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Geek Profiling: The Next W.A.V.E. 654

Posted by JonKatz
from the -constitution-isn't-for-kids dept.
W.A.V.E., a profit-making program ramping up in the southern U.S. and soon to go national, will use Web sites, toll-free numbers, T-shirts and cash to encourage students to anonymously turn in classmates they consider depressed, dangerous or potentially violent. This horrifically stupid Geek Profiling would be blatantly unconstitutional if applied to adults.

According to David Bresnahan, reporting on the WorldNet Daily site, the new "W.A.V.E" program, developed by Pinkerton Services Group,a division of the international security firm Pinkerton, Inc. is starting up in North Carolina, and is soon to go nationwide.

W.A.V.E. offers anonymous toll-free lines for students, who will be trained to watch for and report "dangerous" behavior like depression, or kids with weapons. Every North Carolina school will have free access to this program, which will include a Web site, classes, school assemblies and special sessions for parents and teachers. W.A.V.E America was created by a North Carolina task force on school violence working together with Pinkerton. A contact list of law-enforcement agencies is also being developed for each school in the state to notify when a tip has been received by Pinkerton on its nationwide toll-free line.

W.A.V.E joins new sofware "security" programs like Mosaic 2000, which is being tested in public schools in America to compile and computerize information on students believed to be dangerous or potentially violent. This new rat-on-kids industry is an offshoot of the Geek Profiling anti-Net hysteria that broke out all across the United States after the Columbine High School killings, whose first anniversary is fast approaching. Despite the fact that horrific incidents like Columbine are extremely rare, and that the FBI and Justice Department have both reported that youth violence has dropped to its lowest levels in more than half a century, the belief persists in much of America that technologies like the Internet (and activities like computer gaming) are turning otherwise healthy school children into mass murderers.

In a newsmagazine survey taken earlier this year, 81 percent of Americans said they believed the Net was responsible for the Columbine massacre.

In the lunatic world of American education, and the surreal aftermath of Columbine, it now seems perfectly reasonable, even sensible, to suspend and force into counseling children who who are angry, depressed, who wear white, game obsessively, or who say intemperate and stupid things. The W.A.V.E program is not only institutionalizing but rewarding a culture in which kids are being taught to turn in classmates whose behavior they consider abnormal or dangerous. It also reinforces the notion that school students have no Constitutional rights of due process such as privacy, confronting accusers, behaving in non-conformist ways, or even knowing that accusations against them exist.

Although school-age children are presumed to have few rights, it's obvious that this kind of anonymous and intrusive law enforcement would blatantly unconstitutional for adults. Just yesterday, the U.S. Supreme Court struck down a Florida law that permits police to search people for firearms solely on the basis of anonymous tips. Citing the Fourth Amendment, which prohibits unreasonable search and seizure, the court ruled that such a law would enable "any person to harass another to set in motion an intrusive, embarrassing police search..." Authorities, the court ruled, needed some corraborating evidence before they could invade the privacy of any citizen. It's frightening to imagine how school authorities can possibly teach citizenship when they have so wantonly violate the very idea of constitutional rights.

This Orwellian phobia (who do we turn in next?: "dangerous" parents, neighbors and sibs?) has been a staple of the most venal political systems in the 20th Century, from Nazism to fascism to Communism. It is presumptuous and arrogant on so many levels it's astonishing to see public officials like North Carolina Gov. Jim Hunt adopt the idea so unthinkingly and enthusiastically. But he's not alone -- plenty of parents and educators are along for the ride.

It isn't clear where information goes once it's collected by kid-profiling software, or toll-free hot-lines. Presumably, it remains in a computerized dangerous-kids database for life. This is just one more reason that it's insane to ask young children to evaluate their classmates for emotional disorders and other signs of potentially "dangerous" behavior. Not only are kids patently unqualified to make judgments like that, the temptation to turn in kids that are socially competitive, "geeky," different, disliked, abrasive or unhappy seems almost irresistible, especially when doing so brings tangible rewards like cash, and is cloaked under anonymity. Monitoring and evaluating behavior is a science that's supposed to be done by trained professionals -- teachers, psychologists, guidance counselors, and therapists. Even then, kids ought to have the right to be openly confronted with the accusation that they're a menace to society, and to respond, rather than wonder if some angry classmate has branded them for life on an anonymous toll free line run by a profit-making private company with a vested interest in promoting the notion that schools -- and kids -- are dangerous.

"A safe school environment is fundamental to helping North Carolina's students succeed in school," announced Governor Hunt. "Every school ought to be a safe one and W.A.V.E. American will help get every kid involved. This program is more than just a tip line, it teaches students and parents to look for the early signs of violent behavior and to resolve conflicts constructively."

This is the worst kind of political exploitation of kids. It takes schools off the hook and turns the complex process of school administration over to adolescents. Kids will ultimately have to live in fear that the deskmate they jostled with will turn them in for money, or that bragging about exploits on Doom will get them turned into W.A.V.E. as "unbalanced."

If a kid or a parent becomes aware that a classmate has a gun and plans to use it, there are plenty of cops and law enforcement officials they can call. There is no statistical evidence to support the notion that schools are so dangerous that children need to be manipulated into turning one another in. Nor is there much doubt about who will be targeted -- geeks, nerds, Goths, oddballs, along with anyone else who is discontented, alienated and individualistic.

That kids are being rewarded for doing this is revolting enough. That they are being asked to do by a profit-making private corporation for money suggests a culture a lot sicker and more dangerous than most schoolkids. that?

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Geek Profiling: The Next W.A.V.E.

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  • by Anonymous Coward
    Posting anonymously, for obvious reasons.

    I'm one such depressed person. Basically that means for me that I hate myself and my life. What that doesn't mean is that I hate everyone else and their lives.

    The thing I've found to be worst for the depression is for people who don't understand it to find out about it and simply be insensitive. It happened even last night, when a friend tried to convince me that my homework was more important than my depression.

    Now this company is offering to brand me nationwide as a depressed person. This means that people I don't know, people who don't understand the disease, people who will try to force me into undesirable situations "for my own good," will know of my depression.

    This is not a good thing.

  • It's the economy, stupid. The United States worships money. Most citizens of the United States worship money. The United States is the world's wealthiest country, especially for geeks (who are especially well paid in the Internet sector). Thus we stay.

    Not to mention that we look overseas, and we see similar problems overseas to what we're fighting here, such as the UK's "Official Secrets Act" and the UK's draconian libel laws (where you are judged guilty of libel unless you can prove beyond a reasonable doubt that you have the facts on your side), or Australia's Internet censorship laws, or the telephone monopoly in Germany that is hindering Germans from getting online... 'nuff said.

    And finally, there is the language barrier. Most Americans have never bothered learning another language. Why should they, when the United States is so big and powerful? This means that most Americans could only move to other English-speaking countries, most of which haven't had much of a high tech industry. Other high-tech powerhouses such as Germany are of little interest to Americans, because we (gasp) don't speak the language...

    _E

  • Big difference. Many kids in school were inclined to snitch. Offer them incentives and you'll have a full-fledged snitching army at your service.

  • can be different, but your peers can squeal on you if they think you're dangerous.

    The catch is, many so called rationan adults running the schools can't seem to differentiate between different and dangerous, but you expect that all of the students will (remember, it only takes one to make a phone call). If only one person in a school can't tell the difference, it becomes all about be absolutely like everyone else or be on the list.

    The real difference is in the leaders. One was lead by a very angry man with a political agenda. The other is the corperation that beat union workers with clubs for protesting unfair labor practices.

  • The US Secret Service has a program to try and figure out what they could do to reduce inidents like Colimbine. They are talking to some of the people who have shot up schools etc.

    But the interesting thing was that the Head of the Secret Service said that the Profiling programs do not work at all.

    When I asked Sen. Bill Bradley about youth violence one of the things he said that would help was mentoring programs. Made sense to me.

    The Cure of the ills of Democracy is more Democracy.

  • <i>Heh. It's been a while, but I remember going to my counselor in 8th grade and saying just that. He told me not to let it bother me.
    Thank god I got that message, it made it all better. </i>

    If your school fails you, go to your school board. But we don't want someone 3000 miles away saying "We've been getting a number of calls about this kid, better toss him down the garbage disposal just to be safe."

    --Dan
  • I think you're confusing the european meaning of "liberalism" vs. the american one. In Europe, "neoliberal" is the name of the ideology represented by people like Milton Friedman or Reagan: unlimited free market, desregulate as much as possible, etc.; you get the idea.

  • Are you actually convinced the absolute worst thing about student profiling is the fact that Katz writes about it? Or that the blatantly obvious danger to our society - and perhaps the world, if a generation of Americans grows up thinking this shit is normal - is overshadowed by the fact that someone dared compare this to Hitler Youth?

    I'm SO glad you have your priorities straight.
  • Most schools would never figure it out. It depends on pattern recognition and a good deal of common sense, to say "there's something wrong with this list" - and since most school administrations can't be bothered to learn something about most of their students, we can guarantee it would go over their heads. They might try to modify the program a little when they notice 99% of the students are being turned in, but they'll still think the premise is valid, and absolutely NOTHING about the collected data would serve to convince them otherwise.

    I mean, these are schools we're talking about here. If they're not smart enough to see what's wrong with the concept in the first place, they're sure not gonna be swayed by statistically weird results. Schools are too proud of their "systems" anyway - the system is sacred, the system is God, and if the system doesn't work, it's the students' fault. Thus we'd be right back where we started.
  • The school wouldn't take the hint. They'd find ways to hunt down and severely punish those who made a mockery of their precious system, and then ignore the lesson they've just been taught - or worse, hold up the perpetrators as examples of the kind of kids they're hoping to flush out with such a system.
  • "depends on whether the people doing the implementation are closet Nazis or not"

    One look around these United States should tell you, with no uncertainty, that the hatred, paranoia, and desire for an "orderly" society at all costs, all the things which made Nazi Germany possible, are very much NOT confined to the closet.

    How many potential abuses can you think of for a system like this? How many wrong ways can it be implemented? Think schools will keep protect the privacy of the "troubled" kids? Fuck NO, the gossip alone will serve to make things worse. Think geeks will be able to report that jocks are abusing them? No, of course not, many schools ignore complaints against their star athletes. What do you think happens to the kids who get reported anyway? At best, a demoralizing talk with the principal; at worst, a student's bookbag or locker would be opened and searched, and any and all forms of creative expression (like the Grim Reapers I used to draw, or sci-fi battle scenes and violent stories, or the weird music I used to listen to) would be used as evidence against them. Does this system help the school identify REAL problem kids - the ones who genuinely do have suicidal tendencies, kids from problem homes, kids with well-concealed problems? Does this system deal with the deep social problems in any school - the cliques, the popularity wars, the structured environment that makes it difficult to make REAL friends - or would it simply contribute to the problem, and push unpopular kids even more to the fringes?

    The "right way" to run such a system, if there is one, isn't obvious, and I doubt any schools will implement it. Instead they'll implement it the obvious way, which will SEEM to get the results they want - since the visibly weird kids, whom THEY have suspected are just Uzi-toting criminals anyway, will be the first ones the students report as dangerous, thus confirming what they already believed. Top that off with the "treatment" that will be given to the students caught in this net, especially with the usual patronizing tone and clueless pseudopsychiatry used by many school officials at most schools, you could end up TURNING students into a problem.

    And my objection to all forms of student profiling still stands: how many rights and how much dignity was it worth it to sacrifice when the kid who finally pulls the trigger ISN'T on the list? This is precisely the reason this shit doesn't work in real life. But then, I guess so long as high school can convince itself that it need not reflect real life, that doesn't matter.

  • So depressed people are dangerous and should be locked up are they?

    If only guns were legal in this country, I'd go out and shoot myself in the head now.

    Fascist bastards.
  • [ Warning : this is phrased in a deliberately OTT manner, but is NOT intended to be a troll ... honest ;) ]

    This does sound utterly absurd, and the Nazi comparison may well be appropriate for once. WHat I'm wondering is: given that you (Americans) don't really have a democracy, the state imprisons a far greater chunk of the population than anywhere else in the world, it seems to be considered fine and natural to burn (black, male) children alive in the name of justice, income distribution is in the same class as a banana republic, and the political and economic power structures are hopeless corrupt : at what point do you lot, the intelligensia (presumably) start to do what the lucky few did in Germany between 1933/38 -- emigrate to a civilised country ? If you don't recognise this description of the US, /please/ don't just flame me as a euro-weenie ... that's just the way it looks to me from Europe.

    \a

    --

  • I think what's irking you is the obvious journalism.

  • I disagree. In a former job, for almost two years i worked exclusively with educators, mostly jr. high and highschool level. I would say that some, maybe 4% of teachers are bright people. And I'm being generous.

    Let me reiterate. I am not stating this as an analysis of the teachers i experienced while in school. I am stating this as an analysis of the teachers, councilors, and school administrators i worked with on a daily basis as part of my job function as an adult. Thousands of people, from many hundreds of schools. Day in, day out.

    Morons. Drooling morons. Drooling morons who just wanted three months vacation every year, embittered because that turned out to be actual work. Most of them are dead weight, some of them are actively malignant.

  • ``I'm glad I finished high school years ago before the world went completely nuts, but what do I do about my kids??''

    Home schooling.

    The bizaare stuff that's going on in schools recently on the part of the students as well as the kneejerk reactions of administrators and politicians have the missus and I considering it.
    --

  • "Witness as America starts on the long slide down to anarchy, fascism and ultimately nazism."

    If only nazism and facism were somehow closely related to anarchy. While I won't contest that America is leaing into facism and nazi-istic behaviour sometimes, it's far from anarchy. Anarchy would be like a breath of fucking fresh air in the US. If the US *IS* hading towards anarchy, it can't become facist or like a Nazi state. That would be getting monkey while your getting elephant. It can't be.

    Bad Mojo
  • Here are their warning signs:

    1. Hits or bullies others.
    2. Expresses uncontrolled anger.
    3. Has unlawful possession and use of firearms.
    4. Displays intense intolerance or prejudice.
    5. Has unlawful possession and use of firearms.
    6. Has excessive feelings of isolation and/or rejection.
    7. Conveys violence in writings and/or drawings.
    8. Uses drugs or alcohol on campus.
    9. Makes threats.
    10. Suddenly has bad grades or little interest in school.
    11. Is easily angered by minor things.

    1 through 5 and number 8 are fine by me. 9 and 11 are borderline. 6, 7 and 10 sound alarm bells.

    --
    grappler
  • Where I live, in sweden, all schools are by law requered to have a plan and to act against teasing of "different" childrens. You seem to slowly develope the very opposite. Please note: These actions and plans are not allways that good, but the intention is to help the teased children get rid of the teasing. A bit scary, thought...

    --The knowledge that you are an idiot, is what distinguishes you from one.
  • the fact that Geeks Like Me would be toast without the ability to go to a counselor or a dean of students and say, "That kid over there is beating me senseless on a daily basis. That sucks!"
    Heh. It's been a while, but I remember going to my counselor in 8th grade and saying just that. He told me not to let it bother me. Thank god I got that message, it made it all better.
    --Shoeboy

  • If you really want to understand a lot of people's feelings on this issue you should study some more history. JonKatz isn't doing a very good job of pointing it is that so much of what is going on is identical to early 1930's Germany.

    Gun registration, attempted crackdowns on free speech, psychological profiling of anyone who isn't exactly normal. The only thing missing is an economic crash.

    What then? We are the superpower. Who is going to confront us if the US spins out of control and the democracy is overthrown?

    No, guns in the hands of the people can't stop a rampaging government. But they can sure slow it down.

    chris
  • The worst part about the whole thing is that the new Reich is not in anyway original. They are taking all of their plays straight from Mein Kampf.

    Get together with your friends, watch some political speeches and see who can be the first to find the identical passage in Mein Kampf - hell make it a drinking game.

    More seriously a similar incident happened on Capitol Hill. Following an impassioned speech by one of our noble congresspeople (except Mrs. Chenowith, she is a Congressmen!), another colleague read a very similar speech which strongly agreed with and supported the previous speech. Afterwards he held up the book and informed his peers that he had been reading from Mein Kampf. People pretended to be shocked. A few days later nobody cared.

    Are these interesting times or what?

    chris
  • > They have the power to directly influence both, including allowing themselves to exchange some freedom for a feeling of safety

    "They that can give up liberty to obtain a little temporary safety deserve deserve neither liberty or safety." - Benjamin Franklin

    The problem is I don't see any way for me to stop everyone else from giving away our liberties.

    chris
  • And how many people even know about the Bonus Army?

    How many people know about Eisenhower, MacArther (sp), and Patton leading a regiment of troops through Washington D.C. gassing hundreds of WW1 veterans in the 1930's? Or the hundreds of women and children injured when the troops surounded the shanty town and set it on fire.

    Thousands harmed for marching on Washington D.C. and asking Congress to pay them the money that they were promised when they enlisted for W.W.1.

    So much for believing the promises of government.

    Check out
    http://www.google.com/search?q=bonus+army
  • Thanks for the link, I wonder why Mr. Katz didn't include it? :-)

    So it's a movement trying to get publicity. Wonderful.

  • ... WorldNetDaily? I assume that they're a reason news like this doesn't get into the New York Times, TIME, Newsweek or The Wall Street Journal. I seriously question the source on this one.

    Even if it *is* true, give the kids some credit! Would you have been a snitch in high school?

    Most teachers are bright people, with at least a Master's and half a life worth's of experience. The concept that teachers and administrators need an (obviously known) organization of spies like this is absurd. They spend at least 180 days with these kids for YEARS. If they don't know them, who does?

    At best it's shoddy reporting. At worst it's playing the media for publicity to further a half-baked agenda.

  • by tweek (18111)
    I think this is a lawsuit just waiting to happen.
    Kids are going to be abusing this by turning in unpopular kids or turning in someone they are pissed at. Then the parents (if they happen to be involved parents and not assholes) turn around and sue the school board or this company.

    When are people going to fucking learn? Are we so irresponsable that we have to blame everyone and everything but the real issue? Fucking makes me sick sometimes. It even makes me afraid to have children because I know I will raise them to think for themselves and of course that makes them a criminal in the eyes of the schoolboard and the media.

  • ...at what point do you lot, the intelligensia (presumably) start to do what the lucky few did in Germany between 1933/38 -- emigrate to a civilised country ?

    Maybe we'd rather stay here and fight for the resistance!

    Fleeing to a more civilized country would mean admitting failure. It's getting bad here, but I don't think it's THAT bad yet. There's still a chance to turn this country around, if we stay and fight the good fight.

    And we don't even have to use guns and bullets in this fight (awwwww!). The best weapon is our votes (while we still have them). People actually vote for things like W.A.V.E. Or rather, they vote for politicians who promise more of such things "for our protection", and "for the children". We need to counter that with votes of our own.

    Educating the sheep who believe that crap about "protecting the children" is another step in the right direction. As long as people believe that free speech == child endangerment, free speech will lose every time.
  • Katz mentions geeks because the stereotypical "geek" is a social misfit, an anti-social outsider, and hence a typical victim of the W.A.V.E.

    Stereotype or not, geeks stand out, and in essence, W.A.V.E. seems to be all about conforming and promoting a public pathological fear being different.
    </deepbreath>
  • I remember "The Wave" now! We were shown it in school some 8-10 years ago. I can't believe they chose the same name for their insane campaign! (wow, I sound like a rapper :/)
  • by kmcardle (24757)
    I seem to recall a made for TV movie about a high school teacher who started a movement in his school called "The WAVE." Turned out he was the history teacher and was teaching the students about Hitler and group pyschology the HARD WAY. He held a big rally for the students and show them some video of Hitler giving a speech and pointed out the fact that he used Hitler's methods on them. Pretty spooky.

    It would have to have been in the early 80's. I think 83-84 sounds about right. Anybody remember?

    I wonder if this is where they got the name from?
    --
  • By we I don't mean society, mind you, I mean Slashdot.

    Godwin's Law on USENET says that once somebody made comparisons to Hitler or the Nazis, then the flamewar was immediately declared over because no further intelligent discourse could continue (*). Has Slashdot gone so rabid as to make USENET look polite?? Your battle against geek profiling is hereby declared over, Jon. Find a new dead horse to beat on.

    (*) The original law says that "As a thread goes longer, the probability of a comparison to Hitler approaches one." Katz still proves it to hold true.

  • Let's not kid ourselves, even though /. and some media trashed Mosaic, it still is being used. We can assume that the same will be said for this program.

    What would happen if in the first school applied, every student turned in every other student? Or, if 10 anonymous students or so reported on everyone...including themselves?

    It would seem easier to screw the system using it's own rules, rather that trying to disprove it from the outside.

    So if any students of one of the first schools is reading this message, please organize yourself and a few friends and talk about this idea. If you want to see what could happen, watch the episode in South Park where every one in town, sues.....everyone in town!
  • Geez- way to miss the obvious sarcasm and accuse someone of not knowing EXACTLY what they are referring to. Try reading a little closer next time.
  • The idea of the "ruling elite" is exactly what the dimwits in North Carolina are thinking. They think that a fascist mini-police state in schools is the answer. There is no such thing as a benign dictatorship, because control-freaks *always* want more power.

    The public does know better. If you don't think they are capable of voting, then they're aren't really capable consumers either. Do you favor a command economy as well?
  • Religion is for idiots, and you're a fucking fag dude.

    1 for 2 ain't bad [wahcentral.net]. Shithead. LOL

    --
  • And then what?

    Whether this is good or bad depends on what adults plan to do with this information. How do we expect teens and now pre-teens to handle these kinds of situations:

    • You spend hours talking to your friend but no matter he finds the dark cloud behind every silver lining. He's dropping hints he is contemplating suicide.
    • A formerly outgoing girl is acting depressed. You hear a rumor she was raped by her mother's boyfriend.
    • A geek friend gets beat up by a jock. He tells you he's going to kill the jock. You're pretty sure he's just blowing off steam, though.
    • You see an outcast kid being hazed. He's becoming more outcast. His isolation makes him a better target.


    These are serious kinds of situations, that call for mature judgement from responsible adults. You can't leave kids, even relatively mature teenagers, on their own dealing with this kind of stuff. Of course if the attitude of the adults towards being different is that it is a disease that requires counseling, or if they react hysterically to every geek as a potential mass murderer, then it's worse than doing nothing: you end up recruiting adult resources into the cause of teenage hazing. However, it doesn't have to be that way.

    There is a difference between the pain of isolation, which can be addressed by mentoring, and networking with potential peers, and clinical depression which requires medication and professional counseling. In each of these cases, responsible adults have a role to play, as an an information resource, as a protector of the child's rights, or as a gateway into clinical treatment, where appropriate.

    Consider, with your own experience of being a geek, the different ways you which you would respond to the situations above. Would this be a good thing? I think so, because the experience of being different leads to a more profound maturity than you can acheive just by fitting in and going along.
  • Could this thing be fought through judicious use of database pollution?

    1. Gather together a group of people who are also concerned about this Orwellian nightmare.

    2. Get some copies of the school yearbook and divide up the pages among the group.

    3. Now start phoning on the toll-free snitch line and call in the name of every single student in the school.

    With the database clogged with all those names, profiling becomes extremely difficult if not impossible.

    4. Repeat the process until they shut down this moronic program.
  • The fact that you know the full name of a fictional character in a violent movie preaching a false religion marks you as an oddity that must be eliminated.

    You will report to the nearest W.A.V.E. centre tomorrow morning for...re-education.

    Enjoy your new life as sheep.
  • Does anyone else remember the cheap school-TV movie "The Wave" about fascism in elementary school? I just thought that was a weird coincidence.

    -----------

    "You can't shake the Devil's hand and say you're only kidding."

  • Actually to Grand Moff Wilhuff Tarkin.
  • Actually the IMDB had the full name, I just cut & pasted.
  • Asking if a democracy is better than communism is like asking if cars are better than bananas.

    Democracy & Dictatorships are forms of goverments. Capitialism & Communism are forms of economies.

    You can have any combination, eg Capitalism Dictatiorship, or Democratic Communism.

  • <style type="hsapien/css>
    <!-- tongue {position: relative; location: cheek;} -->

    Oh look! Their web site has "Fun Stuff" so you can have fun while further ruining someone's life and being an unpaid agent of the state!



    ----
  • Golly, who would have thought that a company whose history involves violent union busting and now is engages in changing farmers 'licencing fees' for patented corn and soybeans that they harvest and store, would sink this low? The much applauded economic boom is also greatly enhanceing the value of private 'security' corporations such as Wackenhut and Pinkerton who get paid to keep those unaffected by the boom locked up. Now they want to profit by acting as a filter before they are even out of school. I hate to say it, but when I was just beaten in high school for being different, those were the 'good ol' days'
  • by CAIMLAS (41445)
    Every day, it seems, we hear more and more news about the government or a psychotic group trying to create a monitoring system to "protect" citizens from ourselves. Ironic, how the minority get removed from society. Creative, slef thinking individuals are the first to go - and why? Because we're abe to see things from our own point of view, which we we don't allow to be easily swayed by popular opinion.

    I'm only 17, and things have gotten really crappy as far as freedom is concerned, in my lifetime. So many less freedoms, involving pretty much everything: guns, freedom of speech, equal rights. This country of the US of A seems a lot more like the psychotic, relativistic, humanistic, communistic, socialistic regime in Orwell's 1984 every day instead of a freedom based, God-centered nation that respects individuals.

    -------
    CAIMLAS

  • This is absolutely disgusting.

    You people in america REALLY need to stop this now. The police state is only a matter of time, if patently unjust activities like this are allowed.

    Strange how these people still completely fail to address the reasons why people become dangerous. It seems that sweeping up the debris is more acceptable than solving the problem.

    Still on the other hand, I think that the reward system is ultimately doomed. How long will it be before every child is on these dbs?

  • To address the four points:

    Guns: Sorry, but the evidence says you're wrong on this one. Fifty years ago, guns were far more available to students than they are now (school rifle teams were as common as school chess clubs), and yet school shootings were unheard of.

    As for defensive uses of guns -- if it's him or me, then I reserve the right to own tools that stack the deck in favor of me. I consider this a perfectly reasonable and moral stance.

    Parental Responsibility: It was a lot easier for one parent to work and one to raise the kids when the government took a tenth or their income instead of a third. This suggests an obvious method to remedy the problem (Hint: It does not involve giving the government more money or hiring more bureaucrats).

    Tipping the Authorities: While some people need to remain anonymous to avoid reprisal, the government should never be in the business of encouraging citizens to anonymously informing on one another, for obvious reasons. The people who are really scared don't need special prompting to remain anonymous, and the police and courts are charged with the job of figuring out which evidence is credible and which isn't.

    School Authorities: Generally agreed, with the caveat that simply offending someone (racial slurs) cannot reasonably be considered to be officially punishable misconduct.
    /.

  • This is eeriely similar to "Night Watch" from babylon 5, where some people on the station had to report "suspicious" and "unpatriotic" behavior in their friends to a dictator-led government.

    Indeed.

    "As the name implies, you must also be watchful. Peace can be made or broken with a gun, a word, an idea, even a thought. Now, those who work against peace sow the seeds of discontent. They plant false stories, they undermine the public good. It's not because they are necessarily evil. It's because they don't know any better. They're rejected, they're unhappy, and they lash out in the only way they can. So, If we could be made aware of these problems as they occur, then we can find these people, we can talk to these people, we can embrace them again in the arms of society, while, at the same time, protecting society from misinformation and harmful ideas. We're less interested in actions than we are in attitudes. We must help protect society against its own worst instincts. And by taking these bold steps, we will help to ensure a better future for everyone. I'm proud to be a part of it, and I hope you'll all join me in becoming part of the Night Watch."

    --Babylon 5, "In the Shadow of Z'ha'dum"

    /.
  • If you have the ability to stop a crime before it happens, and the police bust down a drug dealer's door before he's made the sale, are said dealer's rights violated?

    If it was done without evidence (anonymous tip != evidence), then, yes, according to the principles of civilized law as embodied in the Fourth Amendment of the United States Constitution. (Yes, I do harbor the chauvinistic notion that some cultures are civilized and others are not. Deal.)

    Rewards? That I disagree with.

    Hmmm... how about turning that around, with a $1000 bond-posting requirement? If your tip is bogus, the grand goes to the person you fingered. (This would be in the form of a certified check with your name on it, of course -- we wouldn't want "paranoia" to prevent him from writing a thank-you note, now would we?)
    /.

  • i am a geek, i suffer from depression, i take medicine for it, i also have social anxiety disorder... so basically im a sad person who likes to be alone or with his own little group of friends.... i would never hurt anyone, never even think about it, its not in my nature... now my brother on the other hand, he plays sports, goes to social gatherings, he acts all polite in public, hes like perfect... then he comes home.. hes a psycho at home, cussing all the time, getting mad at everything, threatening my family, coming after me with sharp or blunt objects (stab 'n' bop) ..... hes a crazy psycho, but no one in the real world would ever know... this is why profiling sucks, id be watched for violence while my brother isn't (but while hes beating up and threatening people)

    #----------------------------
    $mrp=~s/mrp/elite god/g;
  • Depression in and of itself cannot kill you.
    True enough, but in addition to the obvious suicides depression does have very real negative physical consequences. It can decrease appetite and lead to malnutrition (which can then re-enforce the depression) and it can also decrease the likelyhood of someone seeking out help for a physical illness or injury, or even just taking basic steps to maintain health. Depressed people also often try to self-medicate, which when combined with our incredibly stupid and immoral drug prohibition laws can mean taking impure drugs.

    It's not all in your head.

  • Re: CCTV

    Why do I care if someone sees me on CCTV - I am doing no wrong. If that CCTV finds thieves and murderers then it is good. If the CCTV footage is used against me in some other way (e.g., my other half hires a private detective to find out what I am doing getting home late, and he is allowed to view CCTV footage and use that as proof) then I would object. Of course, I have no idea what this CCTV footage is, and a lot of CCTV cameras are dummys anyway.

    Of course, CCTV in one area drives bad people to other areas. Hence the rise in rural crime in the UK. It has its good and bad points, and it all depends on whether the system is abused in a manner it shouldn't have been. I don't care that a computer somewhere will hold data about my whereabouts on certain days, as long as it can only be accessed in a way such to prove I wasn't somewhere else (e.g., if the police try to use the fact that I was in location X when I said I was in location Y at the time then that is fair, but I should equally be able to use the footage to prove I was in location X when the police say I was in location Y) or given to marketting people (you were in Moo on this day, the day of the Dixons Sale - here is some targetted advertising literature).

    I just don't trust the police enough to let them run it on their own. They might decide that when face recognition systems are installed that the data gleaned could be of so much more use to advertising agencies and would get money back into the underfunded police force that they can talk any authority into allowing it.

    So Britain has no Bill of Rights, but is that any worse from having one in words only, like America is becoming? I see no reason for an American to proudly state "I am an American" than I do to say "I am English" or "I am European". I don't care about where people come from, I care about what they are, if they are intelligent, if they will bring something into my life overall. The fact that they are Spanish or Nigerian means nothing.

    Of course, the French are another matter :-) (Joke, for you humour impaired moderators)

  • Witness as America starts on the long slide down to anarchy, fascism and ultimately nazism. Encouraging a culture of spying and squealing on fellow people for a reward is not the way forward in any civilised country - this is conformism.

    All after 3 - "I am an individual".

    I am glad I live in Europe, which is fast being overtaken by America in terms of stupid rules and stuff. Europe is much more free, but more expensive. Its your choice.

    Kids are going to hit on the idea as using this system for revenge - lying to get a reward and getting a rival/hated person in trouble and having data stored against them for the rest of their life.

    Do you Americans wish for something like the UKs Data Protection Act? We have had that for 16 years now, and it has been updated to reflect the new Internet economy. You are allowed to find out about anything stored against you in databases, and to ask for that information to be changed or removed if it is incorrect.

    I can imagine a lot of lawsuits in America over the next few years as a result of this software. As soon as some kid who has a rich father is dissed against by this system... hello $$$ for lawyers and years of litigation. But America is built upon a base of lawyers...

  • There is also a book based on the (true!) incident.
    Title: "The Wave - a classroom out of control"
    Author: Morton Rhue
    Search your favorite online book store. (This should be easier to find than a 20 year old made for TV movie.) Searching the web, I found that it is required or recommended reading for classes ranging from 8th grade literature to college psychology.
  • by kaphka (50736)
    I hate to be off-topic, but hasn't anyone noticed that the above post is nothing more than a copy of a link that was in the very first line of the article, yet it was moderated up to 5? Obviously the poster was trying to be funny, but all of the moderation was "Informative".

    Is the moderation system working?
  • Everybody gets on the bandwagon. If the blacklist that Pinkerton's is trying to build is filled with everybody, perhaps by volunteers calling from payphones (Remember that 800 numbers are NOT anonymous!), the system will collapse from too much spurious data.

    Yes, this is the solution! Here is what we can do to help. We need to get people to print up stickers which say something like:

    WARNING: The school is attempting to profile and monitor you! The school's new W.A.V.E. student profiling system will allow classmates to anonymously create trouble for you with the school administration and teachers. There is only one thing you can do to stop this. Every day for the next year call 1-800-???-???? from a payfone and fasely turn-in a random student at your school. It is importent to turn in students who are not the intended targests for this program too, i.e. if everyone just turns in the people that they think are wierd then the school will pay more attention to the program because it will seem successful. If many diffrent people are turned in this will create confusion and make their database useless. This is probable the only effective way you have of protecting yourself from this program.

    and hand them out to students to stick all over the school.

    I would suggest locating an online sticker printing company who will handle a large quantity of low-quality stickers for cheap, fill out all their paper work, and publish the paper work online to make it easy for other people to order the stickers too.
  • Oh, bitch! We could write a web crawler which went arround the internet, found people's name who are associated to high schools (frequently students), and turned them in via the web! I guess we would need to build some IP spofing into it, but that should not be hard.
  • The idea of the "ruling elite" is exactly what the dimwits in North Carolina are thinking. They think that a fascist mini-police state in schools is the answer. There is no such thing as a benign dictatorship, because control-freaks *always* want more power.

    "ruling elite" does not imply a fascist mini-police state. All it implies is that the people in charge wouldn't come from just anywhere in the public, but have special requirements. Perhaps they go to a special college which concentrates in specific areas that are quite relevant. I know it's not likely to work, but I think that set up correctly it could be much more effective than what we've got now. At least that way maybe we could get the people in charge to understand fundamental principles such as that the government is supposed to protect the rights of the minorities against the tyrrany of the majority - instead of what we've got not, where the tyrrany of the majority votes people in who will attempt to make that tyrrany part of the law.

    The public does know better. If you don't think they are capable of voting, then they're aren't really capable consumers either. Do you favor a command economy as well?

    If you think they know better, then why do they elect people which are more than happy to sign into law things such as UCITA or the DMCA?

    And the economic part is a completely different situation. People are much more able to make competent desicions about themselves and their family then about the direction of the nation. Most people are quite easily able to make desicions that benefit themselves and make things fit more how they think they should be - and they're also just as quick to vote for people who promise the same things, and the key is that what's right for a person isn't necessarily what should be right for a nation.

    Besides, how competent of consumers are they really? If they were more competent, maybe they'd realize how much they overpay on things like CDs and stop buying until the companies got the message.
    ---
  • This is absolutely disgusting.

    You people in america REALLY need to stop this now. The police state is only a matter of time, if patently unjust activities like this are allowed.

    Strange how these people still completely fail to address the reasons why people become dangerous. It seems that sweeping up the debris is more acceptable than solving the problem.


    You make it sound like, as Americans, we have the ability to stop this. That's not true.

    One of the advantages of Democracy is that the people have their say. But that's also one of the big disadvantages, because more often than not the people (in general) don't know that the fsck they're doing. And the politicians who understood what it was all about are also long gone, voted out by the public who doesn't know better.

    Sometimes I think that the ideas for a "ruling elite" found in the Foundation series are what we need the most... a group of well-educated people, who don't need to spend all their time giving the people what they want at the expense of what they really need. But there isn't a chance, because people want to have some sort of control. I think they'd rather screw it up on their own then have someone else do things right but without any say from the general public.

    I've considered moving out of this country, but unfortunately, there doesn't really seem to be anywhere better. Just different.
    ---
  • Has anyone else made the comment (either to themselves or their friends) "Ya know, if I was in High School now I'd be dragged into the guidance office faster than you can say 'black trenchcoat'?" I thought the administration was draconian enough back then, I shudder to think about now...
  • Unfortunately, some of those kids might actually be nice kids, despite being the offspring of politicians. Anything that randomly fingers innocent children is not a good thing. You could have had a congresscum as a parent, too.

    This whole thing is about making the lives of kids, who are likely already unhappy, even more miserable. Spreading more random misery around isn't going to help.

    (Yeah, I know you likely weren't really serious, but I wanted to make the point. We too often forget that we're dealing with real people.)

  • And that's worth putting some nice kids, who did nothing to anyone, through a lot of pain?

    I certainly agree with the goals, but I dislike the kind of tactics that make innocent people suffer for a cause.

  • They were supposed to gain the confidence of other students if they saw any signs of depression etc. Any hint of depression and they would turn over their fellow students. They were trained in how to do this. ... Peer behavior narcs in high schools is a very scary thought to me.

    When I first read this article, I thought it was a terrible thing, and I honestly was glad to be a geek and a non-conformist. I was sure that if something like this happened in my school, I would fight it to the end.

    But after reading this post, I realized that the same thing had happened in my school, and I was a big part of it! What first hit me was the term 'peer counselor'. In 8th grade, I was chosen by the school's administration, along with about 10 others, to be a peer counselor. We were trained a bit about suicide and depression, and how to deal with troubled kids. It all seemed innocent enough, and I really liked helping the kids.

    What the counselors, who taught the class, told us, was that we were the "in-between" step for students. Students that were having problems and didn't feel comfortable talking to teachers about their problems would request a session with a peer counselor, perhaps by name. We were told to help them as best as we could, and if we thought they were a possible danger to themselves or others, we were to tell the administration about it. We were spies!

    Luckily, I never had a case where I had to 'tattle' on anyone, and I think the program as a whole was a success, but only because the peer counselors were an exceptional group of misfits, which I'm isn't what the administration was hoping for. Now that I think about it, those chosen were all in the 'in crowd'. All jocks and preps, if you will, but of the free thinking type.

    Anyways, thanks for posting your experiences with this; it has made me think alot about mine as well, and I might even have a talk with the counselors.

  • by isaac (2852) on Wednesday March 29, 2000 @11:00AM (#1163635)
    And that's worth putting some nice kids, who did nothing to anyone, through a lot of pain?

    I certainly agree with the goals, but I dislike the kind of tactics that make innocent people suffer for a cause.

    Think for a moment; you know plenty of kids are going to suffer under this regime. Eventually, some kids w/ influential parents will suffer, and that will be the end this misguided plan. It seems to me eminently logical that these children-of-influence be targeted first, to spare the much larger number of other children, whose parent's voices are marginal, the same suffering. If the goal is to bring down this system quickly, I think the original poster is dead on.

    I don't expect you to like this idea. Personally, I think it's devilishly clever, and hope to see someone try this, but soon.

    As to innocents not suffering for a cause, I've yet to hear of a worthwhile cause that innocents haven't suffered for.

    -Isaac

  • by Magus311X (5823) on Wednesday March 29, 2000 @03:41AM (#1163636)
    This is truly vile, and it deeply sickens me. And what sickens me most, Pinkertons, arguably the largest and most highly regarded security firm in the world, is running this. If Alan Pinkerton was still around today, I sincerely doubt that he would even consider anything so ... ugh! There's no word to describe it.

    Pinkerton's Corporate HQ can be contacted here:
    4330 Park Terrace Drive
    Westlake Village, CA 91361
    818-706-6800 - Telephone
    818-706-5515 - Fax

  • by Windigo The Feral (N (6107) on Wednesday March 29, 2000 @11:34AM (#1163637)

    Some anonymous coward dun said:

    Oh, yes. Didn't notice that there. But I'm not talking about persecuting a group becuause of race or colour, I'm talking about helping a group of people who need help overcoming their genetic problems, which in turn will benefit society. Haven't you ever read The Selfish Gene - people are controlled by their genes. We need to be aware of people with such genetic flaws so that they can never pose a danger to society.

    Just as a minor note or three, in case you didn't know:

    1) Much of what happened in Nazi Germany in regards to the Holocaust was actually based on both eugenics programs in the United States and the committment laws in place then. (Back then, you could legally be involuntarily committed to an insane asylum just for being "different" or "rebellious"--even as an adult--and most states had laws mandating sterilisation for all "mental defectives", that is, anyone who had been committed to a mental institution. I'll also note that in those days once one was committed it was next to impossible to ever leave; it literally took major reforms in the 1960's to committment laws to fix this.)

    2) Much of the actual horror of the Holocaust actually started with first the involuntary committment and sterilisation, then the outright murder, of "mental defectives" and other handicapped persons. (Yes, this was even before they started on the Jewish, Catholic and homosexual populations--and everyone thought it was a Good Thing because eugenics were seen as a Great Cure to things like insanity, people being born crippled, etc.)

    2a) As a minor side note to the above--most of Mengele's "experiments" were done in hospital settings to children of Holocaust victims who were involuntarily committed to hospitals.

    3) If one doesn't think being labeled as a "mental defective"--rightly or wrongly--doesn't affect one's chances in life, ask any of the orphans who are held in "defectives orphanages" in various countries that were formerly part of the old USSR (or Romania, for that matter)--more info here [hrw.org]. Hell, for that matter, ask anyone who has publically been revealed in the US to have suffered from a mental disorder how devastating it can be (one of the Kennedys was involuntarily committed, for one; at least one US Presidential candidate actually lost the nomination after it was revealed he had suffered from depression; persons with mental illness have a far harder time getting and keeping jobs than the general population, Americans with Disabilities Act or no [usually, just as with age and occasionally sex discrimination, they find some other excuse to not hire or to fire the person once a history of mental illness shows up in a background check]...persons who have had a history of mental illness (with or without violent tendencies) are also prohibited from many things Americans tend to consider as rights, such as owning a gun (even for hunting) or, in several states, even driving (which, outside of major cities, can actually lock you out of not only jobs but even treatment for mental illness).)

    4) Rights for juveniles in the US have been rolled back considerably since the 1980's; pretty much, the legal criteria for involuntarily committing a kid is nearly the same as it is for adults back in the Bad Old Days of the 30's where one could end up in a mental hospital for merely being "different" (all it takes is to convince a parent, or failing that, a judge; the strict legal requirements in place for adults generally don't apply to those under 18). Kids can already be involuntarily committed to mental hospitals by stuff as mere as the recommendation of their high school counselor--stuff like W.A.V.E. will only make things far worse, truly sending things back to the Bad Old Days.

    5) Not all mental illness is genetic. In the worst kinds (bipolar illness and schizophrenia) there is a definite tendency that is probably genetically determined, but even then only fifty percent of identical twins will develop schizophrenia if their twin has it--in other words, there are probably also environmental factors involved. The same is probably true, to a greater or lesser extent, with the entire spectrum of "autistic spectrum" "disorders" (which go all the way from severe autism to Asperger's (which one is high-functioning, and there are a surprising number of geeks who have a touch of Asperger's) to hyperlexia (mostly you just have trouble "reading" folks and with speech, but reading skills are actually better than normal-- hyperlexic kids might not talk till four or five, but it isn't unuusal for them to be reading at kindegarten/1st-grade level at age two or three and to be reading as advanced as high-school level by first or second grade)...there is a genetic tendency in some cases, but some of it is environmental and most of it is a mix of the two. For depression specifically, some depression is linked with genetic tendencies, but a fair amount is just iatrogenic (there is no family history) or even the result of environmental factors (severe abuse, especially emotional or spiritual (religious-based) abuse, WILL cause depression in darn near any sane individual; depression is extremely common in walkaways from religious cults, and the highest known rate of suicide in teens exists with gay teens in fundamentalist households) or even cultural factors (the Japanese have a strong tradition against the disgrace of one's family or one's self, and if one does disgrace one's self or gives one's family a bad name committing suicide is actually seen as the honourable way out).

    6) Most of the kids who blow away other kids have either been severely abused--not just at school but almost constantly--and most also have serious underlying personality disorders. Personality disorders are one of the few disorders that are thought to not have much of a genetic basis (save in some cases) but are the result of something going Very Wrong in early development--like when they were children. A history of abuse, oddly, can cause a personality disorder to develop (especially in the case of more violent people--there is a very strong correlation between childhood abuse, especially physical and severe emotional (and, according to some studies, religious) abuse, and the development of severe personality disorders that lead to violence). In the Paducah shootings, for instance, there are some hints that the kid could have been trying to walk away from fundamentalism; there are indications the Columbine shooters had long-standing personality disorders.

    7) There is a rather healthy industry here in the United States of private mental hospitals and teen psychiatrists--often working with insurance companies--that basically tell parents that their children need at the least psychotherapy and/or Prozac--and more often than not, institutionalisation--for behaviours that sometimes are part of normal teenhood. Pharmaceutical companies make a minor killing off of giving kids Prozac and Ritalin (in fact, the problem is so bad here--kids as young as three are now being given Ritalin and Prozac even though the longterm effects of giving kids that young such powerful drugs is unknown--that even the FDA and Presidential committees are asking people to please not give kids that young psychoactive drugs until proper studies have been done); it is not at all uncommon for private mental hospitals here in the States to hold a patient exactly as long as the insurance company will pay (typically one to two months) and then dismiss the kid (even if the kid is well or was never sick to begin with). It is bad enough that even investigative programs with newspapers and TV have reported on the "teen mental health industry" here in the States...it's also, sadly, not uncommon for parents who are sick of dealing with their kids to have them committed for "depression" or have "out-of-control warrants" swore out on their kids to have them involuntarily committed...some parents even drop off their kids at the mental hospital whilst they take vacations. :P

    (As a minor aside on this--if W.A.V.E. had been in affect whilst I was in high school or even elementary school, it is entirely likely that not only would I have been profiled but probably involuntarily committed until I was 18. I had some problems growing up (yes, I was depressed--the result of emotional, occasional physical, and longstanding religious abuse--alas, at that time neither social services nor anyone else seemed to recognise that religious abuse even existed [this was just around the time of the first televangelist scandals here Stateside] nor that teens could suffer abuse without "bringing it on themselves", which didn't help matters) and as it was, I was profiled and got to go through most of my middle and high-school years with the official label of Fucking Nutter Kid even without the wonderful things known as W.A.V.E. and other "geek profiling" tools. In any case, all the visits to the shrink, "special programs", the initial visit to the "teen ward" when the school no longer wanted to deal with the complaints that I was being severely bullied at school, and my parents threatening to send me back to aforementioned "teen ward" when I tried to be the least bit assertive didn't help; getting out at the age of 25 from that toxic situation has begun the process of healing, though I admit I've a long way to go (I have a bad habit of kicking myself in the arse and worrying too much--probably the result of the abuse I suffered--which makes me depressed sometimes, and which nothing short of time and relearning is going to help--all the Prozac in the world isn't going to fix how my folks essentially used the Bible, the shrink, and the occasional belt and fist as weapons to hurt me). Needless to say, I've wondered at times if this has affected me getting a job (I've had a hard time getting jobs, even with qualifications above and beyond what they're asking for); I know for a fact it's affected me with social interactions (not just people freaking because of my history--I don't have much idea of what a normal teenhood consists of, and I have a very hard time trusting anyone because when I've asked for help I've usually been kicked in the nuts over it). I also saw and experienced a fair amount of the abuse that goes on in the "teen mental health industry"--including the kids who ended up getting committed when it was the parents that could've used psychiatric help--and what with the age of Columbine and Geek Profiling and sillybuggers like W.A.V.E. I can only imagine it's gotten even worse nowadays. Nearly bad enough to put me off having kids altogether, in fact (I sure as hell don't want them going through what I've had to go through, and right now I don't trust myself to have kids just yet)...so, well, I know all too well of what I speak. I ended up in the "Teen Mental Health Industry" basically for being bullied (and an incompetent middle-school principal and counselor who didn't want to deal with the bullies) and for beginning to walk away from a Bible-based cult my parents were (and still are) involved in and starting to get the sense something was Seriously Bent in my family. (I'm only now starting to realise just HOW bent it was.))

    My worry is this--How many kids are going to end up getting churned up in the machine that is the "Teen Mental Health Industry" who literally haven't done anything other than be gay and have the shitty luck to be born in a house of raving fundies (all the Prozac in the world won't help that, either--about the only thing that WILL help is getting the kid the hell out of the house, and even then he's still gonna be depressed because his family has essentially disowned him for something out of his control), or who gets the living shite beaten out of him both at school (by bullies) and at home (by Mom and Dad) and who might act gothy or tough as a means to try to protect himself, or the kid who has the cojones to be Wiccan or atheist or [insert non-conservative-Protestant-Christianity religion here] in a sea of fundamentalist Christians (this isn't uncommon in parts of the US--our Supreme Court is now taking a case on whether prayers should be allowed at football games which involves a school district largely populated with fundamentalist Christians--the people who have protested the prayers (including Catholics, some Baptists, Jewish folk, and an atheist) have been harassed and beaten in school...in one case involving school prayer here, a person who protested sectarian school prayers in Alabama was literally run out of town by the local fundies), or who is trying to walk away from a coercive group Mom and Dad are involved in, or who dares to be different enough to arouse the ire or fear of the students, parents, or community...there are going to be a lot of kids caught up in that meatgrinder as a result, which is going to result in a lot of pissed-off kids who are pretty much going to be unemployable (both because of the "history of mental illness" and because, well, even compared to regular public schools, "schools for the emotionally disturbed"--which is where these kids will likely end up, even if not committed--have Base Minimum educational standards, and at times literally have to get into partnerships with either vocational schools or gifted/talented magnet schools to even provide educational opprotunities to those kids that don't drop out after about their junior year or go back to regular school--and unless you show some real spark of intelligence, like I was lucky enough to do, you will be shunted into a voc-ed program, probably either nursing or body-shop)... if anything, it might make the problem worse. (Hell, if you know you're going to be profiled and probably committed because the other kids Plain Don't Like You, and you get hell beaten out of you anyways...and you know once you end up committed it's pretty much going to be on your permanent record and will follow you around for life, making it almost impossible for you to be employed or possibly even get health insurance (you folks in the UK are lucky--you at least have Public Health Service; folks in the US who don't have insurance who are mentally ill usually end up either in the state mental institutions or on the streets because they're SOL)...what is there to lose, really?) Kids, both sane and mentally-ill, are going to get hurt BAD by this crap...

    Then again, we've got Tipper Bloody PMRC Gore pushing this crap on one end and Bush pushing for them to just go ahead and lock up the entire teenage population of North America on the other end...other than a Geek's Rights Party I dunno what can be done (if folks ARE interested in starting such a beast, well, technically, there are probably at least a few of us of legal age for both House and Senatorial seats federally as well as in state legislatures...and we can always start by working up from stuff like school boards (all the better--we can keep shite like W.A.V.E. from ever being implemented in the FIRST place locally, and it keeps the Religious Right from being able to take over school boards to turn them into little theocracy training centers)... ;)

  • by waldoj (8229) <waldo.jaquith@org> on Wednesday March 29, 2000 @02:24PM (#1163638) Homepage Journal
    So, these guys want kids to provide all kinds of information [waveamerica.com] about themselves, such as name, state, grade, age, sex, and some little things. Of course, this is targeted at school children -- minors.

    But then read their privacy statement [waveamerica.com]. It's shocking:

    Privacy Policy

    Pinkerton Services Group has created this "Privacy Statement" to demonstrate our firm commitment to privacy. This statement outlines our information gathering and sharing practices for this website.

    That's it. That's their privacy statement. Under COPPA [loc.gov], this will be illegal. COPPA demands that websites get a parent's permission in order to collect data from children 12 and under. COPPA goes into effect April 1st, if I recall correctly.

    I won't tell Pinkerton if you don't. But I *will* report them.

    -Waldo
  • by ralphclark (11346) on Wednesday March 29, 2000 @11:53AM (#1163639) Journal
    Now hold on just a minute. I went and read the stuff on the W.A.V.E site and it lists "early warning signs" and "imminent warning signs" for violence, and it may be worrisome that some individuals may be wrongly singled out for attention on the basis of nothing more than presumption, but I saw *nothing* about geeks and I saw *nothing" in any of these lists of behaviours that I'd consider to be especially geekish. Therefore I see no reason why self-appointed geeks in W.A.V.E schools should consider themselves to be at particular risk from this experiment in social engineering.

    It looks to me like it's only Jon Katz who's hell bent on associating geekdom with psychological instability and violent crime.

    BTW, there *are* other free democratic societies in the world where this sort of social responsibility to one another is taken for granted. It's really only in the US that the idea of personal liberty is worshipped to the extent that issues of safety and security are ignored.

    W.A.V.E needn't be Nazism. It depends on how it's implemented. I suppose at bottom it basically depends upon whether the people doing the implementation are closet Nazis or not.

    Consciousness is not what it thinks it is
    Thought exists only as an abstraction
  • by CodeShark (17400) <ellsworthpc AT yahoo DOT com> on Wednesday March 29, 2000 @05:15AM (#1163640) Homepage
    I for one was happy to see the involvement of the ACLU in the battle over Censorware, but this is much much worse: we have a big business (Pinkertons) combining with governmental and quasi-governmental organizations (law enforcement and schools) to create something that violates more of the principles of American democracy (as embodied in the Declaration of Independence and the US Constitution (Bill of Rights),

    How about these for starters:

    • ...among these rights are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness

      with the idea that the pursuit of happiness should not be encumbered by undue governmental intrusion(s)

    • rights against unreasonable search and seizure,(4th Amendment, I think).

      Just yesterday the Supreme Court voted unanimously to deny police departments from doing the same type of things that "WAVE" views as foundational -- profiling a person solely based on an anonymous tip -- which in the schools you know will lead to false accusations and then immediately by harassment (getting called to the school's office and subjected to hostile interviewers)

    • Free speech, especially the right to protest without harassment.

      Perhaps I choose to be different than you. Perhaps part of my protest of the existing status quo includes words such as "I hate...", "I feel powerless...", "let's make some noise..." Am I therefore to be branded as dangerous, my name kept in databases I know nothing about? Databases kept by a commercial entity with (AFAICT)no stated privacy policy?

    There are others but in the interest of brevity and time I'll quit here with a more emphatic repeat of my question: where the h--- is the ACLU, and why aren't they involved in fighting this crap?
  • by RPoet (20693) on Wednesday March 29, 2000 @03:44AM (#1163641) Journal
    http://www.waveamerica.com/ [waveamerica.com].

    Now, gimme the moderation this incredibly Informative (hint-hint) posting deserves! ;-)
  • by Sun Tzu (41522) on Wednesday March 29, 2000 @03:36AM (#1163642) Homepage Journal
    Here in the 'land of the free' things are changing incrementally, just slowly enough to let us refer to those who would point it out as alarmists and extremists.

    A fine example of that tactic was when those who fought to cap the new federal income tax at 10% were called alarmists -- because the number they chose for the cap was so absurdly high! ;)

    Alas, sometimes the 'paranoid' are right...
  • And it can be made even WORSE when a school does something like described in this Time article [time.com].

    The main school in this article [Permian High]is the school I went to. Imagine how much worse this Nazi-like youth 'movement' can be when it happens in a school where:
    1. There's ARMED guards
    2. There's Metal Detectors
    3. Students are required to wear BARCODED ID BADGES!
    "Student identification badges will not only immediately show who belongs and who doesn't but also contain bar codes school administrators can instantly scan to show everything from previous tardiness and truancies to medical records. "
    4. There are security cameras IN THE CLASSROOMS!
    5. Random Searches!
    "Permian High administrators, for example, periodically seal off hallways, order students to drop what they are carrying, then run the purses and backpacks through metal detectors."

    I was outraged when I heard this was happening at my old high-school. When I was there [grad '92] It was a pretty good school [if you could ignore the football fetish]. We had open campus for lunch and there really weren't any violence problems [a usual amount of fights I guess].
    I'd like to think that the students at the school in my day would have fought this. But my mother and step-dad are both teachers in that district [not at this school] and say that the students don't mind it at all...

    I think that these 'security' measures, plus this quite Orwellian peer-servailence[sp?] is a VERY dangerous thing.

    Ender

  • by seoman70 (69627) on Wednesday March 29, 2000 @04:43AM (#1163644) Homepage

    Disclaimer: I was/am a member of the Boy Scouts, with the rank of eagle.

    What's interesting that information like this gets moderated up to "Interesting," and without any facts to back it up. First off, The BSA was founded in 1910 (before WW1 or 2!) by Robert Baden-Powell and William D. Boyce. It was based on the British Military system (yes, even the uniforms), and has been adapted into what you see today

    Information on Boy Scouts:
    http://www.scouting.org/factsheets/0 2-503.html [scouting.org]
    http://members.aol.com/randywoo/bsah is/b-p.htm [aol.com]
    http://users.aol.com/randywoo/bsahis /index.htm [aol.com]

    Information on Hitler Youth:
    http://www.cord.edu/homepages/amm orris/paper.html [cord.edu]
    http://youth.net/memories/hypermail/0 554.html [youth.net]
    Google Search: hitler youth [google.com]

  • by G27 Radio (78394) on Wednesday March 29, 2000 @05:45AM (#1163645)
    Here in the 'land of the free' things are changing incrementally, just slowly enough to let us refer to those who would point it out as alarmists and extremists.

    A fine example of that tactic was when those who fought to cap the new federal income tax at 10% were called alarmists -- because the number they chose for the cap was so absurdly high! ;)

    Alas, sometimes the 'paranoid' are right...


    I have to admit that history was never one of my stronger subjects but even to me this slow erosion of rights, privacy, and freedom seems so obvious.

    What really annoys me is that kids starting school today will graduate pre-profiled as conformist, non-conformist, trouble-makers, etc... What happens if someone starts selling that data to employers? Don't say it won't happen. Who would've thought 20 years ago that we'd all have to piss in a jar in the name of creating a safe working environment? Corporations with a lot of money have every right to know every detail they can find out about their employees lives right? How much of the shit in Gattacca would be fiction if corporations/govt had the technology and freedom to do such things? Where's the wording one my 'urine sample analysis authorization' that says "The Corporation agrees not to save this sample for future DNA analysis and will not store it in corporate database or resell it. Furthermore we agree the the owner of said DNA retains the right to control all future reproduction of said DNA." I'm sure a lawyer could word it bettter, but I'm just a paranoid geek :P

    Here's a truly paranoid idea... suppose in the next 20 years or so our government has changed for the worse and has become truly oppressive. The kids we raise today and teach to think for themselves will be flagged in databases and easy targets for an oppressive government. Will this happen? Maybe, maybe not. Is it possible? Absolutely. Is it worth the risk? NO!

    Too bad that being 'naive', 'short-sighted', 'oblivious', or 'uninformed' doesn't carry the same stigma as being 'paranoid' or 'alarmist.' I personally prefer 'clueful', 'aware', or even 'visionary' to describe those that use the past to recognize the negative side effects that our present actions will likely have on our future.

    numb

    The greatest weapon of the facist is the tolerance of the pacifist. --Suicidal Tendencies (hmm, that one will get me added to a database somewhere I'm sure ;)
  • by gargle (97883) on Wednesday March 29, 2000 @08:39PM (#1163646) Homepage
    Also check out the stanford prison experiment: www.prisonexp.org [prisonexp.org]
    The ability of people, experimenters included, to get caught up in games of control is chilling.
  • by guran (98325) on Wednesday March 29, 2000 @03:37AM (#1163647)
    Struck me too.

    Wrapped in too many words, there is a really scary story here. Someone is trying to change "Innocent until proven guilty" to "Suspect, even if proven innocent"

    The real point comes late in the article:
    If you have *real* concern about a classmate, there are cops, teachers and parents to inform. If you do not find it necessary to inform any of those directly, simply shut up.

  • by kwsNI (133721) on Wednesday March 29, 2000 @03:33AM (#1163648) Homepage
    > In a newsmagazine survey taken earlier this year, 81 percent of Americans said they believed the Net was responsible for the Columbine massacre.

    Yeah, it was that and Duke Nukem. Personally, this is getting to be a big pet peeve of mine. "The internet made me kill 27 people." "The internet made me want to rob a bank." "The internet made me go out and fuck my neighbors cat."

    I'm sorry. I believe that the internet can have a small effect on people but really... I spend over 60 hours a week online and I haven't killed anyone yet. If they went out and killed people because of the internet, it was because they were already mentally instable. If the internet wasn't enough to push them over the edge, it was just as likely that the next commercial they saw for a Leonardo DiCaprio movie could have.

    It's kind of like the "guns don't kill people" thing. The internet doesn't kill people, people do. In this case, it was a bunch of sick, wacked out punks with some serious problems.

    Please, if the internet was responsible, I'd like to know how. I want to know what type of scripting it takes to make a web site pull the trigger of a gun.

    Don't get me wrong on this. I feel terrible for all of the people at Columbine. I just think that blaming the internet is a stupid attempt at rationalizing things and trying to make things better. Humans just can't admit that we have flaws so we have to blame something else.

    kwsNI

  • WAVE = "Working against violence anywhere." This reminds me of when D. Gates of the LAPD said basically that DARE was to get kids to submit to cops.
    Press Release [yahoo.com]
    Official Site [waveamerica.com]

    Here's the Official Promise (facists!):

    This is my school, my space. I want it to be a safe place. I know that violence prevention begins with me. So that's why to this promise I agree. I will... Resolve conflicts peacefully. Talk about problems openly. Treat others with respect. Walk away from a fight. Take all threats and warning signs seriously. Talk to a parent, counselor or other adult about my concerns.

    CREEPY!!! Why doesn't everyone scour their site for interesting tidbits!
  • by MillMan (85400) on Wednesday March 29, 2000 @06:14AM (#1163650)
    The truth is that the American political system, no matter how much everyone bitches and whines, is one of the most liberal and open systems in the world!

    You're close to being right but not quite...I think I'd rate Canada as being MUCH more liberal as well as a few European countries. I know you said the US gov't isn't perfect, but your comments are still quite positive. Keep in mind that your comments are relative, so they don't really speak to the amout of freedom or control we have over our lives.

    Our governement operates like any other government really...they have to keep the population apathetic and throw us a bone once in a while to keep us happy. This prevents their power from being seriously threatened. Movements like the ones in the 60's bring about change, but it is usually nothing incredible, at least not what the "revolutionaries" envisioned. They die out as well, as the institutions remain.

    Over the past few decades we've seen plenty of fascist/police state features creep in. Increasing militarization of police, the highest incarciration rates in the world, and strict sentancing guidelines. Modern survailence technology doesn't help either, nor does a media that sensationalizes events and certainly does not promote the citizens best interest. And you would be right, our press is still probably the most open in the world. That doesn't make it any good.

    So obviously this article bothers me. I'm not a libertarian like most here are, as I'm not a big fan of capitalism. So when companies come up with plans like this for making money it bothers me just as much as if the government had done it, because corporations have even less public accountability than the government does, and thus are essentially fascist. They care even less about the public than the government does. Corporations that operate for profit in the law enforcement industry have been growling rapidly over the last 10 years or so, and they now have a big lobbying vioce, because more people in prison means more money for them.

    All it really takes to end this is education, but not in the traditional sense: people ned to be taught to think for themselves. We all know that the internet didn't cause the Columbine massacre, but most people aren't "aware" enough to realize otherwise. People that read this site know otherwise, but that is because we have been there.

    It's one of our countries biggest problems really: instead of finding the root problem and working through it, we take a pill and hope it just goes away.
  • by spiralx (97066) on Wednesday March 29, 2000 @03:31AM (#1163652)

    ... for pissed-off students to take revenge on other students that have annoyed them. All they have to do is make a single, anonymous phone call and their victim will become marked and monitored, possibly for ever, with no knowledge of the situation or chance of repreive. And I think we'd all agree that at that age, kids can be incredibly vindictive, and I don't doubt that this would become yet another way to pick on enemies and people not conforming to the "typical student" mold.

    Any good this service could do (which I personally doubt anyway) will be completely undone by hoax calls in search of revenge. Given a moment's consideration, you would have thought that the people behind W.A.V.E. would have realised this - or maybe they have and it's just a pure publicity stunt with nothing behind it at all.

  • by alexhmit01 (104757) on Wednesday March 29, 2000 @03:26AM (#1163653)
    This is a little disturbing, but as usual our favorite author is inserting his personal bias where he claims to be reporting fact. It is clearly an opinion piece, but his interpretations and the facts of the situation should be a little more clear.

    Okay, yes the hyseria regarding school violence is misplaced. Innercity schools with REAL problems are not being targetted, it is suburbanites who avoid the "evil cities" that are scared that violence can hit there area.

    I went to a private school for three years at the end of high school after many years in the public school system. We dealt with this nonsense all the time. The school had a dress code that enforced conformity, the school held talks for parents (and made them go or the kids couldn't participate in extra curricular activities) on alcohol use and encouraged parents to report on other children, etc.

    This database is unlikely to be maintained indefinitely. If for no other reason, than you need parental consent for recording information on minors. Parents will obviously not consent for their children being labeled insane. This is most likely going to result in people wearing black trenchcoats in school being annoyed by guidance councilors and not wearing black trenchcoats in schools.

    While enforcing conformity is a bad thing, it isn't Nazish or Stalinistic, it is obnoxious. This program appears to be well intended: if you think someone is a threat to himself or others, you call a number and they have someone speak to him. Overall, not a terrible state of affairs. If the situation isn't a problem, they go about their business. If they are depressed, maybe they find a good shrink and lead happier lives.

    The fact that it is a profitable company doesn't make it wrong. It means that they are going to try to make a profit instead of syphoning off as much money as possible in grants to spend frivolously because they have them. Libertarians champion everything being privatized, this seems like an example of that.

    While I think that there MAY be a real concerning story here, our author has failed to separate facts from his fears, so it is hard to tell what, if any, injustice is real and what is yellow journalism by rambling fool.

    Alex
  • by Animats (122034) on Wednesday March 29, 2000 @09:27AM (#1163654) Homepage
    After reading the WAVE site a bit more, I came across The WAVE Card. [waveamerica.com] On the front, there's a toll-free number to call to turn people in. But the back has a different purpose...
    • On top of the fact that WAVE Card looks cool and gives you invaluable access to the WAVE Line, there's m o r e.
    • The incredible WAVE Card is going to make your life very fun. Here's what we have planned -- coming soon. We are going to get your favorite restaurants, clothing stores, computer places and other fantastic retailers to give you discounts and f r e e stuff. Yes, I'm sure it is hard to contain the absolute excitement you are feeling right now upon learning about the benefits of the WAVE Card.
    • We are working hard to get you the stuff you really want. So be sure to visit our website on a regular basis (lots and lots of times) to check out what great deals and free stuff the WAVE Card is going to get you. In the near future, you will simply click the WAVE Card and you'll discover how much the WAVE Card is worth to you (big money, big money). Remember, we're going to be constantly updating the WAVE Card offerings, so did we mention that you will want to visit us lots and lots of times.

    So that's the plan. It's a marketing gimmick. A scheme to get kids to buy from their affiliated merchants, build web traffic, and get click-throughs. Maybe to position Pinkertons as an "Internet company", and WAVE as a "portal".

    Oh, and you'd think a site intended for kids would have a strong privacy policy? No, it doesn't. [waveamerica.com]

  • by TomV (138637) on Wednesday March 29, 2000 @03:55AM (#1163655)
    So depressed people are dangerous and should be locked up are they?

    my father fought his depression for three decades until it finally won one morning.

    In the meantime he was a major scholar in his field, respected and well-liked by colleagues and students across the world. We were simply astonished by the bundles of condolences from around the world, which kept coming for weeks.

    he wrote several of the standard texts in his field, as well as what are now the canonical translations / commentaries on a number of classical texts, and was credited with making it a significant area of study wherebefore it was an obscure backwater.

    And practically nobody was aware of his illness outside of his family and his closest colleagues. A less dangerous man i can hardly envision.

    Now under the WAVE regime, i guess that, if anyone had actually noticed the symptoms, he would have been labelled as dangerous (to people other than himself) and might well have been unable to continue in academia and thus to carry out his work, his humble attempt to add to the sum of human knowledge.

    By all accounts this man was a really good teacher. Clearly I'm somewhat biased, but when he taught me, i could see the talent he had. And three decades worth of students would have been deprived of his abilities, care, concern and sense of duty, had he been 'blacklisted' on health grounds.

    Tuberculosis is contagious - that's why it's a notifiable disease. depression is an all-too-often fatal condition, but it is not contagious and should in the main remain a matter for the patient, their family and their physician. it is NOT grounds for a witchhunt

    TomV

  • by multipartmixed (163409) on Wednesday March 29, 2000 @03:25AM (#1163656) Homepage
    This doesn't really surprise me.

    The United States of America may tout it's capitalist infranstructure as the Glorious Saviour of Mankind, but they are closer to communists and fascists than many of their citizens are willing to admint to themselves.

    George Orwell warned that this could happen in his epic novel, 1984.

    The fact that U.S. is not heeding this warning does not surprise me. After all, this is happening when the people in power in government are of the first generation to not be able to remember James McCarthy, and the Communist Inquisition, first hand.

    --
  • by martin (1336) <maxsec@@@gmail...com> on Wednesday March 29, 2000 @03:35AM (#1163657) Journal
    here's the TV movie..

    http://us.imdb.com/Title?0083316

    Apparently based on a true story...
  • by Effugas (2378) on Wednesday March 29, 2000 @05:11AM (#1163658) Homepage
    On the one hand, you've got anonymous measurement tools beyond count: Slashdot's AC's, Employer info sites, that Teacher site that's getting sued for Libel...

    And it's our god given right to use those, right?

    Then on the other, you have W.A.V.E. . Similar anonymous measurement, *EXACT* same potentials for abuse(unpopular people get slammed unfairly for fair actions, etc.) The technology itself--anonymous evaluations--remains consistent. So what's different?

    Lets see. The former consists of individuals commenting on members of a larger institution. The latter consists of larger institutions retrieving commentary from their individual members <i>regarding</i> their individual members.

    Still, this doesn't establish that there's anything wrong with W.A.V.E. I generally want the institutions I'm a member of to protect me from other members--particularly schools. There's an irrational "tattle tales are bad" chant that ignores the fact that Geeks Like Me would be toast without the ability to go to a counselor or a dean of students and say, "That kid over there is beating me senseless on a daily basis. That sucks!"

    Yes! Tattle! If someone's making your life miserable, <i>you can do something about it</i>! Schools have and need infrastructure to deal with this.

    And that's when things start to fall apart for the W.A.V.E. program. There's something truly perverse about what it has people report...it's not those students who <i>cause</i> the most misery who get busted; it's those students who everyone looks at and says, "Man, that kid is such a loser and everyone hates him. Shit, he's gonna take a gun and shoot up this place!"

    In other words, W.A.V.E. has implicit in its design a scheme that doesn't prevent harassment, rather it provides a means of tagging and identifying the harassed. This wouldn't be an awful thing, if it wasn't so presumptuous and backwards--we need to do something about this poor kids who get kicked around every day...not to deal with the violence of them getting kicked around, mind you! "That's normal, you see. Kids establish a pecking order, you can't fight that." No, this isn't about stopping the kicking, it's about essentially providing a means of recognizing when a kid's been kicked so low that they might start fighting back. It's to recognize when kids are brought to the point where they have nowhere to go but up.

    How scary, that after months of enduring torment, your institution itself gets into the act, worrying that something must be wrong with you if the popular kids don't like you.

    And thus, where the <i>real</i> fear of this system is coming from: It's not the anonymous reporting--we like anonymity, look at all the people who make a career out of bashing Katz on a regular basis. (Incidentally, I was impressed by this story--this is probably some of Katz's beter writing.) It's not even the knowledge of the institution that there are kids who are getting kicked around.

    It's that the institution isn't the school.

    It's the idea that, someday, some accountant will send your dean of students a "scientific report" saying you're just too likely to react dangerously to all the abuse he's been allowing under his nose. There's a tendancy to use science to absolve personal responsibility in institutional management, and if The Numbers Say You'll Kill Someone, it just doesn't hurt administrators all that much to "send the child to a special school" "just to be on the safe side."

    Nobody wants to be held responsible when some kid shoots up the school, and *THEY KNEW* something was going to happen--after all, that kid had a 83.2 on the Gonna Shoot Up The School scale--why wasn't he kicked out, they'll ask?

    Don't laugh. If 82% of America can blame a f*cking network of computers for a schooltime massacre, *phear* what they could do to the actual administrators.

    This is essentially outsourced psychological risk assessment. Instead of people within a school dealing with the problem and actually handling things from the inside--where things are visible--schools become a sort of "black box", with little candy treats being waved around to elicit data about its inner operations from unknown members inside.

    When the data comes in from an outside agency, with a scientific chart o' student issues, held within a database protected by not a relevant data protection code in the country(ooh! Wanna sell Prozac? W.A.V.E. licensing divisions, how many depressed kids would you like to sell to today?)...it stops being an issue of whether tattling is right or wrong, and starts becoming a question of just how much cynicism are we willing to accept in our school infrastructure.

    Calling this program WAVE, after that after school special, is so amazingly unfortunate for this program that it defies description.

    Yours Truly,

    Dan Kaminsky
    DoxPara Research
    http://www.doxpara.com
  • by Guppy (12314) on Wednesday March 29, 2000 @04:24AM (#1163659)
    I just had a thought on a little "harmless" prank that could make things interesting for WAVE. Of course I'm not actually advocating that anybody do this, oh no--just pointing out a possible vulnerability.

    Congress has 100 senators and 435 representatives. At least a few of them have teenaged kids. I'm sure they'd appreciate the early warning from anonymous sources that have fingered junior as a depressed violent druggie anarchist.
  • by lee (17524) <lee@@@pyrzqxgl...org> on Wednesday March 29, 2000 @04:44AM (#1163660) Homepage
    Anyone else remember the creepy CBS after school special about the wave? It was about a hitleresque movement too. At least that had a happy ending where the kids realized their behavior was wrong. . .

    This is not the first rat-on-your-peers program I have heard about. In my college, they recruited students who lived in dorms for one. It was a special group called peer counselors. They were basically behavior/mental illness narcs. They were supposed to gain the confidence of other students if they saw any signs of depression etc. Any hint of depression and they would turn over their fellow students. They were trained in how to do this.

    You see, depression can lead to suicide so they treated any even mildly depressed students as "A danger to themselves or others." This is a cause for summary suspension in most schools and cause enough to lock anyone up against their will indefinitely in most states. You lose all civil rights. You may be tortured. You have no right to communicate with others if doctors feel that is not in your best interest. You lose your right to vote and marry. And you never get a real trial. Sadly, a student just homesick and a bit blue could find themselves forced into counseling and maybe out of school. Oddball or unpopular behavior might lead to the diagnosis of schizophrenia with similar results.

    My school had plenty of volunteers for their corps of depression narcs; after all they were helping those poor kids. There are always plenty of people willing to mind their peers business. Let people feel good about this and you have a loyal following. Some churches seem to function on this theme as well. It is very compelling. At least the charge of sin doesn't get you locked up.

    In the United States at least, the charge of mental illness is very like the cry of Witch! in Salem once was. And once accused, you lose credibility no matter the truth of the charge. The only way to prove your sanity is to take tests that may very well help them lock you up. It does not matter if you have done anything wrong. Admitting to a single thought that you wish you could die even though you would not harm yourself can be enough to condemn you. Imagine telling someone you thought of as a friend about an embarrassment and saying "I just wanted to die" and then being kicked out of school. It has happened.

    Peer behavior narcs in high schools is a very scary thought to me, but then I am not pleased with the paranoia that D.A.R.E. teaches kids. Did you know they outed the Snuffelupagus because they felt teaching children that sometimes they are right when the whole world doubts them was dangerous?

    Scary stuff.
  • by Holger (36233) on Wednesday March 29, 2000 @03:37AM (#1163661) Homepage
    "It's a carbon copy of the Hitler Youth program used so successfully in World War II Germany to root out dissidents and oddballs."

    Actually, this sounds even worse to me. The Hitler Youth was "just" a youth organisation, at least at the beginning. And even later on, the motivation was mostly political and even paramilitary "education" of the members, not using them as a extension of the Gestapo (the Nazi internal intelligence service). The Hitler Youth has to be seen in this context. They were the pre-school of the fascist government, preparing young people to be "good citizens" (in the perverted sense the Nazi government thought of this). Spying on others was not explicitly asked for, at least not as far as I know. (And Nazi history takes up quite a big part in german history education).

    It was a bit different with the "Freie Deutsche Jugend", the national youth organisation of the former GDR. Members were explicitly asked to inform their leaders of any planned attempt of "Republikflucht" (unauthorized leave of country, usually to the FRG) they got to know of, and some even turned in their parents.

    But what you are talking about _is_ asking for spying on peers, and what's more, it is happening in a democratic nation. Appropriate action should be taken (and I do consider your article as such) before this starts to take off.
  • by Holger (36233) on Wednesday March 29, 2000 @06:12AM (#1163662) Homepage
    Yes, this is not _yet_ about indoctrination. Neither was the HJ when it started. You were absolutely free to choose not to join. Of course, this changed with increasing peer pressure.

    People should be taught to tolerate other lifestyles, maybe how to discuss them if they don't like them, but not to "report" them as abnormal.

    This is just another example of a seemingly good cause being used to lobby for inhuman programs. Giving out incentives to students for spying on their fellow students and reporting peculiarities is inhuman in my opinion.
  • The point is that it is rather impossible with thinking people in a democracy to create such an organization.
    Um, right. A democracy like the Weimar Republic could never be taken over by the Nazis. A democracy (ok, constitutional democratic republic) like the US could never force members of certain ethnic groups into concentration camps, or drag members of certain political parties before Congress to inquire "Are you know, or have you ever been..."
    You see there are things called laws.
    There's nothing magic about laws. Criminals and governments break them all the time.
    A pep club is a long way from the hitler youth movement and social clensing.
    Odd that you should mention that...The US Supreme Court is now considering a case from Texas regarding student-lead school prayers at football games. [cnn.com] Catholic, Mormon, and other non-Protestant students have been insulted and intimiated by students and teachers for not participating.

    Successful fascism starts in culture, not in politics.

  • by aidoneus (74503) on Wednesday March 29, 2000 @03:34AM (#1163664) Journal
    Is that as Jon tocuhed on, the ability to confront your acuser is completely absent, and there's nothing illegal about it! Since it can't be considered a legal process (after all, who's ever heard of a corporation taking the law into their own hands... *cough*MPAA*cough*) there is no consitutional basis for a challenge to this. It is after all, simply a voluntary (yeah right) program to protect our children.


    *sigh* What ever happened to the days of simply getting harrassed, teased and occassionally roughed up simply because you were different? Now you have to worry about secret profiling, your own peers spying on you, and potentially much worse. It's not as if I'm remembering a time all that long ago either. I graduated high school in 1995, and I must say I had the good fortune of graduating from a high school that, while not the most accepting of places, at least allowed kids to be different. Now I find when I went back last week to visit a former teacher of mine, there are security cameras everywhere, students must wear id badges, and those who are not the classic, good little J. Crew model kids are afraid to even talk to each other.


    So here's my idea. After speaking with a few former teachers of mine (who also can't stand where things have gone, but they have to follow administration, or else they lose their jobs), none of whom are happy about where things are heading, this is what they'd like to do. They'd like to be allowed to actually play a role in their students lives. They'd like to be allowed to be friends again, and instead of further marginalizing those who are different (many of whom read this) and actively pushing them towards violence (that's what things like this do, it's very easy to adopt a cornered animal mentality in this type of setting), why not allow faculty to get to know students again. Maybe if teachers can be mentors again, instead of secret police there wouldn't be such a serious problem facing schools.


    But then again, what do I know, I've only been then, graduated, and moved on to a successful life, thanks in large part to teachers who not only were mentors, but were also friends.


    -J

  • by jedrek (79264) on Wednesday March 29, 2000 @04:32AM (#1163665) Homepage
    The United States of America may tout it's capitalist infranstructure as the Glorious Saviour of Mankind, but they are closer to communists and fascists than many of their citizens are willing to admint to themselves.

    I'm not an American but I grew up there. The truth is that the American political system, no matter how much everyone bitches and whines, is one of the most liberal and open systems in the world! You vote for INDIVIDUALS. You cast your vote and get a person that is 'responsible/accountable' to you because you voted for HIM/HER, not the party. You don't get this anywhere in Europe where you vote for these huge religous-ideological blocks. Bleh.

    The US also has very good separation of church and state. Do laws that support a certain church's preaching get passed? Of course they do, but only because the people who voted wanted it this way. Each election has propositions, or laws directly voted on by the people. In any European country you'd need a referendum to get an issue passed, and even then the exact wording of the bill would be left up to the politicans.

    The truth is this. Every election, Americans make choices concerning their freedoms and restrictions. They have the power to directly influence both, including allowing themselves to exchange some freedom for a feeling of safety. You don't get this in a lot of European and Asian nations. And you certainly don't get it in Africa.

    I'm not saying that the US political system is perfect in any way, I'm just saying that you need to remember that the grass is always greener on the other side of the fence.

    Remember to VOTE!

    Jay


    -- polish ccs mirror [prawda.pl]
  • by alexhmit01 (104757) on Wednesday March 29, 2000 @03:36AM (#1163666)
    Not really. I think that "JonKatz" contributes a lot to Slashdot with his commentary. I just wish when he wrote his opinion pieces that need you to have a background on the subject, he would give the background first, then give his take on the matter. Alternatively, he could link to a news story on the situation so that we could read the facts and then he gets the ball rolling with his opinion piece.

    Instead, we get the facts and opinion jumbled with no citation or clear distinction. We have VERY little information on the actual program being run, just on his "fears" of geek persecution, which I question if it is real or he is catering to his audience. While I have no doubt that he considers this a real threat, I find it disappointing that he is ignoring the greater issues and just tailoring it to the slashdot audience. I think that the /. readers are more diverse and intelligent than he thinks, and we are capable of discussing a social situation that may affect people like us AND other types of people without it being tailored to only discuss the video game members.

    No where in the article is there a discussion about the methods of therapy being used and wht they are trying to accomplish. I truly doubt that N.C. is trying to root out video game playing, they no doubt have real goals, and that side of the story is hidden in this piece.

    Alex
  • by #! (128345) on Wednesday March 29, 2000 @04:13AM (#1163667) Homepage

    The actual press release from Governer Jim Hunt of North Carolina is at:

    http://www.governor.state.nc.us/news/releases/WA VErollout.htm

    This really saddens me, expecially since I am a Western North Carolina resident. First we have to deal with little broadband bandwidth in the backwoods here, and now with Hitler youth!

  • by YIAAL (129110) on Wednesday March 29, 2000 @03:52AM (#1163668) Homepage
    "The tighter you squeeze, Lord Vader, the more star systems will slip through your fingers." All this police-state stuff just makes kids more alienated and afraid to talk, which in turn makes them more dangerous. Of course, if you could trust school administrators not to be vicious idiots, a program like this might make sense. But in an age of expulsion for gun-shaped charms on charm bracelets, that sort of trust is hard to come by.
  • by The Cookie Monster (129545) on Wednesday March 29, 2000 @03:36AM (#1163669)
    Save W.A.V.E the trouble, turn yourself in now.

    But don't just register yourself with W.A.V.E., register yourself on The Psycho-Killer Registry [geocities.com] as well. In fact, don't stop there, register all your friends and family too.

    • Have you ever listened to Marilyn Manson, or other "dark" music, and not disliked it?
    • Have you ever gone to hollywood movies, and enjoyed them?
    • Have you ever played computer games?
    • Have you ever felt lonely?
    If any of the above are true of you, then you may be a threat to society, ready to snap at any moment!

    Go on, do the right thing - register [geocities.com].

  • by cricklewood (153707) on Wednesday March 29, 2000 @03:24AM (#1163670) Homepage
    I seem to remember a TV movie years ago about a California high school teacher who tried to explain to his students how the Nazis and Hitler Youth were accepted. He created a "pride" organization in the school that became very scary pretty quickly -- all to demonstrate how it happened. The name of the organization -- and the movie -- The Wave.

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