Every couple of years there seems to be some horrible high school tragedy to get the nation's attention. A massacre like the one at Columbine. Or a little boy taunted and ostracized because he's too feminine. Now this recent little girl, Phoebe Prince. Bullied to death. Because they are children, the nation mourns, cries out, gets angry. News crews descend upon small towns asking "Why?" "Did you see any signs?" Talk shows analyze.
Many if not most of these tragedies seem to point to bullying and rejection as the source. These children either destroy themselves in sorrow or destroy others in rage. Then the adults, in a frenzy, try to make it right ASAP. Now the solution is to throw the book at the teens who mocked and verbally assaulted Phoebe to the point of death. In an effort to get justice and make sure this never happens again, the adults use the errant teens as an example. In this case, six teens will be charged with felonies. Three will be charged as juveniles.
Did these kids commit these crimes because they are deviant and need to be removed from society? Are they so different from most other kids? Or has this sort of inhumane behavior become the very definition of human in America. I mean just look at the shows that say they represent "reality" in America. The Real Housewives. Wife Swap. Jon & Kate. Jersey Shore. Bad Girls Club. They call each other names. They ostracize. Mock. Bully. The more perverse, mean, violent and cruel, the higher the ratings.
What happened in South Hadley, Massachusetts is no different from what is happening all over the country. It's not even the result of confused adolescence. Which adults will be charged? As a matter of fact, can you charge the entertainment industry? Is there a way to litigate against the entire culture? Because it is not these kids who are deviant. It is all of us who participate in the madness that has become our cultural norm.