Column: Talkin’ ’bout my generation


By Mackenzie Clark

Perhaps some of you may have noticed a pattern emerging from the many shootings in the news fairly recently.

In quite a few of those cases the suspects were in their teens or 20’s. These immature kids decided that some aspect of their lives had gone wrong and it was their duty to make the world pay for it.

Naturally mental illness is a huge factor in cases of shootings, but I believe the root of the problem goes deeper than that.

This generation was raised in a society where there are no losers.

“Oh, you came in tenth place? You’re the last winner! Here’s your trophy.”

Not only that, but some schools have eliminated failing grades and instead offer students as many chances as they need to finally figure out the correct answer. This even applies to cheaters and plagiarizers.

We celebrate far too many of our inadequacies, and it’s exactly the wrong way to handle them. The areas where we fare poorly do not make us diverse; they make us human.

This is not how the real world works, and it’s time kids start to realize that at an early, healthy age. Otherwise they will be blindsided when life isn’t the sunshine and rainbows they believed it was before they graduated high school.

You know what happens when someone doesn’t live up to the standards set for The Ledger staff? I warn them, and if I have to, fire them. Game over. Just like all supervisors do.

At some point, society began turning its children into whiny, incompetent, spoiled, interdependent little pantywaists. Now the kids of my generation are growing into adults who, like their younger forms, believe they’re entitled to everything under the sun.

“I, like everyone else, can’t find a job in this economy! I need unemployment.”

“I can’t afford $8 a month in order to be as promiscuous as I want. I need free birth control. Oh, and in a few months, I’ll need free STD tests, too.”

“I can’t pay my tuition myself! But I really need to go to Harvard…” and the list goes on and on.

So, James Holmes of Aurora, Colo., you didn’t get into that graduate neuroscience program? That’s because you are a failure.

Those 12 people you killed and the 58 you injured had nothing to do with it.

Holmes failed an important oral exam, and he so miserably botched an interview with neuroscience program director Daniel Tranel at the University of Iowa that the man warned his colleagues, “Do NOT offer admission under any circumstances.”

Is this a license to kill? Last time I failed an exam I certainly didn’t go out and buy four guns and over 6,000 bullets and swing by a movie’s opening night on my way home. I dealt with it and knew no one had any choice in the matter but me. Holmes’ entitlement mentality, among other things, led him to believe that someone else needs to pay for his own shortcomings.

If after reading this someone decides to go on a shooting spree and I’m first on the list, I have but five choice words for you:

Go ahead. Make my day.

Contact Mackenzie Clark, editor-in-chief, at


  1. The book, “Generation Me” , written by a prof addresses the issues of the well-intentioned but misguided self-esteem movement and it’s disasterous consequences for American youth.

  2. The Cline & Fay Institute has been trying to teach parents “Love & Logic” techniques for at least the past couple of decades. It teaches kids responsibility in key steps:

    Example: a student get a low grade.

    Step 1: Parents should lead with empathy. Suffice it to say, “what a bummer!”
    Step 2: Parents should ask student, “what are you gonna do about it?”
    Usually kids say, “I don’t know”. So parent offers no more than 3 suggestions, starting with the worst idea possible. “Wanna know what some other students have tried?” “How about go binge on x, y, z to make you feel better?” AND ask, “How will that work?”
    Kids usually reject the first idea . . . but if they go for it, press for “How will that work?”
    It forces critical thinking, anticipating the effect from the cause.
    Step 3: If no suggestion is accepted, parents should say, “well that’s all I know; good luck” and walk away.

    The Cline & Fay people are the ones that identify 3 types of parents:
    helicopter parents (always saving their kids from lost homework, lost keys, etc.),
    drill sargeants (who don’t allow kids to think for themselves by always telling them what to do, and the love & logic parent that leads with empathy but allows kids to learn from failure.

    This is best done when kids are younger when mistakes are “affordable”, because once kids are driving and dealing with true GPA issues, then mistakes might cost someone’s life or academic career. Those mistakes cost dearly.

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