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Learning well

Where do young human beings learn?

Language and safe behavior and driving? Probably for most, at home.

Sexuality, romance and substance abuse? In most cases, friends.

But where do kids learn cruelty?

Babies aren’t born mean. It’s acquired. Sometimes, if there’s anger and violence in the family, that can be passed on, but bullying and harassment seem to be coming from every environment.

Is it the influence of media or the incivility we see on all levels of society, including government, that creates a heartbreaking story like the suicide death of 12-year-old Rebecca Ann Sedwick of Winter Haven, Florida?

You‘ve heard about it: A 14-year-old classmate and another 12-year-old child perpetually assaulted Sedwick at school and tormented her on the internet even after she changed schools. After Sedwick leaped to her death, the 14-year-old tormentor admitted on Facebook that she bullied Sedwick into killing herself, followed by the phrase “But I don’t give a [expletive].”

Where do children learn that kind of chilling indifference and disregard for another life?

I wish I knew.

I’m Pat McMahon.