Wednesday, 10 October 2007

SuccessTech Shootings how gullible do we have to be?

Hot on the heels of the Wisconsin shooting we have a 14 year old going on the rampage, and guess what, the 'explanation machines' are going to swing into action and the usual suspects will take up their predictable positions on the issue of whether it's guns or people that take the lives of human beings.

We could even try and get 'really' sophisticated and argue that it might even be the 'bullet' or the ammuniton manufacturer executives. We have to have our cause and our reason to blame.

What if a less obvious explanation gave an insight as to the cause? This is hinted at in a post that can be found at Blogging To Blame that suggests that the cause behind the behaviour of the perpetrator is due to the social construction of their world. In other words the cause lies in the mind of the perpetrator and the choice he took based on the 'sense' he made of his situation. What on earth do you mean by that, you might say? Surely it's as simple as guns/no guns, something wrong in his genetic make-up, or the way he was brought up. Good old nurture versus nature, NRA versus the rest of us, individual freedom versus big government.

Adolescent gun-crime keeps happening time and time again (it's even becoming frequent in the UK where guns are illegal) and none of those reasons seem to offer any real prospect of prevention. So, maybe it's time for an unconventional slant that breaks with the traditionally presented arguments. (Just as William Webb Ellis decided to stop playing by the rules of soccer to create the new sport of rugby, this explanation is breaking with traditional rules too. The elements of the argument are straightforward...

a) Contemporary society and its obsession with celebrity sets the tone for young people to take themsleves too seriously. Their behaviour is continually 'drip-fed' into the minds of adolescents through the media and entertainment industries, which in turn is reinforced by associative individual and product imagery put out by advertisers.

b) Their role models are seen to be rebels and rule breakers and celebrate an excessive right to individual expression in community settings. This 'talk to the hand' attitude whilst at one level is a natural state of rebelliousnes in the growth of a person, becomes destructive to society when it develops into 'whatever' as this reveals a total disregard for personal and community responsibility.

c)Layered onto this, SuccessTech has inadvertently created a situation wherebye the identity stakes for people who are 'excluded' clashes with a socially constructed expectation of 'high esteem', by institute reputation, and through pedadgogic philosophy of high achiever, hot-house-esque emphasis.

d)The combination of general society messages (I am free to do what I please), with micro society messages (You are an utter failure if you are excluded) creates a powder keg in the immature mind.

e)By thinking about the incident at SuccesTech in 'standard' explanatory terms alternative explanations are not 'seen' and therefore not addressed in the daily community affairs of the institution. SuccesTech has been unsuccessful in developing the non-academic context in which it's students participate.

Stop adolescent gun crime? Simple!

Start developing adolescent minds beyond academic disciplines, vocational necessities, and as proxies to show 'sucess' (sic) in the local education ratings war. This means going beyond any traditional educationalist and managerialist 'quick fixes'such as citizenship and cultural studies to the heart of their philosophical make up of their 'life-worlds'.


  1. I think you're failing to grasp what the word "frequent" means. Once or twice a year is not "frequent".

  2. Ho Hum - I suppose it depends on how fine you want your semantic hair splitting. Being shot dead once, for example would be rather too frequent for me. If you took a longtitudinal study over the last 200 years there would be a 'spike' of frequency in the latter part of the 20th and early part of the 21st century.

    I am delighted of course, that this is the only criticism of my post, and that you clearly agree the key line of my argument.

    Thanks for commenting:)

  3. ooooh, I like your snappy attitude and your writing style! Great essay, or article, or blog or whatever the hell it is.

  4. Cheers Katie! glad you like the 'style' - I'm just trying to work out whether it's the result of nature (just sheer natural born talent LOL) or nature - being brought up in an argumentative family? - It could of course simply be the social co-creation of me and 'anonymous' :)

  5. I find the cause to be more of - bad occupation of mind, no challenges and parents who live with you but dont know about you or have the time or inclination.. If ur family is not there for you, who else will actually bother or care about you.. And im not talking about religion here, but a sense of values is also needed.. What is right what is wrong.. the american expression "Whatever" will not help solve the core problem..

    And mostly teenagers with a deep sense of abandonement [not being included socially] or absolute arrogance would be the actual cause.. Nobody hates without provocation..

    And the emphasis on instant celebrity, utube fame, its cool to be a rock star and do drugs is not helping..

    Kate Winslet is endorsing healthy eating and looking good, who is following her?

    I think the good side needs to have a glamour campaign, for people to listen.. Else, gun solutions are going to be the norm.

    And we cannot take random incidents and generalize.. Here in the US, iI see boys in the neighbourhood playing with toy guns, air guns, speeding on video games, [task absed video games are lame..]. Its all about the blood and violence..

    Some of them may even want to see how it feels in real life.. We dont know what causes these shooting urges..

    Good writing Robinson, as usual..