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Fear or Freedom: Is There A Difference?
By Mariama Jeihani
 

The Killers of the 21st Century: Elementary School Children - FEAR! Y2K Scare - FEAR! Pennsylvania’s Live
Stop Program - FEAR! Anthrax in the Mail - FEAR! Iraq’s Weapons of Mass Destruction (which might I add that they STILL haven’t found!) - FEAR! Live at 6 Center City Grouper Strikes Again - FEAR! Last time that I checked this was the Home of the Brave and the Land of the Free… What is with all the scare tactics our nation is bombarded with, and what are their effects on the people, especially our future leaders?

All that is desired is love, yet all they have to offer is fear. Life designed for the next generations breed communities of terror and chaos. It is in the food, the water, and the air- it even dwells in the one thing that has a vicious hold on everyone in the house, the television. Not only are the shows today’s children are watching filled with messages of sex, substances, and violence, but also the nation as a
whole is caught up in this trend. To be honest, these trends are some of the most frequently used selling points for most competitive merchandisers. They fill the potential buyer with thought of inadequacies of particular issues, examples being body odor, popularity, and obesity, and give the impression that their product will aid in the correction of said problem. And with new products coming out almost daily, it gives the illusion that no one is happy and content with their life, requiring more to satisfy their inner desires of themselves. The only result of such scenario is a mass of unhappy, unsatisfied and unfulfilled people willing to do ANYTHING to create a utopia to retire to and live happily- even kill those who stand in the way of such happiness.

This is the very message portrayed in the movie Bowling for Columbine, winner of this year’s Academy Award for Best Documentary. Didn’t get a chance to see it, why am I not surprised? Not only was it not played at the major theaters, but also the ones who were allowed to show the feature, no one knows that they even exist (for real when was the last time you went to the Ritz on 5th Street or the Roxy Theater on 21st & Sansom?). So, in addition to the mounds of information that was put out in the movie, this “minor” detail of poor distribution furthers the message that our greatest feat of Democracy wants us to continually ignore. Trust the plus people, this movie is a MUST SEE for sure. Brought to you by Michael Moore, the infamous film director who has made his career exploiting the wrong doings of those who are supposed to have our best interest at heart: Big Business and our Governmental Infrastructure.

This movie is started with a series of shots of great exposes of the Past, from the U.S. backing of the Saddam Hussein Presidential campaign to the Afghani CIA training for Peace in the Middle East against Israeli fundamentalist that back-fired on September 11, 2001 at the World Trade Center. Then the scenery changes to a small, industry funded town of Columbine, Colorado. They show the beautiful homes, well-kept and equipped schools and comforting surroundings. He continues with a detailed account of the shooting at Columbine High School, and the terror that overwhelmed two seniors that horrific day. He then went in depth of the boys’ lives during and after school hours. What was discovered was that though these students live in picturesque and seemingly safe environment, their social development does more damage than that of the inner city youth. The social learning of these students is administered through a method I call “Programmed Fear.”

To further explain this theory, Moore interviewed a former citizen of Columbine to compare the life they lead outside Columbine, and the way of life that raised them. What he found is that youths are so pumped with fear over minor things like test scores and doing well, that many feel that anything less than perfect will classify you as a complete loser. It was this way of thinking that encouraged him and a friend to leave Columbine, and create a new destiny for
themselves. One of their greatest achievements made it
to Prime Time cable television courtesy of Comedy Central. Welcome to Columbine, Colorado, but we know
it best as South Park, USA. Hard to believe that a show prided on its racy plots and vulgar characters would be most informative of the insanity that plague our children and the measures necessary to remedy them.

In schools, children are encouraged to do their best to strengthen the likelihood of a successful future. While I feel that this is something that should be practiced more in our schools, the tactics used have to be of the same intention. The practices used in the Columbine, and most schools across America, scare children into failure because the mark set for success seems unattainable. For instance, these Terra Novas, SAT-9 and other standardized tests that are administered by the school systems to determine one’s learning level and capacity are one of the greatest sources of fear in their lives, not to mention a waste of instructional time. Whenever these testing periods arrive, the teachers bombard the students with notions of how important these tests are in determining their future’s path. Can you what this type of reinforcement can do to a child’s mind and well being, especially when they are at the age when they are searching for their place in this world.

I remember those tests and how nervous they made my
classmates and I. We would sit around after each testing session, talking about how we hoped we did well. Then the pressure intensified in High School with the addition of the PSATs and SATs. We were led to believe that it was theses very scores that would ultimately determine our future; what college you attended or could have even applied to, the people you associate and affiliate yourself with, and the type of life your will live thereof. What a frenzy that can create in a teen’s mind, because you know anything is possible in the teenage mind with the lack of known responsibility. With these types of pressures it is no wonder why today’s students are lashing out like they
are.

So know we fear our children among with everything else our system convinces us to fear. Is there a place that we feel safe, and will the future be brighter than the past? Take time to analyze the information given to you, from those around us and that, which is provided for us. There is so much truth out there that it is hard not to see, if the manner in which it is displayed allows one to see all sides of the scenario- his side, your side and the truth. The time is now to gain control over our lives and fix the terror our culture teaches. If we do not, the end of existence is surely on its way. With our current trends, so much fear will be built up that we will eventually fear our
neighbors. Who knows what fear can guide us to do if
that fear stands in our way of happiness… together we
can stop the exploitation of the future!

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