School shootings: let them fight

In the last dozen years, our nation has seen a spat of school shooting. While each one is a little different in nature, every parent cringes when they hear something about school shootings. We expect our schools to be a safe haven for our kids so that they can learn; after all, that’s why we send them to school.

Since 1996, there have been 34 school shootings in the United States alone. ( Bear in mind these are reported shootings only.

So, how safe are our schools?

The truth of the matter is that no matter what we do, if someone is determined, they’ll find a way to make it happen; Even if the school uses a concrete wall and barbed wire. One principal I talked to suggested that the consistent thing about the violence is that there has been an oddity, something out of routine before it all happened.

But I got to thinking…we never worried about that sort of stuff when I was a kid. Neither have I ever heard my parents or aunts and uncles ever talk about that. Neither, did we ever see anyone waving a gun around in school on Little House on the Prairie.

So what changed?

Thanks for asking–I’ll tell you what I think it is. We’ve pushed the issues of tolerance and bullying and many schools now expel kids for nearly looking at another one cross-eyed. I say, let them fight…but don’t send them home for the entire year for doing so!

When I was in school, if you fought, you went home for 3 days. A fistfight didn’t ruin your entire educational year, and it relieved a lot of stress. I recall, also, many times teachers and coaches would hold back…just for a minute or two, enough to let each of the combatants get in a lick or two. And then they’d break it up.

The combatants could blow off some steam. Maybe get a bloody nose and a black eye in the process and neither of them really get the “win.” Teachers, coaches, principals, administration and parents then all used the experience as an educational process—a teaching moment. They can’t take teaching moments if they are ducking and running for cover from bullets.

Where I went to school, you could probably have found several guns in the cars of the students on any given day. It was a rural school and many of the boys were avid hunters, shotguns on gunracks in the back of their trucks. No telling how many were there at the start of hunting season.

But we never worried about someone bringing a gun to school with the purpose of shooting someone.

Granted, I’m not a psychologist, nor do I play one on TV…but it seems like that could be a possible solution to SOME of the ills at school…yes?



Filed under Columns

5 responses to “School shootings: let them fight

  1. Dave

    Gotta disagree this time Roland. To the extent that there is a “typical” school shooter, it is a kid who would never fight – get beat up by others perhaps,but never fight. The school shooter has in all most all cases played extreme violence first person shooter video games for mindblowing numbers of hours until thinking is conditioned to accept the idea of dealing death casually WITH OUT experiencing pain! That is why the school shooter will not fight!

  2. paco

    I alaso think that teachers not being able to punish rule breakers in the early years contributes to students lack of fear for punishment for anything they do. Bullying, back talking authority figures, and many other things are overlooked and allowed, so they feel they can take it a step futher and eliminate all the people who have bothered them at one time or another.

  3. Peggy Johnson

    It was a long time ago but I remember seeing several fights right after school just off the school premises. The fighters were smart enough to know they’d get in trouble if they fought on campus.

  4. Keith Conroy

    I would also like to point out that it seems as if alot of these children we later find out, were on anti-depressants, and had been seeing or had seen a therapist or as I like to call them the rapist.
    FPS or First Person Shooters which were developed BY the military for training purposes, certainly do not help. Being that the objective is usually to go from one end of the map to the other and kill as many ‘targets’ (dehumanizing term) as possible.
    Now I myself am guilty of playing some of these, however I was introduced to them in my mid twenties, and I had gone through the earliest versions of them. The graphics were quite pixelated and cartoony. That is not the case nowadays. These children can get these games at an early age(there’s always a friend whose has them even if they don’t) and with the graphic capabilities that computers have today, expose them to some very realistic looking gameplay. I have seen homes where 8 year olds have access to these. You get these children at an early age, exposed to this level of realistic gaming, put them on amphetamines or anti-depressants, coupled with movies and TV geared towards violence as the solution, even WITH good parenting you are facing an uphill battle against scientific indoctrination .
    As to your let them fight theory, well I find it’s usually the issue where one child wants to fight more than the other and that can lend itself to easily to bullying. But if two equally eager individuals wish to duke it out I say power to them.
    As a side note- politically it’s gold too if your intent is to push for the abolishment the 2nd amendment.
    My two cents.

  5. thatrichardlopez

    Well Hello anybody who’s lucky/unlucky enough to come across this… I am definitely on Roland’s side: a fight or two, that doesn’t get too far out of hand, is just as much a learning experience as anything I kid might pick up in science or history. I’m almost 27 now and when I was in high school I almost presciently fit the stereotype for the sort of youngster who would do a few of those terrible things so many of us read about in newspapers and talk/don’t talk about in the workplace. One exception though: I was a vocally non-violent person. Sure, I talked my fair share of sh!t, but I certainly never once had the impulse to pack an even quasi-automatic weapon in with my books and lunch money. And my parents have their faults. And I oh boy! did I play a lot of video games. And believe it or not, I even got angry from time to time. But here’s the kicker: I had sense enough to not murder people, even at the tender age of 14…. Also, there’s a pretty good deal of scientific/social theory that lends itself to kids being a bit reckless and experimenting with the unknown; the comment below is a link for a talk on a website called It’s an awesome website, and the talk is one of my personal favorites.

    I really hope somebody responds to this.

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