There is speculation about the origin of the phrase, “seeing red” but all understand in the English-speaking world that it has to do with the blood boiling, the heat rising, the anger fuming. That phrase has never been equated to violence, as a necessary outcome to the emotions however, until recently.
I was deeply troubled to read of a teenage girl who was suspended from an alternative school (one for “troubled teens”) in California prior to the Christmas holiday, although I cannot say that I was surprised. Apparently, in this post 911 society, being able to empathize or sympathize with a person who suffered from anger, feelings of isolation, and frustration, is now punishable…
Thoughts themselves are not crimes despite the current US institutions insistence that they are. In the Bible, it says, “In your anger, do not sin” indicating that there is a difference between an emotion and an action. We have a neo-cortex, unlike animals who act according to their limbic system, which means that we have choice. Courtni Webb said this: “I didn’t say that I agree with it, I said I simply understand it,”…”I feel like I’ve really been made to almost look like a monster by my school and I don’t appreciate that at all.”
The lesson here: do not express yourself outside of the politically correct speech authorized by the US government and its institutions. And even worse than the over-reaction of the teacher and the school are the comments on the sites posting the story; the ignorance and irrational fear spewed out by the majority of posters is terrifying and with one look, it is easy to see how censorship has been so supported in the “land of the free”.
The upside is that Miss Webb is in good company as the list of once-banned books includes longtime favorites To Kill A Mockingbird, Fahrenheit 451 and The Catcher in the Rye, as well as a few surprises, such as the Merriam-Webster Collegiate Dictionary, works by William Shakespeare, and more recently, the The Hunger Games series.