Tuesday, March 8, 2005

Enough is enough

Look, I know there was a wave of school shootings in the 1990's. Teenagers with some kinda bent for causing violence, acquired guns and whatnot and went on a rampage. It happened more than once. Yes, I remember it.

At the same time there's been a backlash, so that nowadays any teenager who starts making threats is taken "seriously" and charged with crimes. Such as this young man in Winchester KY.

Student in High School zombie terror threat (By Lester Haines; TheRegister.CO.UK; Published Tuesday 8th March 2005 12:14 GMT)

Student Arrested For Terroristic Threatening Says Incident A Misunderstanding

Now, I remember high school. I remember knowing people who played with pipe bombs, and others who would have jeuvenile fantasies such as sending a zombie army to rage against your teachers. But, you know what, that's why these are called jeuvenile fantasies!

As an ameteur who's read a few psychology texts, I wonder about the developmental phase that occurs in teenage years. In order to establish yourself as your own person, independant from your parents, teenagers go through a rebellion phase. Clearly in some people that rebellion phase takes the form of fantasizing the destruction of the hated authorities.

Obviously in most cases those fantasies simply remain ramblings in ones mind, and don't turn into acts of violence. For every Columbine how many thousands of harmless fantasizers are there? I expect the ratio of fantasizers who go on to truly act out their fantasies is very low.

But, consider the chilling effect of taking every one of these fantasizers seriously? Aren't we throwing out the baby, or in this case the young adult, with the bathwater?