“The real power, the power we have to fight for night and day, is not power over things, but over men.” He paused, and for a moment assumed again his air of a schoolmaster questioning a promising pupil: “How does one man assert his power over another, Winston?”
Winston thought. “By making him suffer,” he said.
Exactly. By making him suffer. Obedience is not enough. Unless he is suffering, how can you know for sure that he is obeying your will and not his own? Power is in inflicting pain and humiliation. Power is tearing human minds to pieces and putting them together again in new shapes of your own choosing. Do you begin to see, then, what kind of world we are creating? It is the exact opposite of the stupid hedonistic Utopias that the old reformers imagined. A world of fear and treachery and torment, a world of trampling and being trampled upon, a world which will grow not less but more merciless as it refines itself. Progress in our world will be progress toward more pain. The old civilizations claimed that they were founded on love and justice. Ours is founded upon hatred. In our world there will be no emotions except fear, rage, triumph, and self-abasement. Everything else we shall destroy—everything.
--Orwell, “1984” (219-20)
| There is no shortage of school shootings in the minority of states that paddle, and no shortage in the “heavy hitter” states. In fact, in the early 90s, it seemed like school shootings could occur nowhere else. For example the first time in my life that I heard anything about Paducah, Kentucky was in a newsletter some years ago about a girl who had been severely paddled by a teacher from Paducah. I believe the original letter was written by the victim herself, and it was published in the old “End Violence Against the Next Generation” newsletter called “The Last ? Resort” which was put out the late, great, Dr. Adah Maurer.|
| The courts in this case were, as usual, confused and conflicted. The "Paducah Bear" said he instructed his students at the beginning of the year to call him either "Mr. Waldon" or "Chief." The 15-year-old girl was new to the school, and as I recall the story her classmates played a prank on her by telling her to go to the teacher and ask him what “Paducah Bear” meant. Although even asking such a question might itself seem “disrespectful” to some who like to beat kids, when you consider that this teacher liked to be called the “Chief” it wouldn’t seem out of line to a newcomer.|
| What the “Chief Paducah Bear” did next was pull a paddle out of his desk, order the teen girl to bend over his desk, and paddled her eleven “swats,” I believe in front of her class. I am sure on many levels other students were both traumatized and sexualized to paddling as a result of that, and physically this girl suffered welts and deep bruises. He hit her once for each letter of P-A-D-U-C-A-H B-E-A-R. There was no warning, no explanation, no smaller punishment, and no alternative.|
| The next time I heard of Paducah, Kentucky was when there was a mass school shooting there.|
| We often hear politicians preaching “zero tolerance” for school kids. They ignorantly say we need “more paddling” to solve mass shootings. None seem to know whether any shooters had ever been spanked or paddled before or what the school policies were—and none seems to want to ask.|
| A few examples show the ignorant, misleading mindset that was widely expressed by many politicians. I’ll save them the embarrassment of reprinting their names with their very uninformed comments, but the attitude and ignorance expressed is rather shocking:|