criminalizing immaturity and ignorance

Late nights, I like to crawl in bed and watch old movies. Old is a relative term since it is no longer used to categorize black and white movies from generations before mine. It now applies to movies that were in the theater when I was old enough to be working in the theater. Last night I turned on “Class” to do some geezin’ about my misspent youth. Aside from the joy of baby faced celebrities when they were just becoming famous, the movie has an undercurrent of rebelling against authority. It’s also cheesier than my children’s pizza, but that’s not the point. The students push, push, push authority in the movie and the consequences are absent. I know it’s popular to complain about how today’s children are undisciplined and horrible, but I beg to differ. Things that my parents’ generation ignored, frowned and wrote off to adolescent rebellion are now acts that will get you arrested. When I was in middle school, there was a girl who kept herself safe by being the class bully. While the rest of the middle schoolers tormented each other, nobody messed with this girl. One day on the bus, she pounced me. Just walked up and started beating my face into the floor of the bus. The bus driver stopped the bus and pulled her off of me. He put her off the bus at a stop that wasn’t hers and she never rode the bus again. I don’t know how she got to school, but she certainly didn’t get a mini-vacation 3-day suspension. I was never questioned by anyone and my parents were never told. I did get to claim her spot in the backseat of the bus next to a cute boy whose name I can’t remember any more. If that incident happened today, the girl and I would have both been arrested and had to appear in juvenile court. We would have spent days at home watching tv instead of going to school. Our parents would have had mountains of papers to sign and hours of meetings to attend. Of course, the bus driver would have lost his job and been sued by the other girl’s parents. I was a more active delinquent by the time I got to high school. I wasn’t bad. I just pushed as hard as I could against authority. Somewhere along the way, probably under Reagan, we gave more and more of our freedoms away in exchange for less personal responsibility. Apparently it came with a memory eraser that prevents adults from remembering anything but a shiny, clean Disneyland-ish adolescence.

One thought on “criminalizing immaturity and ignorance

  1. Two problems that are present today.

    1. The parent difference. Parents that were tormented as kids don’t want their kids to be tormented. So they complain. Ones that complain a bit too much become helicopter parents.

    But the real problem is that

    2. There are just too many damn lawyers. Lawyers that are willing to take any kind of case to generate fees. The readily available over desperate to make some fees attorney’s give the helicopter parents a quick way to “even the odds” through the courts.

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