Sex and Guns – MO leading the way in ineffective curriculum in schools

Yesterday I was featured on a Fox 4 News segment discussing a MO Senate bill requiring MO 1st graders to learn gun safety from the NRA’s Eddie Eagle Program.  I discussed how a 2004 National Institute of Medicine study found that the Eddie Eagle Program was ineffective at actually changing behavior when it came to guns.  http://fox4kc.com/2013/01/30/nra-gun-safety-school-program-drawing-controversy/

I have a feeling that regardless of any silly study showing the effectiveness of the program, MO is probably going to pass this bill and MO 1st graders are going to be singing this snappy tune all over MO classrooms soon enough.  “Aimee, why so pessimistic?”

Can somebody say abstinence only education?

Ding…Ding!

That’s right boys and girls. Hey kiddos – keep your hands off each other while you read this post.

MO is one of only 29 states that doesn’t require sex education in schools and when it is taught they REQUIRE that sex education is taught with abstinence only education.

You may be saying to yourself,  “What’s the big deal Aimee?  The only 100% effective method is abstinence.”

You are correct.  Keeping it in your pants is 100% effective.  However, a lot  of time  Johnny isn’t keeping it in his pants – this from my friends at the Guttmacher Institute:

•Although only 13% of teens have had sex by age 15, most initiate sex in their later teen years. By their 19th birthday, seven in 10 female and male teens have had intercourse.[1]

Overall, abstinence only education has been found to be ineffective. Here we go again with these silly statistics on effectiveness getting in the way of popular opinion and big lobbying dollars. This time it’s from the National Institutes of Health from 2005:

Using the most recent national data (2005) from all U.S. states with information on sex education laws or policies (N = 48), we show that increasing emphasis on abstinence education is positively correlated with teenage pregnancy and birth rates.

and it goes on..

These data show clearly that abstinence-only education as a state policy is ineffective in preventing teenage pregnancy and may actually be contributing to the high teenage pregnancy rates in the U.S. In alignment with the new evidence-based Teen Pregnancy Prevention Initiative and the Precaution Adoption.

Oh effective curriculum be damned.  Hell there is nothing better than sending my kid to school and making sure that they do nothing more than learn things that don’t actually mean a damn thing.

Good thing we aren’t leading the world in science and math.  We can continue that trend by raising children who can’t actually read these science-based studies from the National Institutes of Medicine and Health showing that the gun and abstinence only sex education doesn’t actual change behavior outcomes.  Well done lawmakers!

Now that we are also in a budget crunch, what other programs are you going to cut in our MO schools?  Art?  Music?  Let’s replace unnecessary programs like these with ineffective programs like Eddie Eagle and Just Say No To Sex. Does Just Say No To Sex have a snappy jingle too?

“You and Jenny like to dance

Just remember to keep it in your pants.

Kissing and necking may be in

but something that isn’t is showing some skin.”

Necking…I now 1955 called and they want their word back.  I know…I know…it needs work, but you get my point.

Abstinence-Only-Sex

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Breaking: Boy Scouts of America – the square knot to be renamed

An official announcement came today indicating that the Boy Scouts of America may be reversing their position on banning gay scout leaders.  This after a 2000 Supreme Court decision finding in favor of the Scouts for upholding their ban prohibiting gay scouts.

From a Boy Scouts spokesperson, “We’re a grassroots organization. This is a response to what’s happening at the local level,” the official said.

It is noted that this most recent statement didn’t come out of concern to do what is right, but a response to outrage at the local level.  Anyhow, the announcement also came after years of study determining if one must be heterosexual to perform tasks like tying knots, build a tent and canoe.   Some believe that the Scout’s position on prohibiting homosexual leaders was a bit out of date for a modern society.  Being a “square”, like the knot, is a phrase that dates back to the 1950′s defining a prude where some believe the long-standing position belongs. 

“We were under the false assumption that scouts could only love women in order to tie effective knots.  After years of research and costly studies, it turns out that homosexuals and heterosexuals can effectively tie the same knots.” anonymous spokesperson

Now the Scouts are faced with an even bigger challenge – renaming the knots that they have become so famous for.  Some suggestions for renaming the square knot include:

squareknotlayout

  • The tricky knot
  • The fancy knot
  • The holy crap this is difficult knot.

 

The Scouts will continue to test if other aspects of scouting are impacted by who you sleep with.  There is still no verdict on whether helping the elderly cross the street and canoeing down a river are tasks that can be performed by someone other than heterosexual males. 

“We believe that helping the elderly cross the street by someone other than a heterosexual may not have the negative impact we originally thought. We will now more once the testing is complete.” anonymous spokesperson

The next step is changing the scouting pledge to reflect the change:

Old version
On my honor I will do my best
To do my duty to God and my country
and to obey the Scout Law;
To help other people at all times;
To keep myself physically strong,
mentally awake, and morally straight.

New version

On my honor I will do my best
To do my duty to God and my country
and to obey the Scout Law:
To help other people at all times;
To keep myself physically strong and mentally awake
because it doesn’t matter if you are gay or you are straight.

There are still ongoing studies to see if this last verse will be accepted and what the greater impact on scouting may be.

Until all of these various studies are concluded, the public will have to be satisfied with the possibility that the Scouts “may” reverse their anti-homosexual position.

“We are doing our best to get our scouts from the 1950 version of scouting up to a more modern, 1965 version of the scouting.  Progress takes time-lots and lots and lots of time.”

From my WTF file – Bill of Rights Engraved on Guns.

I’ve been writing about gun control a lot and have been fortunate to debate gun control on Darla Jaye’s 980 KMBZ show (shout out to my favorite Conservative – woot, woot).

Most of the opposing views expressed have been summed up like this – “People who don’t understand guns are the ones who want to prohibit guns.” And loving comments like “you don’t know what the hell you are talking about.”

This feedback had me thinking – what do I really know about guns?

In full disclosure, I have shot a gun once. It was a long, long time ago in the desert of Arizona. My family decided to take a tour of Phoenix. Our tour host was an old-fashioned cowboy complete with the handlebar mustache. While we were out admiring how dry the desert actually was..he showed me and my brother his gun. It was something similar to the picture in this post.

The cowboy asked if my brother and I wanted to shoot it. Curiosity got the best of me and I said yes.

He handed me this gun and told me to aim far in the distance. We were standing on a slight hill in the middle of nowhere. I aimed out to the horizon and shot the gun.

Way off in the distance I heard “hey” shouted.

Now I’m sure the gun had blanks in it (I hope), but it was enough to scare the crap out of me. That was the first and last time I ever shot a gun.

I think my cowgirl experience is enough to call myself “experienced” with guns or should I say…a gun. (sticking tongue out in a very mature matter to all those gun-rights people out there).

Uberti Army

I have been researching a lot about guns lately to help support my points.

Sen. Feinstein introduced new legislation to ban 157 different types of assault weapons. I did a Google search to see if that is a large percentage of the guns manufactured in the US or a small percentage. 157 sounds like a lot if the total number of guns manufactured is say 250…I think you get my point. I do know that the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms said that in 2011 there were about 6.1 million guns manufactured in the United States minus the exports. http://factcheck.org/2012/12/gun-rhetoric-vs-gun-facts/

How many of the 157 brands are there out of that 6.1 million? I can’t answer that.

However, on search, I found this little gem: http://fmkfirearms.com/index.html

It’s a pistol with the Bill of Rights etched in the gun. In the manufacturer’s words – Model 9C1 pistol. Putting the Bill of Rights where it belongs.” And they go on..

Each FMK Firearms 9C1 pistol is engraved with the Bill of Rights to remind Americans about our inalienable rights, and pay tribute to those great leaders who have fought for our freedoms, while some ignoble ones have endeavored to undermine them.

First, how small must the font be on that pistol? Second, the inalienable rights include the right to life, liberty and pursuit of happiness. I guess maybe they are focusing more on the liberty and pursuit of happiness part and less on the life part.

  • What about all those killed by accidental gun shots?
  • What about all those people killed by mass shootings?
  • What about all the women murdered in domestic violence assaults?
  • What about all those killed in homicides?

Don’t all those victims also have a right to life? Maybe these pistols are manufactured by someone in the Gen X generation. It has been coined the “me generation”. Maybe it’s this type of selfishness that has made America great, but also our own worst enemies.

I guess the flip-side of the argument is that guns can be used to protect your life and not just take someone else’s. So then I searched for how many people save their life from having a gun per year. Not so simple – one can’t assume that every home invasion is life-threatening. Maybe a thief is only after your flat screens, Macs and espresso machines. For as many statistics that show that guns make people safe, there are statistics saying more guns equals more homicides and suicides.

Then I found this from the same article referenced on Factcheck.org -

There is work the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention could and should be doing, she said, but has not since the late 1990s. CDC has been wary of studying gun issues after NRA lobbyists convinced Congress to cut into its funding after a series of studies in the mid-1990s were viewed by the NRA as advocating for gun control.

Thanks NRA and CDC – my search for facts to help support my argument has stopped….(big sigh) I guess I’ll go off the argument that guns should be prohibited cause I said so. So there.

Announcement – new company to provide gun background checks

Dear American people,

I am submitting a proposal that I hope you will take into consideration as a possible solution to our gun problems in America. As the gun debate continues, it seems like Democrats and Republicans are all agreeing that background checks are necessary when it comes to purchasing a gun. All too often there are places like the internet and gun shows where guns are purchased without a necessary background check. If there is anything I think our representatives can come to agreement on, it’s expanding the background checks to apply everywhere a gun is purchased.

The next question is…where is the money coming from to fund this proposal and is this something better handled by a private company?

I don’t usually agree with Republicans on much, but I think in this case there is a private company can do a very thorough job at conducting background checks. That is why I am officially endorsing eHarmoney as the company who can provide the most comprehensive background checks this nation needs.

“Wait, isn’t eHarmoney an online dating site?” you may be asking.

Correct…eHarmoney is an online dating site.

Allow me to explain.

Once upon a time there was a women, a very, very young woman, who was looking for love. She decided that in order to find love, she would do as millions like her have done before – she was going online looking for a “lasting relationship”. That eHarmoney commercial with the gray-haired man talking about love kept popping into her mind. Pictures of the cute couples who “complete each other” were something that attracted this young woman to pick eHarmoney as her online dating match maker.

So, this young woman took the “free personality profile” to get set up so she could find the love she so longed for. 29 questions was all it took. She read the directions and noted when it said to answer to the questions as honesty as possible to find your love.

So she did…

On a grading scale of “never” to “always” she answered questions like:

1. Do you like being the center of attention? (she writes a blog that she hopes people will read) Always

2. Are you kind? Depends on the day she thought, but she answered slightly right of center towards the always mark.

3. Do you want to be sexually compatible with your mate? Who the hell would answer no? So she answered “always”. If “hell ya” was an option, she would have written that in.

4. Do you want to have more kids? Wait, wasn’t the first question what’s my, I mean her, age? Do the math eHarmoney – Advanced maternal age at this point is an understatement. Hell to the no.

5. List 3 things you cherish: her daughter, her blog and a good game of craps and yes in that order.

For about a half an hour she answered the questions honestly. Does she work out? Sometimes. Do you care if your mate is physically attractive? What type of question is that? Totally in the eye of the beholder so that falls on the middle of the “care-meter”.

The answers flowed so quickly she was almost giddy at the end when she would hit submit and all of the potential matches would come flowing onto her computer screen.

SUBMIT

“We are sorry, but we are unable to match you at this time. This is not a personal reflection of you. blah blah blah blah blah”

Wait..what? No match? No “you complete me” couple. Nada..zero..zilch…no love.

I, I mean she was rejected by an online dating service.

Rock freaking bottom….

She tried to go back and “soften” her profile. Maybe she didn’t always have to be the center of attention. Maybe she is nicer than she gives herself credit for. Maybe sexual compatibility is over-rated. She could just live as good friends with her love match. I mean aren’t there some religious sects that do that? You know they call each other “brother” and “sister”. Or is that Mormanism? She gets confused.

The back button only confirmed her sudden panic- locked out. The same humiliating message came up. It should have read, “You only have one time to make a good first impression. So sorry you old maid. Now go pet your many cats.”

This sad story is why I believe that the best possible company to profile and accept new gun owners are the same people who hold the keys to love. eHarmony – the name alone is peaceful – Harmony (insert angels singing and playing harps).

Harmony is something we all strive for with gun ownership. We hope to never actually have to use the gun we buy for protection. Who better to profile potential dangers to our society then the same online dating system that can dump potential online clients in a half an hour and reject their willingness to give them money to set them up. Whatever eHarmony’s secrets are to matching love, lets apply those same tactics to weed out dangerous criminals trying to buy guns.

Gun background checks could just be the beginning for eHarmony….maybe terrorist profiling is next. The options are endless. Hell, for all this woman knows, answering these questions may have put her on some list and not the one that eHarmony advertises.

eHarmoney – the American people will be in touch regarding this proposal.

The woman wanted me to share her parting message to eHarmoney as she logged off her profile.

Go fuck yourself eHarmony. Now move that middle of center “kind” answer all the way to the NEVER mark. That other question about her temper – she is working on it.

Sincerely,

Aimee

A bi-partisan issue that needs immediate attention RT #WoW to show support!

Dear Democrats and Republicans,

I am declaring it. Right now, right here, let the history books show that I have officially declared our next war.

I am declaring war on the war on.

The shorter versions is war on war or for twitter #WoW – pretty cool that one worked out.

So why the #WoW?

Democrats you are guilty. Republicans, you are also guilty. We are all guilty of “declaring war” on every issue and everyone these days.

It started back when everything was a “gate’.

  • Climategate – Thanks Gore
  • Nipplegate – remember when Janet Jackson’s boobie popped out at the Superbowl.
  • Memogate – Bush’s forged memos to get him out of war.
  • Watergate – oh wait, that’s the actual place where a scandal ended up happening. This one doesn’t count.
  • Fajitagate – yes, fajita gate – probably the lesser known of the “gates” in 2002 in San Fran two police officers allegedly assaulted 2 civilians over what they thought were drugs – turns out it was a bag of steak for fajitas.

The list is really endless. “Gate” became synonymous with scandal. I get that – Watergate was a huge political scandal. It makes sense.

Here is what doesn’t make sense – everyone declaring “War” on political issues.

  • War on Christmas – That was me – sorry, my bad.
  • War on Women
  • War on Guns
  • War on Christianity
  • War on Poverty
  • War on Drugs – oh wait…this one may very well be a war.
  • War on Traditional Marriage
  • War on Homosexual Marriage
  • War on Gays in the Military

war-on-drugsI could go on and on. I understand that it’s a way to get the emotions boiling in people. It seemed to work in the last election and against the GOP – War on Women anyone?

Since we are all so concerned about the mental health and well-being of our citizens and all of the mass shootings that have taken place – I think a perfect place to start chilling out this society is by declaring less “War on (insert issue)”.

Maybe it’s not the guns or the video games that are killing people – maybe it’s all of these philosophical, political and ethical “wars”.

Simmer down folks! Let’s all go to our collective happy places.

How about we look at some gentler language we can use when we declare the next “war”.

  • Slight skirmish on women
  • A duel on poverty
  • A ground assault on climate change
  • A flyover on traditional marriage
  • A tongue lashing on homosexuality – sorry…that was too easy.

If we are ever going to have a stop to all of this bipartisan bickering – let’s put to death the term “war on”. Let’s stomp it out, beat it into submission, light it on fire until it is nothing but ashes..o.k. you probably get my point.

Democrats and Republicans – reach across the aisle and declare a #WoW. If you are with me, tweet a #WoW! Together we can make a difference for getting this society to chill the hell out.

Yours in peace,

Aimee

p.s. – I know me so I am prepared to eat crow on this one by next week.

 

OUTRAGE – MO Senate proposing adding NRA curriculum for 1st graders

Update:  Gov. Nixon signed the bill today – 7/12/13.  Please forward this if you are unhappy with this decision.  

In response to the nation’s Sandy Hook school shooting, the Missouri Senate introduced a bill in December 2012 to provide gun safety instructions to Missouri’s first graders.  

SB 75 – This act establishes the Active Shooter and Intruder Response Training for Schools Program (ASIRT). By July 1, 2014, each school district and charter school must train teachers and school employees on how to respond to students with information about a threatening situation and how to address a potentially dangerous or armed intruder or active shooter in the school or on school property. Training must be conducted on an annual basis. Initial training must be eight hours in length and continuing training must be four hours in length. All school personnel must annually participate in a simulated active shooter and intruder response drill conducted by law enforcement professionals, as described in the act. Program instructors must be certified by the Department of Public Safety’s Peace Officers Standards Training Commission. (Section 170.315)

 

Each school district and charter school must annually teach the Eddie Eagle Gunsafe Program to first grade students, or use a substantially similar or successor program of the same qualifications. The purpose of the program will be to promote safety and protection of children and emphasize how students should respond if they encounter a firearm. School personnel and program instructors must not make value judgments about firearms. Firearms are prohibited from the teaching of the program. Students with disabilities will participate to the extent appropriate. (Section 171.410)

images

Meet Eddie Eagle and dreamy 90210 heartthrob – Brandon Walsh from 90210 a.k.a. Jason Priestley.

The Eddie Eagle gun safety program is brought to you by none other than the National Rifle Association.

What’s so wrong about teaching 1st graders gun safety?  Nothing if “stop, don’t touch, leave the area and tell an adult” was an effective message.  Turns out that a study done by the National Institute of Medicine in 2004 comparing Eddie Eagle  and another behavior change curriculum on gun safety found that Eddie’s gun safety message didn’t do much more than teach kids to recite the snappy tune:

RESULTS

Both programs were effective for teaching children to reproduce verbally the gun-safety message. The behavioral skills training program but not the Eddie Eagle GunSafe Program was effective for teaching children to perform gun-safety skills during a supervised role play, but the skills were not used when the children were assessed via real-life (in situ) assessments.

CONCLUSIONS:

Existing programs are insufficient for teaching gun-safety skills to children. Programs that use active learning strategies (modeling, rehearsal, and feedback) are more effective for teaching gun-safety skills as assessed by supervised role plays but still failed to teach the children to use the skills outside the context of the training session. More research is needed to determine the most effective way to promote the use of the skills outside the training session.

To read the entire study click here: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/14702451

Oops…turns out Eddie Eagle isn’t flying high when it comes to effective gun safety training.

MO Politicians – in a time when vital school programs are being cut due to budget constraints, does it make sense to carry out a program that has no evidence-based results?  If all my child is going to learn from Eddie Eagle is to sing a gun safety song,  how about if you fund better music programs so my child can learn other valuable music lessons and sing other fun songs?

A bill like SB 75 is nothing but a cosmetic fix that adds insult to injury, because it is sponsored by this nation’s most powerful gun lobby.  It embeds the NRA into our Missouri Schools.  This is not a fix, but a PR ploy by the NRA and sponsored by MO lawmakers.

I demand more from our representatives.  I am against teaching about gun safety in our nation’s schools, but I am even more against adding behavior-change curriculum that shows no concrete results for actual change.  Call your MO repesentatives and urge them not to vote for this bill.  Demand that any curriculum added to our children’s schools should only be added when evidence shows it can actually reduce gun accidents in children.  While you are at it, remind them to keep funding our school’s music programs.

Eddie Eagle can buzz off.  Brandon Walsh however…

To the NRA App Help Desk – URGENT Question about my magic wand

1/15/13

To:  NRA APP customer service/help desk

From:  Aimee Patton

Re:  game app

To whom it may concern,

I am writing to ask for assistance with your new ipad/iphone app.  I recently downloaded this app for  my six-year-old to enjoy.  I am always looking for new games and since this game was designed for those “4 and up”, I thought it would be perfect to add to my daughter’s game collection. Sure enough, it fits perfectly between the Disney Princess dress-up game and her Tangled storybook game.

I was listening closely to the NRA’s statement after the Sandy Hook Elementary shooting.  The NRA and I don’t agree on much, but, LaPierre voiced the same concern I have over increasing violent video games impacting our society:

images - Copy

 

“Through vicious, violent video games with names like Bulletstorm, Grand Theft Auto, Mortal Kombat and Splatterhouse. And here’s one: it’s called Kindergarten Killers. It’s been online for 10 years. How come my research department could find it and all of yours either couldn’t or didn’t want anyone to know you had found it?

Then there’s the blood-soaked slasher films like “American Psycho” and “Natural Born Killers” that are aired like propaganda loops on “Splatterdays” and every day, and a thousand music videos that portray life as a joke and murder as a way of life. And then they have the nerve to call it “entertainment.”

But is that what it really is? Isn’t fantasizing about killing people as a way to get your kicks really the filthiest form of pornography?”

So when it was time for me to find the next video game to occupy my six-year-old, I turned to the NRA to entertain my child.  I thought it  was a safe choice since your President said violent video games were to blame for our violent society.  I downloaded your new NRA gaming app. This is where I need some help, because my daughter and I can’t seem to figure this game out. Heck, it’s probably user error, but let me explain.

It’s obvious that we get a magic wand.  We were a bit confused when the magic wand turned out to be black, but hey we are open-minded.  All magic wands don’t have to be purple and sparkly.   Then it asked if we wanted to play “inside” or “outside”.  We picked outside, because that is where you can find sweet animals like bunnies to have a nice picnic with.

My daughter took her magic wand to wish for her picnic and there were about 9 holes in the ground.  We assumed that is where the bunnies or other fuzzy animals jumped out of to join us for our picnic.

Turns out it was dishes that jumped out of the hole.  We get it – start with dishes to set the table for an outdoor picnic.  I’m sure the glasses, food and silverware would have popped out next.  Every time we pointed our magic wand at the dishes to set the table for our picnic, the dishes broke.  We can’t seem to get past the part where we get the dishes to set our table for our magical, outdoor picnic.

Now there was a second when I thought that the wand may be a gun and the dishes were for target practice.  I feel silly even bringing this up, because I”m sure that is the farthest thing your gaming developers wanted with Wayne LaPierre’s statement about violent video games causing people to kill.  I may be out of line, but you really should get some better gaming designers who can make these magic wands appear more “fairy-like” since it’s for children “4 and up”.  Usually sparkles and bright colors appeal to children.

Please let me know how we can get past the flying dishes so we can finish setting the table for our outdoor picnic and get to the 2nd stage of your app.  It’s obvious that my black magic wand I’m using is defective or I’m not using it correctly.

Thank you for your assistance and for developing such a sweet and peaceful game for our children.

Yours in raising peaceful children to become non-violent adults,

Aimee

 

Guns don’t kill people, cars kill people

There was a comment posted on a previous blog that I wrote CLICK HERE TO READ and in response to my gun debate with Darla Jay on Friday night. (KMBZ 980 from 6-9 p.m. – thanks Darla!)  that I think needs some attention and a reply.

I’m including the link to this comment, because the comments  are hard to find on my blog:  http://pleasantlyeccentric.wordpress.com/2013/01/10/attention-nra-and-politicians-idea-to-overhaul-mental-health-you-cant-ignore/#comments (note to self – change comments section to be more visible on blog)

Please go read it and then come back.

waiting…waiting…..waiting….

images

 

Dear Mr. Fisher,

First, thank you for listening to Darla’s show last night and for taking the time to respond to my blog post.  Your response was insightful, respectful and I enjoyed reading it.  It was much better than the text that came in during the show that read “SHE IS JUST WRONG”.  I really appreciate it.

You bring up some excellent points, as did a lot of the callers on last night’s show.  I think it is this kind of healthy dialog that will get real change to occur.

So let me respond to some of your points.

I’ve found that most people that aren’t familiar with guns tend to be a little uneasy around them and don’t see the need for anyone to own one. 

Mr. Fisher, you are correct here, but I would say “uneasy” is an understatement.  The word I would have used is scared.  The outbreak of mass shootings has me on edge.  I know there are statistics that you could find that could show that the probability that I would be shot in a mass shooting is almost nothing.  I get that, but I can’t help but be more than just a little uneasy about guns, mass shootings and the fact that a lot of these guns used were purchased legally.

While you were on Darla’s show a fella called in and made mention about cars killing more people than guns. You said that guns were designed to kill and cars weren’t. Going by the statistics that you like to promote it is pretty clear that cars DO kill many thousands more civilians than do guns. 

You are correct here Mr. Fisher, cars do kill many more people than guns.  I found this argument to be the most interesting in last night’s debate. I don’t know how well I made my point last night, so let me lay it out here.

You can’t ignore the fact that guns were originally designed and produced to hurt and kill.  It may be animals, it may be people, but the invention of guns and bullets was to hurt and kill.  Cars on the other hand were designed to get a person from one place to another – it is far from the same thing.

You go on to say-Lets regulate cars. You know they have a lot more moving parts that can malfunction and there you go, you have an accident. But it probably could have been prevented by better maintenance which you are responsible for or it could have more design controls that would make the car so expensive that you couldn’t afford one. Is that something you are interested in? 

We do regulate cars!  In fact, the states with the highest number of vehicle fatalities are the states with the fewest regulations.  

http://247wallst.com/2012/05/24/the-most-dangerous-states-to-drive-in/3/

We are constantly increasing the safety standards and passing new legislation to keep people safe on the roads.  I think my daughter has to sit in a booster seat until she is 21 now.  Increased vehicle fatalities means more regulations whether it be in seat belt laws and fines, reduced speed limits, no texting while driving laws and higher penalties and for drunk driving.  Why shouldn’t the same be true for guns?  By the way, remind me not to drive in Mississippi – they ranked #1 on the list for vehicle fatalities.

The 2nd amendment is not free from regulation.  Let’s remember that the 1st amendment is regulated all the time.  Freedom of speech, like I enjoy here, is regulated.  I don’t have the right to yell fire in a crowded theater, I don’t have the right to drop the f-bomb on network television (cable – well that’s another story), I can be sued if I slander someone’s name. Why do gun advocates think that the 2nd amendment is so sacred and can’t be regulated?   

You also bring up mental health - Mental health issues have been connected to a lot of the suicides and school killings. In fact if you are going to kill someone whether it is with a gun or something else you have to have some kind of mental issue. So why not address that? The money you would spend on more gun controls would be better spent on better research and help for the mentally ill. The money you would be spending would help more people and help prevent more suicides and school killings than any gun control you can dream up. 

 

You and I agree on something!  Yes, please let’s do something about mental health!  Again, I’m at a loss for what can be except throw more money at the problem.  What I’ve heard suggested is more state mental institutions, forced institutionalization and the mental health database proposal.  Maybe this is the same frustration you share with me about guns – you are punishing the many for the acts of the few.  If early intervention is the key to prevent more shootings, then who get institutionalized?  Who gets put in the database and monitored?  Like I said last night, millions of Americans take antidepressants.  Do we put everyone in the database and monitor all of these people who take these drugs?  Do we force institutionalization on everyone who has been diagnosed with schizophrenia   How about bi-polar?  Where does it stop?  There are many people who have these conditions that lead productive lives and are not a danger to society.

I don’t think either one of us has the solutions to this complex problem.  Like I said last night, as much as I would like to see a gun-free society, even I understand that isn’t going to be possible.  I think the point of this whole thing is both sides have to give.  Maybe the gun supporters need to stop believing that the government is going to take all guns and maybe those of us who have been diagnosed with a mental illness need to not be so paranoid about being locked away.  I believe it has to be a combination of both – better mental health services and funding and more measures to keep citizens safe from guns.  I hope that maybe I have swayed you just a little.

Again, I can’t thank you enough for providing your comment.  I don’t think either one of us will ever see eye-to-eye, but I can definitely say I understand your point of view better.  Who knows, maybe some politicians in Washington will read your comment and my response and maybe they can learn something. ;)

Sincerely,

Aimee

 

 

 

 

A letter to my daughter – doing what is right doesn’t always feel great.

Dear Amelia,

I know you are only six, but I feel like someday you might read this.  After you stop rolling your eyes about my political posts, hopefully you will find this post.  I want to tell you honestly how it feels to stand up for something you believe in.

I know there probably have been a lot of people, myself included, that have told you that standing up for what is right always feels great.  You will feel great, you will influence people around you and they will feel great – everyone around you will rally with you and all will leave feeling so amazing that you all did the right thing in voicing what you felt was wrong, unjust or unfair.

Sometimes that’s correct and you will get a lot of support from those around you.

However, here is the honest truth – it doesn’t always feel great.  In fact sometimes you can end up feeling pretty lousy.

You might be thinking, “What do you mean it doesn’t feel great?  In the Lorax, the kid did what was right by planting a tree and the whole town came together with a big song and dance number in the end validating his feelings and actions.”

Dr-Seuss-The-Lorax-Movie-Poster

Here is why…

Doing what you believe is right doesn’t mean everyone around you thinks it’s right.  Sometimes you won’t persuade people to see your side of it.  You may voice your concerns and nobody may agree.

Then there is this…

I wish I could tell you that the desire to be liked and included goes away.  I wish I could tell you that once you leave the school playground or the halls of high school that suddenly the burning desire to be invited to parties and have lots of friends goes away.

The desire to be liked and included never goes away. No matter how old you are or where you are in life, everyone wants to be liked and included.

However, standing up for something or voicing support for someone who is being treated unfairly is a lot harder than clicking the “like” button on Facebook post.  Hopefully you will still know what I’m talking about when you read this, meaning if there is still Facebook – the pictures on Facebook showing a child who has been bullied or who looks different and to show support everyone clicks “like”.  That is an instant, feel-good moment where you can see the results of your actions – usually there are thousands of “likes” to show that everyone feels that child shouldn’t be bullied.  I call these “collective, warm fuzzies”.

I’m not saying that those Facebook posts don’t serve a good purpose, but the results of this are instant, usually number in the thousands in support with like-minded people and then after the click you move on.   The flip-side of this is if you don’t click “like”, no one will know.

Looking someone in the eye and voicing your opinion over something you feel isn’t right is hard and unfortunately can end without a big song and dance number with everyone celebrating your courage.   In fact, you may feel like you are alone on an island.

Here’s the deal – I wish there was a “like” button on this blog post, because I know there are a lot of people out there who have felt just like you will.  I am sure there are others who have voiced their concerns when it wasn’t popular, when the group didn’t agree and when they also felt alone.

I raised you so I know there will be many times when you will voice your opinion.  Now, I am hoping as your mom, and an optimist,that you will never be alone when you voice your concerns.    I am hoping that in your life you will always find a big song and dance number every time you stand up for what you feel is right with all of those around you joining in the finale.

If that’s not the case, remember you will never be alone, if you do what you feel is right, I will be there on this island along with all the people who read this and know that same feeling.  Together we can make up our own amazing song and dance number just like the movies.

 

Love,

Mom

 

Attention #NRA and politicians – idea to overhaul mental health you can’t ignore

Dear 2nd amendment advocates and pro-gun politicians:

I wanted to take a quick second to talk about something we both agree on.  Yes, I know it’s amazing that there is anything we both agree on, but in a time for unity in this country, I did find something.  The mental health system in this country is broken.  Your spokesman Wayne LaPierre said it many times that guns weren’t the problem and fixing our broken mental health system in this country is what needs to be a priority.  We definitely don’t agree on the first part, but we do agree on the 2nd part.  Quick note – LaPierre used the word “lunatic” repeatedly to describe the mentally ill in this country – step one might be to stop using the word “lunatics” to describe our mentally ill.  A little sensitivity training might go a long way.

Anyway, not to get off track.  We both agree that our mental health system in this country needs an overhaul.  There was a report released from the Committee on Population that compared US life expectancy rates to those of other similar nations.  We ranked #16 in life expectancy versus other nations:

The USA ranks at or near the bottom in nine key areas of health: low birth weight; injuries and homicides; teen pregnancy and sexually transmitted infections; HIV and AIDS; drug-related deaths; obesity and diabetes; heart disease; chronic lung disease; and general disability.

From the Committee on Population: The result is that the life expectancy for men in the United States ranked the lowest among the 17 countries reviewed, at 75.6 years, while the life expectancy for US women ranked second lowest at 80.7 years. The countries reviewed included Canada, Japan, Australia, and much of Western Europe.

So…injuries and homicide was listed.  We all know LaPierre’s famous statement, “the only way to stop a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun.”  I’m still waiting on my bumper sticker by the way.  What is interesting in this report is injuries – intentional injuries specifically –  a.k.a. suicide.

The number one way that men commit suicide – GUNS – handguns to be specific.

Now we will never if the men who committed mass shootings were suicidal and decided to kill innocent lives as part of their suicidal mission, but what we do know is that suicide in this country is reducing our male life expectancy.  We do know that men are four times more likely than women to have successful suicide attempts.  We do know that handguns play a major role in suicide.  We do know that in domestic violence death can be linked to homicide of the victim and suicide of the murderer.

To ignore these statistics is to be irresponsible to the commitment to “overhaul our mental health system”.  To ignore this is to ignore the big elephant in the room.  To get into someone’s head who is mentally ill to find what the triggers are, get them adequate counseling and monitor their medication to prevent further tragedies and suicides is one difficult if not almost impossible task unless effective mind reading is a new medical advancement.  Reducing the number of guns that get into the hands of people with mental illness is something that is very possible and a very good start.

Millions of lives depend on solutions like these.  You can’t ignore statistics.

Thanks for keeping all options on the table to help solve this American crisis.

Yours in keeping people alive,

Aimee

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