Saturday, December 22, 2012

Guns. Lots and lots of guns.

So the National Rifle Association had the chance of coming out as a rational voice that would balance gun control and freedoms guaranteed under the Second Amendment of the Constitution.  Instead they came out with this:

 

Arming teachers.  I can’t tell you how much of a bad idea this is.  And it’s not because I think that a teacher will go and cap Johnny for being tardy (although we have some teachers in our profession that are not qualified to have a weapon).  It’s about what we are expecting education in the United States to be about.  I don’t want a goddamn gun at school.  That makes me a cop, not a teacher.  If I wanted to be a cop I would have gone to the police academy and pursued a career in law enforcement.  I have nothing but admiration for our police officers but I have no desire to be one.  Neither do a vast majority of my colleagues.   It signals a failure in society that we would basically be ignoring by making schools more like prisons.  Even Darren’s suggestion for making voluntary Resource Officers takes the primary job of the educator out of the equation, and worse it makes the educator pay for a large chunk of the training. 

More guns at school will not work.  We have a police officer on campus many days and it is not the officer that deters fights or drugs.  Teachers with guns won’t deter mass shootings.  It’ll just put the problem on the back burner and allow for a greater chance of more tragedies. 

Monday, December 17, 2012

The national conversation

There are not many events that make me physically sick to watch to read.  Watching people fall from the Twin Towers was one, as was watching the New Yorkers in the streets in the weeks afterwards sobbing uncontrollably about their lost love ones.

Friday classifies as one of those days.

The amount of tragedy and sadness was palatable at our school as the events of Sandy Hook Elementary started to leak in to students.  We discussed it briefly and then moved on as the information coming in was incomplete and a policy discussion at the time wasn’t really appropriate. 

Some people are prepared for the wrong policy discussion. 

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Yeah, that’s not the policy discussion I’m really looking for.  In fact, that Fox News contributor has to be a real asshole to even consider that the problem at the root of this catastrophe is school security.  No, the problem can be summed up around two issues:

Mental Health

Gun Control

And it is totally appropriate to start discussing both of those things at length.  As in right now. 

We need to talk about how we have lost control over certain guns in this country, and how the 2nd Amendment is vitally important to who we are as Americans.  We need to talk about balance; and how “murder” has become “mass murder” in the era of assault weapons and AR-15’s.  We need to talk about how over 2/3 of NRA members want stronger gun control, and we need to talk to those who want to ban guns about the 99% of gun owners that are totally responsible citizens.

We need to discuss the health of the kids, including the mental health problems that are being ignored by parents unwilling to face the challenges of raising their children.  We need to talk about the broken system that turns the cheek on an entire population of people, yet enables kids that seek to take advantage of a system that is fraught with a lack of accountability.  We need to talk about the mammoth expense of mental health, and the mammoth social cost of not granting it to those in need. 

These discussions are healthy and necessary for our country to evolve in a positive manner.  Not to talk about them or to assume that the solutions are black and white will just move us back to the same old rhetoric that has gotten us here. 

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Republican Senators shun Dole, look to Super Soldiers for protection

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Every time I think I’ve seen the Republican party stoop to a new low, they manage to surprise me with a vote that reminds me that idiocy has no boundaries. 

Take the United Nations Convention on Disabilities, which would basically create a minimum advisory standard for governments to meet around the world in regards to people with disabilities; a standard which is easily met and far surpassed by the United States.  In fact, the standard was set by the United States and the treaty was a model of U.S. law.  In fact, the standard was negotiated by a U.S. President with the United Nations.  In fact, that president was a Republican.  In fact, it was George W. Bush.  And in fact, this treaty was purely advisory.  This treaty needed a 2/3 vote to be ratified and with the honorable Bob Dole sitting in a wheelchair on the floor of the Senate, the Republicans denied the vote on the basis of conspiracy theories ranging from U.N. troops coming to Omaha to steal children, to the Cigarette Smoking Man forcing abortions on teenage women who love puppies, to Martin Landau coming to your house to kill you because you don’t remember that he was in Mission Impossible.  As ridiculous as it sounds, it is not nearly as ridiculous as the fact that many Republican Senators hate people with disabilities, hate wounded veterans, and wouldn’t know “American Values” if they came wrapped in an American flag with card that said “hey, we could be  leaders you know.”

I would totally blame Congress too if it wasn’t for the idiocy that I continue to read from citizens that vote these guys in.  These are the guys that are waiting for the United Nations invasion of Lubbock, Texas (yes, there was real concern), that believe that secession is a truly American right (although it is not mentioned at all in the Constitution or supported by the courts), and that think that any semblance of Americans actually believe this shit.  If there is one action from Congress that should create a popular electoral up-rising from the idiot-right wingers, it’s this one.  

Saturday, December 08, 2012

Suli induces edu-orgasm for reformer crowd…eye-rolling for everyone else.

In the mash of rambling-college-student-who-is-pissed-off-about-working-too-hard, there is a message.

I actually laughed at this video.  I mean, I wasn’t trying to be rude to Suli Breaks (the student in the video and proclaimed poet) but it just reminded me of those students that get pissed off because they are sick and tired of dealing with the “establishment.”  These teens are usually entitled and very bright; a combination that makes them believe that true education can’t be found within the confines of a classroom that is apparently intentionally cutting them off from true success.  For a very small number that may be true.  But I’ve seen plenty of Suli Breaks; angry that they are “forced” to go to college and then revolt against a system that can help them succeed.  When they then attempt to go the route of Steve Jobs, Oprah (who had a degree by-the-way), and His Airness Mr. Jordan (also has a degree) they realize that these educated men had something else going for them.  An insane work ethic.  They worked and practiced and slaved over details that most people overlooked or became bored with, and that’s a huge reason why they succeeded.  Most people don’t have that work ethic and right after the Suli’s of the world condemn the establishment, they then get angry at the establishment for not “preparing” them for a successful lifestyle; something that could have been attained if they focused more on school. 

Mr. Breaks does have a point that education is not only college, and that students need to seriously think about that investment in their future before they choose to attend higher learning institutions.  But statistics show that he’s dead wrong in just about every way regarding the overall lifetime success of a person that attends college versus someone who doesn’t.  And with the mistakes in his thesis, he might be the bright shining example of why you need to work hard to stay focused while attending college.