leaking Project" encourages students to speak up when they see or hear others making threats or bullying
Following the mass killings at Virginia Tech many schools took action
TWO: Do violent video games contribute to school homicidal violence?
Anders Breivik shot and killed 77 people in Norway -- and he was reportedly motivated by hatefulness and violent video games
Adam Lanza killed 20 elementary school children and 6 teachers in Connecticut; he played violent video games for hours in his basement with windows blacked out; that said, there are some "experts" who disagree that violent video games influence troubled boys to be violent
THREE: Troubled and depressed students need to be identified and helped
In Chicago more than 250 public school children are shot each year; a model is in place to identify students likely to be shot and pairing troubled students with advocates to possibly curtail those homicides
Looking at the characteristics of the troubled and depressed student has been the reaction of numerous college campuses since Virginia Tech; nearly every campus now has "a threat-assessment group" that meets regularly to identify troubled students (Harwood, 2011).
FOUR: The role of parents when it comes to their children and violence
Susan Klebold, mother of Columbine massacre shooter Dylan, remembers Dylan's teacher reporting on a violent paper Dylan wrote, which had a man in a trench coat who brutally murdered 9 students; the teacher failed to report this to authorities, nor did she show Susan Klebold this paper
FIVE: Reducing the number of weapons available to troubled youth
The U.S. Senate in 2013...
This not to say that the horrific killings on college and public school campuses can be absolutely brought to an end by employing (and embracing) the potential solutions presented. But the larger point, which was brought out by President Barack Obama after the defeat of legislation that would require background checks for gun purchasers at gun shows. Obama said that to do nothing is unacceptable; the public (and especially the families that have lost children due to school shooters) deserve to see that their elected officials are at least working on solutions in response to these ongoing tragedies.
More students, parents, teachers and other should be reporting hateful, racist, Nazi-themed and homophobic activities -- along with the signs a student is slipping into a serious kind of depression and thinking about suicide -- and bullying incidents. That is because boys (especially boys) who engage in these antisocial activities are seen as potential criminals; at least, it is true that after a homicidal incident on a school campus the research into that boy's life shows some of the behaviors mentioned in the first sentence of this paragraph. Speaking of parents, those that use "…consistent punishment and reinforcement" are far more likely to rear "non-delinquent children"; but those parents administering "…harsh and erratic punishment" tend to be pushing their children into delinquent behaviors (Vito, et al., 2005, 120).
The bigger picture when it comes to parents and solving the youthful killing problem is that schools and communities should have parent training activities. That may sound like it would be difficult to conduct (parents often think they don't need training or that it is the school's job to teach their children good social skills), but it if is approached as a helpful parent-teacher-school interaction for the betterment of the community it could work. To wit, noted psychologist Albert Bandura asserts that his "observational learning" theory is an important way to stem the flood of youth-related violence. He believes that "…much of what is learned is not based on trial and error" (called "operant condition"); in fact children acquire behaviors "by observing others" (Vito, 121).
While everyone has the potential and the capacity for aggression, they "…still must acquire a behavioral repertoire (through observation) in order to act aggressively" Bandura insists (Vito, 121). In other words, providing parents with the training to model responsible behaviors for their children is one clearly workable strategy towards reducing the number of school shootings.
Bandura's theory doesn't seem to apply to the parents of Dylan Klebold, one of the perpetrators of the mass killings at Columbine High School in Colorado. There is no evidence that his parents had modeled inappropriate behaviors; they were both middle class professionals, respected, dependable, and while the exact style of upbringing they used is not available, it appears that they didn't know what their son was doing. "It was impossible to believe that someone I had raised could cause so much suffering," Susan Klebold wrote in O. Magazine. "If I had been a better mother, I would have known this was coming," she wrote.
"Had I been too strict? Not strict enough? Had I pushed too hard, or not hard enough?" A few days before he unleashed carnage at Columbine (with buddy Eric Harris), Susan held his "scratchy face between my palms and told him he was a wonderful person and that I was proud of him. Did he feel that he could not live up to my expectations?" she asked. Actually, since Dylan and Eric had been planning their evil deeds for months, her question can be seen in hindsight as irrelevant. But further in her article Susan hits on an important point; after reading through her son's journals, she realized that she really didn't know her son was obsessing about suicide. "As early as two years before the shootings, he wrote about ending his life…I'd had no inkling of the battle Dylan was waging in his mind" (O Magazine).
Berlin Leaking Project. Would any students at Columbine have "ratted" on Eric or Dylan if they thought that the two were truly trying to blow the whole school up and kill the students as well? In Germany, the "Berlin Leaking Project" sets out to prove that if classmates would "leak" confidential information about other students who may be planning violence, it could be "…a starting point for the prevention of school violence" (Leuschner, et al., 2011). After all, Germany is second behind the United States when it comes to homicidal behaviors on school campuses, so this country has been working towards remedies for these horrific acts of deadly violence.
In every school shooting in Germany, there has been leaking incident prior to the act of a gunman. Leaking -- actually originated by the FBI in America -- implies any communication of a person's "secret intentions…[it can] include communications of violent fantasies and the planning of violent attacks, as well as conspicuous behavior that may be exhibited in planning to carry out an attack"…
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