Published on: April 4, 2008
Call me crazy, but I think American civilization went off the deep end this week.
The news that as many as nine third graders at a Georgia school conspired
to murder their teacher - bringing to school a knife, duct tape, handcuffs and a crystal paperweight with which to knock her out – brought more than a few of us up short this week.
Now, I’m speaking here both as a citizen and as the husband of a third grade teacher. But this is nuts.
The only reason anyone found out about the plot before they actually tried to off the teacher is because an uninvolved pupil warned the administration. And yet, in the circles of authority, people already are making excuses for these kids.
"We did not hear anybody say they intended to kill her,” said the police chief.
“From what I understand, they were considered pretty good kids," said a spokesman for the school district.
"This is an isolated incident, an aberration … we have good kids," said the principal.
No, I don't think so.
I understand that these kids had some learning disabilities, but that’s no excuse for this sort of premeditated behavior. I understand that the educational philosophy of the moment is to “mainstream” every kid, no matter what the disability happens to be, but there’s no way that these kids ought to be allowed back into this school.
I’m not suggesting that they be charged with a crime, but I am suggesting that a simple suspension isn’t nearly enough.
It is time to find them another place to go to school. Preferably a place where there are metal detectors and regular strip searches.
And, by the way, maybe someone ought to question the parents of these little prospective felons. Because it seems pretty obvious to me that these kids are watching too much television and playing too many videogames, and that the adults aren’t paying nearly enough attention.
Maybe I’m just getting old, but when I was that age, the only physical violence being committed in the classroom was by the nuns…
By the way, I can't wait to see what they do with this case on “Law & Order.”
You need to go out right now and pick up a copy of the April 7 edition of “The New Yorker,” because there are three pieces you should read.
There is an opening essay by the incomparable Roger Angell about baseball, in which he ponders the state of the national pastime and wonders, among other things, if money has hurt the game more than steroids.
And, there is a brief profile of John Catsimatidis, the CEO of Gristedes, who is running to succeed Michael Bloomberg as mayor of New York.
And finally, best of all, there is a Reflections piece entitled “Mine Is Longer Than Yours” by Michael Kinsey, in which he considers baby boomers’ desire and pursuit of longevity, and puts it in perspective. While this is a highly personal piece – Kinsley was diagnosed as having Parkinson’s disease 15 years ago – I also found that it made me think about how businesses (especially businesses specializing in health and wellness-related products and services) will cater to this demographic group. This is a terrific bit of personal journalism, and I recommend it highly.
If you want to get ahead of the game, reserve your copy now of Thomas L. Friedman’s new book, a follow-up to his highly successful “The World Is Flat.” It is due out in August, and I guarantee you that it will be defining the debate come fall…which could be very interesting in view of the fact that we’ll be electing a president then.
The title of Friedman’s new book: “Hot, Flat & Crowded.”
I can't wait.
I use this bully pulpit a lot to argue that the diversification of the planet means that retailers have to make sure that their employees are increasingly sensitive to people of different faiths.
Well, here’s yet another indicator. The Vatican announced this week that Islam has overtaken Roman Catholicism as the single biggest religious denomination in the world – there are an estimated 1.3 billion Muslims on the planet, compared to 1.13 billion Catholics.
I wrote the other week that the seemingly endless stream of research reports about how various foods affect the body always seem to leave me feeling, “uh-oh.”
But finally, there’s a good one.
Researchers at the University of North Dakota School of Medicine and Health Sciences say that the caffeine equivalent of just one cup of coffee a day could help prevent Alzheimer’s.
No word, however, on whether six cups a day will make it six-times as unlikely to get it.
I’m in South Beach in Miami on business, and last night I had something for dinner that I couldn’t even have imagined: lobster served with banana.
Y’know what? It was really, really good.
Go figure. Sometimes it’s worth taking a shot.
That’s it for this week. Have a good weekend, and I’ll see you Monday.