In the wake of the horrific news from UCLA, one of my facebook folks started a thread about how everyone on campus should have had guns, which several other folks replied to commenting on how much safer it would be if everyone had guns, and so on. And then my friend started a sub-thread about how kids today are spoiled, whiny, etc etc.
So, I responded not once, but twice. First, to the guns on campus thread, where I said that I dreaded the idea of returning exams (or any assignment) where some students hadn't done well to a group of 30+ students, all armed.
I well remember having fantasies, running around the local schoolyard with friends and cousins, waving finger guns, playing I, Spy, and Man from UNCLE, that one or two of us with a gun could easily take out bad guys, keep the good guys alive, and be heroes. At some point, certainly by the time I was in high school, I'd outgrown that fantasy. Most adults do. But the ones who haven't, seriously, need to go play laser tag or something (where I lost totally, and where even our winner was hit more than a few times). Imagine a campus full of armed people, all hearing a gun shot, drawing, looking around, and seeing everyone armed, ready to shoot. It's not like the old WWII movies where you knew who was on your side by the uniforms (though friendly fire accidents probably happened), and where everyone manages to shoot accurately in the heat of the moment (which, I've read, doesn't actually usually happen in combat).
But the kids today thing really pissed me off. So I posted about my students, mostly good folks, mostly hard working, mostly dealing with a lot more responsibility and work than I had in college. This is a generation that's spent their coming of age years, since 2008, rocked by a crappy economy. Remember reading about all those people who lost jobs, homes, livelihoods? Those adults, some of them had kids, and those kids are college-aged now. Sure, some haven't been hit at all by the recession and grew up pretty privileged. And some of those are brats, no doubt. The same way some of the previous generations were spoiled brats.
We (my generation, the folks in our 40s and 50s now) haven't done well by the next generation. And the Baby Boomers, because they have more political clout, have perhaps done worse. We thought college was expensive then, but now, it's way, way more expensive for a public education. And our schools aren't getting the funding they did when the government was all worried about Sputnik.
So, kids today.... are pretty much like kids in any day. Some have it easy, but most don't. Some are wonderful, a few aren't. Some work really hard, and some are still growing up.
After I responded with my defense on my facebook friend's post, he responded that he didn't actually know or work with any young adults, but had just gone on what the media says. WTF? It's like deciding you hate Blacks because the media report on Black men in prison, isn't it?
Let's recognize that the news out of UCLA has told us about the victim, but (from what I've seen so far) nothing about the murderer/suicide victim. For all I know, that person might be a non-traditional student in his 50s (I think I read male pronouns being used, but I'm not sure even of that). The student might have had mental health issues. (I think you'd pretty much have to have something very bad going on to plan and commit murder, no?) Ages 18-25 are tough in a lot of ways, not least in that if someone's going to have mental health issues, they often surface then, when a lot of people have (or feel they have) little access to support systems.