Marijuana Debate: Gareth Answers David

G' mornin Dave, and all you others who may be following this little thread,

Let me start off by saying that I did attempt to walk away from this post (of Dave's) in order to get some work done, as well as to take a breath and respond more carefully when I did. I failed. Can't seem to focus with so much left unsaid. I will, however, attempt to stay within the boundaries of consideration and restraint. (I plan on biting my tongue a LOT!) So without further ado:

There was this math teacher who, if I recall correctly, put questions like "If you had three kilos of cocaine and had two clockers dealing with an average of three users a day, how much would they sell in a week" on a test. Apparently, after a parent found out, he/she got the teacher fired [...snip...]

That's a shame. This was an overreaction, probably on the school board's part. I dare say any kid in that class was enjoying the different tack that teacher had chosen. It may have been a bit of a negative tilt to put on things but the teacher did not deserve to be dismissed.

Even then, when you hear something like that, Stash doesn't sound so bad, does it.

Doesn't change my viewpoint one smidge.

In fact, when I was in high school, we used to have these kids we used to call "Gangsta wannabes" [...snip...] involved . . . when most kids admire drug dealers, they are really just admiring the lavish part of the lifestyle of a drug dealer rather than the actual "work" a drug dealer has to do [...snip...]

And this, in turn, CAN lead to a few who think that it can't be all that hard to do what they do. To live like they do.

You're the one being blatantly stupid if you think that a game is going to shape your child into a drug dealer [...snip...]

First off, watch yer mouth. The thing that I was calling stupid in my post, which you have so curiously chosen to quote back to me, was the remark made by the designers. Not the designers themselves. Not any person in particular. Any intelligent person can make the occasional mistake of saying something completely ignorant. IMO, that's exactly what happened. They were so caught up in defending their creation, that they put blinders on and said whatever was necessary.

Secondly, I never said the game would shape my child into becoming a drug dealer. What I said was that games like this desensitize kids to the real issues involved and glamorize the life of these people. Children's minds are very open. And parents, after a certain point, have very little to do with what goes into those little sponges. The best we can do is to inform, guide, and hope for the best.

[...snip...] children . . . we can't forget that kids have rights to. Whenever I see news of a custody hearing on television, it pisses me off that judges don't bother to hear the children's point of view, and when they do, they hardly [...snip...] when in fact most kids and teenagers I know are more intelligent, multicultural and sophisticated than most adults [...snip...]

I come from a divorced family. And since you seem so opinionated on the topic, I get the impression that you might as well. If I had had the choice when I was young as to who would have custody of me, I would have chosen my Father. He was more open minded, a lot more fun, and a lot less restrictive than my Mother. That would have been a mistake. My Father, as seen from my now adult eyes, is a complete waste of skin as a parent. He is a great person to get drunk with, but that's about it.

Divorces and their subsequent custody battles are really not about the kids at all. The only time kids enter into the equation is when the courts carefully and thoughtfully figure out who would be the best provider and guardian to the children in question. The children hardly ever have these priorities in mind at the time.

At this point I would respectfully ask that this tangent either be dropped, or turned into a separate thread. I'm now bleeding profusely from my overly chomped on tongue.

most of the bad values a child learns are in fact passed on from their parents, but their parents are quick to put the blame on others. [...snip...]

I agree completely. And the parents that are so quick to point fingers are also the ones who are probably putting very little effort/time into their children's upbringing. With that in mind it's almost understandable, from their POV, that they SHOULD be pointing fingers. After all it ain't their fault. (I've met parents with just this outlook, BTW.)

Even looking at drug dealers, I doubt that most drug dealers would have become drug dealers if they grew up in homes where they were financially secure. [...snip...]

One friend of mine was the son of a wealthy insurance adjuster. He dealt coke. Another friend of mine was homeless. He worked his ass off in a supermarket truck bay just so he could feed himself and his mother. The latter of the two did everything in his power NOT to become involved with drugs and dealing. The former had no basis for that kind of self respect. There are exceptions to every rule. And actually, I saw more situations like this than in the reverse situation that you suggest.

[...snip...] It's as harmless as a kid who goes to play a game of "Mortal Kombat" in which they can decapitate their victims. It's as harmless as a kid who goes hunting deer with his father just for the thrill of the kill.

Both of which, IMO, also serve to desensitize kids. I happen to like Mortal Kombat, but that's not to say I'm gonna let my teeny little daughter watch the blood fly and the heads drop off.

And as far as hunting "just for the thrill of the kill" goes; I couldn't disagree with you more. If you ain't killing it to eat it, then you really have no reason to be going after it in the first place. "The thrill of the kill" seems to me to be more of a point for my side of the argument than anything else. If you're going to teach your kids to enjoy killing things just for the sake of killing, then perhaps you should examine what else they may get from this kind of lesson.

[...snip...] If you think that a game such as "Stash" (innovative name) is going to influence your kids to become drug dealers, then your kids have bigger psychological problems then you think. [...snip...]

There's that mouth again. You should really try to make your arguments without quite so many dispersions cast on the recipient. You tend to piss people off that way, NOT make them more open to your points.

[...snip...] can't keep your children sheltered . . . the fact is your kids are going to experiment with drugs and alcohol and sex and there's little you can do about it.

It sounds as if you have never had a friend who DIDN'T try messing around with drugs. Now a lot of my friends have, but I know dozens who have never touched a thing. Their parents' input had a lot to do with their choices, despite what you may think.

[...snip...] If you think a game like "Stash" will shape your kids into wannabe drug dealers, then that just shows your lack of faith in your children Gareth.

I have more faith in my children's abilities than you could possibly imagine. They are little genius prodigies, but then I'm just a very biased Daddy. The game itself will not turn my kids into dealers. As a consumer, I've already made up my mind that I don't have any interest in buying that particular little gem.

What I don't like are things designed to be entertainment that have an insidious way of altering kids' perceptions. After playing a game like Stash, even assuming the parents had a nice little chat about the real life dangers involved, kids would have just a smidge less fear/caution in the way they look at smuggling and dealing. In most cases this is nothing to worry about. As long as you educate you kids and armor them with some good old common sense. But little by little things like this make the dangerous seem familiar. Less intimidating.

Once when I was about 17, I was in a situation where I had a dealer lay his sawed off shotgun against my ear. The only reason for this was because I thought it would be cool to hang out with my friend when he went to pick up from his supplier, and since the supplier didn't know me, he felt compelled to either kill me. I have no doubt that this would have happened.

The only reason either of us survived was simply blind luck. Perhaps the supplier saw that we were both just a coupla dumb kids. Maybe he didn't really want to run from a murder rap just when biz was getting so good. Who knows. Whatever the reason, I lived. And it wasn't until that happened that I had any sort of clue just how dangerous some of my "friends" had become. And the guy that drove me there? He thought the whole thing was funny. Especially the way I shook the whole way home.

I have no intention of sheltering my girls. But I also have no intention of exposing them to everything. The best that I can do is to give them the benefit of my experiences. They will do what's right as they have learned to perceive it.

© copyright, 1997, Gareth Bramley
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