I do not believe students (grade school, junior high, high school, or college) should carry firearms in classes, on campus, etc. There are some high school kids mature enough to handle the responsibilities of carrying a deadly weapon, but that is a time when hormones run high, education is not advanced, and tempers can flare. Of course, we allow kids to drive at age 16 (and the statistics—auto crashes form the leading cause of death for kids age 13-19; 16-year-olds have higher crash rates than any other age group and twice as high as 18- and 19-year-olds). But our economy is dependent on automobiles, so we do not question the driving age. We also depend upon teenagers to carry automatic weapons for the United States in armed conflicts overseas. One writer credited the success of United States troops with such success in the invasion of Normandy during World War II was that those troops were so young and inexperienced as not to anticipate fully the danger they faced once the gate on the landing craft dropped.
Darnell "Dynasty" Young, who is 17 years old, took a taser to his high school, Tech, after being bullied by other students because Young is openly gay. His mother reported the bullying to school officials over ten times. School officials did noting. The bullying took the form of students surrounding Young and pelting him with rocks and broken glass. He was spat upon. . The kid took the taser to school and, in a confrontation with the other students, shot the taser into the air. School officials found out and he was expelled. The students who threw the rocks and glass and spat upon Young were not disciplined because Young could not identify them.
To make matters worse, on the evening of Friday, May 11, Young was at Circle Centre. An individual—34 years of age, according to the news, therefore an "adult"—recognized Young, yelled homophobic slurs at him, pushed him, and, finally, punched Young in the face.
Bullying is a phenomenon with which our society has dealt for a long time. Bullying is not confined to schools or to children. Adults bully other adults. Adults bully children, too. "Bully" is defined as "a blustering, quarrelsome, overbearing person who browbeats smaller or weaker people." American College Dictionary, 1962 ed.
A school has the responsibility to protect its students. Bullying is not a new phenomenon. Perhaps the manifestations of bullying have changed. Firearms seem more readily available. Columbine is a testament to what can happen when one mixes teenage hormones, resentment, and access to automatic weapons. If Young had used his taser in Circle Centre, presumably he would have been able to rely upon self-defense if charges had been brought against him. In school the teachers and administrators were supposed to protect him. They did not.
On Saturday, May 19, we will podcast at 11 a.m.—live stream—from 10-01, at the corner of Broad Ripple and Winthrop. The topic will be bullying. Our guests will be Tami Moon and Joh Padgett.The public is welcome to attend.