Like most Americans, I mark the changing of seasons not by dates or by weather or by solstices, but by the return of iconic milkshakes. Arby’s Orange Creme shake marks the beginning of summer, their Pumpkin Cheesecake shake welcomes the fall, McDonald’s Eggnog shake is a classic every winter but the best and most anticipated of all is their Shamrock Shake in the spring. (more…)
Arming our nation’s teachers to defend against mass shootings is not a solution because teachers, Mr. President, are not soldiers.
Arming a teacher with a weapon does not instantly turn that teacher into someone who is capable of taking a human life, no matter how proficient a marksman he or she is. They lack the intense psychological training and preparation soldiers receive that is necessary in order to take a life. Teachers are not soldiers and targets are not people.
Armed guards at schools is not a solution either. Anyone who has never taken a human life who says they can do so without hesitation is not someone you want armed anywhere near a child or a school. They will either become the kind of guard who stands frozen in a parking lot while children die inside, or they become a wannabe hero who takes a life because the opportunity to call it vigilantism presents itself. (*cough* George Zimmerman *cough*).
I have worked most of my adult life in the educational system and have only witnessed one instance where a decorated soldier successfully transitioned into teaching and believe me, the world would be a much better place if that man were in charge. But sadly, he is an anomaly. I believe that most teachers would not be able to pull the trigger on an armed child standing in front of them, especially if he or she knew the child. I know I wouldn’t be able to.
My vote, Mr. President, is not to react with defense, but with offense. Offense wins Super Bowls, right? So why not use offense to tackle this problem? Let’s put our tax dollars BACK into schools. Let’s hire more teachers so they are able to offer more one-on-one attention to students. Let’s serve healthy breakfasts and lunches because trying to do anything on an empty stomach is a waste of time. Support after school activities and pay the people who run these programs a reasonable wage to do so.
Maybe most importantly, let’s hire more counselors who can identify problem students early and then give them resources to help that child grow into someone who doesn’t become so disenfranchised that he or she shoots up their own school.
Did you notice, Mr. President, that when kids shoot up a school, they shoot up THEIR school? And why not? School is the entire world to a child, and if that child feels as though that world doesn’t want them, the rejection becomes too much to bear. And let’s not forget that the majority of people who murder children at school are children themselves. More guns are not the answer to that problem. Early intervention is.
Mr. President, we don’t need another mouthpiece for the NRA. We need you to make a pledge to invest as much time, effort and money into the safety of our children as you do anything else that crosses your desk.
I am blessed to share my birthday with the great Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr, who would have been 89 years-old today. I’ve always felt a kinship with Dr. King because of our shared birthdays, and have strived to emulate him in word and deed my whole life. This isn’t always easy to do, because unlike my best friend who shares a birthday with Hitler, my birthday has some pretty big shoes to fill.
You may not know this about me, but I can be kind of a dick.
Keep that in mind if you decide to email me promises of wealth beyond my imagination, supplied by the overthrown Prince of a war-ravaged country or by Nigerian/Sudanese/Ugandan dissidents. You may not like how the conversation goes. (more…)
Two years. Seven months. Fifteen days.
That’s how long it’s been since I’ve posted anything on what used to be my favorite place in the world. Life has a funny way of pulling your attention elsewhere, whether you like it or not.
What I didn’t know before I began writing was that life has always had its own plan for me. That plan is to be what I call “Keeper of the Pain.” Everyone’s pain. I have been destined to hold everyone together while they fall apart, my own wants and needs be damned. I tempted fate when I stepped away from that role to indulge in something for myself- my writing. I looked away for what felt like a moment and when I looked back, my life was in flames.
It has taken me two years, seven months and fifteen days to gain control of that fire, but it is far from extinguished. My role as Keeper of the Pain burns on.
The struggle I face is incorporating my own wants, needs and pain into the firestorm of problems that I deal with daily. This blog, I hope, will become a firestop- a small, controlled burn to keep the larger fires from raging out of control, consuming me once more.
I hope to light a fire of my own.
Most days I keep my boredom at bay by adding cartoon characters or celebrities I’ve never met to my phone’s contact list, or by pranking unsuspecting people who happen to incorrectly dial my cellphone number. Then there are days when the boredom is too much and I share my pain by sending random and nonsensical texts to the poor souls who happen to know me.
Featured here are the best responses to the inane chatter that escapes my head on a daily basis: (more…)