Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Zero Tolerance And Stick-Figure Drawings: Have We Gone Too Far?

When I was in elementary school, I used to draw whole battle scenes made of stick figures fighting with guns, artillery, laser beams, fighter jets, and God-knows what other kinds of hellish instruments of violence. This was in addition to the games we played in the dirt lot. I must have killed, and been killed by, my friends about ten-thousand times over, using every thing from my fake-gun finger to my fake-air bazooka. I suppose nowadays it would get me expelled. We developed a societal sickness known as “Zero Tolerance,” which requires that human judgment be replaced with political correctness.

In Oregon, where I'm sure guns are in the gun rack on every pickup truck, a first-grader was suspended Tuesday for drawing a stick figure shooting another in the head with a gun and allegedly threatening students. Little Butte School officials sent 6-year-old Ryan Weathers home after receiving complaints from parents saying he threatened their children. The disciplinary report given to Weathers stated the reason for the suspension was the boy "threatened to shoot two girls in the head." The biggest issue his father had with the incident was that his son tried to blame the drawing on another kid. "Lying is a big problem for me," he said. "No matter what happens I tell him to tell the truth. I told him he was wrong for trying to lie."

The drawing was inspired by an episode of "The Simpsons," said the father. In the television cartoon, a character displays a drawing of a student being shot by a gun. Before everyone starts blaming "The Simpsons" show, lets take a look at some other cartoons. Lets reflect on what message they give to our young. Growing up Tom & Jerry, Wyle E. Coyote & the Roadrunner, and others cartoons reflect violence. These cartoon characters have the ability to be smashed into a thin line and then inflate back to their normal size. How confusing can that be to a child? All children have violent thoughts, including those who don't watch any TV. To express these thoughts in a harmless way such as drawing is normal and healthy and commonplace. Forbidding it is asking for trouble, because these thoughts will find a way of expressing themselves in other, perhaps not so harmless ways.

My God people! This is a child doing what every child does. I'm sure most if not all of you have drawn pictures like this when you were young. If you are all so concerned about how TV violence influences your child, think about what you (and now your kids) watch. Look at the violence on children's TV shows such as "Buggs Bunny", "Road Runner", "Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles", "Three Stooges", "Scooby-Do", "Buffy The Vampire Slayer", just to mention a very few. I suppose you all want to remove any and all history books too! They are full of violence. Just because a child draws a simple stick figure picture does not make him/her a criminal. Obviously, this child is in the planning stage of a columbine type massacre. Keep that picture as evidence and put him away! You can never be too sure, right?

Don't you think our police and school personnel have many more pressing issues at hand other than watching over children's pictures? I wish these ultra-PC people would get a real life and focus on what's really important...education. I know people are just trying to be proactive in preventing future crimes. But this is friggin' insane! If you really want to prevent future crimes, lets bring murder charges against anyone busted for dealing in drugs? After all, we all know for a fact that drugs kill! So lets be proactive and put drug dealers away for a long time! You must agree that drugs kill and destroy lives much more than the harm created by a stick figure picture drawn by a child!

Wake up America. We're in the middle of a war and we prescribe to forbid guns? Parents have a responsibility to teach their children right from wrong. What this kid is normal, first-grader stuff. Heck, I did it through high school and I haven't taken a high-powered rifle, gone on top of a really tall building, put on that Frankie Vallie tune, "Sherrrrryyyy Baby" and started shooting people! All I know is, if you kicked out every kid who drew shooting pictures back in my day, you would have ended up with an all girls school!