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:

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“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

 

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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

URGENT – A Plea to Responsible Gun Owners

I couldn’t help, but pause yesterday during Christmas and remember the families grieving in Newtown as they dealt with their first Christmas without their precious children. As we continue to process the gun control debate in this country there is so much to consider.

My wish is that guns were outlawed altogether. Even I realize that is extreme.  I understand there is a time for compromise.  I continue to debate alternatives that may make our kids and our society safer.

The nation is already discussing the ban on semi-automatic weapons.  I think that is something that we will hopefully see happen.  I think there is also another option that should be considered.

In this country, we have determined that if parents serve alcohol to minors we hold them responsible.  Here is the following language from VA:

Parents may be held responsible if someone, as a result of alcohol use:

  • Gets into a fight and hurts someone.
  • Falls and hurts themselves or someone else.
  • Sexually assaults someone.
  • Damages property.
  • Dies from drinking too much.
  • Injures or kills someone while driving after leaving the party.

You have a civil liability (meaning you can be sued) to pay damages if either a partygoer is hurt or a third person is injured. Virginia law recognizes your liability for negligence if you provide alcohol to a minor who causes injury to another or him/herself. You may also face criminal charges of contributing to the delinquency of a minor.

Going off of this line of thinking, if gun owners in this country are “responsible gun owners” like the NRA claims, let’s up the expectations.  If a gun owner’s gun gets in the hands of their children or another person and that gun hurts or kills someone else, the gun owner is responsible and can be charge with the crime as if the gun owner committed the offense.

Let me be clear  - if your gun commits murder, you are charged with murder.

That way a person who feels compelled to own a weapon for “protection” or for sport will have to be seriously dedicated to do so to take the risk.   It may reduce the number of guns in our society, because of potential consequences to the gun owner.

I’m sure Nancy Lanza thought she was a responsible gun owner.

Also, there are no more gun accidents.  If your gun hurts or injures a child, you go to jail.  Again, this is based on the assumption that everyone is a responsible gun owner.

Your blessed 2nd amendment remains intact and it’s a win-win.  Again, if everything is on the table, then I believe this option should be as well.

If we treat alcohol as a deadly weapon and we hold adults who provide it to minors responsible for crimes they don’t necessarily commit, shouldn’t we hold gun owners to the same standard?

I’m asking you NRA.  I hope you are listening.

 

 

URGENT Congress- a must read response to LaPierre’s interview

Dear Congress:

I know you all are on Christmas Break.  I hope you can take a second to read this.  I’m sure you already know that Wayne LaPierre , the NRA’s spokesman, gave a press conference on Friday and appeared on Meet the Press.  Some Congressman and Senators have  issued statements also supporting no new gun control laws that would infringe on the 2nd amendment.  LaPierre asked that we put an armed security guard in all of our nation’s schools.

“If it’s crazy to put more guns in schools, then call me crazy.” LaPierre said.

You’re crazy Mr. LaPierre.  That was easy.

Here’s why.  According to the National Center for Education Statistics in 2009-2010 there were 98,817 schools in the United States.  This year we had Sandy Hook – that is one mass shooting out of 98,817.

Since 1927 there have been 11 school shootings. I am in no way minimizing these tragedies.  I, like any other concerned parent, realize that one tragedy is too many. However, common sense tells me that the odds are that my child will be safe.  Common sense also tells me that restricting the access to assault weapons would have also reduced the number of casualties in these shootings.  It’s not more guns to arm our teachers and added armed  guards to attempt to shoot intruder, it’s less high-powered guns to reduce the number of casualties.

Here is another point that Mr. LaPierre and politicians are leaving out.  The onset of most mental illness in people is 14 years old.  If mental health really needs to be overhauled in this country why have politicians frequently tried to cut school funding for vital programs like school counseling?  In some states school counseling programs have been eliminated altogether.

What do school counselors do?  According to the School Counselors Association,”Secondary school counselors are professional educators with a mental health perspective who understand and respond to the challenges presented by today’s diverse student population.”

The legislative update from the School Counselors Association reads:

The Elementary and Secondary School Counseling Program (ESSCP), the only federal program dedicated to creating and expanding school counseling services in America’s public schools, remains funded for FY12. Although the House of Representatives attempted to eliminate the program, the Senate and House ultimately agreed to fund ESSCP at approximately $52.296 million. The FY12 funding amount is a cut of 0.189 percent from FY11, which is the amount that was cut from all education programs.

I went through the list of each state and who has funded school counseling programs.  You can read the complete list here.

Some interesting findings:

Connecticut
Is school counseling mandated for grades K-8? No
Is school counseling mandated for grades 9-12? No
Is a mandate being considered? No
Certification rule (see p. 111)

Colorado 

Is school counseling mandated for grades K-8? No
Is school counseling mandated for grades 9-12? No
Is a mandate being considered? No
Other: Colorado is a local control state, which means many pre-kindergarten through 12th grade public education decisions (issues of curriculum, personnel, school calendars, graduation requirements, classroom policy, etc.) are made by the 176 school district administrations and their school boards.
Certification rule (see p. 165)

and my own great state of KS

Kansas
Is school counseling mandated for grades K-8? No
Is school counseling mandated for grades 9-12? No
Is a mandate being considered? No
Certification rule

I’m not a journalist, just a concerned parent.  I know that if we really want to do something to improve mental health in our nation, it is early detection and intervention.  Not funding and mandating school counseling is wrong.  There is still a need to ban assault weapons.   Putting armed guards in 98,000 of our nation’s schools costs money.   I would rather us arm every school with a qualified school counselor than a security guard.  

If I remember from the last election cycle, most of you ran on fiscal responsibility and no more “politics as usual”.  Show me you stand by your promise.  Fund programs that work like school counselors instead programs we know don’t work like armed guards in schools. Require that every school in our nation have a qualified school counselor with mental health screening for our youth.  Not only can we help prevent tragedies like shootings, but also other mental health initiatives like suicides and bullying.

Thank you,

Aimee Patton

Parent to a six-year-old and voter

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