Panic In The Suburbs


There was an incident at our oldest’s school yesterday.

Apparently, an eighth grade girl had a “hit list” of people she didn’t like. Pandemonium then proceeded to erupt.

I especially love the well measured and not at all overwrought response of the parent in the piece.

If I didn’t have my friends around me, I probably would’ve had a heart attack or stroke because I was so scared,” said parent Frances Lopez.

In a related story, the CDC has announced that the presence of friends can reduce your risk of heart attack or stroke by 1000%.

Mrs. Lopez’s reaction is sadly all too typical. Especially around my house. We received news about this directly from an unnamed seventh grade source. The thing with the middle school grape vine is that the facts tend to get mangled after the initial telling of the tale. Making a bigger deal out of this isn’t helpful. Among the rumors that were passed on was that the girl might have brought a gun to school.

Never mind the media adding to the pants shitting hysteria of neurotic parents. But go ahead and read the lede from Channel 4.

A local school system is dealing with hit lists, and they believe they are coming from an eighth-grade student.

Oh. Now it is multiple lists? Not multiple lists! Oh, the humanity!

Mrs. Sarcastro went into full panic mode over this stupid damn thing. She started railing about whatever it is that Security Moms get worked up about.

I foolishly tried to extinguish this blaze of outrage.

“What’s the big deal? This kid made a list. So what?”

“What if one of our kids was on that list?”

“So what? It’s just a list.”

“It was a KILL list!”

“So kids are getting expelled from school for making lists?”

“She brought a gun to school!”

“No. She might or might not have brought a gun to school, and if she did, then she should be expelled and charged. If she really brought a gun to school, don’t you think that would be the story instead of this stupid list bullshit?”

“If 13 was on that list, I would have him in private school so fast…”

“Like that is a solution. Nothing bad happens in private schools. Just ask those Amish girls.”

“What if she brought that gun to school and started shooting people in the cafeteria.”

“I would expect someone in that room to be able to disarm an eighth grade girl.”

“You just don’t get it.”

“You’re right. I don’t. Kicking a girl out of school for making lists of the kids who are being shitty to her doesn’t make a lot of sense.”

“You don’t know if that girl was being picked on.”

“No. You are right. Middle school is a Utopian paradise full of peace and love. There can’t be any likely reason why she would make a list of her tormentors. Errr, I mean kids who are just minding their own business.”

This back and forth went on for awhile with no resolution or apparent end.

School massacres are, by and large, an aberration rather than the norm. The hysteria about this sort of thing is generally fueled by emotion rather than the facts. Statistically, a kid has a better chance of being strangled by a parent than gut shot by some other kid with a grudge list. On average, about two thousand children are murdered in this country every year. Out of that number, around twelve of those kids are killed at school. When you figure out where the remaining 1,988 are killed, you get a cookie.

It just seems un-American somehow to cultivate the idea in children that putting their thoughts onto paper is a crime. We aren’t making our kids safer, we’re just making them better sheep.


10 Responses to “Panic In The Suburbs”

  1. Ginger Says:

    You men just don’t get it.

    Mrs. Sarcastro, you and I need to get together so we can have a “worrying about our babies” session.


  2. Mrs. Sarcastro Says:

    They never will, Ginger! Well, I should say…Sarcastro will never get it. Just let me know when you want to have our first session.

  3. Mark Says:

    No, we get it, we just have clearer heads about the situation . . . (ducks)

  4. Exador Says:

    The hysteria about this sort of thing is generally fueled by emotion rather than the facts.

    That pretty much explains the difference, preventing men from ‘getting it’

  5. Ginger Says:

    Exactly, Ex…most of you guys think very matter-of-fact…we mama’s are thinking from the standpoint of the one who carried that child inside of us, nursed them, yadda, yadda, yadda…

    It’s not a slam, it’s just the way it is…

  6. W Says:

    I suspect Mrs. Sarcastro may be starting a hit list.

    This is probably why kids do best with two parents. Mom would never let them out of the house if Dad wasn’t there to talk her into it.

  7. Katherine Coble Says:

    Maybe this is why I am not a mother. I’d be more paternal about it.

    Last time I looked a “list” was “speech” and that was supposedly “free”.

  8. Sarcastro Says:

    My source deep within the seventh grade confirms earlier suspicions.

    The girl is a new student who has been described as “fat”.

    So, the new fat girl made a list of the kids making her miserable and the school authorities made a big deal out of it, guaranteeing her misery. Now, she can be ostracized for being labeled as a potentially murderous freak as well.

    When they dump a bucket of pig’s blood on her at Homecoming and the entire school goes up in flames, now we’ll know why.

    Well done Rutherford County!

  9. Malia Says:

    Well, I’m a mother and I agree with you. Sure, it’s hard for me to think about something happening to my precious babies when they are out of my control but I can also see the other side of this and how drastically blown out of proportion this incident ultimately came to.

    Last year my kids’ school was put into “Lockdown” mode b/c some kid said there was an intruder on campus. The news media made a big deal about it and I admit I was concerned. It was a weird thing knowing that my child’s school was possibly compromised. But, it turned out that the kid had made the story up (probably to get out of trouble for being in the wrong place at the wrong time). All that media & parental angst over some kid not wanting to come clean about where he’d been and why.

  10. Music City Bloggers » Blog Archive » Keeping Our Children Safe: The Ying and Yang of Parenting Says:

    […] A recent post from Sarcastro regarding an incident at his son’s school brought out the differ…. Apparently, an eighth grade girl had a “hit list” of people she didn’t like. Pandemonium then proceeded to erupt. […]

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