A radical approach to preventing school violence

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I've heard several suggestions as to what should be done to prevent schoolhouse massacres, but there's one suggestion I haven't heard. It might not be a cure-all, but it could help. How about if we teach our children not to treat other children like non-humans? Anyone who ever attended high school knows that certain kids were called names and treated badly, often for very little reason. Those are the kids who are now slaughtering their schoolmates. Is it possible to change human nature? Maybe not, but it would attack the problem at the root.

-- Pearlie Sweetcake (storestuff@home.now), April 21, 1999


Mentor programs and Big Brothers/Big Sisters are part of the solution, Pearlie. I know the BB/BS programs have measurable success--from studies using control groups.

-- Old Git (anon@spamproblems.com), April 21, 1999.

Since this kind of violence is almost exclusively carried out by males, I advocate some kind of drug therapy that will supress the production of testosterone. The ideal drug would delay adolescence, perhaps until age 20. If this is not possible now, it would be worth some research funding. :-)

But to address the point made in the original posting, Japanese schools are famous for vicious hazing that U.S. kids can only imagine in their worst nightmares. The usual reaction is suicide. Our more outgoing culture expresses these feelings of frustration with violence towards others. You are not going to change this without changing a lot of the underlying culture. As if anyone were in a position to do so, or had enough understanding to predict what needs to be changed, or what other side effects would emerge! In other words, dream on!

Why not concentrate on the boring, obvious stuff, like making sure these kids are not abused by their parents (highly correlated with violence by children.) Cutting down on divorce and single parent families wouldn't hurt either.

If you want to apply some technology to this, I do think it would be great if we could keep kids sterile until they were married, and make marriage a little harder to do. The goal would be to have as many children as possible born into families that could support them and were mature enough to raise them.

-- But Seriously (butseriously@really.not), April 21, 1999.

Back in the last years of my undergraduate days, I became a mentor at Manual Arts High School in South Central Los Angeles. At this school, they didn't kill each other in the school yard, they waited around the corner and took care of business there.

After a year or so, I met up with Rogerio. A couple years later, I thought of Rogerio as my little brother. Lost contact with him some time ago... but I know that I was there for him when he needed me most. Besides helping him with his homework, he came by to talk things out... when he needed something... or just to hang out wit me. Things weren't always so great at his house.

My door was always open to him, he was welcome to the clothes in the closet (er, or on the floor in those days), ate food out of the frig (if it was still edible), and he had the sofa to sleep on (if he needed it). Of course, it was probably ideal for him to have a college age "big brother" that was cool and liked the same kind of music.

I saw him graduate, get a job, and work towards going to a technical school. I'm not trying to brag, but just trying to give proof positive to the fact that being a mentor and big brother can make an positive impact on someone's life. Obviously, not everyone is going to make a life-long positive impact right away. I didn't. You just have to keep on trying. Sometimes, you have to keep on keeping on...

We started to lose contact when I got out of Los Angeles, but the last call I got from him is still fresh in my mind. Rogerio called to get a reality check and I hadn't seen him in years... wanted to know what I thought about his plans for the future. I hope he's doing real well.

I don't recommend just any one bringing just any kid (from the inner city or elsewhere) into their life or their home. You have to start out with what you can reasonably give at that time and see how that kid responds to your giving. A good match is important and building trust (both ways) takes time.

There were plenty of kids that needed someone that was not me. But, eventually, a good match will come along and things will go just fine. At that time, something like 90% of the students at Manual Arts High School were a ward of a state (abandoned by their parents or removed from their families) and living with seemingly uncaring state-paid custodians. There was a lot of need there...

Sincerely, Stan Faryna

-- Stan Faryna (info@giglobal.com), April 21, 1999.

Is there a simple answer? No, there isn't. But for me, I seriously limit the amount of violence my 3 boys and daughter watch. My three older school aged children are home taught, so that they are under my supervision most of the day. I know not all people can do this, but this is my contribution. You won't see my kids hanging on the street corners. And for this I am most grateful.

pamela ;)

-- pamela (pamela4@hotmail.com), April 21, 1999.

Since I will relate this nasty event to an "On Topic" Short response.. I realize this may seem narrow and recognize it as such.......

Brutal Violence like this (as it hits every television set) will either create compassionate responses within peers (that age group) or will reinforce the nasty human nature within others.

Those who express compassion will be recognized to be moral or in conjunction with god (lets say god for convenience sake) and will be spared.... Those who reinforce the evil nature of the horrid act will recognize it as such....they will turn on each other....violence begets violence...they will either cancel one another or one side will be imprisoned for their act of violence while the other dies or learns or finally dwindles to death through repetitive ignorance. The "On Topic" part is if Y2K plays out in a bad way, even if innocent people die as many will if indeed the Shit hits the fan, as before, violence begets violence and the same as above will occur.... ie. cancellation of the Poor spirited and minded people....Hey, if they landed on their head when they were young only to do more of the same....what can a feller do?


-- Feller (Feller@wanna.help), April 21, 1999.

How about if we teach our children not to treat other children like non-humans?

I also think that we should teach adults to treat our children as human beings. The poor children are taught nowadays that to be treated with respect they must be 18 or older. In other words you ain't a human being until then, children have feelings too.

Anyone who ever attended high school knows that certain kids were called names and treated badly, often for very little reason.

It gives the bullies a power rush to know that there is someone lower than them on the social ladder, after all they probably get treated at home the same as the person they bully. :-)

Is it possible to change human nature? Maybe not, but it would attack the problem at the root.

In the majority of cases the root of the problem is parents (I can tell that I'm going to get a lot of flak over this one.). An example is that my mother used to break the toys that belong to me and my brother when she got mad at us (even though on occassion she wasn't mad at us but she took it out on us. :-). My brother has a daughter, the other day he got mad about something and took it out on his daughter by breaking her toys. He shows little to no respect towards his daughter and hardly spends any time with her when he is home (he works away) yet she currently loves him to death.

To children, toys are the most dearest friends and most treasured possessions. Children want to be a part of society, they want to interact and be treated like humans not mindless zombies.

And before anyone asks, I have no children myself so I do know the argument that seem as I have no children then you don't know the actual experience. Yes that is correct, I'm only stating what I have observed and what it looks like to me, maybe as parents they are too close to the problem?

Regards, Simon Richards

-- Simon Richards (simon@wair.com.au), April 22, 1999.

Actually Simon, if you study the psychology of "family systems," you will discover that very close to all problems stem from either a certain behavior from the parent(s) OR a lack of a certain necessary behavior on the part of the parents. The exceptions are usually found in physiological problems with the child (see my post on the other thread about violence in kids, re: the book "Evolution's End").

However parents are people subject to their own childhoods with less than perfect parents, our culture, etc. Despite decades of brilliant research in numerous scientific fields about childhood, child development, child care, parenting, etc., most people know little or nothing about the subject. Unfortunately the job of "parent" doesn't require a resume with education and experience. And most of us just become parents and then "muddle through" it, hopefully doing the best we can. I think if many parents put the same amount of interest in parenting skills and child development as they put in keeping their car running or being decent at their job, that alone would make a difference.

My hope is that, like some of the novel grade schooling methods that have come around the last decades (Carden, Montessori, etc.), that even "parenting" can come to be a "style" of life -- a lifestyle -- that adults would say, "I'd like to adopt that." -- Just like adults often adopt new lifestyles when they go on diets, change jobs, quit smoking, get new hobbies, adopt a new child, acquire a farm, whatever.

I think it would be cool if an excellent "system" for parenting, like Carden is for schools, were eventually developed based on all this wonderful scientific and psychological research we've done over the years, and parents could take training seminars and so forth.

Note: This might inspire flames, beware:

The Mormon church has something very close to this. I am not Mormon and I am not suggesting the religion, which like most religions is both a religion and a cult with good and bad aspects. However, prejudice about the theology shouldn't cause one to overlook the reasons that may be behind its continuing growth and strength.

You find me a kid active in the mormon church who is also in a gang or is totally antisocial and I'd probably faint. That church as a whole has made a MASSIVE effort to keep families together and keep kids and adults BUSY. You visit the average Mormon church -- they have softball fields, basketball courts, they have girls and boys teams for every sport there is from the time they're old enough, they have monthly dances, they have plays, musicals, choirs, they have outreach programs and in short (and this is also related to a cult-aspect of the church), most people are just TOO DARN BUSY to do anything OUTSIDE the church at all.

The benefit is that in general, the women get support for staying at home with the kids if at all possible economically; the women are somewhat "bred to be mommies" and related topics, such as food storage and childcare, are a community education within the church; children have constant social exposure with peers and others, exercise and creativity in the sports and arts, opportunities for tutoring (depends on the local stake), etc.

A tremendous number of mormons I went to school with went to college on scholarships for sports, music or drama -- because they'd spend their whole lives involved with these things, while many other kids were sitting numbly in front of a TV or video game, or "hanging out" with the 'hoods on the corner.

My point is that they are ONE example of a church which has deliberately created a "community" not just for sermons twice a week but for active, full-time living, full-time involvement with others. They seem to realize that "secular" living can be brought into the church community (e.g., with the dances) rather than having the kids end up leaving the church because it is a world away from the "real" world of school and movies they're exposed to; they allow some degree of this stuff in moderation and with supervision, and in the process avoid all kinds of rebellion and desertion.

I believe that all churches, if they had enough intelligent, well balanced, interested individuals within them who could work together, could develop some degree of this terrific church-family-culture. Most have some already, but it's not so deliberate, and unfortunately in many cases is designed more to keep kids in line than to give them something useful to do.

To play devil's advocate I might mention that if you're a woman in the mormon church and you do NOT want to just be a mommy, you're socially doomed; if you're either gender and you do NOT want to spend all your time on church stuff you're not going to see as many rewards offered you in other areas as part of the community; if you smoke, drink, want to get divorced, or any other thing they frown on, you're socially in trouble there; and males are sent into one of the most extreme cult-indoctrination training periods after high school available in the Western world today. Those are just facts. I am not mormon, I studied it like I did many religions, I see the good and the bad.

I think when it comes to support and development of the family and the individual, the world could take a clue from some of the positives the LDS church offers. Not for nothing do they get a LOT of Christian converts: because their environment (on the surface at least) is very much like what we might all hope a real church community could be like.

Obviously religion isn't required. But it's hard to get groups of people who can really work together and STAY together on stuff for years outside of that kind of grouping.

Perhaps Y2K (to tie this back into it!) will only emphasize the need for "intentional communities" of people, that will focus on the needs and development not just of the business sector but of the children.

As much as I go on, you'd think I went to church or something...

PJ in TX

-- PJ Gaenir (fire@firedocs.com), April 22, 1999.

I 'somewhat' agree with PJ re: LDS and their family oriented programs. Have seven kids, three are LDS and one is a jack Mormon. I do see differences in grandchildren (last count was l7) re: activities and interests. But, over many years working in Cub Scouts, Boy Scouts, Girl Scouts and 4-H, I must say I have seen many 'good' kids come from what most would consider 'bad' homes and some really 'bad' kids come from what most would consider 'good' homes. Learned along time ago that children are just little people. They come in all shapes, sizes, personalities and some are smarter than others. There is not one answer to the problems we are seeing with our young people. I think some contributing factors are violent television and films, two parent working families to keep up with the image of the all-American dream family and to some degree the violence that has become a part of our sports world. I know a man from West Africa whose son got a real wake up call when visiting his grandmother. If you want to eat you find work for the money to buy the food. You give the money to Grandma who then gives you a list and some of the money and sends you to the store (which is three miles away). When you get home she will prepare a meal for you. My friends son was glad to get back home to the U.S.A. He learned a lesson well and stopped getting involved in areas that would have probably ended up with big troubles. Our children today have too much given to them with no expected return of responsibility. I offered to home teach a grand nephew in trouble....what an experience! One hour at the kitchen table with a few problems to solve and you would think he had worked hard in the field all day for the complaining I heard. I was relieved when his mother let him go back to school because she got tired of hearing his complaints about not being with his friends. It was good for me, bad for him. He is right back where he started and that is not a good place at all. There are no easy answers these days. Parents need to be educated into parenting. So many of them are unaware of the important role they have as soon as that sweet little baby is born. I worked in a Psych Hospital for awhile and worked with some felons that were pretty tough. Often I reminded myself that once each was a sweet little baby who someone loved and nurtured. What happened to them? There are no easy answers and certainly not just one answer. Maybe we have to really start caring about one another and be aware of things going on around us and work together for change. It's pretty hard though when we say we want to end the violence and at the same time our country is killing people around the world. We seem to have lost the ability to communicate with oneanother. PEACE!

-- Old Gramma (Gotitincalif@webtv.net), April 22, 1999.

While family oriented programs help, there are several 'mechanical' issues in the schools today that need to be addressed.

1. Fear of principals/teachers/counselors to discipline a student. This most emphatically includes disciplining those who are given favored treatment for other reasons - atheletes, computer mentors with bad attitudes, the rich guys kid who sneers at everyone and gets away with it. Students should be FORCED to behave as ladies and gentlemen, and the HELL with what anyone outside the school thinks about it.

2. Size of schools, esp. high schools. Smaller schools (I am NOT talking class size here, SCHOOL size) have a better ratio of PRINCIPALS to students, much less chance for 'cliques' to form as a clique requires a minimum number, much greater chance for students to participate in school activities - in a Senior class of 100 or so, you would expect about 50 boys. Those 50 would all be under pressure to participate in some way - athletics, school paper - something. Budget minded school boards that consolidated the high schools have created environments where cliques flourish and the average student feels alienated from the school.

3. Tolerance of strange dressing and etc. taken to the extreme. Kids who get tattoos, dress oddly and so on tend to cluster together. We know what happened in Littleton after a cluster got weird enough. While I have never liked school uniforms, they are a help in the bigger schools in keeping the students as a group rather than a bunch of smaller clusters. At the minimum, a school should have a rigid dress code, and ENFORCE IT! And ANY decoration on clothing - patches or whatever - that do not represent a school achievement (letters) should be totally banned. Jewelery should also be restricted tightly or banned altogether.

4. Schools should have no tolerance whatsoever for law breaking. Students caught with illegal drugs, huffing apparatus, weapons or who perform illegal acts on school property should be turned over to the police. NO EXCEPTIONS, esp. for the rich guys kid.

The real problem with implementing the above is parents. Just take the jewelery thing for instance - about two minutes after you start some parent will have a fit because you told some kid to put a big crucifix in her purse. The FACT that heavy jewelery leads to theft, cliques, can be used as gang emblems (yes Virginia, even crucifixes) - just won't impress Mom. SIGH.

-- Paul Davis (davisp1953@yahoo.com), April 22, 1999.

Start with decentralization. Get the feds out of our schools. Get the psycho-babblers out of our schools. Get the commies out of our schools. Stop busing. Do a little research on the American School System. You will find out something far different then what you now think re: Why, how did our school system begin and for what purpose?

Our schools have been taken over by people not interested in America and our way of life. I know one of these people personally and he helped sponsor a book to be read in San Jose, CA schools which was not even close to being appropriate for school. I am not a prudish person but why would someone want to promote a porno book for school kids. What is on his/their mind(s)?

Time to take America back! One little piece at a time if that's all we can do! 'Til the trumpet sounds.

-- freeman (freeman@cali.com), April 22, 1999.

Pearlie I agree with you. If there was one thing both my parents were adamant about, it was making any other person feel bad by teasing or making fun of them. Therefore I went to school with this firmly in my mind. But there was peer pressure and cliques even back then. In the 6th grade some popular girls started making fun of a girl who rode my bus because her clothes were so pitiful and shabby. I didn't join in, but I didin't stand up for her either. She was crying, and when I walked away, and they turned on me, called me "goody goody, goofy, gildy." You talk about rage, I was only 11, but I hated their guts as only kids can, and I hated myself for being a chicken shit.

I told my mother about it when I got home, and she told me I should ask M. to spend the night, and befriend her. (My mother knew her family.) I didn't much want to, but I did. The girl was about a size smaller than I, and my mother was cleaning out my closet when we got home. She had both of us trying on clothes, and everything that was slightly too small for me she gave to M. I have never seen a happier person.

The following Saturday we took the clothes to M's. house. The house was an old log cabin that had been added onto, and it was so cold, that even with a fire, I kept my coat on. My mother gave me a drity look, but I didn't care, I was cold. They were nice people though, and what little they had was clean and neat. But as we were leaving, I couldn't believe it, my mother said, "Gildy, that coat is tight across the shoulders, take it off and see if it fits M." It did, and she gave it to her! I was furious. Then I saw the tears running down M's mother's face, and I was mortified at my selfishness. (I had an older cousin who had beautiful clothes, and kept me in style.)

My folks helped people all their lives, and we weren't rich by any means. They didn't teach it, they lived it. Long after my dad was dead, and I was in my forties, an old man died I'd never heard of, and I received part of a coin collection because my dad let him charge groceries at our store knowing he couldn't pay. I cherish the letter that came with the the coins.

Also, I was allowed to read books that other parents wouldn't think of letting their children read: The Decameron, God's Little Acre. Tobacco Road, Guinevere's (sp) Lover. And I saw a few movies that other parents thought were "too adult." When my aunt questioned my mother about this, she simply said that I had to live in the real world and it was a process, and sex, booze and killing was part of the process whether we liked it or not, and turning 18 didn't make one an adult. This way I would be prepared, and wouldn't have to spend my early years sneaking around and thinking something more exciting because it was forbidden.

I still feel that ridicule and teasing start with parents not being role models. I still feel it is one of the most hurtful emotions that an impressionable child, at a vulnerable age, ever feels. Many of today's parents are so status conscious, and comsumer oriented to labels and "things" that they don't want their kids to be any different. I once babysat a little girl who made fun of an obviously retarded boy when we were in the grocery store. I asked her why she did that, and she said "well mom says they're idiots and don't understand anything anyway." Parenting???

I didn't aim to launch a crusade, but I'll never forget M or all the other people my folks helped. They were 40 and 48 when I was born and they did this all their life. Stray animals always found a home too. Oh, M's mother gave my mother a beautful hand crocheted rug for Christmas. I still have it.

-- gilda (jess@listbot.com), April 22, 1999.

look kids have been teasing each other, quarrelling, fighting, bullying and generally acting at a primitive level since the year dot, it doesn't mean that this causes some to become pathological murderers

-- dick of the dale (rdale@coynet.com), April 22, 1999.

so why is this all happening? I don't think it's one answer. I think it's a combination of many factors and they are behaving in a synergistic fashion.

for starters- TV- any TV- not just trash. Violent movies, video games, trashy violent music.

Lack of parental controls- too many single parent families, two parent working families, families too busy to spend time with their children

An increasingly mobile alienated society and lack of community- do you know your neighbors? do you know their kids? Where's grandma?

Schools too busy doing other than what they should be doing- too focused on indoctrinating kids on drugs, abuse, drinking, recycling, etc instead of basic education.

An anything goes and is acceptable mantra today- you can be a pedophile, a punker, gothic, stick studs in your nose, tatoo your whole body, have six kids by age 20, and it's all just "lifestyle".

A consumer oriented society- we're all being raised to be "consumers" now. And we are insatiable in our wants. And we no longer know the difference between "need" and "want". We're all disatisfied and being driven by advertising and the media to want more all the time.

Kids are being raised to be useless. EVERYONE needs to feel useful. Kids aren't needed to work to help out in most homes anymore. Those that are needed are often resentful as they are led to believe they should be free to just laze around and consume stuff.

-- anita (hillsidefarm@drbs.com), April 22, 1999.

yes TV causes the senses to be dulled, acceptance of horrific crime as if its a commonplace event, lack of a sense of responsibility, access to guns, computer games are full of protagonists toting guns, it gives the kids the impression that the real thing is just for kicks, not in deadly earnest

chuck out the TV, make crime morally wrong (not "society is to blame"), I donb't have all the answers just tuppence worth

-- dick of the dale (rdale@coynet.com), April 22, 1999.

I guess it would be out of place to suggest we try the 'Clockwork Orange' thingymajig.

-- Craig (craig@ccinet.ab.ca), April 22, 1999.

Gilda, I couldn't agree more & thanks for sharing such wonderful memories. I love it when I read a warm post & a smile forms on my face, a smile that lasts!

-- Bingo1 (howe9@pop.shentel.net), April 22, 1999.

Maybe if the tax liability for families wasn't so high one of hte parents might be able to stay at home and guide their children ana be there to help with the pains and problems of growing up.

Of course, parents shouldn't put the almighty dollar above their children for any reason, taxes or not. It does take dollars to run a household though, and in my mind the federal government holds a portion of the blame for what happened in Denver -- where I live.

-- Jim the Window Washer (rational@man.com), April 22, 1999.

This was posted on another "Littleton" thread, but it's even more germane to this one: Trained To Kill

This article has caused me much soul searching about the amount of violence that I've allowed into my home via the Idiot Box...

-- Mac (sneak@lurk.hid), April 22, 1999.

people die,life is cheap,children die,leaving the world no poorer,kids wake up,and say"today's the day I take some of them with me"makes good copy,that and postal killings,we made this society and y2k just might fix it,the kids that flipped out were driven that way by our mean bastard children....a good lesson to us all,treat others with respect or you might get your worthless-piece-of-sh*t ass shot off

-- zoobie (zoob@aol.com), April 22, 1999.

Thanks Bingo1. What a nice thing for you to say. I did have good hearted parents, and my dad even made me think that work was fun. Every child should be so lucky.

-- gilda jessie (jess@listbot.com), April 22, 1999.

I presuppose that I now propose an "unpopular", perhaps, frightening radical solution to the problem of violence in schools, and beyond that, how to get quality "public education". I challenge all "governments", federal, state and local, to put their "we care about our children" money where their mouths appear to be.

I propose that student-to-teacher ratio in all public schools must be no more than 6-10 students per teacher. In order to accomplish this the federal, and all state "governments" will begin immediately to dismantle military organizations. All state will dismantle state franchises of the National Guard, and apply all monies to teacher salaries. The "Federal Government" will begin with the individual armed services...starting with the US Marine Corps...all monies previous used for the US Marine Corps will be applied to teacher salaries. If that is not enough money, the "government" will continue the dismantling with the next armed services group...in order to pay enough teachers,...and so on. Until such "governments" do this, all rhetoric that mentions "care and love of children" is to be disregarded.

The child development pioneer/innovator, Jean Piaget, was once asked during a lecture Q & A, "How do children learn?" Piaget held up one hand displaying three fingers, one at a time,...and replied with each finger, "Example, example, example."

-- Donna Barthuley (moment@pacbell.net), April 22, 1999.

Donna, my friend -

Well, you get points for simplicity. Using your plan, we definitely save money on education as well, since we'll have our kids being educated by whichever government decided not to "work and play well" with us as we dismantled our military. If we're lucky, it would be the folks from up North (shades of the "stealth geese" thread). If not...

Seriously, the Founders were pretty clear about the need for a strong military. They were not at all clear about a lot of the other trappings which the government has rather expensively taken on. And they would be appalled at the lack of "civic morality" in today's America.

It is not the existence of the military which has created the environment in which abominations like the Littleton massacre come to pass, and eliminating the USMC or any other part of the military will not change the hearts of any of the troubled kids at the center of these horrors. My late father served in WWII and he made it crystal clear to all of his kids that (a) war has very specific purposes, and (b) there is nothing glorious about violence or war. That's the sort of education that our kids need, along with repeated lessons (and examples, yes) in respect for others, honesty, self-discipline, charity, courage, duty, self-sacrifice, and all the other so-called "old-fashioned virtues".

Gosh, sounds a lot like what is hammered into all those poor impressionable kids in the Marines...

-- Mac (sneak@lurk.hid), April 22, 1999.

Hey...Mac,...I can't think of another time when I disagreed with you. I am not blaming the military per se...I'm saying that the military- spending-to-education ratio is way out of whack....The spending on conventional military is way beyond sane all over the world, but mostly in the US. I suppose I hid my other presupposition. Okay, I'll admit it...My plan is not so simple. I'm calling for a moritorium on all global military endeavors that suck money from children, education, housing, food,...mental health. I'll admit to having my tongue planted firmly in my cheek. I'll also admit that I find it an abomination that the so-called leaders of the fiction that is the "nation" stand up and decry violence in schools, and failure of students, and in the next breath talk about spending another few billion dollars on another fictional nation's civil war. I also perceive all gang warfare in the US to be modelled on the military...just another gang, albeit with "governmental" approval.

The US public education system has never "truly" been about anything other than the "proper education of citizens". The earliest of governmental mouthpieces at the beginning of the century are documented as saying as much. The "government" is not interested in making whole human beings...they are interested in buying/voting automatons...

The only way to win is not to play. "Governments" wage wars...individuals do not. No military, no wars...but of course this will not happen since war is big business....don't try to sell me the need for strong military line...

I also realize that I wage a pointless campaign to alert,...50 to 100 years of relentless indoctrination have made so many oblivious. "'Taint manly not to have a strong military, dontcha know."

Anyone interested might read the ancient play,..."Lysistrada", by the Roman playwright Aristophenes. The notion that there will always be war is a harmful fiction. And all of our children grow up playing those fictional war games...


-- Donna Barthuley (moment@pacbell.net), April 22, 1999.

By the way..."The Founders??????" With capital letters? In reading it feels like a slip down the rabbit hole to Deep Space 9. Please...these people are dead how long? Contracts are not valid in perpetuity,...they could not sign me up nor you. The world is in much more dire straits than in 1789,...time for some new thinking, and not that which is just freshened-up "old thinking, published as new.

-- Donna Barthuley (moment@pacbell.net), April 22, 1999.

Donna -

And here we are, wrangling about the great broad strokes of history and debating how best to save the world, while "The Powers That Be" in both our communities stumble toward 01/01/2000 with plans that would be laughable if they weren't so !@#$% important. Pax.

Tell ya what. Next time I have to be up near Mickeyland, I'll drop you a note beforehand. We'll find some cafe or other and save the world at the top of our lungs over favorite beverages. Deal? Heck, I'll even bring along my copy of Lysistrata, but also Latimore's translation of The Iliad. Have to preserve the classical balance, y'know - every well-produced event in Athens had to present at least one comedy and one tragedy. 8-}]

-- Mac (sneak@lurk.hid), April 23, 1999.

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