Being prepared is not being afraid
Re: Gun violence protests
The Boy Scouts of America’s motto, “Be prepared” does not mean they are afraid of being injured, drowned or lost.
They are prepared to deal with everyday emergencies.
When I mentioned that I had a concealed carry permit, I was asked, “What are you afraid of?” The first inclination is to answer, “Not a damn thing.” But that isn’t correct. It’s basically the same reason I took CPR training, learned to swim, how to orient and use a compass, build a fire without matches, identify poisonous plants, learn the basics of operating an aircraft, and practice defensive driving among other skills that deal with survival in the wild and in everyday situations.
By being alert to my surroundings and developments, I thwarted the robbery of a Country Kitchen restaurant in Red Bluff, California.
How would you react if you heard that 272 kids between the ages of 15 and 19 had been killed? Especially if it could have been prevented possibly by some action you or someone like you could have intervened by being proactive.
As tragic as the 17 students in the Florida school shooting was, the 272 who were killed while texting and driving received nary a response from national media. These numbers were taken from US Department of Transportation and National Highway Traffic and Safety Administration stats for 2015. Undoubtedly they are higher now but that information has not been thoroughly compiled yet.
When shall we expect to see marches against cellphones? Probably never. When will we see marches against death from drug use? Probably never. When will we see marches against loose stair treads or slippery sidewalks and bathtubs? Probably never. There was certainly no outcry against airliners after the World Trade Center towers went down.
The AR platform is the latest in the evolution of firearm improvements. The adjustable stock and mild recoil makes this an ideal tool for diminutive shooters. I bought one for my granddaughter and she got her first deer with one shot. Obviously she did not need a high capacity magazine for hunting, nor should she.
Perhaps the marches should be against the people and the attitudes that allow anti-social behavior to fester and grow unaddressed by proactive intervention.
Since that Pandora’s box got pried open by the “do your own thing” attitude promoted by the liberal “hippie” movement of the 1960s, we now have to deal with it and preparedness should be the watchword whether it is armed and trained citizens or proactive intervention by social services and law enforcement relieved of reluctance to act by curbing lawsuits by activist groups.
Disappointed in rhetoric adults used
Re: Youth march on gun violence
When I woke up this past Sunday morning, I checked the online version of The Sheridan Press as I am wont to do periodically. I enjoy popping in to see the goings on of my students, past and present, whose theatrical or athletic or service-oriented accolades never cease to impress me. Sunday was no exception. Unbeknownst to me, there was a march held Saturday, and there, in photographs, were the faces of several of my current and former students, proudly and peaceably proclaiming their beliefs regarding school gun violence.
From my vantage point at SJHS, the cause of this march is something this particular cohort of junior high students has been very passionate about since the Feb. 14 shootings at Stoneman Douglas High in Parkland, Florida. Maturely and considerately, they have organized, researched and collaborated with school staff so as to spread their message within the school, completely unprompted by any parents or staff members to begin this mission, mind you. To see junior high students give up their lunch periods and after-school hours to this cause is to know they are no dilettantes. And, to see the fruition of that passion take center stage on Main Street Saturday, to see our students civilly exercise their democratic rights, measuredly articulating their beliefs, no matter how blue, red or purple they be, well, how much more pleased could a teacher possibly be? To see our students doing what they did on Saturday should be a feather in the cap of us all as a community. We’re raising conscientious, engaged learners who want to dig in.
That said, I became quite crestfallen when I was made aware of the swift and vitriolic backlash directed at these young people both on the street on Saturday, but more so on social media. It was one thing to hear my student recount to me this morning the expletives and middle fingers lobbed her direction on Saturday. It was quite another to actually hop online and digest, word for word, what some in this community feel is acceptable public discourse to have regarding any human’s civic engagement, let alone a 13- or 14-year-old child’s. That being said, here’s what I know:
• These children are not idiots. Most of the students you saw in those photos are a part of my gifted and talented class at the junior high or are currently in the same program at the high school level. So, dummies they are not.
• Having the razor sharp minds they have, these children “get it” more than most adults would probably want to give them credit for. I would love to broadcast one of our class literature discussions that touches on important life thematics to show just how insightful these young people are. And yes, beautifully, they display a cornucopia of opinions from all ends of the political spectrum.
• This march, this movement — it’s all them. These kids cannot be had. They outsmart most adults they know, so they are no one’s pawns.
• These students’ parents are upstanding, intelligent, loving and supportive people. None of them would puppeteer their child into this march or into this belief, even if they had the chance.
• And lastly… These are good kids. I mean good kids. Ethical. Hardworking. Kind. Thoughtful. Ask any of their teachers and they will tell you what gems of human beings they are.
In closing, we cannot ask our students to respect us as adults if we cannot behave in a manner worthy of their respect. The behavior demonstrated towards these children and the words ascribed to them by adults were absolutely repugnant. Fortunately, others’ slurs and hostility will not impede these students. Nevertheless, here’s to less static and acid, especially when our kids are involved.
Rand Paul goes through the omnibus spending bill
Here are but a few excerpts from Sen. Rand Paul’s examples of outrageous spending in the 2,200 page bill recently passed on a “bipartisan basis” by Congress:
• $961 million to destroy our chemical weapons. (Who was it, exactly, who convinced our government to pay billions to develop weapons we now find deplorable?)
• $5 million for Vietnam Education Foundation Grants
• $15 million to USAID for promoting international higher education between universities
• $2.696 billion for International Disaster Assistance
• $1.371 billion for “Contributions to International Organizations”
• $51 million to promote international family planning and reproductive health
• $10 million for UN environmental programs
• $218 million for promoting democracy development in Europe (yep, the birthplace of democracy needs financial help promoting democracy)
• $10 million for disadvantaged Egyptian students
• $12 million for scholarships for Lebanon
• $12 million in military funding for Vietnam
• $15 million in developmental assistance to China (Yes, CHINA!)
This bill increases federal spending by 18 percent despite a $21 trillion operating debt. And all this at a time when we have homeless veterans committing suicide! Oh, and the bill leaves intact federal grant money to states and municipalities which serve as “sanctuary cities” for illegal aliens who commit felonies and inflict violence on American citizens.
Paul also provides a wonderful example of the “efficiency” with which the federal government spends taxpayers’ hard-earned money. On page 550 of the bill there’s $9 billion for the Government Services Administration (GSA) that oversees federal properties. The government spends $1.7 billion a year to maintain 770,000 empty buildings while continuing to buy new properties. The GSA database of properties for sale is not available to public, Congress or other federal agencies. GAO (the Government Accountability Office) says the government continues to hold more property than it needs. Doesn’t seem to matter to anyone in Congress.
If this legislation represents “bipartisan” compromise, then perhaps it’s time to send a strong message to our representatives to stand up for principle, rather than cut deals like this one. As Sen. Paul has noted, many congressional Republicans are conservatives when the Democrats are in power, but suddenly become just like the Democrats when they (the Republicans) acquire congressional majorities.
I respectfully suggest that Republican office holders, especially those who run as “conservatives,” study what happened to the Whig Party when its members refused to stand up for the principles which the party had espoused. History has a way of repeating itself.
Editor’s note: The word limit for two of the above letters was waived.