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Story Time

A bit of dictatorship called for

I'm worn down! Tired of all the crud I encounter almost daily, tired of turning on the boob tube and channel-surfing through the filth, tired of opening the page of a newspaper and being shocked by what I read.

Such was the case recently, there on page three of a newspaper I read religiously. Turns out a group of third graders, 8 and 9-year-olds from a small town in Georgia, both boys and girls, were plotting to attack their teacher. Caught with a steak knife, duct tape, handcuffs, cleaning materials to cover up their crime. The youngsters, apparently, had assigned themselves specific tasks to carry out the attack.

The town's police chief was quoted as saying the youngsters' attempt to harm their teacher was a serious threat, could have even ended in her being killed.

"We feel like if they weren't interrupted, there would have been an attempt. Would they have been successful? We don't know," the police chief was quoted in the story.

The children's reason for planning the attack? They were angered, we're told, because the teacher scolded one of the students for standing on a chair.

These are 8 and 9-year-olds we're talking about. I'm going to repeat that...THESE ARE 8 AND 9-YEAR-OLDS. When I think of a third grader what comes to mind is a cherubic-like, snot-nosed kid barely standing four feet tall. Innocent, with stars in their eyes after being impressed by a yo-yo trick or having seen a giraffe at a traveling circus.

When's this craziness going to stop?

The sad thing is, we're all becoming jaded to the ugliness we encounter day-in and day-out. We're no longer shocked by what we read or even see with our own eyes.

Our local police blotters are filled daily with reports of gunshots fired, drug use, burglaries, car thefts, gang fights, domestic squabbles...you name it, it's all there.

Our teenagers go to school dressed liked street walkers and thugs. Our children, grade school kids, can put a sailor to shame with the cursing and foul language that rolls off their tongues as easily as Jack and Jill tumbled down the hill.

A long-time member of the news media, it stands to reason I've always believed in free speech. Censorship in any form isn't something easily swallowed.

Unfortunately, we human beings, adults and youngsters alike, tend to mimic what we see on the tube, in the theaters, on the internet. Even video games are fodder for impressionable minds.

The problem lies in that we, who have the luxury of living in a censorship-free society, have chosen to let it all hang out. We haven't policed ourselves, we haven't stood up and said enough is enough. We've allowed sex, crime and violence to permeate every single aspect of our daily lives.

My father has a saying he likes to throw out every once in a while. I've never been on board with it. He says, "For any democracy to work, there has to be a little bit of dictatorship along with it."

I'm starting to believe he's right.

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