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Because the classic book, How to lie with statistics by Darrell Huff, teaches us the tricks, it is best to take a look at the quantitative analysis of numbers and from them make our own deductions. The first graph shown here tells a story we might not realize is a reality in American neighborhoods. There are more gun shops in America than supermarkets. Wow! Somebody cares more about shooting than eating. The second one is just as alarming. Every time there is a mass shooting gun sales go up. Woe! It benefits somebody when there are mass shootings! Finally, the third one has the stats for the number of guns reported stolen. It’s preoccupying how the greater the number of guns on the streets, the higher the number reported stolen. I’m just saying: there is Food for Thought with these numbers. It’s very honorable to value the rights of people to arm themselves. However, I understand that there is no gun big enough to protect us from tyranny nowadays. In the old day of muskets and gunpowder, we could get together and form a guerilla against the oppressors. But we need much bigger guns than regular assault weapons and machine guns, given the advance in weapon technologies these days. Besides, the real and only chance we may have at being free from the oppressing powers that be is to KNOW and to SPEAK. Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness!
Did you know comics have themes and can be educational? As a teacher and author of multiple genres I can attest to the educational value of comic books in many areas of learning, including science, law, and academia. Take for instance the Superman character and comicbook created by two first-generation Americans of Jewish immigrants before WWII, since both Siegel and Shuster were born in 1914, the first in Ohio and the second in Toronto. The Superman Exhibit in the Jewish Museum of Florida owned by FIU in Miami Beach consists of the phone booth where Clark Kent, the journalist, turned himself into a life-saving, evil-stopping force in less than one minute of viewer’s time on the TV show. I visited the Museum with my Museum Education Elementary School 5th grade class of 2007 and couldn’t pull the kids away from the booth where they stacked in a never-ending line avoiding having to sit and listen to the moderator’s exposition of the Holocaust supported by grim, black and white photos with no sound track added. But they did listen nevertheless, thanks to strict control tactics known to be used by teachers which includes uses and gratification theories in practice. Superman responded to the post-war times theme of social good versus evil wrongdoers and thieves. It can also be compared to the Greek heroes and the Gladiator novel, as well as other religious heroes. All for the sake of fun and games.
The recent much famed new film Black Panther which was based on a cartoon written in 1966 by Stan Lee, also a first generation American born to Jewish-Romanian immigrants in New York has wrongly impressed audiences into thinking they are watching an imaginary Africa without the colonial branding. Movies usually differ to some degree from its original. Not knowing how much Black Panther the comic book plot differs from the 2018 movie, we can go by the movie in saying that this movie is another retelling of the Western World’s concept of kingdom and conqueror for liberation theme. Black Panther, the movie, does have a strong female leadership role, which was probably thoughtfully added for the times, but in no way does it reflect a realistic evolution of the African kingdoms unless they were indeed ‘tainted’ by Western Civilization’s values. Just change the race of the characters and it could be any fantastic Western-based culture plot. I understand it’s great to see all the cast be other than the usual white, but it’s core principles are the same cultural ones as that of the white supremacist who thinks they must liberate the world and base their wealth on a metal or mineral.
Instead, why not seek out Africa’s real past values and principles? You’d be surprised how modern they are in their thought processes. For example, the First Gods, title of a graphic novel, by T.A. Terga, depicts the true nature of the African Yoruba ideals as they were passed down to descendants during America’s colonial times in the Caribbean and South American diaspora. These Gods took on many forms, including both female and male forms. Their principles were not based on war and possession of riches but in freedom and liberty of expression.
So now, we are living in the old Wild, Wild West at He Haw Junction! Still! Anyone with the right amount of dollars and a fake or valid ID, whether citizen or not, can get an assault rifle or two with plenty of ammunition with the intent to break into any personal individual’s house, any church or school, any public or private domain for whatever reason. As a matter of fact, these bandits’ rights to arm themselves with the purpose of slashing the right to life kill with impunity and are above the RIGHT TO LIFE of an individual. Arms void the Right to Life! No other Right is greater.
Mass shootings occur in the US more than once daily without previous warning of time, place, or victim. The perpetrators’ motivation may be to have fun and actually live the images in their heads acquired throughout their lives by means of the media’s prolific choices including news, film, and video games. Perhaps they are society’s failure to educate with compassion and instill human values. Perhaps the assassins are bandits aiming to take away an INDIVIDUAL’s freedom of speech, freedom to worship, freedom to think in own way. Perhaps they are politically affiliated with the populist fascists of America and the EU, including Russia, or any Drug Cartel; and unless the INDIVIDUAL is readily armed and able to respond to fire with even greater fire without previous warning, or time to get ready for battle, there will be NO JUSTICE. Human loss of life and impunity upon the bandits will be bestowed to the exclusion of the INDIVIDUAL’s RIGHTS to LIFE, FREEDOM AND THE PURSUIT OF HAPPINESS.
Yes, the Constitution has an Amendment allowing INDIVIDUALS to arm themselves against the State. I guess we should also allow grenades, and other explosives, tanks, fighter jets, or DIY kits (homemade molotovs); the internet provides ease of information with directions on how to acquire and even assemble arms and explosives. With all the arsenal individual people can store in their place of residence, they may be able to defend their individual rights as human beings.
Wait a minute. I thought that individual safety and security was guaranteed! Is it true that in a democratic society, where the government is for the people by the people and there is Rule of Law, the government shall create bodies of authority or law enforcement whose goal is to PROTECT the RIGHTS of individuals against bandits who lawlessly abolish those Rights given by the Magna Carta and ratified and expanded in the Constitution? Whereas, there are also International Laws and Organizations safeguarding Human Rights of individuals where they reside at any given time.
In America, today, people need to arm themselves at home, in their place of worship, in public institutions, on the streets, and at work. They need to be ready to protect their individual HUMAN RIGHTS against armed individual bandits who threaten the right to LIFE of others. However, we are allowed and encouraged to be armed against tyranny and anarchy. The sale of arms has risen constantly with every new assault as more and more people take it upon themselves to protect their lives.
Since our HUMAN RIGHTS are not able to be protected by law enforcement agencies unless we have one assigned per person, if we are not armed and ready at any given time anywhere in the US to protect our lives against armed foe of any kind, the government can not guarantee the people’s right to life and liberty. That is anarchy!
This article honors the memory of a Human Rights activist who saw the big picture in her time, Sojourner Truth. When we as individuals speak out for the betterment of humanity, we are Sojourner Truth. I am Sojourner Truth! She was a teacher to us whose voice is as loud and clear as ever. #neveragain
How many words can you think of to complete the refrain, ‘shut up and …,’ BTW the free Dictionary says that a refrain is a phrase or verse recurring at intervals in a song or poem, at the end of each stanza; chorus.
Many Americans have learned to connect this phrase with intolerance, disrespect, rudeness, bigotry, or misanthropy. Used by a top-pay journalist during a prime time show on Fox, it reflects and promotes the supremacist mentality of telling others ‘you’re not smart enough to have an opinion.’ In her diatribe against public opinion, Ms. Ingraham has met the standard for those who use the refrain to overpower others. Watch how she starts out with a “dumb jock” satirical remark. The men who play professional sports according to this remark are not smart enough to think for themselves on political matters. Most likely, she thinks the same of everyone else except people like herself. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fJlA2lkpXswcheap journalism
Instead of trying to figure out ways of coming together to make America better, it seems that Fox News resorts to making commentaries of the sort against citizens’ rights so that they don’t have to pay real journalist for real news. Isn’t it a first amendment right to say what you think? My advise to Ms. Ingraham is to get a real job and learn some people skills. We know Lebron is a formidable and skilled athlete. Seems like she’s where she’s at for satirical empty babbling inspired by hate, but it’s likely that she didn’t come up with the idea herself. To feed their conservative right agenda at the lowest possible cost, would-be journalists turned repeaters of what others say make a million dollar gain on pushing hate. Why, media mogul owner of Fox, Murdoch et al, is not honest enough to operate a news reporting outlet in good ole Britain, but he is in the U.S.
Seems to me, Ms. Ingraham has been playing the game of subverting America all along. Please journalists, be responsible and step up your game, work for a living, go out and get the story that will make a difference, contribute to build-up instead of tearing down people and their first amendment rights. That’s how you can help to make America better. Step up your game!
Today on ABC, I listened to students talk about the March on the 24 and how the NRA and the politicians on both sides of the coin have blood on their hands. I agree. But I would add to that saying that Hollywood is also to blame as is every news-reporting agency in the nation who keeps sustaining and raising the bar on violence through mass communication outlets. So, I believe these students are only addressing one of the major culprits by looking at the most obvious, the sellers and makers of the profitable 300 billion-dollar industry of this country, as well as the gate keepers of the nation, the congressmen and women who make the laws that fail to conserve and preserve the safety of their constituents. Of course, there is no water that will ever wash away their responsibility unless that of reprobation of their own laws that neglect to safeguard the well being of civilians.
The day politicians gather students, parents, and teachers in a conversation of mutual understanding, education will serve to make a better American future; and the abuse, neglect, and condoning of violence on ourselves and the world will be our next new normal. In the new normal, even the news stories will change for the best, and our focus will not be on violence. Since the beginning of mass communication media, violence, crime, hate, sexual aberration, and other oddities have been the number one best sellers at the movies, the nightly news, and other media reports. One generation after another, we have been raising the bar on violence. When are we going to wake up?
Japan leads the way in gun control laws. Follow their example. Let’s focus on positive news, find ways to entertain without violence, crime, and sex. Only then will we become a progressive and evolved species. Otherwise, we will only keep on killing and hurting one another for power. Why do you think these gunmen open fire? Power, because they can. We put the guns in their hands. We edifice violence and crime then expect others not to model what we place in their heads. Come on, psychology and mass communication professionals have known these theoretical frameworks for decades. It’s time to take a stand for our children and the future of the world. Peace starts within and we’re not fostering peace when all we do is look at violence and crime to the point of glorifying it.
Education Reform Calls When Schools Fail to Educate The Whole Child
The recent school shooting at Marjorie Stoneman Douglas High School on Valentine’s Day, 2018 happened in my back yard, less than a hundred miles away. But it doesn’t surprise me; it’s not a rude awakening. I pretty much expected something like that to happen any time anywhere. Copy-catters are probably on the go right now buying assault weapons and grenades, after all, the law says they can; it’s the American way. ‘Shoot then ask’ and ‘better safe than sorry’ are just two of the axioms of the American culture’s building blocks acquired during Homesteaders days. Back then, there weren’t any long range rifles, grenades or semi-automatics, no video games to blame. It was survival tactics. But today, 21st Century mass shootings in schools don’t avail us much credit on social order but are telling us another story. A story of neglect and the commercialization of public education.
Today, when education has been mandatory since the 70s decade and you can’t even get your driver’s license in many States if you’re under 18 and not enrolled in school, we have no choice but to look at the role schools play in the adaptation of individuals to society. Why are American schools failing to produce socially well-rounded individuals? This is not an isolated case. It’s the product of the education system. News outlets are raging right now about the measures that should be and need to be taken to avoid such incidents. The media will be disaster happy for days on end now interviewing survivors to get their story and school superintendency officials will be on call 24/7. But NO ONE will have the courage, the compassion, or the vision to address the REAL problems schools face today.
First of all, high schools with over 3 thousand students are an aberration of lofty and equitable education goals. In order to cut costs, the education system houses (doesn’t educate but holds) larger and larger numbers of students in one huge anonymous place called a high school, middle schools are next in line. Elementary schools for the most part remain small and have a tighter grasp on students’ identity which is lost to anonymity at grade 6. Ask any of the surviving students at Marjorie’s high school who she was and what her contributions to society were; you will find that less than 1 percent can tell you. In these large houses students are forced to act, think, speak, dress, and perform according to a set pattern dictated by mass media in order to be popular, cool and accepted by the vast majority of hypnotized teens consuming the latest gadget. On the other hand, the school’s walls engulf the neophytes every morning submitting them first to a free plastic breakfasts they don’t eat, and expects them to follow strict rules of conduct and produce high standards of performance on tests neither they nor their teachers have any power over for the remainder of the anonymous day.
During their day, students don’t connect with subject matter, they can’t, the bell rings every 50 minutes or so and they’re up and off their feet running through the nearest door delivering their half written teen coded text to another anonymous already in the hallway slam-dunking one another or yelling at the top of their lungs for no one to hear. School monitors stand by and cameras roll. Inside bathrooms, you don’t wan to go. Pretty soon, between one text and another, one talking-talking–non-stop-talking anonymous teacher and another, lunch time arrives and they sit to chit chat the latest gossip while all the while clicking on whatever grunge comes up from the cosmos of digital cool marketing, sexual content and crime laughing on the Web. Then, it’s jut another hour or so where they’ll doze off their pre-packaged pizza or rumbling stomach and peer through the haze at the surreal situation they’re in, disconnected, anonymous, unaware, another day will pass and another until finally they either make it or not. Then what?
If superintendents and the departments of education in every state really wanted to educate each student, the first thing they NEED to do is talk to teachers. TEACHERS know what the ailments are and have ideas of their own on how to solve the problems. Listen to their needs, meet their needs, educate them for free, pay them competitive professional salaries, reduce the number of students that a school should responsibly hold, and stop putting standardized assessments with little real-life applications at the forefront of education. Making those who can’t achieve the standard feel inferior and stressed over the outcome of a test is a murderous attempt against individuality. Talented students come in all kinds of intelligences. Don’t you know that the first type of intelligence you must access before learning is that of emotional well-being? GOOGLE GOLDMAN IF YOU DON’T.
Double the number of teachers employed, give the meaning of small group teaching and learning validity. Stop abusing children and teachers in the public education system. Just this year I took an early retirement because I WILL NOT submit myself to the abuse and INCOMPETENCE of school districts. I can tell you horror stories that will have you bashing school principals and district offices to the polls for reform. REFORM the education system to be a more compassionate, whole-child, less commercialized one, spend the money in your future, the child, instead of 30 million dollar software programs.
There have been 18 school shootings since January 1, 2018. What are we waiting for? More monitors are not going to fill the gap between the schools agenda and the social depravation of society in an anonymous society.
To Be Continued…
“Don’t look back,” yelled Alan, “get in.”
Taharai ran to the top of the jet’s ladder, but she did look back even though she had heard him. Alan opened the door and pulled her inside the moving plane.
She caught a glimpse of the old Honda ditched down below past the small crop duster’s airport in the cane fields. The heavy rain pouring on the scene did it’s best to sink the old car’s tires deep into the muck all the way to the driver’s door where Ana embraced the steering wheel and rested her tired head over it and sobbed. She couldn’t see Ana inside, but she knew her destiny was in the hands of the gun men inside the marked cars with the revolving lights and the loud sirens. But when she looked up and saw the helicopter above them, she knew then what she had to do.
Instantly, her eyes turned a fiery red and she crouched to collect the sticky web flinging it to the belly of the jet before leaping from the opened door. The jet’s wheels lifted off the ground taking it into the air. Taharai hung from the dragline onto the wet runway and ran to cover under a crop duster.
Alan begged. “Come back, what are you doing?” But she couldn’t hear him anymore.
The plane veered towards the south under the nimbus cloud gaining full speed rapidly until it disappeared. The helicopter loomed above the cane fields while the police and FBI took a willing Ana into custody.
Taharai climbed into the crop duster’s cockpit and sat in the pilot’s seat. Exhausted, she dozed off to sleep while watching the sunset over the rainbow as the rain subsided.
Alan clenched his teeth and shook his head all the way to the Tamiami Airport where authorities awaited him.
At sunrise, when Taharai awoke, she remembered her night’s dream. She was back in her beloved forest, the Amazon, taking a ready capybara from the previous night’s hunt to Alan’s cabin. He had been expecting her and had set out to intercept her path a mile away from camp.
“I knew you were coming today,” he said surprising her with a bunch of wild violets. She had smiled pleased that their kindred spirits had arranged the timing.
A drop of something wet trickled down her cheek. She felt her face and wiped it off, then tasted a salty fingertip and wondered if that was what they called a tear. “How will I be able to survive without the hunt?” She wondered.