All across this country, in schools in your very own neighborhood, are classrooms filled full of children who suffer from a wide-range of issues as a result of prenatal exposure to drugs and alcohol.
These children are suffering.
Their mental and emotional limitations are vast and vastly-different. Some can’t sit still for two minutes. Some can’t focus. Many can’t read beyond a very basic elementary level. Sequential thinking is difficult, much less critical thinking. They are some of the most vulnerable population among us.
Ask them about a family pet and they will talk endlessly and tenderly about cats, dogs, rabbits, horses, etc. But in the very next breath they may tell a classmate to get out of their fucking face before they kill them.
Threats of killing others is a daily occurence.
Most don’t mean it. It’s just that they are annoyed and when these kids get annoyed they let everybody within earshot know it. They yell at each other. They yell at teachers and principals alike. Sometimes their inability to control their emotions puts others in harm’s way. They don’t mean to hurt others. They literally don’t have an impulse control. That’s one of the things that got damaged in the womb. They don’t mean to push their siblings. They didn’t mean to give their teacher a concussion. They didn’t mean to punch their classmate. They didn’t mean to say they hate everyone.
It all just happens.
Some will fixate on a hot-button topic. Abortion and guns are favorite topics. They are almost always anti-abortion and pro-guns. They think anyone who supports abortion should be shot. There’s no use in trying to reason with them over their lack of logic. They don’t think logically. They can’t think logically. That was another thing that was damaged in-utero.
They operate almost solely on emotion. Translated it comes down to the very basic, “I don’t care”or “Why should I care?” The truth is they care deeply. Maybe not about the things others care about, but they care.
Let someone make fun of them and they will never, ever forget the pain of that moment. They are more easily wounded than the rest of us. This is because they are smart enough to know they aren’t as smart as others. They love school for the social interaction that it provides their often otherwise isolated life.
They hate school because school is for smart kids. These kids are never going to college and they know it. Most of them will be fortunate if they are able to hold down a job at McDonalds or WalMart. Sticking to a schedule is a challenge for them. They can’t help it. Whatever the function is in your brain that makes you know you have to turn in class assignments, or show up to work on time, that got damaged in-utero, too.
Everyone recognizes it’s hard to be the child of a parent with an addiction. Few people, however, do anything to help the child that nobody can see: The one in-utero. So by the time they arrive squalling, it’s too late. The damage is done. That child was born with a caul, marred by her mama’s addiction.
These kids, the ones in your neighborhood and mine, they aren’t bad kids. They just ain’t right in the head. Some are completely unable to imagine the consequences of their actions. They might imagine killing someone but they can’t imagine what that might mean for their lives or the lives of those they kill.
They would never hurt their own dog or cat, but they could take a gun and shoot up a lunchroom.
In fact, they’ve had plenty of practice at it. The video-games they play help them hone their shooting abilities. And, honestly, their mamas and daddies don’t care if they play violent video-games all day long. Just so long as they are quiet and it keeps them out of their hair. These children can be demanding. They require a lot of attention. There isn’t enough pot in Oregon to calm the nerves of a parent caring for a damaged child. A child damaged in-utero. The pot does help parents forget about their role in all that, however. They stay lit a lot, which means they don’t parent well.
The reason these kids often fixate on hot-topic items is because these are the things that are constantly in the news. And a child left to themselves a lot will consume a great deal of whatever is in the news.
They love Donald Trump.
They love the way he doesn’t let anyone bully him. He’s the biggest bully of all. They wish they could be as good at bullying as he is. They try to be like him, but at school they are outnumbered by kids who are smarter than them. They love the way Trump tears everybody down. They wish they could rip people the way he does. He’s the greatest.
He’s everything they will never be: Rich. Powerful. Mean as a snake.
Some of these kids are angry as snakes.
They are angry at their mamas for birthing them into a world that is rigged against them. They know exactly what Trump means when he says the system is rigged. The system has been rigged against them from the moment they were born.
They are angry at their classmates, the ones they know and the ones they don’t know, because they have it so much easier in life. They get to play on sports teams. They get to act in school plays. They get to be in the marching band. They get to be the leaders at school.
These kids can never do any of those things because their brains don’t work like the normal kids. Their brains can’t keep track of details. They wish they could play on a sports team, but they get overwhelmed by all the players and the plays they are supposed to remember. When people cheer it scares them. They don’t like being yelled at, even if it’s good yelling.
They are angry because they will never be able to go to college.
They might be able to join the military. Maybe the Navy or the Coast Guard.There’s not as much yelling there as the Marines and the Army, but the Marines and Army have better guns. They like those guns best.
Really, the only thing their future holds for them is a lot of time alone with a computer. They love YouTube. They can learn anything on YouTube. They’ve watched all of Donald Trump’s speeches and rallies on YouTube.
They even learned how to make bombs online.
It’s not that hard, really.
You don’t have to be smart to make a bomb.
You only have to be able to hit replay.
Karen Spears Zacharias is author of several books. She has already #VotedBlue. Have you?