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Help! I've run out of things to blame (except myself, and that'll never happen)!

This rant, composed April 27, 1999, comes exactly one week after two high school students murdered 13 of their classmates in Colorado before taking their own lives. I want to offer my deepest sympathy for anyone who has lost a friend or family member. I mean the following rant not as an insult, but as a reminder to everyone that none of us are above blame.

(Ramcke's Reuters - April 27: In a not unexpected attempt to keep parents, school administrators, and fellow classmates from taking any blame for the massacre in Littleton, Colorado, A Gallop poll has revealed that 82% of those asked felt that the Internet was at least partly to blame for the attack, while 34% felt the Internet was a great deal to blame. The running total thus far for "at fault" categories, and their percentage on the violent act (estimated):

Gothic Movies such as "The Matrix": 5%
Hardcore Music: 6%
Influence from friends / peer pressure: 6%
Video games depicting violence: 5%
The Internet: 7%
Violence in Saturday morning cartoons: 4%
Too much chlorine in the tap water: 4%
Having access to a machine gun: 5%
Media sensationalism: 5%
"Mentos" commercials: 5%
Professional Wrestling: 4%
Violence-glorifying games (like D&D): 7%
Second-hand smoke: 6%
Corporate America: 5%
Attention Deficit Disorder: 4%
Being fondled by a cousin at age 4: 7%
Having been spanked: 4%
Racial discrimination: 4%
Drugs and alcohol: 3%
War toys (plastic guns, toy soldiers) 3%
Other* 1%
-------------------------------------------------- Total: 100%

* this category comprised of but not limited to:

- parents who spend less time understanding their children than those children spend concocting a plan to wipe out their classmates
- parents lacking all communication skills who never should have had kids in the first place
- parents who exercise no control over what their children watch, listen to, or do
- school administrators who are more concerned with millage renewal and good average standardized test scores than student's emotional well-being
- communities who continue to underfund their school districts which results in class sizes so large that no teacher could ever spot a student in emotional distress
- Parental and rights organizations who make it a mortal sin to punish your child, invade their privacy through searching their room, or try to enact rules governing their activities
- fellow students who ridicule these "fringe kids", then are shocked and horrified when these kids are emotionally upset by it and respond violently

The recent wave of violent and severe youth crime is terrifying. It is a very, very serious problem which must be dealt with on all levels of our society, since it represents an underlying failure to teach our children not only the value of life, both their own and others, but also to understand today's youth and help them deal with the very real issues they face. We won't raise decent kids until we face the fact that PARENTS NEED TO PARENT, not send their kids to daycare or expect our schools to do the parenting for them while they spend only an hour or two a day with their children. We also need to encourage our schools to teach morals, values and responsibility. In case you haven't read it (assuming you agree with me), read the "4th R" rant on one of my growing number of rant pages...