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T he Jonesboro, Arkansas tragedy makes me feel old. Old because I can remember a time when kids killing kids was so rare as to be unheard-of; a time when vandalism defined the limits of most 11-year-olds' aggression. Now it seems more and more like "Lord of the Flies" is creeping into the real world of childhood. Some of this week's articles attempt to discover why:

As the Twig Is Bent... tries to determine what kind of climate could have led two boys to murder a teacher and four classmates, while Bang, You're Dead calls for stricter gun control laws regarding children. And Walter Jowers's Helter Shelter column describes his own boyhood experience with guns, concluding that parenting had a greater effect on how he regarded firearms than legislation ever could.

(It's worth remembering that these sorts of tragedies have been happening in urban ghettos for years. Why should anyone be surprised if the balance starts tilting toward rural whites?)

Speaking of guns and social imbalances, this piece gets to the heart of a march in remembrance of Martin Luther King, Jr.'s assassination two decades ago. Which, by the way, was recently contested by the laywers of James Earl Ray (King's killer), to no avail.

If those articles aren't depressing enough, Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Lipo finds that, thanks to unscrupulous doctors and new zip-a-dee-do-dah finance plans, surgical body enhancement has become more popular than ever. Way to go, doctors -- after all, who needs a Hippocratic oath when there's profit afoot? Personally, I appreciate a woman with a good, solid schnoz. I also find breast augmentation aesthetically ugly and philosophically disturbing, and I wish more women looked elsewhere to improve their self-image. But that's just me.

Following that train of thought.... Sex on the Run takes a long, hard look at strip clubs -- and some Memphis legislators' steps to put them out of business. It's the same old story: people hate it when people enjoy looking at other people naked.

Whew, this stuff is depressing. Comic relief, anyone?

Now What?
Can't get enough news? You're in luck -- more news is created every day. Our Now What? page offers a plethora of recommended links to help keep you living in the present. [13]

Volume I, Issue 44
April 6 - April 13, 1998

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As the Twig Is Bent...
Jonesboro, one of Memphis's neighbor communities, copes with its tragedy. [2]
Jackson Baker

Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Lipo
People are going into debt to have cosmetic surgery. Doesn't everyone have the right to be beautiful? [3]
Ellen Barry

April 4, 1968
Memphians remember Martin Luther King's final crusade. [4]
Mark Jordan

Sex on the Run
The Memphis Religious Right prepares to launch a new attack on adult entertainment. [5]
Jacqueline Marino

Postcard From Yugoslavia
The state of the nation by way of Belgrade. [6]
Jacqueline Marino

Letters at 3AM
Tracking asteroids and the end of humanity. [7]
Michael Ventura

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Who's There?
Caller ID: there are some things you just don't want to know. [8]
Lindsey Lane

Bang, You're Dead
What we should do in response to the recent spate of killings by kids. [9]
Memphis Flyer editors

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Choose Your Weapons
Don't blame the South for Jonesboro, Walter Jowers cautions; look closer to home. [10]
Walter Jowers

Winging It
Margaret Renkl gets more than enough advice from other parents. [11]
Margaret Renkl

Mr. Smarty Pants
Our resident know-it-all unearths the latest trivia. [12]
R.U. Steinberg

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