Area high school students learned about the consequences of choices they may make during a special presentation by Phil Chalmers, a teen violence and bullying expert, as well as author of “Inside the Mind of a Teen Killer.”
Chalmers visited several high schools in Butler County, as well as talked during a public presentation one evening last week, all part of the Leadership Butler 2012 Class project, Bully Free Butler.
Chalmers has written books, been on television shows, and interviewed hundreds of people.
“My favorite thing I do is what I’m doing today, interacting with students,” he said.
He wanted to bring his message to students, a message that comes partially from the killers on death row, with whom he spends a lot of time.
He said he was going to keep the presentation real and cautioned the students some of the material would be graphic, including crime scene photos from school shootings and of children who had been abducted.
“Every day five teenagers kill and 12 teenagers kill themselves,” he said.
Chalmers said he has seen a trend that ties back to the start of violent and realistic video games, although he said it takes more than one factor to make a youth into a killer.
“You show me a killer, I’ll show you violent media in his bedroom,” he said.
It takes three to six causes for a kid to become a killer.
Some warning signs include making statements about killing, being obsessed with guns and being obsessed with violent video games.
“You are the first generation in the world to entertain yourselves with rape, sodomy, murder and torture,” he said. “When these games came out, we started having mass murders.”
He also talked about sex and substance abuse.
“There is no such thing as safe sex,” he said. He said it should be called safer sex. “The only safe sex is abstinence.
“Ladies, you don’t have to take your clothes off and lay down to be somebody. You are born somebody.”
To the guys he said, “Treat the ladies how you would want your daughter to be treated when you have one.”
Talking about drugs and alcohol, he told the youth tobacco kills 1,200 people every day and showed some pictures of mouth cancer.
He also talked about using methamphetamines, crack and other drugs, showing before and after pictures of people who have used the various drugs.
Looking at alcohol, he said 3,000 teens die each year because of alcohol.
Page 2 of 3 - “Young men, if you want to go to prison, start drinking, start doing drugs,” Chalmers said. “Some of you who think you are tough in El Dorado, Kan., when you end up in prison in Kansas you won’t think you are so tough.”
He told them to think about the consequences of their actions.
Chalmers also talked about celebrities and cautioned the students on who they make their role models.
He used Eminem as an example, saying Eminem never lets his own daughter listen to his music and he never cusses around her.
Chalmers went on to talk about sexting, explaining it would be considered child pornography if the photos are of someone under 18 years of age. If someone forwards one of those photos to a friend, that is distributing child porn.
Talking about posting sexy photos online, Chalmers reminded the girls anything they post online anyone can see.
“Think before you post,” he said.
He said another lie was that dressing sexy would get a guy’s attention.
This led into him talking about abductions.
“Ninety percent of girls taken are killed,” he said. “If someone tries to grab you, run and scream, make a scene.”
He told them to fight if they had to.
“What you don’t do is you don’t obey,” he said.
He also told the girls to put their phones away and pay attention to their surroundings.
“We don’t want this to happen to any of you,” Chalmers said.
He also told them not to approach a vehicle and not to let people get close to their car.
“Don’t interact with strangers on Facebook,” he also advised. “Most sexual predators have 20 fake Facebook profiles.”
Another lie he said was that violence is a way to solve problems, with the most common form in school being bullying, which can be direct or indirect.
“If you bring a gun to school and shoot someone, you will go to prison,” he said.
He also said 90 percent of all school shooters had been bullied.
“If you’re a bully you should thank God you’re here today,” he said. “Some of you in this school are bullying a potential mass murder right now. You don’t want enemies in this world.”
To stop bullying, he said schools need to have a zero tolerance policy. The first time someone bullies someone, they should be warned by police and the second time expelled.
Page 3 of 3 - “The real heroes are the ones who step in and notify of bullying,” Chalmers said.
He went on to talk about suicide and showed pictures of someone who had tried to kill himself twice but didn’t succeed.
“You never lose value,” he told them. “What’s happened to you is not your vault.”
He told the students if they needed help they could always message him.
“No one in this school deserves to be picked on or bullied,” he said.
“I want you to follow your dream. I want you to identify your mission and purpose and do it.”
The presentations were made possible by donations from: Leadership Butler, Inc., Cox Communications, HollyFrontier - El Dorado, Blackburn Construction, John K Fisher, Circle High SADD, Core Essentials, LLC, Jaycees, Reaching Out from Within, 13th Judicial District-Juvenile Justice Services Administration, Central Kansas Community Foundation - Butler County, Butler Rural Electric, Timbuktu Bar & Grill - Andover and Graphic Concepts Inc.