Clicking on banner ads enables JWR to constantly improve
Jewish World Review March 15, 2001/ 20 Adar, 5761

Marianne M. Jennings

Marianne M. Jennings
JWR's Pundits
World Editorial
Cartoon Showcase

Mallard Fillmore

Michael Barone
Mona Charen
Linda Chavez
Ann Coulter
Greg Crosby
Larry Elder
Don Feder
Suzanne Fields
James Glassman
Paul Greenberg
Bob Greene
Betsy Hart
Nat Hentoff
David Horowitz
Michael Kelly
Mort Kondracke
Ch. Krauthammer
Lawrence Kudlow
Dr. Laura
John Leo
David Limbaugh
Michelle Malkin
Jackie Mason
Chris Matthews
Michael Medved
Kathleen Parker
Wes Pruden
Sam Schulman
Roger Simon
Tony Snow
Thomas Sowell
Cal Thomas
Jonathan S. Tobin
Ben Wattenberg
George Will
Bruce Williams
Walter Williams
Mort Zuckerman

Consumer Reports

Columbine redux: Moral infants -- THE gun control theme is not woven into the liberal lectures on the shootings at Santana High. Faced with the inopportune timing and resulting juxtaposition of the sentencing of Lionel Tate, a 14-year-old, to life in prison for his pummeling to death a six-year-old girl, the taciturn Second Amendment subversives realize the dichotomy. Still, they cannot bring themselves to condemn Andrew Williams, 15, who stands accused of the Santee shootings. They adhere to liberalism's notion that the only true crime is the infiltration of moral absolutes into public discourse, or worse, conduct.

President Bush referred to the Santee shootings as "a disgraceful act of cowardice," which sent Chris Matthews reeling on both content and his relentless theme of our president's inarticulate nature. Geoffrey Fieger, the lawyer who represented kindly Dr. Kevorkian, is outraged that a 15-year-old will be held criminally accountable for cold-blooded murder. Mr. Fieger is not, however, opposed to civil liability for such shootings and does represent Isaiah Shoels's family in their wrongful death suit re: Columbine. Murder is murder when it comes to contingent fees.

Unwilling to face the steady deterioration of the souls of our youth and silenced on guns, the liberal mind refocuses on new causation. A reader in my local paper wrote, " A lot of the 'troubled teens' out there are so because of the torment, abuse, name-calling, etc. by their peers." The reader went on to write, "I am not endorsing what he did . . .". Endorsing murder? Breathe a sigh of relief that the gentle reader will not lend her support for such Draconian punishment for taunting.

The barriers between disgraceful acts of cowardice and accountability must be removed. Two years ago, when our young turned on each other at Columbine, I warned of another Columbine and another after that until we addressed the underlying issues. We failed to do so. Our young kill again.

Bullying, taunting, or the high school caste systems do not cause these shootings. High school has always been a bizarre right of passage that involves cliques, insecurities, hormones and awkward physical changes with their outward mark of acne. Those who enjoyed high school generally peak there while the rest of the geeks, dweebs, and losers go on to become Bill Gates and other highly successful life forms once free from the shackles of a social system with the tolerance of the Politburo.

High school years in previous generations were, however, marked by: (a) no shootings; (b) family support for teens to know that this too shall pass and revenge comes from success, not murder; and (c) a moral code. Therein lies causation.

Teens today have little family support on the rugged battlefield their peers create. They have counselors who spout spiritually void platitudes. Their family contact is minimal. One survey showed that only one-third of them have dinner with their families. Following formative years in daycare centers, this generation fends for itself.

Young Andrew Williams' mother of Maryland said she was shocked at her son's shooting spree because when she spoke with her son "last month" from across the country (he lived with his father in Santee) he seemed happy. One cross-country phone call per month from mom won't get you a heart-to-heart. Add to the lack of family support the void of moral absolutes and our young people are gasoline-soaked rags next to Coleman lanterns. On the "Today" show, the mother of Andrew's former girlfriend said she did not "agree" with what Andrew did, as if a murderous spree should be debated like a "Hollywood Squares" statement.

These youth have learned by example that any conduct is excused with extenuating circumstances. They witness only moralizers condemning the condemners, not the actions. Mr. Clinton is a lying adulterer, but the vast right wing conspiracy is wrong to meddle in his private life. O.J. Simpson killed his ex-wife and her friend, but must be acquitted because LA cops are allegedly racist. An arsonist in Phoenix burns new homes, but is excused because he's an environmentalist concerned about sprawl. Abortion is a choice, not the taking of innocent life. Rationalization now haunts us.

Our president is correct - these shootings were a disgraceful act of cowardice. Repeat that phrase again and again. Be judgmental about this lad's spiritual void. A love affair with all that is secular has spawned a generation that is "cold, callous and indescribably cruel," to use the words of Judge Lazarus in the Tate case. Raising children in a valueless world with few boundaries and limited adult supervision has given them the killer instincts of roving bands of wolverines.

Please, don't shoot me for calling our young a name.

JWR contributor Marianne M. Jennings is a professor of legal and ethical studies at Arizona State University. Send your comments by clicking here.


03/09/01: The lessons of Tom and Nicole
03/01/01: Pardon the temporary outrage
02/23/01: In defense of homework
02/20/01: A Message for faith-based organizations: Don't take the money, just run
02/06/01: Enough already with the Clintoons
01/26/01: The challenge to be better than we have been
01/19/01: Where have you gone Frieda Pushnik?
12/29/00: The year that was
12/23/00: Litigation: It's the American way
12/15/00: In defense of rhetoric
12/06/00: The company we keep: Lawyers and elections
12/01/00: Liberals' art of trashing of women
11/20/00: Put me out of my misery
11/17/00: On being a statesman
11/13/00: When it's broke, fixing it wouldn't offend the Framers
11/08/00: ELECTION 2000: I SURRENDER
10/27/00: Al in the package? Memo to women: Choosing presidents and husbands
10/20/00: Ten things the gay community should understand
10/13/00: "You Have a Lump."
10/06/00: The government as the pharmacy: Don't
09/29/00: The capacity for truth
09/22/00: Charity with strings and an agenda
09/15/00: The taming of the shrew: Gloria Steinem takes a husband
09/09/00: Why rich folk don't bother me none
08/28/00: Survival of the not-so-fit but conniving
08/25/00: Conventions: A study in contrasts
08/18/00: Resenting the accusations of racial prejudice
08/04/00: Women: Their own worst enemy
07/21/00: Hillary: Our longshoreman First Lady
07/21/00: SUVs: The root of all evil
07/14/00: The basketball gene and white men not jumping so well
07/07/00: I wanna be around
06/23/00: The liberal conversion
06/14/00: Sex and the City: The shallow but vulgar female
06/08/00: No excuses schools
06/02/00: Oh, Canada: Our Nutty Neighbors to the North
05/23/00: The new mollycoddling coach
05/16/00: On adultery and leadership
05/12/00: Taking your lumps
05/02/00: Elian: There's never a liberal around when you need one
04/25/00: Life's circle and tenderness
04/18/00: Womyn who want it both ways
04/11/00: The monsters we're raising with the ergo proposition
04/05/00: Endowing the Hooters Chair for Literature Appreciation
03/28/00: Dr. Laura: The passive/aggressive kid's mom
03/21/00: Dough and campaigns
03/14/00: The volunteerism of conscription and pomp
03/07/00: Hope and pray that religion remains a force in politics
02/29/00: Ditzes in TV Land
02/22/00: Cranky nitpickers make writing a [sic] experience
02/15/00: Those chameleon 60s activists
02/08/00: McCandidate McCain: Flirting with principles
02/01/00: The demise of marriage
01/25/00: Stroke of the pen, law of the land: Clinton's Camelot
01/18/00: Off the Rocker Rorschach Test
01/11/00: Oprah's lemmings
01/04/00: Struggling mightily amidst the comfort
12/23/99: Confused fathers
12/14/99: Drop-kicking the homeless
12/07/99: Turtles and teamsters, side-by-side in Seattle
11/29/99: When conservatives behave badly
11/22/99: Compassionate conservative: Timing and targets
11/18/99: The elusive human spirit and accountability
11/11/99: Succumbing to the intellectual child within with the help of crackpots and screwballs
10/28/99: Live by litigation, die by litigation
10/22/99: Jesse, Warren, Cybill, Donald and Oprah
10/14/99: Inequality and injustice: It's the big one
10/05/99: Dan Quayle, morals and schoolyard bullies
09/30/99: The monsters of epidermal parenting
09/21/99: The Diversity Hoax
09/15/99: Waco Wackos
09/09/99: Selective censorship
09/01/99: The village, the children, judicial imperialism and abortion
08/24/99: Naughty Newt?
08/17/99: In defense of Boy Scouts and judgment
08/10/99: Ruining the finest health care system in the world
08/03/99: Nihilism and politics: ethics on the lam
07/26/99: Of women, soccer and removed jerseys
07/23/99: Not in despair, a mere mortal doing just fine
07/20/99: "Why me?" How about "Why us?"
07/13/99: Bunk, junk & juries
07/06/99: An Amish woman in a Victoria's Secret store
06/30/99: That intellectually embarrassing Second Amendment
06/24/99: Patricia Ireland eat your heart out --- but check out the recipe in 'women's mags' first
06/22/99: Dems and the Creator coup
06/17/99: True courage is more than just admitting troubles

© 2000, Marianne M. Jennings