|Tough homework assignment.|
Everyone who's going to school gets first day of school jitters. Students, teachers, administrators, custodial staff, cafeteria help, resource officers. This day and age probably especially resource officers because, let's face it, kids are getting more and more dangerous every year.
In my neighborhood we're just getting over the tragedy of a seventeen year old kid caving in his parents' skulls with a claw hammer and then throwing a big party for all his slacker friends. Nobody knows why he would do such a thing, but he did. It looks like he's thinking about claiming to have been possessed by the Devil. At least he'd been hinting around to some of his friends for several weeks that he thought he might be possessed. Apparently Satan wanted him to get a leg up on his defense by laying the groundwork early.
Now a couple of weeks ago in Tampa another kid got arrested for planning to set off a series of bombs at Freedom High School. He got expelled last year after he was arrested and convicted on a burglary charge. The ink is barely dry on his driver's license, and already he's been caught with a stolen handgun, drug paraphernalia, marijuana, and more. Seems like he wanted to go out in a Columbine style blaze of glory. I don't know how simple-minded kids like this come up with this shit, but they do. It's scary.
About the only comfort we can take in all this is that, no matter how grandiose their evil schemes turn out to be, their execution leaves a lot to be desired. Thankfully seventeen-year-old boys are just as stupid today as they've always been, even though they can learn to do virtually anything on the Internet.
The kid in Tampa couldn't help but tell his friends about his big plans. This proved to be his undoing. Whatever he read to make him think blowing up his school was a good idea failed to mention that he ought to keep his plans a secret. Seems like he probably told someone who didn't want any of his friends to get killed making the mad bomber famous. They called the cops.
So the cops rushed over to the kid's apartment to find him stoned out of his gourd and playing video games with another stoner. His room was full of bomb-making materials. He had fuel, accellerant, fuses, timers, shrapnel, the works. He also had marijuana plants under cultivation, and a manifesto of sorts detailing his minute-by-minute plans for visiting carnage on his former school on opening day.
His stoner buddy said he was just venting, that he never would have actually done it. I don't know about you, but I think, when somebody starts laying in supplies, things have progressed beyond mere venting.
Now there's plenty for me to not understand about this whole situation, but right at the heart of it is this: I can't for the life of me figure out what the dumb sumbitch was pissed off about. He posted on his FaceBook page that all he wanted to do was get stoned every day. I figure everybody's entitled to pursue happiness in their own way. If something was getting in the way of this kid's happiness, I could understand him being a little peevish, but there were no apparent impediments to this kid realizing his dream.
He was already getting stoned every day. He didn't have to go back to school because he was expelled. He was living his dream, such as it was. He was a fully-realized, totally uncommitted pot-head without a shred of responsibility. Where was the pressure? What was the problem?
Then suddenly he comes up with this plan. He decides on his own that he's going to go back to school for one day. He put the pressure on himself, not exactly stereotypical behavior for a pot-head. He didn't want to screw it up so he wrote a minute-by-minute plan in voluminous detail. If you told him he had to write a 300 word composition for English class, he'd have been rendered inert by the Herculean task being thrust upon him. He wouldn't have been able to function as a normal zit-faced, hormone-infused teenager with all that homework in the pipeline.
But a 14-page plan of action with clearly delineated goals and interim gateways—totally different matter. One wonders how he was able to maintain his focus through the haze of cannabis smoke, but he did. Somebody ought to grade the paper, see how much he'd learned before he got expelled. Standards aren't real high in the Florida school system. Our new governor, Rick Scott, is trying to erode them further still in an effort to put the state on a more businesslike footing. He's cutting down on the number of resource officers in the schools too. I guess he feel like if we lose a bunch of students to random and spectacular acts of violence, we won't have to pay to educate them anymore. Even better if we can scare a bunch of parents into putting their kids in private schools. Less burden for the state and more money to go around for the corporate sponsors of business-friendly legislation. You know—win, win. Governor Scott ought to think about giving this kid a medal for creative budget cutting.