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What About Socialization?

I believe I am an outsider to modern American culture. At times I feel as if I and my family are like the boy in a bubble, protected by a cocoon of some substance I can't describe. Is it our philosophy, our world view, our self-absorbed preoccupations? Regardless of its nature, our bubble keeps out the afflictions of this culture's abject moral decay that we occasionally see when we summon the courage to peer through it, which is what I did this evening. I trawled the internet to find out about Charles "Andy" Williams, the latest government school mass murderer.

While the rest of the country may have been glued to their various electronic devices obsessed with the media obsession to find some answer to the burning question why, I was unaware that the massacre had even occurred until this afternoon. But then, I was able to come up to speed quickly, since if you've seen one media disaster coverage, you've seen them all, and this one was little different – the angst, the voyeurism, the bumbling public officials, the anti-gun message. Nowhere was the obsession satisfied.

I will satisfy it. I can answer the question why as only an outsider can.

"…Michael Williams, 20, a student at the Art Institute of Atlanta, [and the murderer's brother] told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution[,] "People like to pick on him. It was like that as long as I could remember."

"He's still my friend," Vanessa Willis told the Los Angeles Times. "I'm not going to dislike him just because he killed people. He's not sick in the head like those people from Columbine. He's a nice guy."

What these two quotations show is a shocking toleration of aberrant behavior. America has become a nation of inept, even infantile, parents who are unwilling or incapable of protecting their children from bullies, even the ultimate bully – a gunman targeting unarmed innocents. What's worse, it seems they don't really mind their horrifying impotence – attendance at Santana High on Wednesday was 85%, including four of the victims.

Through a tyrannical compulsory school system, through relentless propaganda throughout this culture trivializing parenthood, parents have suppressed their most primeval drive – the fierce protection of their young.

Well, this parent hasn't been stripped of that drive. I did not put my children in day care at age six weeks to continue my career as proof that I have worth beyond being just a mother. I did not dump them in pre-school so they could ostensibly learn to get along with other children, while I heaved a sigh of relief that I was rid of them. I have not condemned them to a juvenile penitentiary where they will be indoctrinated against my husband and me, and taught there are no moral truths and that murderers are nice guys. And all the while I have stepped in to save them from bullies, despite taking criticism for doing so.

Am I protecting my children? You're damn straight I am. That's my job and it's your job, too.

My children are home with me, living and learning under my watchful care. They are apprenticed to my husband and me so that they may know how to become mature adults. They have learned that there are moral truths and that there is aberrant behavior that under no circumstance can be tolerated. And they know they are loved and protected. This is proper socialization, not the Lord of the Flies variety holding sway in government schools.

The burning question that obsesses me is where is the breaking point? When will parents finally show some outrage and declare that enough is enough? When will they appear en mass at the juvenile penitentiaries, their suppressed primeval drive surging forth to liberate them? When will Americans storm their Bastille and separate school and state?

March 9, 2000

Cathy Cuthbert is a wife, mother and homeschool advocate living in California. She is the editor of the online newsletter, The School Liberator, produced by the Alliance for the Separation of School and State. Cathy is also the owner of the forthcoming website, deschooling.org.