Thursday, January 10, 2008

Some Things I Might Have Touched On Before

Some random thoughts to clear the decks in this new year:

New Hampshire, Iowa, presidential candidates, endorsements, the war in Iraq, the latest statements of idiocy by our fearless and witless leader all crowd onto the front page demanding my attention, but I am brought up short by one story. A father tosses his four children to their deaths from a bridge in Bayou La Batre, Alabama. It seems the father, Lam Luong, age 37, was bickering with his wife over his extra curricular activities with a mistress. To get back at her, he threw the children to their deaths.

Parents killing their own children is nothing new, but I cannot help being devastated every time it happens. What did those kids do to deserve this fate? What level of evil does one inhabit to resort to such acts of depravity? I cannot comprehend this act.

Thrown to their deaths from the highest point of the Dauphin Island bridge on Monday were four month old Danny Luong; one year old Lindsey Luong; two year old Hannah Luong; and three year old Ryan Phan, the only child not fathered by Mr. Luong.

That Brea junior high school teacher I wrote about previously will not be charged with threatening to kill one of his seventh grade students. The Los Angeles Times quoted a spokeswoman for the Orange County district attorney’s office as saying “We reviewed the evidence that was presented and determined that there wasn’t enough to go forward.”

Bryan Christopher Wilcher’s statement, as I wrote in the earlier essay, was most likely said in the heat of the moment. Wrong thing to say, but should he be charged with a felony? It sounds like cooler heads prevailed on this one.

In another issue I wrote about early on in this blog (student use and misuse of the Internet), it seems MySpace will be subpoenaed in the case of the thirteen year old Missouri girl who committed suicide after neighbors posed as a teenage boy and sent her mean-spirited messages. Local authorities failed to charge the perpetrators after a year of investigation. The United States attorney stepped in, according to the Los Angeles Times citing unnamed sources, and will determine if the creation of the fake identity to dupe the girl constitutes Internet fraud under federal statutes.

Finally, common sense comes to cyberspace. One cannot yell “fire” in a crowded theater, and one cannot harm another over the Internet using fraudulent means and fake identities. Sure the girl took her own life; these idiots just gave her the push she needed.

In a story out of Reading, Pennsylvania this week, a group of students subdued another student when he went on the attack at the local high school. The thirteen year old assailant was armed with a propane torch and two bags of equipment, including “knives, firecrackers, a small can of gasoline, and a water bottle filled with torch fluid,” according to The New York Times. The school principal and a few teachers assisted in the capture.

Does anyone remember when school shootings and attacks would shock the nation? This one appeared in a small article on page A19. I could not find a report on the cable or national news channels. The aberrant has become commonplace.

The holidays are over now. It is a new year. We still have a good six months of school left. In a few weeks, we will close out the first semester of the 2007-2008 school year.

It is time to get back to work.