November 26, 2008

Beware the Swordsman

One term that I wish the media would stop using is "gunman". For instance, a recent headline from the New York Times online read:
"Gunman Kills One at a Church in New Jersey"

My issue with the term is that it implies that the GUN incites the if without a gun this "gunman" would be a mere "man" and all would be well with the world.

I would prefer if the title were reworded to read:
Violent domestic quarrel ends with one dead at New Jersey church

I mean, is HOW the person was killed the most important element to this story? Someone died...while at church. My edited title points to that information, but also includes information on WHY this person was killed.

The media tries way too hard to connect guns to crime. Most likely, the killer from the story above would have found another weapon to use, had a gun not been the person from the following headline off of the Los Angeles Times web site:
Scientology guard kills sword-wielding man

Two points...

1) Why didn't they call him a "swordsman"? This would have been consistent with how people with guns are labeled
..."Scientology guard kills swordsman".

2) Why isn't the gun credited for stopping the "swordsman"? ..."Scientology guard shoots, kills swordsman"

November 21, 2008

On Condition of Anonymity

I have read a few news items recently where the entire premise was based on information obtained from someone who has spoken on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to talk to the media.

This seems to happen quite a bit and it makes me angry. If the person was not authorized to report to the media, doesn't it speak volumes about their integrity if they do so under a "condition of anonymity"?

Have we become a country of gossips, or is this a powerplay? Regardless, what does this trend say about our country when someone cannot trust people in their "inner circle"? It just baffles me that this could happen because I grew up instilled with the idea that a person's word and handshake should be rock solid.

I also can the media rely on the accuracy of information received from someone who refuses to put their name to it?

November 11, 2008

Thank You

To all veterans and their families, my appreciation is not limited to one day out of the year. I am thankful for your sacrifices every day. But this is YOUR's Veteran's Day. Many of you (like my father) do not want your heroics recognized, but please know that your courage is never forgotten.

Thank you

November 9, 2008

These Kids Today

My friends and I used to joke about how our elders would make statements that begin with "back in my day". We would joke about it, adding our own outrageous parts to the statements. For instance, "Back in my day, we had to walk to and from school...and it was uphill both ways. Also, we didn't have shoes, so we had to walk to school barefoot...and the road was covered with shards of broken glass...". It went on and on, and it was a running joke we had that always provided a good laugh.

It's absolutely true that our parents (and their parents) had it much rougher than we did when we were young. Many of them grew up on farms and put in hours of work before (and after) school. Others lived through the rough times of the Depression. When compared to that of my parents and their parents, my younger years were a piece of cake. Of course there were stresses that had to be dealt with, but it could have been a lot worse.

As a teacher, I am forced to notice just how lucky I was when I was growing up. This past week was a perfect reminder.

In just this last week I have found out that one student is being picked up after school by a parent, who is then trying to find a place for the student (and a brother) to stay for the night. Each night, it's someplace different.

A second student just found out their mother has cancer.

A third student is the oldest child in the family. The kids took their mother to the hospital because she had been acting weird. Turns out she had a stroke and a huge brain tumor. The mother has lost most of her memory and functional capabilities. My student is the oldest and there is no other family in the area, which now makes this student the primary caretaker of the other children.

These cases were all in the last week, and I'm sure there are more that were not brought to my attention. The original title of this post was going to be "things kids should never have to deal with". I backed off of that when I thought about the adversity many of our parents (and grandparents) had to overcome, and what great people they turned out to be.

Of course I wish these students were not living under these terrible circumstances. However, if these students show the same strength under adversity that our parents and grandparents displayed, I can picture them one day beginning their statements to their grandkids with "back in my day".