Tuesday, November 21, 2006

True words from a disturbed mind

Germany is reeling in the aftermath of yet another school shooting. It seems that the perpretrator, a former student at the Geschwister Scholl school, where the shooting took place, was described as a loner, who felt that let down by the school system.

He left behind a letter, in which he describes his motives (some of them pretty twisted). The letter has been published, in various forms in the different German newspapers. I read the letter in its entirety and find it interesting that, along with his railing against various groups whom he disliked, his declaration that murderers should be accepted as normal people and other controversial statements, the following has also been left out by most of the media :

Das Kind begibt sich auf seine perönliche Sozialisationsstrecke, und wird in den darauffolgenden Jahren gezwungen sich der Allgemeinheit, der Mehrheit anzupassen. Lehnt es dies ab, schalten sich Lehrer, Eltern, und nicht zuletzt die Polizei ein. Schulpflicht ist die Schönrede von Schulzwang, denn man wird ja gezwungen zur Schule zu gehen. Wer gezwungen wird, verliert ein Stück seiner Freiheit

In English

The child embarks on his personal socialisation track and is forced to adapt to the mainstream, to the majority. If he rejects this, teachers, parents and, last but not least, the police intervene. Compulsory schooling is a euphemism for forced schooling, because one is forced into going to school. Whoever is forced loses a peace of his freedom.

One of the sad ironies here is that the Scholl siblings for whom the school is named died because they refused to keep quiet in the face of intolerance and injustice.

The school in particular and the German school system in general is of course not solely to blame for what this young man has done. However it is typical of the tunnel vision of most of the media and authorities that they are pinning the blame overwhelmingly on the violent computer games which this boy played and not looking at the other factors which could have led to this. In my morning newspaper a couple of pages on from the article about him was one in which someone was suggesting scrapping the child benefit (Kindergeld) which parents receive and investing it in daycare for under-3's.