It is as though some eccentric person, knowing my usual suspicions and pet themes of modern Life in These United States, put together the Saint Louis Catholic Perfect Storm News Story (tm). To the cloud:
Let's take the issues one at a time:
1. The child, the story says, was only following the orders of his therapist. Oh. Huh? Following the orders of his therapist, eh? I guess that means this 11-year old boy was undergoing therapy. For what malady? Schizophrenia? Kleptomania? A tendency to burn houses down? No, friends, he was undergoing therapy for attention deficit disorder (ADD). Why are parents so quick to turn their children over to the control of "experts" whose advice turns out to be so sterling? The therapist interviewed in this story sure looked eager to assure everyone that Li'l Tim wasn't a threat. I wonder if he has made that call to check on the validity of his umbrella policy yet. Yikes.
2. That leads me to another issue with the common ADD diagnosis. I am not here to deny that this condition could never exist, but rather to point to the overdiagnosis and overmedication of children so that parents aren't inconvenienced. You know, sometimes children act up, and sometimes they are raised poorly so that they act up a whole lot. The story doesn't mention it, but I wonder if the boy was on mind-affecting medication when he drew the picture. If so, wouldn't he have a defense to the charge? And if not, shouldn't the parents and therapist be charged as accessories to stick figure crime?
3. Now let's examine the role of the police. They showed unusual perspicacity in determining that this drawing made an 11-year old boy a threat to humanity. They very kindly handcuffed this 11-year old boy and locked him up, only to charge him with the Nuremberg-like charge of "interfering with staff and students at an educational facility". Let that phrase sit there a minute. Wouldn't Orwell laugh? Remind me not to send one of my posts critical of Lincoln to the principal of the school where a certain reader sends his children or I might end up doing twenty-to-life. I wonder if the police chief went home that night and popped some champagne, knowing he just stopped the next Columbine.
4. And how did our educational system fare? Not well. At first, I was inclined to give the school credit, as: a) it sent the boy home and then allowed him back after they determined he was not a threat; and, b) the story states it "initially" did not want to press charges. After the stories of the past 18 months where children were disciplined for having toy soldiers or Legos with tiny plastic fake guns, and where children were handcuffed and arrested for writing on a desk with marker, this seemed Solomonic by comparison. But not so fast. How did the police even know about the drawing? The therapist couldn't, and the parents wouldn't, turn the boy in. Only the school had access to the drawing. And the ultimate charge, combined with the description that the school didn't "initially" want to press charges, strongly indicates that the school system ultimately agreed to provide evidence of the "crime" and to support the charge. Looking at the picture and the paucity of verbal expression contained therein, I am inclined to think the school is better at determining just which stick drawings are dangerous than at teaching the three Rs.
5. In this public news broadcast, the parents state they don't want to be identified or give their real names. I should think not. And funny that only now are they wanting to keep family business private. Whatever their wishes, the media has them now. I hope that their child's "condition" really did require serious intervention, or else they have not only done damage to his development but also have stigmatised their son in at least one school system as a potential killer at worst, and mentally unbalanced at least.
Everyone in this little story seems to be out of central casting for the blockbuster movie about the full-frontal lobotomizing of our Springerized, Oprahized, Godless contemporary society.
Like I said, it moved me.
14 hours ago