Sunday, February 25, 2018

My Students Wouldn't Like It Either

The idiocy of arming teachers discussed in my previous post didn't even take into account how my students would react.

Kids, especially younger ones, often don't have the capacity for a lot of rational thought. They ardently believe, for example, in the Tooth Fairy. The curriculum even explicitly lays out teachings so they can learn cause and effect. Kids say they're "Seven and a half" years old the week following their seventh birthdays.

So, exactly, how are they going to react to their teacher--the one tasked with nurturing them--if she/he is carryng a gun during the school day?

Actually, a couple will think it's cool--their teacher is a gun-toting superhero.

The others? Not so much.

They'll worry. They'll wonder things like "Will the bad guy come to our room because my teacher has a gun?" "Will the gun ever explode?" "Who will stay with us while my teacher goes out hunting the bad guy?" "Will my teacher accidentally shoot me?"

I know this exists because my students display the same worry when discussing fire drills and tornado drills: "What if there's a fire right outside our door and a tornado's coming?" "What if the first tornado opens the door and another one reaches in to get us?"

I've had students display anxiety about storms (independent of their school experience) when clouds or winds are visible through our windows. Some have panicked upon hearing the fire alarm for drills. Imagine what thinking that their teacher had a gun would do to them.

If I was carrying a gun, there would be waiting and wondering when I'd use it, what might happen--not peace of mind--for virtually all of my students.

And, you know, I'll do whatever I can to protect them--just as I'm sure every teacher or coach has done from Columbine to Sandy Hook to Florida's Stoneman Douglas. I have designated evacuation and constantly updated protective plans for which I've trained and have had my students practice. And, should it ever come down to it, I'm willing to sacrifice my life to save theirs.

But, God willing, better gun laws, more help for those with mental health issues, and maybe even more educational staff members in schools to increase positive connections with troubled students and better personalize an educational experience that can sometimes be lonely and confusing will reduce the rhetoric and the belief that teachers should be armed.

It would be a relief for us all.

Saturday, February 24, 2018

Armed Teachers are NOT the Answer

"A teacher would have shot the hell out of him."

Thus sayeth the man playing the role of President, who now is advocating for educators to take on armed gunmen.

The idea is so wrong, I hardly know where to begin.

From this long-time teacher's view, his suggestion--and his flippancy-- are abhorrent. His idea is also filled with rampant twisted logic and inhumanity--which apparently pleases his NRA-rabid base and its pals. Shame on them all.

First off, the answer is LESS guns, not more. More thorough background checks and less accessibility to "weapons of war" would surely stop at least some of this horrific carnage. That is so incredibly basic and do-able, most polled Americans agree these are measures that should be taken.

One of Trump's/NRA's fallacies (in addition to the garbage about Democrats taking away the second amendment) is that simply having armed security would deter a gunman.

No. It didn't.

Regardless of the security guard's subsequent actions in Broward County, the shooter was very aware that Stoneman Douglas High School had an armed security presence. He obviously wasn't deterred.

Another fallacy: Trump assumes 10-20% of the teaching staff would gladly take on the additional burden of determining life and death by agreeing (maybe "give them a bonus") to carry a firearm during the day.

No. We wouldn't.

Teachers gladly take on the privilege of inspiring, nurturing, encouraging and challenging the children entrusted to them each day. Teachers are charged with daily assessment and individually-matched teaching, which support a student's social, cognitive, and personal-growth needs. Now Trump/NRA wants them to pack heat, too? A quick survey of my elementary school staff found that NOT ONE would want to carry a gun, too.

"A teacher would have shot the hell out of him."

No. She/he wouldn't.

This particular gunman wore a vest and carried a semi-automatic weapon. The belief that a pistol-packing teacher would have prevented this is not just misguided, it's ludicrous.

And realistically, teachers are often in our profession because we're compassionate. Personally, even if I was carrying a gun, it would have been virtually impossible for me to pull the trigger on a former student.

Most teachers love their kids.  Imagine a parent having to make the same decision--do I try to talk my son into disarming and getting help/having a chance in life, or do I shoot him dead where he stands?

So, what now?

Instead of money for more guns, and teacher gun training, and armed security guards, invest more money in counselors. Or hire and train more educators to provide even more eyes and suggestions and chances to help a kid before he moves to such a heinous act (and gets tabbed by the President as a "sicko").

More guns are not the answer.

Compassion is.

Sunday, September 24, 2017

It's About Freedom of Speech! (Well, and racism...)

Amazingly, Donald Trump (I now refuse to call him the President) has called out players in the NFL for "not respecting" America enough to stand for the Star-Spangled Banner.

But, yet, Trump misses (or ignores) the larger point that HE is showing disrespect to our Constitution (which Trump claims to have read and vowed to uphold) and the tenet of Freedom of Speech.

And, in doing so, Trump's racism rings o'er the land of the free.

Colin Kaepernick (7) and teammates
Trump's already danced around eliminating Freedom of Religion with his "Muslim bans." (Oh, that's right, they're not bans...). Now he's blatantly attacking those demonstrating their Freedom of Speech rights in peaceful protests that aim to call attention to the oppression of people of color in our country.

It's not about Kaepernick or the football players making millions who are kneeling that Trump has decried. As some of the players have said, it's about them speaking for those Americans who don't have a voice.

And by Trump vehemently expressing his disdain for these protestors, he is vehemently expressing his disdain for their cause. Just as with Charlottesville, instead of even acknowledging racism and its horrible effects, Trump is actually siding against people who are protesting racism.


Seriously unbelievable.

Regarding the presidency, and I can quote Trump here, "Get that son of a b---- off the field right now."

Saturday, March 4, 2017

What a Real President Would do

Russiagate is obviously a real problem for the Trump team. Trump campaign/administration associates that have denied or forgotten meetings with Russian officials, the very credible intelligence pointing to Russia's involvement in our election, the possibility of Trump having undisclosed business dealings with Russia are all real problems and are all terribly frightening for our democracy, as well.

If Trump were an effective leader, with nothing to hide, and with the good of the country and the American people really in his sights, here's what a real president would do:

1) Release a list of all associate contacts with Russian officials or those within the Russian sphere of influence (i.e., Ukraine). Detail who met, where, and when they met, and what was discussed. If there is nothing to hide, that shouldn't be a tough thing to do. Remove the specter of doubt and nefarious activity.

2) Since he has (kind of) acknowledged Russia's role in the hacking/leaking of emails during Hillary Clinton's campaign, say to the American people that" because of the intelligence pointing to Russia's involvement, that for the good of our democracy, a full-scale investigation will be launched to determine the extent of the interference and the players involved." Again, if there's nothing to hide, this should be a no-brainer for the good of our country and for the credibility of future elections.

3) His statements that he has no business dealings with Russia could be at least somewhat addressed with the follow-through of an earlier (and now reneged) promise, to release his tax returns. Yet once more, someone with nothing to hide in those regards should do what earlier he said he would do.

But he won't do any of these things. And with these actions (or inactions), he has astoundingly proven that he does not work toward the good of the country or its people.

See? He's not a real president.

Wednesday, November 9, 2016

Fait Accompli

Donald Trump is President. Shame on you, America.
Heaven help us all.

Saturday, November 5, 2016

Trump? Seriously? No, Seriously Bad News

Trump for President? I had to finally get this off my chest (Warning: there will not be much white space).

I stew everyday about the disinformation spewing from Donald Trump--not misinformation in which he merely misstates something accidentally, but the purposeful, hurtful, slandering disinformation that seems more akin to that path followed by current North Korea, or maybe Nazi Germany in the 1930's.  He does it to incite the masses, and, very sadly, their are many masses out there welcoming his message.

That which made me finally write is Trump chastising Obama for "screaming" at a Trump supporter at an Obama speech, calling it "a disgrace, really," when, in fact--and VIDEO SHOWS THIS--Obama was telling the Democrats around the protester to leave the guy alone because our country believes in free speech. Although there are numerous times I could have/should have written, this is the straw that broke the camel's back.

And which account is the "disgrace, really?"

But, as you can probably guess, I'm pretty well loaded for bear here in the case against Donald Trump (I won't be linking the facts because those who believe facts don't need the links--a simple search will do or you could comment and ask me--and those who don't believe facts will continue to believe the media is rigged).

Here are the main arguments as I've understood them--based on extensive media coverage--including conservative news outlets (which I'm unclear, may be considered "rigged," as well?) and conversations with numerous Trump supporters in my very Trump-friendly hometown:


Well, we'll see (depending on what, if anything, the Anthony Weiner-connection brings). So far, being in the public eye for more than three decades,  I'm guessing Clinton has probably been the most vetted presidential candidate ever put forth by either party. She has been investigated by special prosecutors (i.e., Whitewater), Republican-led investigative committees (i.e., Benghazi), and the FBI (emails). I'm not saying that's a sterling resume to have been investigated so often, BUT ALL OF THEM HAVE SAID THERE WAS NO CRIMINAL WRONGDOING  (which would include lying under oath).

Do I believe she is less than transparent and uses loopholes to cover her tracks? Yeah, I do, but according to the US Government, she's not a liar.

Trump, on the other hand, purposely repeats lies and innuendo to disparage his opponents and promote his own image (think: birther, Cruz's dad had something to do with the Kennedy assassination, numerous statements completely mischaracterizing his opponents' positions). Trump, on the other hand, hasn't been in the political public eye as has Clinton, so his dealings and his truth-telling in his businesses remain a mystery, so to speak.

But his political views are a different matter.  The Pulitzer-prize-winning Polifact (yes, I know, part of the rigged media) mentions that, with one week to go, MORE THAN 70 PERCENT of Trump's checked statements register as Mostly False, False, or Pants on Fire, which are a whopping 17.2%--better than one-in-six--of all his checked statements. Clinton, I agree she is far from perfect, came in at 2.6% as Pant on Fire (about one-in-forty) and just over 25% in the three categories mentioned here.

Doesn't that say "liar,"  to you?


I don't trust her completely, either. The WikiLeaks and email missteps certainly leave much to be desired on the trust front. But, again, she has been vetted and investigated, and my opinion really is that many of her WikiLeaks thoughts would not be unlike numerous earlier, even respected, US politicians.  Politics is often a behind-the-doors dealings game, and I would think Clinton--or Trump--would do likewise. I don't endorse it, but I think that's often what it is in politics (and probably in business, too). And I wholeheartedly believe that if someone leaked thousands of Donald Trump's emails, he wouldn't exactly come out smelling like a rose, either...

So what about Benghazi, right? Well, many of the assertions are simply untrue--that Clinton was sleeping while Americans were dying during the attack, that Clinton directly denied the pleas of the embassy to provide more security (of which there WEREN'T 600)--as has been proven through real-time documents as well as the Republican-led investigative committee.

Well, then what about her accepting money from foreign governments? There's no rule against a charitable foundation doing so. And, although I agree it looks sleazy, just like Trump's tax dodges, Clinton has used acceptable loopholes in the system. Sleazy? Yes. Criminal? No.

As far as trust and transparency go, just on the surface, Trump has stiffed numerous contractors in his business dealings, repeatedly denied statements and positions that he had supported wars in Iraq and Libya, calling out a former Miss Universe, used thousands of dollars from HIS charitable foundation to purchase a self-portrait, and he has dodged releasing his tax returns, which I don't think any candidate in my lifetime had done.

So who's more trustworthy? My choice doesn't go to the candidate that's been out of the public eye.


Here's his track record: in the current campaign, Trump has alienated our NATO allies, disparaged our Mexican neighbors, insulted our military by saying he knows more than do the generals, dishonored himself by degrading the efforts of former prisoners-of-war (he likes his heroes to not be captured), demeaned a military Gold Star family, suggested nuclear proliferation (let other countries have nuclear weapons), promoted nuclear options (why have nuclear weapons if we don't use them?), disparaged Muslims so much so that ISIS uses Trump's threats and words of hatred to recruit others. Oh, and he's repeatedly praised Putin as a strong leader and actually encouraged the Russians to hack into the Clinton's emails.

And, it comes to my mind, WHY would the Russian government (as named by our country) be trying so hard to discredit Clinton through email hacks and leaks? If I was a Trump supporter (or an independent, for that matter), I would be concerned that it appears that Russia really would prefer having Trump in the White House.

Trump's plan really does mostly benefit the wealthy. Numerous reports, as well, point to a loss of jobs under Trump's policies (as opposed to job gains in Clinton's), and a more dramatic increase in the federal deficit than there would be under Clinton's policies.

Trump touts massive US job losses, which have been contradicted by recent US statistics that show 73 consecutive months (and counting) of job gains (numbers Trump essentially says are rigged, too).

Trump demonizes NAFTA and Bill Clinton, while NAFTA was first signed by George H.W. Bush before being approved by both Houses of Congress, and THEN signed by Bill Clinton.  According to the non-partisan Congressional Research Service, "NAFTA did not cause the huge job losses feared by the critics or the large economic gains predicted by supporters. The net overall effect of NAFTA on the U.S. economy appears to have been relatively modest.”

This became a big push for Trump when, I'd imagine, he found out he had close to zero percent of the African-American vote. Trump has called urban areas "disasters." They're not. There is much work to be done, including increasing educational and employment opportunities, to be sure, but urban areas have many amazing strengths and citizens. Most amazingly, in attempting to appeal to the African-American voters, Trump gave speeches about the plight of urban centers IN PREDOMINANTLY WHITE, NON-URBAN areas (I attended one myself following the unrest on Milwaukee, not in Milwaukee, but in a county that is about 98% white, I believe). The statistics he cites about manically rising violent crime are NOT accurate ; the success of his friend and former NYC mayor Rudy Giuliani's stop and check plan is very overblown (oh, yeah, and unconstitutional, too).
There is no way he has his finger on the pulse of the needs of the African-American community, certainly not more than Clinton, who has espoused such support and conviction for years.

Part of being an effective leader is being able to collaborate and even make compromises. Trump has wittingly and astonishingly set out to alienate not only Democrats, but those in the Republican party, too, including its leaders. His actions have even jeopardized the down-ballot positions to put his party at risk of losing the Senate. He has alienated other world leaders, too (well, except for Putin). He has shown no capacity to work with others, or to take responsibility for anything he has said or done (the it was just locker room talk "apology" notwithstanding). There is NO WAY he'd ever be able to get anything done in my opinion.

Seriously? Here's just a brief rundown of his MANY disgusting traits and quotes (I apologize in advance to all of those who may be offended that I left out his slam against you, but there were just too many for me to remember...)

"No one has more respect for women than I do. Nobody."
As you know, he has repeatedly insulted women, based on their looks (Carly Fiorina's face, Miss Universe Machado's weight, Rosie O'Donnell as a pig); minimized their effectiveness as journalists (implying Megyn Kelly was a tough questioner because she must have been menstruating, calling out other female reporters as lightweights), and, of course, bragging he could assault women because he is a star).  He has agreed that his daughter is "a piece of ass," called his opponent a "nasty woman,"  has cheated on his marriage vows (in at least one of his three marriages), and has even called his accomplished campaign manager, "honey."
I can name about a gazillion people with more respect for women than he has.

Calling Mexican immigrants rapists, drug-dealers, and criminals, vowing to single out Muslims for their religion, calling out an Indiana-born judge as possibly unreliable because his parents were of Mexican heritage (which he also said could apply to Muslim judges), perpetuating the "birther" lie which served to diminish the significance of the election of our first black president, calling African-American communities "disasters," dismissing the feelings of a grieving Gold Star mother who remained silent during her husband's speech of the loss of their son, implying that because of her Muslim beliefs "maybe she wasn't allowed to say anything."
In my book, that's racist, gang.

As far as temperament, think about a petulant five year old. Such behavior is seriously, astoundingly, mirrored in Trump.
First off, everything is rigged if he doesn't win: the primaries (which he did win, by the way), the media, his GOP, the US jobs numbers, accusers saying he did kiss them without consent, even the Emmys, for goodness sakes.
He has mocked people based on their physical attributes or abilities if they didn't agree with him (think Carly Fiorina's looks, or the disabled reporter).
He lashes out for perceived snubs or negative comments (witness the 3 AM Twitter attacks about Miss Universe and her supposed "sex tape," or the vitriol following a non-endorsement from fellow Republicans).

And he uses classic bullying techniques: he assigns derogatory names to bring others down (Little Marco, Lyin' Ted, Crooked Hillary); he threatens those who go against him (he'll sue all his lying accusers, he threatened to "expose the truth" about Ted Cruz's wife), he perpetuates lies and innuendo to disparage others (Obama wasn't born in the US, Ted Cruz's father may have been involved in the Kennedy assassination).

He has refused to say he'd accept the results (if he doesn't win). He has not downplayed the talk of revolt. He questions our American judiciary and our democracy. He builds on people's fears: the "rapists" from Mexico, the "massive" loss of jobs--things that aren't even true. He has "joked" about committing violence (he could shoot someone in Times Square, or maybe second amendment backers would have to do something if Clinton was elected). He dismisses our American system of justice by proclaiming Clinton, "Guilty." He encourages chants of "Lock her up!" His supporters often wear shirts with profanity and misogynistic comments towards Clinton (not just college-aged supporters, but 60 year olds), a Wisconsin high school team with some players of Hispanic descent endured chants of "Build that wall!" during one of their road football games.

I CANNOT BELIEVE everyone can't see what a negative (and, yes, DEPLORABLE) human being Trump is.

That's all I have. I'm sorry it was so long, but I needed to get it out (I can't discuss it rationally with those in my community, and my wife has heard it enough).

As Ted Cruz (who obviously doesn't care about slurs against himself, his family, his colleagues, his country, or his countrymen because he has now voted for Trump) said at the Republican Convention, "Vote your conscience."

Hopefully, that conscience means you'll vote for decency.

Friday, June 14, 2013

More of Both Sides of Walker's Mouth

In the speech after surviving his recall, Scott Walker said "Tomorrow is the day after the election.  And tomorrow we are no longer opponents. Tomorrow we are one as Wisconsinites and together we can move Wisconsin forward." 
Unless, that is, you are a student from UW-Platteville who exercised his free speech a  couple years back by signing a recall petition, thus prompting Walker to rescind recently the student's appointment (by Walker) to the UW System's Board of Regents.  UPDATE: And, it turns out, the young man didn't even vote in the recall election.
It's not unexpected that you would be vindictive, of course, Governor, but it still is shameful.