Yet This Is The Harangue

SwankI’m warming up to the writings of Pastor Swank.  First of all, he’s prolific.  Second of all, he butchers the English language like no other Renew America columnist (except for, of course, Kaye Grogan).

Take, for example, the opening graf in yesterday’s column:

It is stupid for supposedly intelligent persons so flippantly to blame parents of children who murder or bring any other mayhem to society. Yet this is the harangue. Recall the massacre in Colorado.

If you’re like me, you had to read that three or four times and you are still a little lost.  It’s kind of like eating ice cream really fast.  You kind of know what’s going on, but it doesn’t matter because your head hurts.

By the way, if I ever decide to rename this blog, "Yet This Is The Harangue" is going to be one of my top choices.

But let’s return to Pastor Swank and the supposedly intelligent persons who blame parents of children who murder flippantly (or whatever he just said):

"These parents are at fault."

"Someone needs to get to these parents and tell them that they have to control their children. I blame the parents!"

"What’s going on with these parents of these killers? What’s going on in their homes?"

"The parents must have known about the arsenals that were built up inside their own houses!"

And so it goes. . .on and on and on.

Gotcha.  People are always blaming the parents when their children go out and murder someone.  Can’t imagine why.  Maybe it’s because sometimes the parents provide the guns?

This is the height of hubris, of naivete’.

"Naivete", I understand.  But how does "hubris" (exaggerated self-confidence and overbearing pride) enter into it?

When I was younger and saw children acting up so as to be disobedient —

Rather than acting up so as to be …obediant?

When I was younger and saw children acting up so as to be disobedient, I would say to my wife on occasion: "If those were MY children, I would do thus and thus."

"This naturally infuriated my wife when I used terms like ‘thus and thus’.  ‘Why can’t you be more specific?’, she would harangue."

And how often have I heard adults of no children or young children make that same pontifical declaration.

Wait, Pastor.  You’re asking me how often you’ve overheard something?

Have you said it?

Have I said a "pontifical declaration"?  Golly gosh, I don’t think so, sir.

However, after having raised three children, I would never lower my intelligence so as to give forth with such nonsense moralizing.

No, Pastor Swank would never, ever, ever, ever engage in nonsense moralizing.

Further, such high-sounding statements only serve to add pain to parents who already are fearing for their lives because of what their adolescent children are threatening at home base.

What are they threatening at home base?  A sacrifice bunt perhaps?

I know that parents with teens out of control cannot dump those offspring on any agency of society.

Military schools all closed now?

Nevertheless, the brutal fact is that in too many homes in our culture there are indeed strong-willed youth who daily are so potentially treacherous that their own mothers and fathers fear for their very lives.

Diagram that sentence.  I dare you.

Many of these parents do not abuse their children, do not misuse drugs, are not alcoholics, are not indecent nor obscene nor irresponsible. They are at home.

Because … what …because drugs, alcohol, indecency, obscenity, and irresponsibility don’t exist in homes?

They are bringing in the salary check to pay the bills.

Stir it up in a pan….

They have tried to create a lifestyle of morality and care.

Which obviously didn’t work.

Nevertheless, sometimes there are offspring who simply reject all of that decency for their own selfish devilment — and such can include threatening their own parents’ and siblings’ existences.

Not only do those offspring give in to "devilment", but shennanigans and skullduggery!

When Cain killed his brother, Abel, was it Adam’s fault? Did God rail against Eve?

Well, actually — wasn’t Abel’s murder — and indeed most of the bad things that happened in the Bible and beyond — a consequence of being thrown out of Eden after Adam ate the apple?

No, Cain was responsible for his own misdeed; therefore, God chastised Cain alone.

Yeah, he went into the land of Nod and built a city.  Some punishment.

There are many Cains who have lived since, and too many alive today.

I’m looking at you, Michael!!

Therefore, for panel members, broadcasters and politicians to get on television to continually ask naively, "Where were the parents in all of this?", obviously is to reveal their own uninformed and insensitive lives.

Note to Pastor Swank:  "Where were the parents" is a legitimate question.  Asking legitimate questions is how one becomes informed.  Assuming, as you do, that the parents are totally uninvolved with their kids’ choices, or are held captive by their out-of-control kids, is indeed making an uninformed assumption.

Those of us in the work of living and the study of counseling families know all too well that there are untold numbers of extremely concerned parents who simply cannot bend their children’s wills toward the right. Those parents wish to God that they could; but they cannot because each child has his own final power of choice.

Hey, good point — where is God in all this?

Further, and this is most significant: when a culture such as ours sets loose one violent movie, video, musical lyric, "entertainment" after another which proclaims blood and guts as a legitimate past time, then many of our children opt for all of that hatred and insanity rather than being appreciative of the loving homes from which they come.

Ah, blame Hollywood.

There is an extremely dark magnet which has been manufactured in our land by evil persons who want money from our youth rather than providing them with the good, kind and beautiful.

Oh, come on.  The Hansons?  Get real.

Anyway, Pastor Swank goes on like this for a few more paragraphs and then ends all Moses-like:

Do not then waste your words on how undisciplined and brainless scores of parents are when their children run amuck.   Instead, spend your energies on creating a society that has rid itself of its own violent allowances.

You know, Pastor, I really don’t think parents are entitled to free rides.  Study after study shows that violence is inherited from parents and passed on.  Violent criminal offenders are more likely to grow up in households with violence (beatings, etc.).

Furthermore, parents teach their kids, directly or indirectly, how to resolve conflicts (or not resolve them, as the case may be).  And while some movies, TV shows, and video games certainly contain their fair share of violence, it is ultimately the parents who bear responsibility for what their kids are exposed to in the first place.  They also bear responsibility for teaching kids the difference between fictional violence and the real-world consequences of real-world violence.

I’m not saying this is easy.  I’m just saying that we can’t offer blanket immunity for all parents, automatically assuming that they have no control over their kids’ violent tendencies.  Again, I refer you to this recent news item.

A troubled teenager accused of plotting a school attack built up a stash of weapons with the help of his mother, authorities said.

Michele Cossey, 46, was arrested Friday on charges of illegally buying her home-schooled son, Dillon, a .22-caliber handgun, a .22-caliber rifle and a 9 mm semiautomatic rifle with a laser scope.

The parents were indulging the boy’s interests because he was unhappy, not knowingly aiding a school assault, Montgomery County District Attorney Bruce Castor said Friday. The parents didn’t know of the teen’s plans, but "by virtue of her indulgence, she enabled him to get in this position," Castor said.

But what do I know?  I’m just haranguing.

What do you think?