Wednesday, February 28, 2018

The Triple K

No it is not the latest burger from your favorite fast food spot it is the traditional more old school kind as in the KKK.

When I found out that Tennessee is number one for hate groups I thought how would you know as this place is full of hate and anger so you fit right in.

I have said that in Nashville it is less socially conscious or aware of how integration occurs here.  There are some very clear marginalization and segregation as noted by the amount of residents of color in public housing and in turn the shitholes that are not called Haiti but the public schools; however, the reality is that places where in Seattle I would see nary a black person - the Columbia City bakery despite it's location in South Seattle, my Yoga classes, Bumbershoot and other larger scale events that were about arts and literature is not the case here.  I see many faces of color at the Southern Festival of Books and the many many other free events that occur here on a regular basis.

Now on the other hand issues that matter and protests are few and far between.  There will be no walk out I am sure in the schools on the designated March 24th for gun violence.  The woman's march has come out with not a candidate nor any organized structure for the upcoming elections nor any supportive core for transit, Mayor Megan Barry or well anything.  Groups pop up and most of them are heavily funded by the Big 3 here.. no not the ones on This is Us, but the predominate businesses here in the city.  (Beaman family, the Ingrams and the other is a Construction family whose name I cannot recall) And frequently they are fronted by a face of color but unclear as to who is behind the group and funding its actions rarely mentioned.   These are the same "businesses" buying out a great deal of residential properties in desirable areas and no one knows who or where the money is coming from.  Trump or Russia maybe?

Again if you are a face of color, a Democrat, a woman, a person who is not Christian you will find your tribe or not and in my case I walk alone here so I better be careful!  As I said in my last blog post, Taking Offense, I am going to ask them what and how I should do so since clearly I am failing at that or you would not need to tell me.  Again best defense is offense and by offense I mean offend.  You took a shot now its my turn.

Yesterday once again being utterly neutral and showing no emotion really confuses them here.  When kids ran amok at the Middle School I was at,  I called the Administration and asked to leave as I found being abused by children something intolerable and of which I was unwilling to subject myself to.   The kids kept asking over and over again if I was upset or mad.  And I just said no and explained to them I will not subject myself to abuse from adults or children and that is my line in the sand.   I simply want to leave and go where I am welcome and treated and acknowledged with respect and dignity.  Their faces showed their confusion as they did not even understand that their behavior and actions were abusive.  We spent the rest of the day in the Library where I watched the Librarian literally speak to them like dogs and they sat there in utter silence, that is not a solution that is avoidance of a problem.  Welcome to Nashville public schools.

And when an Adult watches kids go wild including two children who pretended to be Autistic in order to get earphones, I made a point of mentioning that when Administration came how offensive I found that behavior.   The children who did this (one a young black male and the other a girl all encouraged and egged on by a young man of African descent), when I asked them why they did so both  lied and said they did not.  (That ability to lie with such confidence is a true Southern Culture thing which I think confuses them in the same Southern Hospitality does me) So I asked them how I came up with that and if  that did not happen and I imagined it then perhaps I need to leave as I am seeing things and am a liar.  Then again the confused faces and again more demands/inquiries was I upset/mad.   I said just try an apology and acknowledge the behavior, you know like all these signs for restorative justice that were posted throughout the room.  I pointed to the numerous signs about touching equipment, opening cabinets/drawers, personal space and other signs about behavior and expectations to demonstrate what I speaking of.  (Again clear signs that there are immense problems here). 

Then as all conversations do here they circled back again to ask if I was upset/mad?  Dear God kid that question may be the thing that will do it!  These are the only two emotions that resonate with these children and in turn tells me that is all they know.  And then I decided to note the gender/color and ethnicity of the kids in some sort of convoluted way to determine if:  A) I am a racist or B) using data in to see if I am in fact racist. And well after analyzing the data (they love data here oddly Seattle the land of data notsomuch) and  from looking at the class roster of 40  kids (the two classes where the first was 5th graders the second 6th and way more problematic), I found that two insane kids were white males (shocking no!), two were Muslim given their names (presumption I know), one was African descent and maybe Muslim, two black females, one black male who I knew was a special ed kid from another class and he was just annoying and one of the  Muslim kids was a  girl who was more sarcastic and less compliant as opposed to the other kids.  There was one interesting Latino kid but not a problem but fell under the category of a piece of work but I liked him.  So what did I learn? That 5th graders had smaller portion of equally annoying kids (one white one Middle Eastern) and 6th graders are fairly nuts  regardless.  And I recall another class in another school where they went insane but their behavior problems are magnified by the sheer level of insanity that I have only seen here.  And when you have extremes you have what you have.

Which is why the reliance on churches and charity to provide resources as the reality is that the economy and growth in Nashville is not spread among the residents and given that Jesus determines one aspect of the hypocrisy with regards to race and poverty they proudly tout varying fundraising drives, a new app that enables you to donate directly to a homeless family and other ways to absolve guilt and pretend you care.  In Seattle we wore T-shirts, painted thoughtful messages in bathrooms and above water fountains to boost a child's self esteem and remind them of their value in life and nothing says that more while taking a shit! And often many lined up and shook hands in front of at risk schools to show them what adult professionals were like and that they cared!  I compare it to a wound.  In Seattle we hand you a band aid in which to apply over said wound (because if you do it yourself you are empowered) and here they give you iodine to at least clean the wound before they hand you the band aid.   I respect that at least there is a much larger effort to provide, however, in either case there is no real examination of the root cause why said wound exists and how to resolve it.   Seattle is very aware and they talk endlessly about it.  Again talk endlessly about it. And still do nothing.

So when you think that this the state that gave us the KKK and home of Nathan Bedford Forrest it is not surprising that hate groups would find a home here.  There is a tacit agreement between all the residents here that as long as you don't make waves and cause too many problems you will get public housing, some crappy ed, some free education after high school (which you will drop out) and in turn a lousy gig in the service economy.   There will be neighborhoods to serve you and your own kind and you can come into ours but remember your place.  That place is unclear but clear that know it.

And add to this the amount of lying that I find across the board here.  They lie habitually, they lie without recourse, they presume every one else lies and in turn deny it when asked.   So it would not shock me that half the people are involved with some nascent group. The Tennessean wrote one article last year about the private club in the restaurant The Standard and since outed we have never heard of it since.   I am sure it goes on and does in homes and other establishments throughout Nashville we just aren't invited.

Nashville loves to tout the lists we are on, the ones that make them feel proud. The other side of the coin not so much.   

Tennessee Ranks No. 2 With Most Hate Groups In US, Analysis Shows

The Southern Poverty Law Center's 2018 Hate Map shows growth in alt-right white supremacy and anti-Muslim groups

  By Don Johnson, Patch Staff |








White supremacists and nationalist groups thrived in President Trump's first year in office, according to a new report that showed a 4 percent increase in the number of hate groups nationwide. An analysis of the Southern Poverty Law Center's report showed Idaho, an overwhelmingly white state where only 5.8 percent of the population is the most hateful state in the country, with 12 active hate groups.

Tennessee ranked No. 2 on the list with 37 hate groups (5.6 per million people), according to a report by 24/7 Wall Street. The states ranks higher than almost all other states when adjusted for population.
Tennessee has the most neo-Confederate hate groups of any state other than Florida, with which it is tied. These groups include Identity Dixie, several local chapters of League of the South, and the Mary Noel Kershaw Foundation, 24/7 Wall Street reported.

In its 2018 Intelligence Project report, the civil rights advocacy group Southern Poverty Law Center said the number of active hate groups in the United States has risen from 784 in 2014 to 954 in 2017 as "alt-right" white supremacy groups broke through a firewall that for decades kept overt racists underground.

"President Trump in 2017 reflected what white supremacist groups want to see: a country where racism is sanctioned by the highest office, immigrants are given the boot and Muslims banned," Heidi Beirich, director of the SPLC's Intelligence Project, said in a statement. "When you consider that only days into 2018, Trump called African countries 's---holes,' it's clear he's not changing his tune. And that's music to the ears of white supremacists."

In its analysis of the hate map, 24/7 Wall Street reported the 10 most hateful states are Idaho, Tennessee, Mississippi, Alabama, Indiana, Virginia, Oregon, Arkansas, Georgia and Colorado.
The online financial news and opinion site looked at the number of hate groups per 1 million state residents, immigrant populations, and a range of socio-economic data, including the percentage of adults 25 years and old who hold at least a bachelor's degree, the percentage of each state's population that is white, poverty rates and median household income. The data came from the U.S. Census Bureau's 2016 American Community Survey and the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Click here for more on the methodology

In Idaho, a fourth of hate groups are overtly anti-Muslim, including ACT for America, the Committee to End the CSI Refugee Center and Pig Blood Bullets. They have backed a spate of anti-Sharia law legislation whose intent is in inflame passions rather than serve any useful purpose, as the U.S. Constitution already denies authority to any foreign law. Idaho also has Ku Klux Klan chapters and Neo-Nazi groups.

In its 2018 Spring Intelligence Report, the SPLC said that within the white supremacist movement, the greatest growth was in neo-Nazi groups, to 121 in 2017 from 99 the year prior. The number of anti-Muslim groups increased for a third straight year, to 114 chapters in 2017, up from 101 in 2016. Those groups had tripled in growth in 2015, according to the report.

The number of Ku Klux Klan groups decreased to 72 nationwide in 2017, down from 130 a year earlier. The SPLC said the decline "is a clear indication that the new generation of white suprem­acists is rejecting the Klan's hoods and robes for the hipper image of the more loosely organized alt-right movement."

Click here to read the report from the Southern Poverty Law Center.




Tuesday, February 27, 2018

Taking Offense

As I am not a sports person I don't get the mania about one's teams.  There is a brand loyalty that transcends obsession when it comes to sports, teams and players that go beyond entertainment. I enjoy movies, certain actors, directors, writers are often the reason I will see a film regardless of subject.  I did pass on The Post as despite my love of Tom Hanks and Meryl Streep I sorta kinda already knew the story and can wait til it hits HBO.  But that is what entertainment is, suspending disbelief, relishing talent that you admire and in turn simply taking  a moment of time to share in the pleasure of others sharing the same pleasure and maybe opening a mind or two or just not worrying about any of it. 

As I live in  Nashville there is no shortage of music.  I don't go to any place special to listen to music as that is the norm here.  There are those who love the Bluebird, The Listening Room, the Basement, the wherever.  I have been to a couple out of curiosity and that ended that. I could if I wanted to just wander up and down Broadway and walk in and out of any door or stand on the corner on a sunny day as doors and windows are open and music has this ability to travel beyond walls.  My preference is the Symphony and the Ryman. I go ticket in hand and leave.  I don't have to eat the food or drink overpriced drinks to listen to cover musicians whom are underpaid and largely thought of disposable. I work in a job that is much the same so I don't need reminders.

I get sports and I try to attend some sporting event annually.  In Seattle that was the Mariners. I loved being in the stands on a sunny afternoon with my picnic and just enjoying baseball.  For no reason other than that.  I know of Seattle's legendary infamy with regards to the 12th Man and I have been to  Seahawks game and the key is the word game, singular. Not into it ever.

Here in Nashville I have driven by Nissan Stadium during a football game and I will say that tailgating here is taken to new heights, it would almost be worth going to a game.  The Predators I think have the most dedicated fan base but they are cordial and given their location in the heart of Broadway they are no more disruptive than any of those walking along the same street.  I might have to check that one on the to do list just to see what it would be like as a spectator/observer.  Of the team or the patrons I am not sure which.  As for College Sports that takes on new heights of obsession and fan loyalty with literally businesses closing down when certain teams are playing.  It is the new Civil War on a smaller field. 

But there is that almost intransigent loyalty to one's team that I find off putting and in turn it seems to add another layer of division between us in a time when we need to find fewer.  I also think that the sporting metaphors and concepts are a part of the wider culture in ways that we also could use less of. And I am thinking about aggression, winning at all costs, name calling, and other bizarre antics that are carried from the field to off.  I am sure that is why we have so many issues with sexual assault, the rise in white supremacy and in turn hypermania when it comes physical assault and gun violence. No I don't think it is rap music or violent video games but they too have a roll in the way people perceive "others" and that in turn contributes to negative sexual and racial stereotypes. 

I can listen to all kinds of music and read poetry or books,  I can go to movies or plays and walk out without feeling compelled to change my world view, feel threatened or even entertained.  I sometimes do, however, think about those words and try to understand the perspective of which they were presented or how they were used.

I was listening to the author of The Hate You Give - THUG - speak on public radio yesterday. Her book was inspired by the late Tupac Shakur and she wanted to write a book that spoke about her life and her culture and inspiration.  I laughed when she said that when she went to the book store the only books she ever found were books about white girls in crisis - The Hunger Games or the Twilight Series which she labeled  those are a lot of white girl problems.   She spoke of her own ability to go to a suburban school of largely white people and the concept of code switching of listening to Tupac on the way into school and switching to the Jonas Brothers when she got there.  Funny how we feel the need to speak and behave differently in different groups and I wonder why that is?  I guess not being ourselves is not possible anymore?

Perhaps that is why I struggle communicating here as I have no clue how to code switch. I have always had my style of speech something akin to a Woody Allen movie, a reference that now seems dated and well disturbing but hey deal with it.  And I am direct to the point.  I don't think anyone is anywhere, well maybe hopefully New Jersey. And if Chris Christie is the standard I may be just fine when I move there.  But there is a odd similarity to Seattle in the denial and of course overwhelming need to substitute politeness for directness and in turn vilify anyone who disagrees or is not on the same page.  The scold I used to call the Seattle tendency to label and in turn ostracize anyone with slurs that denigrate intelligence, demeanor or in turn political associations.  If you thought it was stupid to wear a T-Shirt that says Black Lives Matter you were a racist.  Uh I think anyone in the course of a conversation should be able to discern that I do care about that issue and if I have to tell you then maybe I don't present that in such a way that I need work on that skill versus putting a shirt that will tell you such.  I recall an associate being told she was thought of as a Racist, I too had the same accusation hurled at me,  and she produced a family photo and that ended the discussion. When I heard that I asked if they would like to see a photo of me sucking a black man's cock and would that  be sufficient or should I do it right now?.  I was told I was vulgar.

See the quality of names are superior in Seattle.  I still prefer bitch or cunt.  It was exhausting to come up with retorts with the endless idiotic requests or observations that dominated the discussion. The faux liberalism is as exhausting as faux conservatism.  Both hate black people and immigrants and everyone else one just is more vocal and honest about it.  Political correctness means being politically correct to your political associations.  So if you are with Democrats you ensure that all voices are heard and you best speak the script or fear social isolation.  Duck Duck Goose is kind of the game what best represents it or not as that would be unfair to isolate and in turn pick on child to be running from people it may harm them. Seriously that is what it is like. 

In Conservative circles the one with the most money, the one white and male are heard first then everyone gets a turn repeating whatever he said.   They are really good with that and they ironically do it by speaking faster and louder which may be why Seattle people kept asking where I was from, they probably thought somewhere conservative like Iowa!   Cause they talk like that I am sure!

 I have managed here in Nashville to avoid this and only had the "You don't understand our ways" (this was from the Admin with the school prone to violence and one dead this year and two years ago a female teacher was sexually assaulting boys so no I don't and let's keep it that way, but that one I refrained from responding)and "Why are you here?" That has since become, "To fuck you over. How am I doing?"  They just laugh awkwardly.. that is the difference as again in Seattle I would have heard, "How vulgar!" 

Now this is not to say Nashville people have a sense of humor. No that does require intellect but they do know when to pick a fight and hence that is on the field. That is their way of an outlet for all that aggression and then in turn realize that it is pretty integrated here and by here I mean at the stadium.  And that is again the irony that I find Nashville oddly more socially integrated and less self conscious about it as they do in Seattle.

But there is again that the one thing I have learned is that like the home team versus the guest I am the opposition. I will always be the opposition in Nashville and that I have better step up my game. My pet peeve here is the endless "be careful" "be safe" admonishments that end every conversation.  I have finally decided that the best defense is an offense and by that making them feel offended but in a classic Seattle passive aggressive way by asking them how I should be careful, specific instructions or direction on which to do so and for whom I am being careful from (we know the answer and I have the T-shirt and not going to wear it).  See ya next Tuesday!








Monday, February 26, 2018

Who-Ville?

I'm not one to gossip as the saying goes then the individual launches in gossip which is unfounded rumors, slights or innuendos be they salacious in manner or in legal terms, here say,  about one's character.   But then there is this story about Mayor Megan Barry and the Bodyguard that just seems to be the "it" story of  "it" City.  I prefer a more appropriate name - Whoville - from the Dr. Suess book.

For the record this is "it" city if you are from Podunk town in Shmuckville where the jobs are dried up and if you want work where not being well educated and trained then move here.  There are two classifications for jobs here - medical and hospitality - and even in the former versus the latter the wages are still notoriously low if you review Glassdoor.

The real power here in Whoville is our Chamber of Commerce and they believe that with all these people arriving there is no need to raise wages/benefits as they need to work anyway and in turn that has kept wages notoriously low here.  And then it proverbially bit them on the ass.  With the current issues surrounding immigration, the biggest driver in certain occupations - Construction -  has lead to a drop in available cheap labor.  They too are the largest workers in the back of the house in Hospitals, Hotels and Restaurants.  When they leave the wage pool source dries and wages must rise or businesses close.  We have now seen several restaurants close in Nashville, some quite old and some less so but it is affecting how industries in the latter hire.  As for labor in general the skilled set of workers swimming in the pool can demand higher wage as a result.  Competition is not quite Olympic yet but the reality is that it slows down an economy built on the backs of sweat equity.

Most turn to retail in this era for work and in turn that too is taking a hit and it is hitting even big box employees.  Go to a mall and see the empty shops and in turn even the anchor stores are currently running on fumes.  It is not good.  And then we have real estate.  Even here there is a decline in profits for the flippers who live on HGTV and I assume the bigger builders are also rethinking their long term plans as there are plenty of Apartments and many of them so overpriced many units sit empty or are used for short term occupancy that the City is trying to eliminate as the growing and now also peaked Hotel aka Hospitality industry are firing those alarms as well.  It is like the bread without the butter here and the competing industries that fueled the fire of the it city are now getting soaked.

When you see this happening it sends a message or a flag that times are a changing and the winds are blowing, in what direction I am unsure but I have had a bad feeling for quite some time.  The current weather problems are shades of 2010 and in turn the issue of flooding is back on the table and now Nashville is trying to quickly come up with a plan that should have been done years ago.  Like transit which given the Mayor's indiscretion means that bus ticket may be one for out of town.

So Nashville is busy getting Davis Cup semi finals, trying to build a stadium for Major League Soccer and in turn draw convention after convention to sustain the "it" but when workers are being pushed out by design or unintentionally via the costs of housing and transport you will have problems.  And with an election for both Governor and Senator on the table in a State that is fighting red mad I am not sure we have any clue where anything is going when it comes to leadership.  Most of the candidates from the party of the GOP, which G stands for God, are running ad after ad trumping (pun intended) their direct line to God and of course their commitment, sadly not to a mental institution but to Church and family. I feel surrounded by Mike Pence looking as dour as he did during the Olympics and I am Kim Jong Uhn's sister.

And now when the singular "liberal" Mayor and first woman Mayor in the "It" City starts banging her bodyguard this is another sign things are not going well.  Much like I questioned the obsessive burial procedure for Billy Graham as if he was a head of state, I am utterly perplexed by the Mayor and her need to have a Bodyguard  24/7.  Well if you are banging said bodyguard that makes sense but now as I look at the details he seems like a great "f" buddy who drives you to all kinds of cool stuff so you can drink and see all the great shows and get in through the secret back door and then if you feel like it you drop drawers and hit it.  And again these are people over 50 so I ask myself what did you fail to do in your youth that allows for this at the present but then again this is God's country. Never mind that explains it.    What is more distressing that in this case is the "F" buddy is getting free stuff which includes a piece of ass is now sending me a bill.  Sorry I did not get the goodies so why the Bodyguard is protecting the Mayor and banging her (I guess he wore protection, I hope!) and he is billing for overtime  it seems more like Prostitution than protection.  Well this is the Bible belt and it is better to spank you with.

I have never heard of a Mayor with that extensive a protection needs (there was her bofo and 2 other deputies who worked part time and their schedule was set by the bofo who seems to love overtime. This dude takes double dipping to new heights, we were all getting fucked here) and I do question all of it regardless. Was she threatened? Is it because she is a Woman?  Is it because she is a Democrat? Seriously start asking your Mayor what their security detail is and why is it?   I understand professional public events but the traveling out of state, traveling out of country, going to Yoga?  This is utterly absurd just that alone but then the audacity to bill the city for going to a Super Bowl chili cook off at the Mayor's home and charging the City overtime is up there with youhavegottatobefucking kidding me.  It would be like inviting your Physician or Attorney to a cocktail party, not asking one single professional question and they still bill you for coming! Hey thanks for the drink and here is my bill.  BTW that actually happened to me on one of my home remodel projects (yes I flipped but I actually lived in them to save costs and in turn a better tax break, thanks capital gains) and an Architect I hired to draw the plans I gave him (which to submit permits and having an Architect again may cost more but you use them once like an Accountant and in turn permits are approved quicker and inspections are better handled those shows on HGTV mislead people like crazy) showed up on a down day.

**Down days can be those days planned or not (I tried to always plan mine)when you are between subs and projects either due to scheduling, some change or an issue that delays the schedule.  And I always had them intentionally planned they did not always fall in line but the idea was one  to enable a built in cushion between varying crews as a way to ensure no overlap or rush to push one project through in order to get to the next.  It also enabled me to make changes, review budgets, etc.  Plus when you live there you need a break.  When I said we are on a down day and not back until next week I invited him for coffee and let him look through the project and showed him where I was with finishes, etc.  I did not ask his opinion or consult with him. His work was done, plans were drawn, we made the changes onsite ourselves, submitted them and were on track with what we needed to do  The next week I got a bill for the 30 minutes  he was there  and I sent him a pound of coffee as payment. We never spoke again and I hired drafters after that point on, cheaper and same results.

But this woman has the man chauffeuring her and her family to shows, to dinner, to drinks to whatever is going on her personal life.  And perhaps there is concern at a large public venue but the Ryman has security in place and they are there to protect all of us and again as we have seen repeatedly that a maniac regardless of the protections in place they will do what the need to do.  And even Voodoo Ronald Regan who was surrounded by armed trained individuals and the same for the schools and most of them had SRO on staff, so again life is a crapshoot and some of it is just pure luck.  But honestly does this woman need this level of security EVER?

I have been on the fence with the Mayor as her sole issue was transit. The plan is over the top and utterly under serving the adjacent communities where the commute is hellacious and in turn it neglected true cross town service, satellite hubs, crosswalks and sidewalks.  But hey when you are "it" you run til caught.  Looks like someone was caught with their pants down.

And here is the Mayor of a city with schools that define Shitholes.  They are horrific. I can manage half a day and a full day only if it is one of the few schools of privilege or for classes that are not mainstream - such as Voc Tech, Computers, Foreign Language, ELL, Art.   I even have stopped doing SPED for no more than half days.

I came home and read a blog of a now former Nashville Teacher and his farewell to the schools entry.  The link is here and while it is lengthy this stood out as I have been quite vocal about how I had no intention of engaging in any rescue scenario with regards to a mass shooting or any other act of violence, and when I read his experience I was horrifie.  What the hell were they thinking? And again it only confirms that this city wants "it" and by it they want a incident of mass violence.   This year the training consisted of them listening to Columbine 911 calls and the Teachers post interviews after the incident.  There is one thing Nashville does best and that his ham fisting everything.

The rest of his complaints are similar to those of many Teachers across the country as it takes five years to really get a good sense of who you are as a Teacher and if given support that could easily be reduced and in turn enable an individual to find their voice and confidence in ways that only aids in student success that much sooner.  As you realize that is the time frame on average you are with the same cohort, K-5, 6-8 or 9-12.  Getting up and running in 3 years would be ideal but again ideals are just that.

And my friend who is just moved into another student teaching position needs to read this man's blog.  I tried to explain to him this is not the district in which to begin one's professional life it will do nothing to lend to professional growth it may do the opposite.  He is utterly clueless and simply wants to live in Nashville I am not sure he cares about Teaching as much as living here. What.ever. Again I tried but my communications with people here have made me again question myself, my ability to communicate and my own self worth. There are times I feel I am perpetually in a Tornado.

And as I follow the Mayor's sordid tale and why she felt compelled to announce her affair when no one knew or cared made me wonder what shit was coming down the pike.  Deny Deny Deny as we have learned and in turn throw down the guilt card as her son only died a few months ago and say that hell hath no fury than a man scorned, or I fucked him over grief.  But this was a head scratcher.

But I have always found it odd that a woman so in touch with youth why the Mayor chose to not deal with schools proves that this is a toxic apple which no one wants to touch.  The former Mayor (now running for Governor) pushed for charters and they are imploding all over the place but again the schools are so damaged no one really knows how to fix them.  So don't I guess.    In all honesty there would have to be a serious change and the costs and efforts for this it city is just not possible.  But if you read that former Teacher's post he speaks of the efforts that Teachers could provide any future Politician should they be willing.  But no the Legislature has now passed through two bills to move forward on arming and training Teachers.  Yes I need to get out of here asap!

 I think the Mayor needs to jump off this bus as this ride is coming to an end.  But wow what a hell of a ride.  Her career is over and frankly even I would like her to resign.  It is not as juicy as the Missouri Governor's Fifty Shades of Gray but he needs to be freed as well.   If we are asking Legislators to step away from their jobs over allegations without even due process then I can respect the fact that in Missouri at least he was indicted by the Attorney General via a Grand Jury and as for Barry she will if more of this comes to light and it is not looking good.  Either way she is out.  I just hope that this was worth it.  Something tells me I could dig up a male hooker for way less.

Living in Nashville is like living in Whoville, only Dr. Seuss would have to arm up the Grinch.













Sunday, February 25, 2018

Luck of the Draw

I might allow this to be the last post on Teaching, Children and what is going on in public schools. I want to write a much more generic book on how I perceive Schools and Education and that schools are like Restaurants, and the reality of that comparison may explain why everyone seems to have an opinion about what defines one as good or not.  It is all personal and in turn people have a difficult time often seeing beyond their personal experience.  And guess what? That is fine for you and your precious cargo. What not snowflake,  Again Children are children and when you work with hundreds they are in your charge, your care that they make the ultimate destination to the end of their journey and be unloaded to become part of society in the same way stuff cargo is.  Now you wish I went with the precious snowflake metaphor aren't you?

After reading the idiot article about why we need to coddle kids and for the record even coddle can have different meanings to different people so the point is that you can't tell anyone how to parent.  You are on your own right Dr. Spock?  And no Teachers are not Parent, Psychiatrists, Social Workers, Human Shields nor are they horrific individuals that damage children, are super human nor master of their own domain, their own boss and have summers off.  Man how did one profession be the source of so many labels and myths? Oh I know why everyone has been with one, has gone to school for better for worse we all have had first hand knowledge of Teachers and in turn our own experiences with them.  Over the course of twelve years you will encounter many many Teachers and if you go on to College you will have four to eight more years of Educators so in that lifetime of Education that amasses to about one-fourth of one's life where you are subjective vs objective (means that you are seeing it through your own truth's and experiences) you are apparently an expert on Education.  Okay, then.

I have spent the largest chunk of my professional life in schools.  As a Student I attended public and private, secular and non secular schools and my longest stretch in private education was in Catholic schools, Grades 6-12, so seven years.  I can recall quite a lot about all twelve years and they were good, bad and fucking awful.   That is what being young is.  I am now 58 so I have ostensibly been out of school as a Student longer than I was in them and I have been and out of schools professionally for really less than 10 years as I took a 10 year break thanks to Marriage, having my own business and in turn doing other things that were not in a classroom.  But I have always been engaged and involved in the issues about schools as I think they are a reflection of the community at large.  And that much is true.  But then I moved to Nashville and it affected me in a way that even Oakland's public schools did not.  True I did not manage I think more than two weeks subbing there but I attributed that to my Divorce and my own fragile mental health and desire to do the gig than anything regarding the schools and I will never comment on that other than what I just said.  I do however still follow the local news and think that was a good decision even though it was inadvertent.

I read another article today about a young woman who tracked down the bully in her life and found he was dead.  She too was as a child undergoing a serious family problem which affected how she responded, how her Mother failed to respond and in turn the circumstances that enabled the bully to relentless torment her.  Her recollections seemed to focus on just the one boy and it appears that it was only him and despite that she survived and thrived.   Like everyone her story is her own and some do and some don't.  That is just the luck of the draw frankly and the reality that some make it and some don't when it comes to the choices of Adults, either those in their lives or those they become.

Then I read this former Teacher's blog entry on why she left the profession.  And yes I share her truths.  Again not all of us feel the same way or have the same experiences as Teachers. It can be age, it can be our training and education, the districts in which we work and those who are our Colleagues/Mentors/Superiors, our Gender or just  our own present lives and history than can affect how we enter any profession.  As I said to the acquaintance that is now a Student Teacher that he needs to find his core as a Teacher before throwing himself into the flame as many of the schools are just that, open flames that will burn you alive.  And he shared that a school that I will not set foot in offered him a job and in turn they told him the school is bad but he was welcome. Gosh what an offer!  Seriously would anyone of their right mind take a job like that?  What imperative other than needing a job would make one actually consider it when they are basically telling you that no this is not about you or your skills this is about we need a warm body.  I don't think he had a clue.. he fits in here perfectly.  Utterly incurious intellectually and frankly that is the last skill I want as a Teacher but they don't teach that way, its about tests.  And when a Hairdresser is telling me she is looking at testing data for a Kindergarten we gots some issues.

To stop bullying and other behaviors this is where the concept of SEL (social emotional learning) would be great and would be needed to be implemented in Kindergarten. It needs Parental buy in and active participation. And guess what? Well there are the "coddling" parent who may in fact refuse or be over engaged, the neglectful parent who won't and everyone else in between.  People raise their children the way they raise them.  We have no business telling anyone how to but we can ask that they and their children respect our personal boundaries and space.  So that means actually restorative justice which we know is also a failure as adults have problems with conflict and dispute resolution.

But we are unable to handle even the most smallest of truths. From the blog I referenced above there are 100's of comments and the writer responds to each but this stood out.

 I taught secondary English/Language Arts in Michigan for 19 years before I resigned. I was five years from retirement when I just could not take it anymore. My doctor told me the stress was killing me. You see I was a good teacher. Administrators admired my classroom management. Parents requested that their children be put in my classes. These are good things, right?
As you and other teachers know, teaching is a profession where you are penalized for being good at your job. You are given the toughest students because you can handle them. You are given the apathetic students because you can reach them. You are given 3, 4, or maybe 5 different types of classes to teach because you can handle all the extra preparation. You are assigned to endless committees and asked to mentor new teachers because you have such a wealth of experience. You ARE until you CAN’T anymore.
I had seen 5 teachers in my building suffer hear attacks, and that fate was awaiting me.
I also left because of the increase in threats and violence towards teachers (including myself). These attacks came from both students and parents.
My student teacher was stalked by a parent. A teacher in my building suffered a concussion when she was head-butted by a student. I had to confront a parent who had come on campus with her adult daughter to “talk to” a girl her other daughter had a dispute with.
The assistant principal was punched in the face. The last straw for me was when a six-two, 210 pound, 17 year-old in my freshman English class charged at me because I asked the class to turn in a homework assignment. I avoided his fist, but was told “off the record” that I should have let him hit me because then he could have been expelled. The suburban middle-class high school I loved had become an unsafe and hostile environment in which to work.
I missed the students terribly, so I started teaching part-time at the community college level. This means my income was cut to less than half of what I was making, and I have to pay for my own health benefits. But I’m alive and healthy and I still do what I love.
This man's story is a story repeated across Schools across the country. Just some of them don't end up with Students who come back to the building to settle those scores. 

So when I was recently "criticized for speaking truth"  I was unclear what that meant. I think it means stating my opinions in which you may not agree or even get but instead of stating yours or inquiring about mine, you choose to tell others or name call. Good plan.  How are we to become better communicators, better citizens or just be better members of a community if we cannot talk to one another? Well I guess we punch people out.

It is why I found my way writing.  Funny in most situations I have little problem communicating, making sense, having a voice or sounding stupid/ignorant/lacking comprehension etc.  Then I do when someone doesn't like what I have to say or my truths/opinions.  Yes this is why we have online bullying, trolling and doxing to the point people are afraid and then what? More laws or guns or whatever it is in which to provide safe spaces, silent zones, trigger warnings in which to push our heads further down the rabbit hole.  Funny Alice emerged in tact and whole and she survived.

Here is a skill set that works - teaching people how to stand up, use their words, their voices to express their anger, their fear and their frustration.  Had that little girl who now uses said words to write such a great article had that skill at age 10, things might have turned out better and certainly different for her and maybe even her bully.  Or not. Some shit always happens. That is the luck of the draw.




I thought my bully deserved an awful life. But then he had one.
I never thought I could feel empathy for the boy who tormented me in childhood.


By Geraldine DeRuiter February 22

Geraldine DeRuiter is the voice behind Everywhereist.com and the author of the memoir “All Over the Place: Adventures in Travel, True Love, and Petty Theft.”

As a child, I was an easy mark for playground torments: smart, insufferably rule-abiding, decidedly unpretty. The tormenter I remember most distinctly was not my first bully, nor my last, but his attacks would turn the others into footnotes.

He was in my class for years; his mom was my softball coach, driving me to and from practice when my single mother could not. In class photos his face is round and almost cherubic, but I remember it contorted in anger as he spat insults at me, telling me to shut the hell up, flailing his hands against his chest and moaning — an approximation of what he said I sounded like. We were seated next to each other in class, year after year, and when I finally complained about this arrangement, one of my teachers said that maybe I’d be “a good influence on him.”

My proximity to his mother did nothing to protect me. Sitting in the back of her van after my team lost a softball game, he snapped: “It smells in here. Close your legs.” Reflexively, I did as he instructed. When his mother climbed into the driver’s seat a few moments later, oblivious to what had happened, he was still doubled over with laughter. I was 10.

When I returned home, tearful and broken down, I comforted myself with the idea that one day, I would be happy and successful and my bully would not. I internalized the bromide used to soothe all bullied children of my generation — the universe would mete out some sort of karmic justice. This idea is everywhere: Biff Tannen waxes George McFly’s car at the end of “Back to the Future,” having been beaten into submission (literally) years earlier. In “A Christmas Story,” Ralphie finally snaps after years of torment and attacks Farkus, who is left tearful and bleeding. Regina George — the Machiavellian queen bee in “Mean Girls” — eventually relinquishes her bullying crown, but only after she’s publicly shamed (twice) and flattened by a bus.

Now, as an adult, looking at the fate that befell my bully — a perverse fulfillment of a childhood prophesy, one that left him dead at 25 — I realize how problematic and how ingrained that thinking is. In the past few years, our culture has started to see bullying as a serious problem, one whose victims need help, support and protection. As for the bullies? They’re the bad guys. Why they bully doesn’t matter, only that they get what they deserve in the end. But this paradigm only further stigmatizes children who often need help in their own right.

The idea of cosmic retribution for bullying feels just. “It’s a natural impulse,” writes Emily Bazelon in her book “Sticks and Stones,” which looks at the culture of bullying and its consequences. According to a 2014 study that gathered data from more than 234,000 teenagers and children, victims of bullying are more than twice as likely to contemplate killing themselves than their non-bullied peers. That number goes up considerably for LGBTQ teens, who are five times more likely to commit suicide than their straight counterparts. Studies have shown that individuals who are bullied are more likely to experience low self-esteem and anxiety, more inclined to abuse alcohol and drugs, and more likely to suffer from a host of physical ailments such as headaches and sleep disturbances.

We seem well prepared to discuss the stakes of bullying. Dan Savage, the journalist and gay rights activist, launched the It Gets Better Project in 2010 after a rash of suicides by teenagers who were bullied because they were gay or because their peers thought they were. The Obama administration established a Bullying Prevention Task Force, and by 2015, all 50 states had passed some form of school anti-bullying legislation. Celebrities from Justin Timberlake to Tyra Banks have shared their stories about being victims.

But the idea that bullies themselves might be more than one-dimensional villains is harder to swallow, especially for those of us who’ve dealt with them. “Who doesn’t want to wring the neck of the thug who punches a weaker kid in the face, or the mean girl who starts a hateful gossip thread on Facebook?” writes Bazelon. The Internet is rife with stories of bullies getting their comeuppance, from viral videos of little kids fighting back to Reddit threads describing justice doled out against an antagonizer. “It’s an age-old story — the idea of bullies getting theirs,” says Meghan Leahy, a licensed school counselor and parenting coach. “It’s a very human part of us that likes revenge.”

In this respect, we’re embodying one of the key characteristics of bullies — we’re acting without empathy, says Leahy, who has written about changing the way she looks at bullies. Nobody wants to extend sympathy to a tormenter. The trouble is, school and neighborhood bullies aren’t adults. They’re kids, and many are grappling with their own problems. In 2008, the Institute of Education in London published a report that found that bullies had higher levels of anger, depression, emotional disaffection, paranoia and suicidal behavior. Other studies have found that as they grow up, bullies tend to have more trouble keeping jobs, have more problems with alcohol and drugs, and are more likely to have criminal records. A large number of bullies are also victims of bullying, meaning they face some of the same pathologies that they induce in others.

“These kids have been told that they’re worthless, that they’re stupid. They’re dealing with trauma, and they don’t have the social skills to process it. Punishing them just makes it worse,” says Julietta Skoog, a school psychologist with Seattle Public Schools and co-founder of Sproutable, a company that creates video-based parenting tools. “It’s never just ‘I feel like being a jerk.’ ”

I never could have imagined feeling empathy for the boy who made my life hell, or for any bully. During that period, my mother was dealing with her own abuse, at the hands of a man with whom she’d been romantically involved for several years. He fluctuated between charming and volatile. When on one of his violent tirades, he would yell, throw objects and furniture, punch holes in the walls of our home and tear doors off their hinges.

At the time, I’d never seen my mother’s boyfriend hit her, but my bully, who lived nearby, had witnessed it. He saw him pull my mother from her vehicle and throw her to the ground. The next day at school, he told everyone within earshot the story of how my mother “got her ass beat.” He laughed through his impersonation of her, lying on the ground whimpering. Until that moment, I’d believed my mother when she told me that her bruised face was a result of “walking into a door.”

Even though it was the final year that my bully and I would share a class — he was held back, I moved on to the sixth grade, I gave up softball for soccer, and my last ties to him were severed — I continued to hate him.

As the years passed, those promises of karmic justice, given to me in childhood, came true. I went to college on a full ride. I graduated with honors and became a professional writer. My mother eventually extricated herself from her abusive relationship. Determined not to follow in her footsteps, I sought out soft-spoken men who never yelled. I met and married someone wonderful. Everything turned out better than I could have dared hope.

I occasionally searched for my bully online, determined to see my story to its promised end, to relish all the ways my life was better than his. A 2013 study found that bullying victims tended to be more successful than their antagonizers in adulthood: They made more money, had more friends and were far less likely to be convicted of a crime (though they still fared worse than those who had never been bullied).

In 2010, after years of finding nothing, I learned from a friend that my bully had been murdered in his home not far from where we grew up. Consumed by the story, I pored over every news article on his death I could find. He had been dealing pot and was killed in a robbery gone wrong. One of the murderers had been his childhood friend.

I read that he had anticipated an attack. His friends said he was so terrified in the weeks leading up to his murder that he’d slept with a hammer under his pillow. I was haunted by what I imagined his final moments were like, by how scared he must have been. I cried for the boy who had made me so miserable.

Now I had to wonder: What kind of fate would I have considered sufficient retribution? Would I have been satisfied if he was merely unsuccessful or unhappy? What sentence are we comfortable bestowing upon a fifth-grader for his crimes? What’s the statute of limitations for revenge?

Bazelon calls this a dangerous side of our newfound focus on bullying: When we think we know who the bullies are, the drive to condemn and punish spins out of control. I wanted my childhood bully’s life to turn out rotten, but when it actually happened, it didn’t feel like justice had been served. It simply felt like I’d watched a building collapse in slow motion. The cracks in the foundation started long ago.

If right-thinking people want to care about bullying as a social problem, we need to see some nuance. Look at every bully and their victim, and you’ll often find two kids who need help, not just one.

“Bullies are often the kids that are hard to love,” says Skoog. “That’s where the hard work is.”

My bully ridiculed me for having a mother who was a victim of domestic violence. He was dead at 25. I think of his anger, his struggles in school, his unhinged rage, all at the tender age of 11. I look at the narrative we are so often told as children — that our lives will be wonderful and our bullies’ lives will not, and I see the error in thinking that a troubled child somehow deserves a terrible fate. “Ignore him, and he’ll go away,” adults told me. In the end, they were right.






We are Screwed

I came to the conclusion yesterday while at the hairdresser in conversation with her about the state of the union in relation to current events that there are no solutions, there will be no change when it comes to the issue of guns, race, mental health or well any issue that divides the country.  We can only do our best to live by the Golden Rule and teach our children or model the behavior in a way that enables us to be happy with our life and our life choices.

She is trying to find a public school here in Nashville that will enable her daughter to be expressive and learn in her own manner.  She has evaluated all the testing results of school in her area and is worried.  My first comment: "This is Kindergarten how do tests affect that?" But this Nashville and the reality is that is how the choose to define children here.  They are not precious snowflakes but data.  How healthy!   I directed her to a Charter school that may be a good fit but again all schools here are enrolled by lottery.  Once again it explains quite a bit as education here is a game of chance.

Then I walked home and my neighbors were outside as it is 80 degrees in February so thank you Global Warming and we had a brief discussion on the current division in politics.  And I added that this will only get worse as we are further isolated and divided from speaking to each other in a civil open minded manner that at least enables us to hear another individuals perspective and they ours and find a common ground that we could agree upon and in turn resolve conflict or at least find common ground.

I said that my feelings about Nashville has always been conflicted by my health issues as when you struggle with ongoing treatments that your focus is always on that and my relationship with Vanderbilt still remains on shaky ground.  I trust the primary care givers but everyone else I don't and it is those whom I contact and deal with most often and in turn it affects my perspective on how to pursue my long term needs.   And that goes for the city itself.  I see everything through the prism of children.  I have a hard time saying anything positive about any of the children I have encountered.  Almost every attempt and encounter is marred by children and their hostile bizarre behavior that truly disturbs me professionally and personally.  I actually go into a classroom with the ultimate goal of not speaking at all or the bare minimum.  I think I managed Friday speaking for two minutes. I did not bother with attendance, I threw it in the trash and after the last class I put a sign on the door to direct them to the Auditorium for a performance and in turn walked out the door.  As I left I heard a Teacher talking at the top of his voice (to some screaming but it is tone I am well aware) to shut up sit down and a door slam and directions that were utterly hostile.  I kept walking and burst out laughing.

And I have said and said this to my neighbors that no I am not a human shield and I have no super skills to protect kids, secure doors or even remotely know what to do here and in turn could given the problems I have had communicating with both kids and staff here so I would literally walk out the door and direct maybe one kid to do his best helping his classmates and walk out.  They seemed shocked but again I have explained that I have been through this many times in Seattle and there are no winners in these scenarios only dead people.  I am into flight not fight. And I said you have to ask yourself what that means.  I have no full time employment in the schools here, few know me by name, the kids ignore me in the best of times.   And unless you scream like that Teacher I overheard and have done myself and experienced you get nothing.  But what I amusing that even while sitting there they are completely oblivious to me or think I am deaf or invisible or that disengaged as the conversations I have overheard are disturbing and led me to barricade myself in a class once during lunch as I was scared shitless after hearing a conversation to the point I asked an passing Teacher what I should do with this info and his response, "What color are they?"  Okay then nevermind

So really you expect me to take a bullet?  At one school, I became afraid  when kids were following across the classroom with a laser pen to the point I felt it was akin to target practice.  When I asked to leave I ignored and shoved into a holding room until end of day. Finally I walked out asked for an Administrator  and she she was at the buses for dismissal and it was there was told I could leave - on the same metro buses!   Okay, so I refused that offer and said I will call an Uber.  She  then berated for complaining and not understanding "their" kids.   At that moment a block away an un-realted shooting occurred. Good thing I did not walk in that direction!   Then two weeks ago at the same time this same school was getting out a kid was shot and killed, two hours later another shooting two blocks away. Retaliation? Again do you think I would take a bullet?  When I walked several blocks that day I was texted by the Uber driver that he would come but I would be charged premium and I needed to be in front of a residence nowhere near the school. 

And I have many many more examples of incidents that I observed or occurred in adjacent areas in schools I have been in.  So no I am not staying to save anyone's life.  They have no interest in mine in the best of situations I don't want to test the worst.

The rise of social media assists in this divisiveness.  It makes it easier to find like minds to reaffirm your beliefs.   The issue of Trump's campaign rallies and others staffed with actors and others to generate a positive image is well known so even when he elected to have a "listening" session with victims, parents and others affected by school shootings he had a set of notes in his hand to direct him how to respond.  So much for listening. But what was appalling is the accusations that children were accused of being actors in this situation and one boy who attended the town hall meeting CNN held also accused of bearing a script.  But a Father who was given a sound bite replayed on all news stations was invited by Trump himself.  He had already met and spoken to Trump privately, he had said his piece and in turn was very effusive and supportive of Trump and pro guns and shared that with The New York Times in an interview. He is then by Trump invited to the bigger session undoubtedly I am sure in true Trump protocol to stack the deck, however like guns this may have backfired as this grieving father's  passionate declaration about his daughter became the focal point of the news as a type of summary about grief felt by the parents; however, what media failed to mention that he was the dad mocked for wearing a Trump shit the day of the shooting nor was it mentioned his stance on the issue or the private meet/greet and invite. So while the mass movement is asking for gun laws and restrictions there was one voice who did not agree and he should have had the chance to clarify why and sit among those people to defend said views.  Funny how that did not happen.  Why?

I would have had more respect for all involved to hear this and in turn allow people to truly understand the complex issues surrounding guns.  But nope the NRA shuts that down and in turn they are just as afraid that they don't want to hear the truth about how people really feel about guns.

We don't want anyone's truth but ours.  Trumps volatility has given tacit permission for others to act upon their anger, to name call, to belittle to demean others with whom you do not agree.  I have been mocked of late, verbally demeaned for referring to children with the generic moniker "precious snowflake."  Yes all children are super humans who must all be revered and coddled and allowed to do whatever they need to do to find their true self.  True self is the other side of my truth, so we have a lot of what I used to call individualism and having a personality.  It sounds better!

When I read this idiotic quasi threat in The Washington Post, my first reaction was what a load of crap.  The article was one man's opinion on another man's opinion.  Again do I care? Well I read so I guess sorta kinda not really. But what fascinated me was the comment section and many people had great thoughts and comments and offered "their truths" on the subject.  But again they were either lauded or hated depending on the reader's perspective. Hey it is just their opinion, agree, disagree but you will have no ability in which to affect it by attacking people and accusing them of idiocy, etc.   I was attacked for my snark in which I did not address the article other than the "snowflake" comment and steered those to watch Chris Rock's Tambourine.    Does it make me a bad person, one without reading comprehension skills as the response said?   No, I just chose not to address the article but mock it.  So instead I actually looked at all his comments and found out that he trolls and this is what it has become of late. Anonymity brings out the best of us.  Nope.

But the article frankly was again the Author's own issues about another persons opinion. That is what op-eds do in newspapers but of late that seems to be often what news is.  Sorry but sometimes snark is the best response.

And in my truth -  I just don't care anymore about kids.  I had to be honest and come to terms with that.  I am not the lady on the plane ranting and demanding a new seat but I get it and apparently she lost her job as a result of that incident going viral.  And now the 19 year old Mother of the unruly child admits that it went to far and she wished that would not have happened.  Hey then why did you film it?

Speaking of films (rolls eyes for the non-sequiter) so many great ones this year, but Lady Bird is one that all parents and children and mothers and daughters and anyone and everyone needs to see.  In the movie the Mother says to Lady Bird, "I want you  to be the best version of yourself that you want to be."  And Lady Bird responds, "What if  is the best version?"

We all both in public and private say and do stupid shit.  I recall when I said that once a super adorable innocent, aka middle schooler,  said in response, "Did you call me stupid?"  My response was, "Did I call you stupid? What is your name? Did I address you specifically? And what exactly did I say? Are you taking my words out of context and for what purpose?" (This was a famous Obama quote about not doing stupid shit but this again is highly politicized so I did not name the source of the quote.)  I watched the wheels turn and she said, "No."  So case closed. But today we could just roll tape and still taking it out of context and using an edited version of the events anyone can look stupid or smart.  Ever watched the Cop body cameras? Funny how those seem to work when shooting someone they perceive as a "threat."

So let's just arm up shall we.  We have Cops in schools now and most of them have tasered, cuffed and abused the students so adding more to the mix means those discipline problems will be resolved, So much for restorative justice!  But as we also know that under duress where actual lives are being threatened Cops don't shoot.  Interesting.

People lie and by people I mean children, I mean adults, I mean everyone and anyone.  Get over it. And because of it and the climate we are in (well other than the one thanks to Global Warming) we are fucked.  So live your own truth, be your best self and don't do stupid shit.   I will let you figure out what those are. 

So hey about Guns.. do we really need them as clearly they are not working out as the founding fathers intended are they?















Friday, February 23, 2018

Game Set Match

Recall the bullshit about the kids being CrisisActors? Yes well I think I may have found one. Well not a kid but a parent.

Here in this article is the video and discussion by one of the Parents of the victims at Parkland, Andrew Pollack.  He is emotional and his anguish resonates but he is a Trump Voter.  He was not scheduled to attend the listening session, however,  he was invited to meet Trump in a prior private meeting which he shared his respect and admiration for Trump.  Of course he was then asked to remain and invited to the listening session.  Watch him speak and yet he is against gun control.  So exploiting a man's grief and in turn rig the audience is what exactly?  In fact he wore a Trump shirt while waiting to find out  about his daughter and that may have been why he was invited to the private session in the first place.

So again this is not some liberal conspiracy but many of the families are pro Trump.   But again Mr. Pollock I respect your grief but yes guns are the problem on that issue we do not agree.

Parents and Students Plead With Trump: ‘How Many Children Have to Get Shot?’




Father to Trump: ‘Fix It’

Andrew Pollack, who lost his daughter in the Florida shooting, was a guest at a listening session at the White House.
By THE ASSOCIATED PRESS. Photo by Tom Brenner/The New York Times. Watch in

WASHINGTON — An anguished father mourning his 18-year-old daughter vented his anger and pleaded for safer schools.
A fear-stricken student who watched classmates die last week wept openly as he called for banning assault weapons.
A mother who lost her 6-year-old son in a school shooting just over five years ago warned that more parents would lose their children if President Trump did not act, adding, “Don’t let that happen on your watch.”
One by one at the White House on Wednesday afternoon, survivors of school shootings and family members of victims shared their stories and their calls to action. The extraordinary public exchange with the president gave voice to an intensely emotional debate over how to respond to the latest gun massacre in an American school.
A week after a gunman opened fire with an AR-15-style assault rifle at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla., killing 17 people and prompting a rash of student-driven lobbying for new gun restrictions, Mr. Trump met for more than an hour with grieving people in search of solutions. News cameras captured the unusual listening session, revealing an emotional give-and-take between a president and private citizens that is typically shielded from public view.
Mr. Trump used the event to pitch his own ideas about how to prevent such debacles in the future, polling the group about whether they supported allowing teachers and other school employees to carry concealed weapons, an idea he said could have halted the carnage in Parkland.
“That coach was very brave, saved a lot of lives, I suspect,” Mr. Trump said, apparently referring to Aaron Feis, a coach at Stoneman Douglas who reportedly died using his body as a shield to protect students. “But if he had a firearm, he wouldn’t have had to run, he would have shot and that would have been the end of it.”


Mr. Trump said he would press to strengthen background checks for people buying guns and press for enhanced mental health measures. “We’re going to go very strongly into age — age of purchase,” he added, appearing to refer to a proposal to set an age threshold for buying certain weapons, including the AR-15.
But in a session that began as a subdued conversation and sometimes descended into tears and shouting, policy proposals were overshadowed by raw expressions of fear, anger and sorrow.
“We’re here because my daughter has no voice — she was murdered last week, and she was taken from us, shot nine times,” said Andrew Pollack, whose daughter Meadow was one of the 17 killed in Parkland. “How many schools, how many children have to get shot? It stops here, with this administration and me, because I’m not going to sleep until it’s fixed.”
Most of the students and parents invited from the Florida school appeared to support Mr. Trump, many of them prefacing their comments with praise for his leadership. But even fans of the president vented anger and desperation, laying the challenge of responding to the tragedy at his feet.
“It should have been one school shooting, and we should have fixed it — and I’m pissed,” said Mr. Pollack, the only parent of a child killed in Parkland who was at the session, raising his voice as he looked at Mr. Trump. “Because my daughter, I’m not going to see again.”
Samuel Zeif, 18, told of texting his parents and brothers from the second floor of Stoneman Douglas, believing that he would be killed, and he dissolved into tears as he begged the president, “Let’s never let this happen again — please, please.”
“I don’t understand why I can still go in a store and buy a weapon of war, an A-R,” Mr. Zeif said, referring to the AR-15 rifle. “How is it that easy to buy this type of weapon? How do we not stop this after Columbine, after Sandy Hook? I’m sitting with a mother who lost her son. It’s still happening.”




President Trump held a card of notes during the listening session on Wednesday. Credit Tom Brenner/The New York Times

Mr. Trump, who has often struggled to express empathy in the face of tragedy, appeared moved by the personal stories, even as he asked repeatedly whether anyone in the ornate room at the White House knew how such horrors could be prevented.
“I know you’ve been through a lot — most of you have been through a lot more than you ever thought possible,” Mr. Trump said, seated in a circle with students and parents. “All I can say is that we’re fighting hard for you, and we will not stop.”
“I grieve for you,” Mr. Trump added. “To me, there could be nothing worse than what you’ve gone through.”
During the session, Mr. Trump held a card that appeared to remind him of the basics of compassion when dealing with grieving survivors. “What would you most want me to know about your experience?” read one handwritten note on the card, captured in photographs of the event. “I hear you,” read another.
Mr. Pollack said he did not favor adopting new gun restrictions, but pleaded for Democrats and Republicans to come together to create new school safety measures.
“It’s not about gun laws right now — that’s another fight, another battle,” he said. “We need our children safe.”
Yet the subtext of the discussion was a contentious debate over gun restrictions and an all-too-familiar cycle of outrage, activism and promises of action, and then the inevitable inertia of Washington because of the opposition by the National Rifle Association and its allies.

Mr. Trump, a strident defender of gun rights who ran for office with the strong backing of the N.R.A., has come under immense pressure to endorse new gun limits after the Parkland massacre. The mass shooting has prompted a wave of youth activism that has reverberated from South Florida to Washington, where hundreds of students gathered outside the White House gates on Wednesday before the listening session, chanting, “Enough is enough!” and, “Hands up! — Don’t shoot!”
Mark Barden, who lost his 7-year-old son Daniel at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn., in 2012, said it was futile to believe Congress would act on new policies.
“We tried this legislative approach,” said Mr. Barden, a founder and managing director of Sandy Hook Promise, a nonprofit advocacy group created after the massacre. “I’ve been in this building before many times, wringing our hands, pleading with legislators — ‘What can we do?’ — until we finally said we have to go home and do this ourselves.”
He and Nicole Hockley, who lost her 6-year-old son Dylan at Sandy Hook, pressed Mr. Trump to consider prevention programs that train schools and educators to identify students in crisis and intervene before they attempt to harm themselves or others.
“Rather than arm them with a firearm,” Ms. Hockley said of teachers, “I would rather arm them with the knowledge of how to prevent these acts from happening in the first place.”
One of Mr. Pollack’s sons, Hunter, said he would prefer that educators carried weapons, arguing that more firearms on campus would lead to safer schools.
Yet it was the emotional appeals that appeared to have more influence on Mr. Trump.
Mr. Barden pulled out a photograph of his son showing a gaptoothed grin.
Mr. Pollack spoke movingly of “my beautiful daughter I’m never going to see again.”
Ms. Hockley implored the president not to allow another massacre of children on his watch, saying: “Consider your own children. You don’t want to be me — no parent does.”
As he ended the session, Mr. Trump promised their stories would not go unheard or unaddressed.
“Thank you for pouring out your hearts,” he said. “Because the world is watching, and we’re going to come up with a solution.”

Arms Up

The standard phrase when you are being robbed, well okay hands up but this is a play on words as the new latest, well again not the latest, idea is to arm up Teachers.    I am watching CBS This Morning with a Teacher who carries in his Colorado classroom.  Colorado home of Columbine carries more weight today than any other.   If you had not read the amazing and well researched book on the subject, Columbine by Dave Cullen, I urge you to.

And what we know now is that these are children who plan well in advance, they are meticulous and insidious with their vengeance.  No, Children aren't special snowflakes well unless they are.  Just like adults, who would think that?  Beauty, like evil, is in the eye of the beholder.  Watch Chris Rock's Netflix special, Tangerine, where he does a riff on people's kids and their zealous approach to parenting that crosses over into how to establish boundaries.  He also discusses the hysteria about safe zones, bullying and how this over protection and hovering has made children utterly incapable for standing up for themselves as the world is full of assholes and what better place to learn how to handle them but in a schoolyard.   I agree and perhaps that too would enable Teachers and Parents to be more honest about the Children in their lives and classrooms.  Burying it doesn't work.  Nicholas Cruz had a massive history of problems and yet no one stood up and actually helped him. Had they it might have ended differently.

I am in utter adoration and have nothing but utmost respect for the Children of Parkland for they have shown resilience and strength in a time where I am not sure this adult could.  And they are special and not in the needs way but in the snowflake way as they are all unique, different and share one thing that they can turn to ice if the blood runs cold and it did on the day in the halls of Stoneman Douglas.  Ah when blood runs from a stone how that changes the dialogue.

Since moving to Nashville I have seen boundary issues with children that disturb me.  Did I see that in Seattle  children.  No and yes. Hugging kids was so verboten it was rare any would initiate it but they were whiner and more manipulative than kids here.   This comes from a place of privilege and frankly in the city where the average income is 75K with a highly educated population their boundaries often crossed into critiques and evaluations of adult behavior and expectations that undoubtedly came from the helicopter parents wearing their Black Lives Matter t-shirts while knowing not one single black person or having one in their home.   Seattle struggles with race and in many essays you will read how discussions on race are awkward and discomforting.  It is a "can I touch your hair" type place and they believe it is endearing.  Since I find most of that pandering patronizing bullshit and call it as such it is no wonder I was often asked "Where are you from?"  But on average I had better connections and in turn relationships with kids than I do here and it is why I stayed in the schools despite my misgivings about the schools.  But today since being in Nashville I do laugh as once again it proves how ignorant and sheltered Seattle really is.  

I compare Seattle and Nashville because here is where I am writing about living in both as they are extremes on each end of the political and social spectrum.  What I have found is the similarities are quite obvious but the differences are extreme and that is very obvious in what I call the root of the tree - the children.   In Seattle they are over parented, over idolized and duly obsessed over.  It is the ever present Mama blog or Facebook post where you gloss over and move on as it is boring.  They care deeply about others children but that means only as long as it doesn't affect their children and that pretty much parallels the two universes here and ends there.  The children here are so very different that I attribute to the factor of poverty and not race and again that is very much a distinction that stands out.

In a City that is nearly 90% white it is amusing that they are obsessed with race and it is so awkward and ham fisted it is truly off putting.  If you read any of the links I put in my last post almost all the writers comment on the same strange manner race is addressed.  It goes along with Gender identity and of course Sexuality that you are sure every kid has a truck and painted toenails to ensure that no one  is left behind or sits alone at lunch.  Hey kids are kids and no they aren't precious snowflakes, I just actually in real life call them short people or young people.  I have had more kids laugh and actually like it.  Well that is my truth.

But what is amusing is that in my exchanges here few recall that only a month ago there was a shooting in a school in Kentucky.  Ah but that is the South and Florida is also but a much more continental and less Civil War south and of course the death count higher.  This is how we are now we actually care about body count.   In fact here Nashville there is little to no discussion about the Parkland shooting let alone the one in Kentucky,  nor about gun control. This is not the way they do it here.  They pray.  How do they pray? With their arms up.  Surrender to God, I guess he packs heat.   I also pray for a day I can get the fuck out of here

This is how kids should be escaping school not with their arms raised.  




In my part of red America, no one sees guns as part of the problem
The right to bear arms is sacrosanct here.

By Teri Carter The Washington Post February  23 2018

Teri Carter is a writer living in central Kentucky.


A week after the Parkland, Fla., school shooting, the note was found scrawled on our middle school’s bathroom wall: I’m gonna shoot up the school on 2-21-18.

That was the first threat. Within 24 hours, the elementary, middle and high schools in my tiny, rural Kentucky town had all received written warnings of gun violence, and all three schools, approximately 3,700 students, were placed on “soft lockdown” (told to shelter in place) while the sheriff’s office and Kentucky State Police investigated.

I live in Anderson County, Ky. Donald Trump won here in 2016 with 72.2 percent of the vote. We have 38 Christian-based churches to serve a population of 22,000, and lots of talk about God-given Second Amendment rights. When I moved here in 2014, the first question I was often asked was, “Where do you go to church?” Neighbors joked that the elderly man who previously owned my house, a fun-loving, retired military officer, kept a cache of guns in the closets and under the couch cushions. For security.

This is both Trump country and single-issue voter country. People here vote on guns, and people vote on abortion. Every other issue, every other considerable nuance, is nothing but noise.

Guns and gun ownership are sacrosanct here, and people who do not live in rural America do not understand what are and aren’t acceptable topics of conversation. Last Saturday, for example, I’d set up for the morning at our newly renovated library to sign people up for writing classes. A friend who owns a local business stopped to vent about Parkland, but waved off quickly, in silence, noting the group of women elders behind me discussing the shooting, the scripture and the need to get prayer back into our schools.

Talk of church and prayer and getting back to “the good old days” is the norm here; talk of gun reform or gun control is not; and talking openly outside this norm, especially if you are a business owner, can hurt your livelihood.

Shortly after Trump was elected, when I first started writing about politics for the local newspaper, I started getting private emails (no public comments) of agreement that also begged for privacy. This was such a shock the first time it happened that I drove into town and found three such emailers at their places of work, simply so we could meet in person and feel less alone.

The day after the Parkland shootings, Kentucky Gov. Matt Bevin, knowing better than to use the word “gun” in these parts in the aftermath of a shooting, called for prayer and restrictions on video games and movies. Bevin knows how to hit his mark with his churchgoing, moral-authority electorate, tweeting after the Vegas shooting, “You can’t regulate evil,” and, as USA Today reported last week, stating that “he sees the spree of shootings as a cultural problem, not a firearm problem. And he sees violent entertainment as the root of that cultural problem.” His people cheer.

As all three of our Anderson County schools received threats of gun violence this week, we counted not on Bevin but on the Facebook page of our small town newspaper, as communities do now. Panicked parents left comments and got into the kind of no-filter social media arguments we’ve grown numb to:

“I was so in hopes for a peaceful day for students. Evil is rampent in our little town. We need Jesus now!”

“Schools needs alternative schools for these little bad ass kids! Maybe like army style, teach them right from wrong just in case their parents can’t.”

“No slaps on the wrist, prosecute so these little brats learn its no joke and won’t be considered one.”

“Whoever is sayin hold back the lashings needs to get a grip. If it was my kid I would have their ass. Making threats like this is serious and needs to be punished … my kids or your kids doesnt matter. Be A PARENT!

“All my kids are grown. You people crack me up. You have no idea how many time I was put in cuffs for spanking my children. SO quit blaming me as a parent. Blame liberal schools. Blame government. And shove it takes a village were the sun don’t shine.”

“Maybe if they start prosecuting these little degenerates then people will stop with all that BS!!

People wanted prayer in schools, more attentive parenting, criminal prosecution of children, a return to corporal punishment, confiscation of kids’ cellphones. I counted 104 comments and replies. There was not a single mention of guns.

In the NRA’s first public remarks on the Parkland shooting, Wayne LaPierre said Thursday morning, “Schools must be the most hardened target in this country and evil must be confronted immediately with all necessary force to protect our kids.” LaPierre is preaching to the firearms choir with talk of “evil,” and I know the men who heed the call. One is my father, who is in his 70s, retired, on a fixed income, living in a small Missouri town with virtually no crime. He tells me he cannot remember the last time he actually shot a gun. But he listens to the NRA and Rush Limbaugh and Fox News, and they tell him he has got to man up; he has to protect our kids; he has to be prepared. So what does he do? He buys more guns.

That’s what life is like here in red America, where the questioning of religion and guns are equally off-limits. Where we have fortified, as evidenced by our own governor, a barbed entwining of church morality and guns. Hence the common refrain, “my God-given Second Amendment rights.”

Trump said Thursday that “we have to harden our schools, not soften them,” in his plea to arm teachers and coaches. The president, like the NRA, looks to guns as the means for demanding respect. Well-meaning Beltway pundits such as David Brooks ask that we show gun owners some respect. But Americans do not need to respect gun owners more, because we already do. We respect them the way we respect a hell-and-damnation preacher or an abrasive, controlling father. We respect gun owners because we are afraid of their guns.

Meanwhile, this week in rural Kentucky, a 13-year-old girl was charged with terroristic threatening at the middle school and was arraigned in juvenile court and ordered held in juvenile detention. An 11-year-old girl from the elementary school was charged with one count of terroristic threatening.

The investigations are ongoing. We are looking to our governor and the president we voted for to lead. We are saying our prayers. And nobody is talking about guns.