gun-toting schoolkids to get dead bodies punishment
March 16, 2001 6:49 AM   Subscribe

gun-toting schoolkids to get dead bodies punishment
and the motion was passed unanimously.
posted by bwg (27 comments total)
It's not a total solution, and I'm sure there are issues. But it don't seem like a bad idea. If anyone's ever seen an autopsy it's enough to turn you white. But that's me, I imagine there are not a few people that watch the TLC's ER stuff, the blood and gore of real life emergency rooms. That stuff's been giving them more than great ratings. And I guess there's a market for it, you see Fox showing 'worst surgical accidents ever' specials every other month.

Hmm... a comic solution, shoot the kid in the leg. He'll walk, but he'll remember not to fuck around with guns. ha!
posted by tiaka at 7:12 AM on March 16, 2001

I'll point out the obvious....

Far too many youngsters are desensitised to violence....

Personally, I don't believe that showing kids a bunch of dead bodies is going to "resensitize" them. Were any psychologists consulted before they passed this?
posted by jpoulos at 7:15 AM on March 16, 2001

I think that's kind of interesting, honestly, although it is a bit morbid. If a kid is willing to take another's life with a gun, why can't he or she watch the person be eviscerated? Unless the kid is actually into something like that, it should really phase them.

Just my 2 cents.
posted by Cavatica at 7:16 AM on March 16, 2001

The kids are going to love this. I know I would have loved a field trip like this when I was but a wee lad.
posted by ding at 7:24 AM on March 16, 2001

Work placements at an undertakers, trying to repair the damage of gunshot wounds.
posted by holgate at 7:25 AM on March 16, 2001

What a stupid, ridiculous idea. I have seen many dead bodies. When I was interviewing for medical schools they loved to take us on a tour of the gross anatomy lab to see dissected bodies and brains. To see something like that, you disassociate yourself from what that 'object' used to be. I was able to do it, and I'm not even warped enough to have thought of killing someone in the first place.

It does not reinforce the humanity of a person. It objectifies. Of course it does.

A dead body really has nothing to do with the concept of death.
posted by u.n. owen at 7:36 AM on March 16, 2001

real horrorshow...
posted by mblandi at 7:51 AM on March 16, 2001

Better they should make the kids do volunteer service in emergency wards and see the results of the Saturday night knife and gun club as they roll in.

But you know, as soon as they put this into place, some poor kid will get the works for pointing a fish stick and going "bang bang."

posted by jfuller at 8:01 AM on March 16, 2001

Ish. Gives me the willies.

But then, so did those horrendous films they made us watch in Driver's Ed, filled with charming footage of actual traffic accident aftermaths.

In any case, this is of course a stupid band-aid. It pretends to address the issue of youth violence in a weird, mediagenic way while neatly sidestepping reality. Bring a gun to school, and watch an autopsy? Crap. How about, Bring a gun to school, and you're arrested?
posted by Skot at 8:03 AM on March 16, 2001

u.n. owen, the crucial difference is that (a) you were an adult when you toured the gross anatomy labs and (b) you wanted to be there and had a vested interest in finding a way to get through it. I'm all for trying this.
posted by m.polo at 8:05 AM on March 16, 2001

You're right on both points, m.polo. But I don't think those are 'crucial' factors.
(a) What is it about being an adult that by definition allows me to view dead bodies objectively whereas teenagers would not be able to do so?
(b) I wasn't there because I wanted to be there, i.e. viewing dead bodies. I was there because I wanted to help save lives. These kids would be there because they wanted to take lives. But just as seeing these bodies didn't make me feel more strongly about the value of human life, I don't think it would cause these kids to value human life more either.

The value in human life comes from the living, not the dead. And if the kids hated people enough to kill them, seeing them dead won't change their minds. These kids need real help, not just people making their lives more horrific.

It's quite ironic to me, also, that lawmakers in L.A. are behind this scheme. When it comes to violence in movies, they say it doesn't cause kids to be more violent. Soon, according to this logic, they'll be saying it actually causes them to be less violent???
posted by u.n. owen at 8:24 AM on March 16, 2001

Sounds like stiff punishment to me ...
posted by darren at 8:33 AM on March 16, 2001

How does this address the problem at hand? Namely - bullied and alienated kids being pushed over the line, giving up on life, and shooting up schools.

How is seeing a corpse going to give a kid hope? How is something disgusting like this going to give them enough character to persevere?

It seems like this would only have a positive effect on kids who weren't going to shoot anyone anyway.

I am so tired of legislators doing something that sounds good without even worrying about effectiveness. "What kids today need is respect for life." What a load of crap. What kids today (and yesterday and tomorrow) need is character and respect for themselves.

This doesn't do that. It teaches kids that we think they are idiots who don't realize what guns do. In turn, kids realize people in authority are idiots who just don't get it.
posted by y6y6y6 at 8:34 AM on March 16, 2001

This is just dead wrong. Of corpse, the working stiffs in power would die before they'd admit

Oh, forget it.
posted by sonofsamiam at 8:39 AM on March 16, 2001

These kids need real help, not just people making their lives more horrific.

Amen. What these lawmakers fail to take into account is that the majority of kids caught with guns in school bring them for protection, not with the intent to start something. The real problem begins long before the kid brings the gun to school, but as we have discussed here many times, solutions are hard to come by. This policy is nothing more than a politically expedient band-aid approach to a complex problem.
posted by gimli at 8:46 AM on March 16, 2001

If people are confronted at a young age with the fact that everything they are and think they might become can be destroyed in an instant, they might be more reluctant to throw it away. On the other hand, they might become more nihilistic than ever if confronted with the fact that society and morality are constructs and the only reality is death. Who can say?
posted by donkeymon at 8:47 AM on March 16, 2001

What I find interesting, is that a dead body does not deter a child while on a rampage. Taking columbine as an example, you have two teens that are very familiar with what a dead body looks like, they've seen the sick-n-twisted sites or the "Faces of Death" served up via the internet...I wouldn't doubt it. Does the showing of human corpses allow them to respect life, or become even more fascinated with death....well, that would be up to the kid and his/her environment, right?On the other hand, showing the results of violence with the guidance of an instructor does have an alternate impact on how it is recieved...and also could indeed put the issue in perspective for kids. I think that in reality, they are just as confused over the subject as adults I also feel that it's not really a kids/adults issue, but rather stems from school/media(oh and maybe guns too). For the record tho, I think that this is a high extreme and is too psychologically demanding.
posted by samsara at 9:01 AM on March 16, 2001

I just asked my dad about this. This sort of punishment was used in Russia, under communism. Though it was really effective. He said it was very effective.
The same stuff was used for DUI's. They'd suspend your license and make you do morgue time.
posted by tiaka at 9:17 AM on March 16, 2001

We could send all the kids to do morgue time in Siberia. We could call it "Frozen Straight", or "Scared Stiff."
posted by gimli at 10:03 AM on March 16, 2001

... it'll work if the procedure's rigorously followed.
posted by darren at 10:03 AM on March 16, 2001

I remember a Scholastic Magazine story contest (something like that, anyway), where the winner was a tale of a kid leaving with his driver's license and driving along a freeway ... until something went horribly wrong, the car skidded across the median, and twisted metal and blood were everywhere. Then the kid awoke from the simulation and was asked if he really wanted his license. If he said yes, he was carted away to the loony bin. Final detail: being dragged out backwards, his feet in the grooves in the floor made by all the kids before him ....

Frankly, I have to say this might help a little, but it's not a complete solution. I believe people did stupid things like Santee and Columbine less when they did have a better connection to the consequences of their actions. Of course, this is scarily close the NRA argument that you teach a kid how to use a gun responsibly, they're less likely to pull that crap -- but several of these shooters HAVE come from law-abiding gun-owning families. So maybe that theory goes out the window.

Last year a study found that Scared Straight programs may not work as well as people thought ... [NPR audio]
posted by dhartung at 10:15 AM on March 16, 2001

I was wondering how long it would take for a comment about being "Scared Stiff." What a terribly morbid idea; it doesn't surprise me in the least that the Russian communists, who devised all sorts of "effective punishments," thought this was a grand idea.
posted by Chairman_MaoXian at 10:15 AM on March 16, 2001

CM, I hope you realize I was being sarcastic. Please note my earlier post.
posted by gimli at 10:31 AM on March 16, 2001

It does move into the realm of trying to inculcate guilt and same simultaneously (guilt to prevent them from doing something that has horrific consequences, shame by having the entire state legislature decide you need to be punished). However, I agree w/ some others -- it's treating symptoms and not the deeper issues, and doesn't seem like a major deterrent.

I don't see how it hurts too much, and maybe it'll keep some kids from using guns in the future. Could spend money better I think...
posted by daver at 12:12 PM on March 16, 2001

This doesn't seem to be aimed at the random schoolhouse shooters. Most of those seem to already be aware of the consequences of death, and that they've already been pushed to the point where that seems to be the best of their options. When the gun's first pulled, the suicide's already been planned, whether they follow through or not. For those, it doesn't seem this would do any good.

But this is LA we're talking about, and I suspect this has more to do with the gang-bangers. This might do some good alongside serious jail time.
posted by swell at 12:28 PM on March 16, 2001

This might do some good alongside serious jail time.

I don't know how anyone can think that doing time in the California prison system or watching autopsies is going to help the situation. How about decent education? How about providing some hope that you can do better in a legitimate profession than by selling drugs? Prisons don't produce responsible citizens. Prisons produce really good criminals. And this program won't produce kids who are scared to carry a gun--it will help desensitize kids even more, and provide some "cool" stories to tell on the playground.
posted by jpoulos at 1:32 PM on March 16, 2001

So... kids bring guns to school expecting to use them, expecting to see death that day - wanting to see death. Show them death. Now they are not afraid of death itself. Makes the work they started a little easier, doesn't it?
posted by elf_baby at 1:17 PM on March 19, 2001

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