On Tue, Jan 29, 2013 at 1:11 PM, Cxxxxxx Cxxxx
Dear Mr. Suprynowicz,
I am a 13 year old boy who attends a school in Connecticut, fairly close to where the Newtown tragedy occured. I have also read your book, Send in the Waco Killers. My father and I happen to agree on your ideas of government tyranny and how the country should be run as we have for a long time, even before Obama was elected.
The reason I am emailing you today is in concern of one of my teachers at the school I attend. He says that assault rifles should be banned and the sacred 2nd Amendment is just “an excuse for modern day killers” to own own weapons. I have thought about challenging him on the topic during class, but I have failed to do this because of the fact that he would most likely give me a hard time about it and disgrace me in front of my peers. Moreover, this teacher is influencing students to become pro-gun controlists by reading articles of daily shootings to the class.
I was wondering if you could give me some advice on how to deal with this problem and persuade my classmates to oppose his ideas.
Hi, Cxxxxx —
Thanks for your very articulate letter.
I have found it’s indeed true that as we grow older, we also grow more wise (not always in a straight line, but eventually.)
When I was 25, I thought I knew everything, and I would probably have told you just what to do.
Now that I’m a lot older than that, I’ve come to realize I can’t possibly know enough about your circumstances to tell you “just what to do.”
For one thing, this is not the only issue where this problem is likely to crop up. The longer you spend in school, the more often you’re going to encounter people who abuse that position of trust and authority to promote their own political views (though they rarely look at it that way). If it’s not guns, it’ll soon be taxes, or “well-meaning” regulations that cause jobs to be lost by driving employers out of business.
You need to discuss this problem with your parents. Is the atmosphere at your current school such that you’ll prompt a healthy debate if you try to introduce a different perspective, or will you merely be treated as a troublemaker? No young person has an obligation to society to make his or her own life a misery, if it’s not going to actually accomplish much.
On the other hand, any honest teacher should welcome a balanced, thoughtful, and well-researched paper, even if it doesn’t exactly match his own views.
Your parents might be willing to speak to the school’s administrators to see if they’re aware of the way this employee is using his position to push his own political views. Of course, if his superiors agree with him, that might not accomplish much, either. And it wouldn’t be likely to make him any friendlier.
At the very least, you’re far ahead of the crowd if you realize not everything you hear from “authority figures” is necessarily true. But you don’t always have to tell people every time they’re wrong. They won’t thank you, and it’s exhausting to feel like you’re going to war every day.
Instead, it’s OK to hold your tongue and “pick your battles.” They can’t control what you read or who you discuss things with when you’re OUT of school. The best “revenge” can be getting yourself a good education in spite of them.
Dr. Miguel Faria just posted an interesting article on this topic. See
or http://www.haciendapub.com/articles/shooting-rampages-mental-health-and-sensationalization-violence, the views of a medical doctor whose family fled here from Cuba in search of freedom.
Best Wishes, and thanks for writing,
— Vin Suprynowicz