March 8, 2019 — 55 Comments

As parents we know the fear of sending our kids off to school every day, never sure if they will come home safe; that bloodcurdling chill every time we hear about another school shooting.

But for the first time, I got a glimpse of the other side – the mind of a kid who makes a threat like that. And I know now that gun control is not the answer to this problem.



Am I defending kids who make threats like that, including my son? NO. Am I rationalizing why people commit these heinous crimes? NO.

If you think that, then stop reading this right now. You obviously are here to attack me, and I’m not interested in what your small mind produces when you read this. So LEAVE.


What I am saying is, I understand why some kids might make threats like that. If you’re interested in my insight, please keep reading.


Although I write candidly and without a filter, many topics, particularly about my family, feel as though they are a violation of privacy and I won’t expose them.

It is with my son’s full permission that I write that he has been suffering tremendously with a debilitating chronic illness for the last four years. This story is not about that; just understand that he has been in and out of hospitals for years, undergone serious surgeries, and has handled it with a grace and a determination that I absolutely KNOW I would not be able to muster.


Until this year. At fifteen, he is a gnarly teenager, with all the unpleasant hormonal changes that come with his age.

And his illness has left him isolated, despondent and many days, devoid of hope.

My son, despite all the odds against him, gained entry into one of the most competitive high school programs in our county. It’s in a town half an hour away from where we used to live, which, in the suburbs, might as well be in another country.

He began high school knowing no one, but joined Marching Band and made a couple of friends.


And then, as it does, his illness took a turn for the worse, and he has been unable to attend school since December. For those of you not familiar with this, he is then put on “home instruction”: teachers come to the house weekly. I’m grateful that this option exists but for a teenage boy at a new school with barely any friends, it’s a death sentence.

He’s had months of isolation. He has no interaction with his peers. He sees therapists (yes, plural) to help him navigate his life though chronic illness. And although I do my best to supervise him, sometimes my best just isn’t good enough.

I have not been monitoring his online activity as diligently as I should have been. He mainly plays Xbox online and watches YouTube, but he also participates in group chats via Discord, and frankly, I have no idea what he says in these groups.


My son has been chatting in one group with his two friends, but there are a couple of other kids in the group who harass him about being Jewish.

My son said nothing to me. He says nothing because he doesn’t view this as “bullying.” To him, it’s part of life, and he shrugs it off.
Just let that sink in a minute.


In the area of New Jersey where I live, people have money instead of empathy. They have material things instead of intelligence. I’ve had the head of the PTO tell me to “watch that woman with the cash box” at a bake sale –because she was black. I’ve had people tell me which schools to avoid, because my son would be “going to school with Mexicans.”

His first best friend in elementary school was with him daily – until he came to our house for Hanukkah. After watching my son and his father don yarmulkes to light the menorah, he never spoke to my son again.

After years of listening to Christmas stories at his elementary school holiday parties, my kid begged me one year to be the class reader. I was told that the Hanukkah story we picked out was not appropriate, and to pick something “seasonal.”


So anti-Semitism just rolls off my kid’s back.



A month ago, he was in a group chat. That one boy started in with the anti- Semitic garbage, posting pictures of Auschwitz victims and Orthodox Jews. My son responded by calling him names, and it escalated.

My son wears hoodies to school. We all know that people wearing hoodies have been discriminated against. This one boy then nicknamed my son “school shooter” because of his hoodies, which led to more taunts and anti-Semitism. He egged several other boys to call my kid “school shooter” and in a darkly joking manner, my son posted a picture of a gun and said, “When I come back to school, I won’t be empty handed.”

Do you know the difference between a student who makes that threat idly, and a student who intends to carry out said threat?

You DON’T. No one does. These incidences cannot be taken lightly.


The other boy screen shot it. Interestingly enough, he said nothing to his parents, the school, or the authorities for a month. He had no idea when my son would return, but still said nothing.

He waited a month, and after my son was back at school for two days, reported him.

I understand the importance of reporting EVERY SINGLE threat like this. In this instance, I question this kid’s motives.


My son was immediately suspended. He was not allowed to return to school until he was evaluated by a psychiatrist.

He told a full and truthful account of what transpired, and the school immediately opened an investigation into hate speech and anti-Semitism.

They found nothing. All evidence of the chat hat been erased. The other kids in the chat, life long friends with that one boy, don’t remember seeing anything.


My son is lucky that criminal charges were not pressed. You CANNOT EVER make statements like that.

He is paying for what he did dearly. School suspension is no joke. Being investigated by the police and school authorities is intense.

He will likely not be able to return to the program he worked so hard to get in. He has not been disallowed, but if the hallways are filled with whispers of “school shooter,” “Jew trouble maker,” he will be miserable there.

I have suspended all his online privileges. He is blocked from going online except to sites that are required for schoolwork.



All you parents out there fighting the good fight for gun control –  gun control will mean nothing if we don’t crack down on HATE CONTROL.

Kids don’t just become racist, anti-Semitic, homophobic, xenophobic, in a vacuum. They learn it at home.


Don’t complain about your Jew boss. Don’t talk about how Mexicans milk the system. Stop telling your kids that if they ever came out as gay, you would be mortified.


And how about taking it a step further?

Your son or daughter who is so popular – can you not urge them to befriend the less popular? The less attractive? The sick kid? The misfit?

Can’t you spend a little time with them talking about inclusion? Would it be SO GODDAMN TERRIBLE if your popular kid befriended the transgender kid? The kid with Asperger’s? The new kid who just moved here?


I don’t have the time or the energy to investigate the psychological profiles of all the teenage kids who shot up their schools, but I guarantee you they were made to feel like discarded garbage.

You can argue for gun control until you are blue in the face, and I tell you IT WON’T MATTER IF WE DON’T EXERCISE HATE CONTROL.


I am by no means a perfect parent  – I suck, obviously, or my son wouldn’t be suspended right now. But I have always encouraged him to befriend that transgender kid no one speaks to, that fat kid everyone made fun of – and he has.


For GOD’S SAKE,  can you not do the same?

Teenage brains are not fully developed. They are filled with hormonal fluctuations and they are experiencing emotions they cannot process.

They cannot navigate through baseless hatred as well as we adults have learned to do.


I’m not even that observant of a Jew, but I am so SICK AND TIRED of the anti –Semitism aimed at us, I hope he DOES leave that program and we can move far, far away.


Parents. You really want to cut down on school shootings?










I have no more words. But you can talk to me. 
I’m listening. 



    Oh no…sweetheart. I am so sorry this happened. I am saddened and sickened that this kind of hatred is still a thing. I am always here for you.


    It seriously sucks that this happened to your son. A lot of people, including kids, who are somehow socially isolated in “real” life depend on on-line groups and connection for support, which makes the kind of attack made on him even worse. He shouldn’t have responded the way he did, and is paying a huge price for that.

    It is true, no matter how much guns may be controlled, hate will find a way. Hardly a week goes by that we don’t hear of some kid who has been bullied to the point of suicide or murder.

    I was reminded of this:

    “I’m so tired of waiting, aren’t you, for the world to become good and beautiful and kind?” – Langston Hughes


    Reblogged this on cabbagesandkings524 and commented:
    Samara – The damage hate does


    You are absolutely right! My son was often bullied and when he was very young by ikder kids and he took no shit so he told a student when he grew up he was going to kill him. Did he really kno what he was saying at 7? No, but thankfully he didn’t get suspended. Of course we punished his ass and he said he was mad and just wanted to scare him. It was him lashing out. Still we made sure to talk to him and let him know it wasn’t appropriate especially not in this day and age. Stop the hate, you are dead on!


      Well at 15, my kid knows better, or at least he ought to know better than to say stupid crap like that.

      I’m not excusing his behavior, I’m maybe just explaining it?

      Thank you for reading, and commenting. xo


    Little Dude you have so many people rooting for you, people you don’t even know exist. I had a hellish year when I was 15…some of it of my own doing (hello rehab) some of it completely out of my control (um cult farm, yeah that was fucked up). I couch surfed for 2 months the summer I turned 16. I had no permanent home, no family to help me, just my own determination to get on a different path (for me that was sobriety). No one in their right mind would have thought I would stay sober and go on to live an incredible life. The point is where you are at today does not have to determine the rest of your life. It can be an obstacle or a detour – your destiny is not determined by one bad decision. I have so much faith in you Samara and LD. I am sure you will both find your way through this – big love. XOXOXOXOX


      Bryce you have such a big heart. My kid fucked up really badly, and you’re still rooting for him.

      Thank you. I love you.


        He made a mistake from a place of personal pain. No one was ever in danger, I get that. I’ve been following your posts and FB for about four years and I’ve come to care about the two of you. I believe in him and you.


        Holy shit I just started bawling my eyes out.
        Thank you. I hope we’re both worthy of your belief in us.


    You are a good mom. This is truth. Your son is a good kid and will be a good person. This is also truth.


    Oh god, what a horrible thing to happen. Poor LD and poor you. I have tears in my eyes reading that and fear and horror at those people’s behaviours and attitude. And I have an 11yo boy, and I worry about him in this world. Sending a lot of love your way.


    You do not suck. From what I see, you are a caring, smart, involved parent. But this parenting shit is hard and we have to remember that no matter what we do, that child of ours is a living, breathing human with his/her own mind and free will. We can’t possibly control or predict what they do. We mess up. Kids mess up. What will matter is not this moment (even though it absolutely has to feel like it’s all that matters) but every moment that comes after that you guide him and work with him to find the right answer as you move forward. I know you and LD will figure it out together.
    I also don’t do the personal family stuff online, but let me say only this: Hate sucks. Bullying sucks. People not teaching their kids NOT to do that shit sucks. And when everybody figures out how to pull their collective heads out of butts and learn to live and teach the better ways, we will all be far less scared and far better off.
    Hang in there, lady. You got this.


      You know what’s really sad? My kid didn’t even experience this as bullying. He says it’s not big deal. It’s just shit he’s used to.
      How sad.


    I’m sorry LD is struggling with chronic illness. That in itself is a bitch, especially when you’re young and it makes you even more different because some kids see that as just another reason to pick on someone. I for one do not think you’re a terrible mother just because your kid got suspended. I can see how he would get sick of being harassed and feel pushed to the point to lash out. Honestly, I am so fucking glad my son will be done with school in a couple of months, because the whole environment is sheer hell, and I think the schools have created it. Yeah, I blame parents too, but the schools are constantly talking about bullying but doing nothing about it. It’s bullshit. And social media platforms suck too, because they can harass kids all they want on there and erase all traces of it.


      Yes, it’s easy to delete stuff and the school didn’t investigate to the point of pulling up archives.

      My kid was cleared to go back next week and we’re all uncertain as to how it will go. I don’t know. But he’s definitely paying for his mistake, I’ll tell you that.


    So so sorry to read this, Precious. LD is an amazing young man and has been under such strain…to be bullied on top of that is hideous and I am so sad he was a target of that vile, careless hatred. I can quite understand what drove him to make such a bad choice. And yeah, the other kid’s motives suck. But still…LD will live with the consequences, as we all do, and hopefully will grow through and beyond it with (perhaps more cynical, but) greater understanding of how the shit-storm that is life, works. Love to you both xx


      Lizzi, he doesn’t even think he was bullied! Isn’t that sad? He just thinks of anti-Semitism as part of life.

      Yes, he’s learning a hard lesson about choices and consequences. One day, I’ll figure out what the silver lining is here, and when I do, I’ll share it with you. Love you.


        That’s gutting. He shouldn’t ever have to feel that casual hatred directed his way is just a part of life. That’s the problem. Ugh. I hope things turn around for you both and he finds some decent friends who support and love him for everything he is.


    Just wanted to send love to you and LD. 💚


    Hi Samara,
    I’m really sorry for everything you and your son have gone through.
    No other words… Just so much love ❤️


    Sending love through the fiber optic to you and your son. Gotta say, my dark-humor-loving heart got a big kick out of the whole Hanukkah not being “seasonal” thing. We have a VERY small percentage of people of Jewish faith in Dakota-land, and every calendar I’ve ever seen here lists the beginning date of Hanukkah on it every year.
    It sounds corny, but Love trumps Hate (just like love trumps Trump 🙂 )


      Hello my friend!
      yes, it wasn’t that they didn’t want a holiday story, they just didn’t want a HANUKKAH story. Pretty obvious.
      Thanks for always being around, reading, and commenting. xoxox


    I am so sad that your son is going through this, Samara. Heartbreaking. And you are spot on pointing to hate (and its dangerous cousin, fear) as the stepping stone leading to violence. Sending loving support and positive thoughts your way ….


    As a parent my heart breaks for you and your son. Thanks for sharing your story; it is a different perspective on the gun violence issue many of us do not think about. The resurgence of Anti Semitism and other forms of bigotry is so disturbing. I can’t believe things have regressed so badly in recent years. Bullying should be a thing of the past. It is such toxic and emotionally damaging behaviour for young minds. I have two autistic kids and som know the feeling of being a snotty parent – every day. Best we can do is be honest with ourselves and try our best to be better.


    It is such an unhappy state of the world where children are not seeing empathy in their parents. That is the reason they can dare to make fun of others.


    I’m so sad for him, for you and for this world we live in. I hope there is light at the end of the tunnel but hate to say it’s getting much dimmer. Love and strength as you try to make it through this. ❤


    This breaks my heart. In so many ways. I hope you guys can find a place for LD to thrive in all the ways that matter. And I wish people would stop being so horrible.


      I love you so much, for always being there for us.
      And yes, maybe someday, people will stop.

      I myself have been guilty of being horrible to people online. It’s been many years, and never in a hate crime way, but I have such regrets now.

      All I can do now is be a better person. And I am. Thank you for believing in me, all these years. I fucking adore you.


    I’m so sorry to read of this and I completely agree with you. We all need to stop the hate. Hugs to you and LD to get through this very challenging time.


    15 year olds are hard, especially 15 year olds who are “different” in one way or another. Ours is brown, and special needs. He recently came home from a 9 month program in a 24/7 facility. He’s done great, so far, but I’m sad to think it’s because he’s so heavily sedated he maybe no longer feels anger anymore, or many other feelings for that matter. While he was in school he got in trouble Every. Single. Day. For one thing or another, but mostly for talking too much and for picking on the other kids in his Special Needs class, which is horrible because the reason he’s in Special Needs is because of his behavioral problems, not his intelligence. He got suspended from school last year for taking a knife in his backpack to show off to a girl. For all these reasons we are homeschooling him now. LD is a good kid and you are a good mom. Things happen sometimes and life goes on. I’ve made poor judgment calls as an adult, many times. This doesn’t excuse what a teenager may or may not do, but I get it. Stay strong. Give love to LD from us and know you’re not in this alone. Because of you and others that I’ve meet in this crazy blog family of ours I’ve made an effort to smile at the lady wearing the head scarf when I pass her at Walmart, and so on. He made a mistake. He’ll make others. Keeps teaching love and things will be okay. Let me know if you need anything. Much Love.


    I am sorry that your son is suspended–it should’ve been the other (instigating) Arses! However, I am GLAD that he wasn’t charged. As for the “investigation” by the school, well, this is just my opinion but… it WAS RIGGED against him!!!

    This reminds me of myself when I was 14, and in Iowa. my friend and neighbor (same person) was teaching me his paper route for the weekend delivery. This punk spit mountain dew in my face and ran…until later, when he decided to mess with me again. Chased him into his (adult) friend’s yard wiith my knife. I finished the papers, got back home, and the VERY FIRST THING I SAID was, “WELLP, THE POLICE SHOULD BE HERE SHORTLY!” my parents asked me why and i told them. I remember the day as the sun shines, because it happened when I was 14–and on my older sister’s birthday! Got one year probation for that act–the punk didnt get anything legally done to him. But, at least I got his #RESPECT finally. at least I think it was respect, maybe out of fear of me???? and the punks friend also stopped messing with me too–he saw me chase the punk. This is also the same punky guy that was suspected of killing a little kid by the trailer park in the 1970, but they didn’t have “enough proof” at the time, but the residents kinda had a feeling it was him. He committed suicide several years ago, I do not know why, but something happened, that he thought that his 42 year old life wasnt worth living anymore.

    And one last thing, sa.mara, you are #RIGHT==IT IS A HATE CONTROL PROBLEM! I am not a parent, but I hate guns anyway because I lost my (mentally ill and alcholic father that I have seen the first time in 14 years) to suicide– a little over a year before I graduated high school


    Wow, every word true. We need to go to the core of the issue which is HATE.


    Keep Fighting!!!


    This brought tears to my eyes. I’ve been there with my own kid that was much like your son. He was constantly being picked on and bullied in school. He was called “Dummy!” all the time, yet he has a high IQ but also ADD No matter. We lived in Colorado at the time, but after the Columbine shootings, the popular kids, who were his worse taunters, came up to him and apologized! I was at first offended, but in truth, I’d always worried how much more he could take. My son generally walked around with his head down trying to be invisible and yet he is the coolest guy. Tell your son to hang in there.
    I so totally agree with you and also understand.

    So sorry you’re all having to go through this.

    Hang in there!


    My family came to the US to escape anti-Semitism, and it’s very disheartening to see it slowly coming back to being acceptable here in the US. And very sad to hear about LD. It seems there just wasn’t a good way for him to respond to bullying – I guess taking screenshots and reporting to the authorities would have been appropriate, but who at 15 thinks like that?


      He didn’t really think of it as bullying or something to screenshot, as it was happening. Like I said, he’s used to it.
      But it escalated and he just broke, I guess.

      Anti semitism is rampant. I don’t look what is stereotypically considered “Jewish” and have listened to enough nauseating remarks about Jews to last a lifetime.

      Thanks for stopping by. xo


    As a teacher in the inner-city, I am compelled to say that your message to the WordPress community is one that should be brought to the attention of many, especially school personnel. I was too, a victim of constant bullying due to my small stature, the size of my head, how poor I was growing up and my ethnicity.

    I grew up where the entire neighborhood was filled with hate towards one another due to how parents had this skewed idea of not letting anyone walk over you even if it means to be the bully (sadly enough, this happens still with my own students).

    As a result, I decided to conduct a series of simulations where the intention was for students to realize that the bullying that they’re doing to others is a recipie for disaster simply because


    Your poor son! I totally agree that it’s Hate Control that the world needs, but it’s so hard when kids are learning that kind of hate at home–they aren’t just born believing terrible things about people of other cultures or faiths, and how do we change kids’ attitudes when their PARENTS are filling their heads with anti-Semitism or other bullshit?


      I agree. They’re learning it at home.
      I’m not the worlds best parent by any means, but at least my kid isn’t a racist asshole.
      Thanks for reading!


    I think there are a lot of teaching moments, here. The first is how to deal with assholes who spout hate. Second is online safety.

    I agree that people who hate need to have the narrow tunnels through which they see the world ripped apart, but I don’t agree that we should just forget about gun control. Guns shouldn’t be so readily available to anyone with an agenda.

    I sorry your son is having to do deal with this. People, in general, are shitty.


    YOU are a scary bitch! I’ll pay for that, at least I hope so. Last time I read your stuff, I remember thinking sister from another d’ruther! I guess, now I’m ready.
    Okay – but first, why not go out of the house!?!?

    Okay, now you are the first invited blogger who gets to comment and get front page viz on the blog that’ll be – once again, my disclaimer, good Lord willin’ and creek don’t rise – live this week, this month. Will you be happy to see me there? Does a naked vixen pray for ‘tang?
    That then leads to the 501C(3) that I want you to be on one of its advisory boards. Tell those project poobahs, you movin’ up, girl. If you think any of this is bullshit, stop. Take a deep breath. Imagine Life waking up for you like a Tesla pickup coming up behind you in your alley (Nah my problem you went there) and inviting you to “come on for a little ride, Momma”. Scared the shit out of me just writing that, and now you get to see what 52 weeks of Big Questions can lead a 501C-MF to do. Welcome to my world.
    Leaning in as hard and as fast as I know how to. Gotta get this F3 thing out for its maiden voyage. Or as Herbie Hancock would say, Maiden Voyage.
    Le shonah habo-oi b’Earthly Paradise. And tell your other lovers, move over. Need one more place at the table. I saw – before – you’re the real deal. Yes, you are. Hi. My name is Zach


    Bottom line: your kid is a kind person, and that’s the behavior we (ideally) want to incentivize. We want him to know that there is a cloud network that he can be part of by dint of not being a prick and having someone else notice that and mention it. Big group of non-assholes. Might even win an us-them election. Just kicking off a year of rolling out the door, and leaning in on appreciating our options and our skills, and some straight-forward ‘lift all boats’, not yours, ours, mine.
    The fact that you write so well is what allows your kid to get it so well. Tell him, shalom, from me. You too. To all of us. Shalom. Salaam. Peace.


    Thank you, Samara, for writing such an incredible, authentic, brave, and helpful post. ❤ ❤ ❤

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