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October 14, 2003

Stabbing, Sociologically Speaking

A kid got stabbed today at school, but that's not what I want to talk about.

It's amazing to watch the sociological experiement that is public school handle big stories like the stabbing today. I can literally watch the rumor mill at work grinding out more and more far-fetched stories about what happened.

Like the public, the kids are fascinated by drama, true or not. During the course of the first class after the incident, the stabbing grew from an actual small wound in the belly to "bleeding from his mouth" and "unconscious" although no new information reached the class. By the end of class, the kids had decided that school was cancelled the next day and everybody's mother was going to sue.

The next things that develops are the jokes and ritualizing. Adolescents think they're bulletproof and will live forever, so they must reconcile that self-image with the fact that one of their own was hurt bad enough for an ambulance. They commence to belittle the incident and dehumanize the victim by saying silly lines like, "Well, if that woulda been me I'd a kung-fu chopped him" and, "I guess he didn't like the food in the cafeteria." Then the "Joey stabbed me" and "I'm gonna stab you" lines start ad nauseum as they pick back and forth, recreating and ritualizing the event until they make it digestible and understandable.

Watching this miniature version of society gives one insight into many of the structures and myths of our own society. In order to deal with the sheer injustice and chaos of our existence, we package things we don't understand, like love, anger, and violence, into trite observations and tired humor that give us something--anything--to do other than face ourselves as we truly are: bearers of an accidental consciousness we are too feeble to control and too primitive to understand.

I'm amazed we've made it this far.

Posted by tat at October 14, 2003 03:50 PM

You are so right there Mr. Davis. From my years of living it seems we are going down hill. No one in the schools i attened did they ever stab or bring weapons. we just use our fist to fight, but even then they were few between, Its the dead beat parents that don't want to take care of thier kids. they want the state to do it for them, but when the state does something for them then they step in and say."hey you cant do that to my kid". Wel l I say WHAT THE F>>> you wnat us to do. you dont want to rasied them right but yet when we take care of it then you get huffy. Well just maybe YOU should not have had any kids. Moron!!!

Posted by: Jeff Hebert at October 16, 2003 08:35 AM

Hey Bryan, you and my sister need to talk. She is a counselor in Houston and is fighting the battle of belief that a counselor's role is to arrange scheduling only. She is a "real" counselor - she actually sees kids in her office, deals with conflict resolution, etc. (she could tell you more about it, hell I'm just a nerdy animal doc) I think you guys might be able to share some thoughts. Her email is dobefont@aol.com

My hat is off to you guys for doing what you do. I know I couldn't handle it.

Posted by: Deb Taranik at October 19, 2003 02:26 PM