Gun Control. We need a system.

With the recent shooting in California, in the wake of the events that took place in France, which was in the wake of another shooting in Oregon, not to mention all the ones in between and before, The internet is once again up in arms about Gun Control in America.

Side note: Yes I know that France is in Europe, but it still gets Americans talking about gun control.

Side Side Note: My sympathies to all those families that these incidents have affected.

I get frustrated every time this happens, not for the obvious tragic reasons, and not for the selfish reason of seeing the internet once again decorated with second amendment quotes and “These other countries are doing it” arguments.

No I get frustrated because it follows a pointless pattern each time and no one seems to be learning from it.

Here is the pattern so everyone can see it.

  1. Shooting happens
  2. Everyone grieves briefly for the tragedy.
  3. Some internet Bunghole says “SEE GUNS ARE BAD!!!”
  4. Some other internet Bunghole says “NO GUNS ARE GOOD!!!”
  5. Everyone starts Yelling their opinion that falls on one side or another.
  6. People get tired of arguing and interest and awareness peters out and nothing gets done.
  7. Start from Step 1

This happens over and over and over and over….

here is the problem. Imagine a bunch of school kids all bunched together in a circle and tied up with one big rope going around them. That rope represents our country, The kids represent the people in that country. The kids have all been told that they have the freedom to do whatever, but they have to stick together as a whole, which means if the group wants to go somewhere, they have to work together.

In a situation like this, it’s pretty obvious what will happen. everyone in the group will try and go their own way for a second which will yield no progress. Then some of the kids will group up and force the direction of the whole group their way with sheer power in numbers. eventually those groups will team up with other groups to have more power. There is always one kid who notices that Numbers are the key to moving the whole group so they start speaking louder to rally the other groups to their aid. Let’s call this person Jane. Jane speaks out and says to the whole group of kids “hey we’re all moving this way, If you move this way too, we’ll get somewhere” and suddenly the whole group starts moving in a single direction.

After that goal is accomplished, eventually a need will arise that affects the whole group. In this Example, little Johnny needs to go to the restroom. he voices his need, but his strength alone can’t move the group. so his friends speak decide to help him and now Johnny has a group. However, even Johnny’s friends are not able to budge the group by themselves. This is because the other groups have a mindset of “isn’t my problem” and “why should I care, it doesn’t affect me.”

word of this problem begins to spread throughout the whole group. Eventually it even reaches back to Jane. She hears about little Johnny’s problem but doesn’t see the need to do anything about it, however while she discusses it with her friends, someone mentions “well, what if it was you who had to use the restroom? Eventually, we will all need to at some point.” Jane figures this is a good point, but has no solution, her friends can’t think of one either, but another group suggests that the whole group should move toward the restroom for easy access. Jane’s friends think this is a good idea and the other kids that have heard the rumors like it as well. Jane decides to take action! She yells out that the group is headed for the restrooms and they all set off on a mission to save poor johnny, and by extension, the whole group.

This is all and good. but what if the problem is a little more individualized problem. Let’s say a Teacher comes by, Mr. Wesson we’ll call him, and offers each of the kids the challenge of responsibility. He offers each of the children an egg. The benefit of the egg is that you can toss it up and down to provide entertainment, or protect yourself by throwing it at someone and if you keep it throughout the lesson, you get extra credit for the responsibility. The one rule is, if the egg breaks and it gets on you or anyone else, those people have to leave the group forever. You will receive a new egg if you survive the old one breaking. You can also choose to not have an egg so there’s no chance of you accidentally eliminating yourself from the group, or you can take the risk and responsibility and feel awesome because you are one of the egg carriers.

what happens is that some kids take the eggs and some don’t. The ones that took the eggs are for the most part responsible and mature about them. However there are a small percentage that do break eggs. Some do it accidentally whether by holding it wrong or by playing with it too much. Those kids are eliminated along with some of their friends who happen to in range of the egg splatter. other kids, mean kids, use theirs to throw at other kids usually taking out several from the splatter. then other kids take the responsibility of using their eggs to take out the mean kids, being careful not to get splatter on innocent kids (not always successfully but they try hard).

Now a large number of people’s friends are gone and the remaining population is upset and mourns their loss. It is decided in everyone’s minds that something needs to be done. so that no one else is lost. however, the only thing that seems to appease the Eggless group is to take away all of the eggs. the Egg holders don’t like this idea. It takes away their entertainment, protection, and extra credit. An argument breaks out with one group yelling “Eggs are bad!” the other group yelling “Eggs are Good!” The group is still split about 50/50.

Throughout the argument, eyes all start to focus on Jane. “She’s our leader, She’ll know what to do!!!” but Jane doesn’t know what to do. She wants to solve the problem, but either choice she makes will end in disaster, either losing her popularity or even getting hit with an egg. She doesn’t want the chance of that, even though she has a small secret group of egg holders protecting her at all times. Her friends are no help because they are split down the middle as well, whenever she tries to go with one side the other blocks her from making the change happen.

Sound Familiar? What’s the Solution?

Little Johnny, as it turns out, can help. He carries an egg himself, but understands the point of view of his eggless friends. While he can’t outright solve the problem, he can help the situation. He remembers things he’s been taught before, like “Stop, Drop, and roll”, “Duck, and Cover” and “Say no to drugs” and feels like there should be something for this situation as well.

Little Johnny proposes the following: Everyone is allowed to have an egg. But the egg must be kept in a little box. If the egg is ever seen by anyone they should say “I see an egg!” so that everyone pays attention to the one holding the egg. If the egg is ever out of a box and seen then they should yell “Danger, Egg! Danger, Egg!!!” at which point anyone with an egg should take theirs out of the box and be ready to defend themselves and others.

In order to keep the Egg holders happy, they will be able to take the eggs out of the box in the privacy of their own homes or in designated Egg playing zones.

Word of Johnny’s idea spreads through the group and makes it to Jane. She loves the idea and puts it into play immediately. She informs everyone of the “Johnny Law” and every egg holder is given a box. people are MUCH Safer and Eggs still get to be held by the egg holders.

Hey do you get the message?

The gun argument is not going to budge, and the president can’t do anything about it without the support of the rest of the government and wouldn’t want to anyway cause it could jeopardize his life and career.

Instead, why don’t we come up with a system.

I’m not a catch phrase writer so I haven’t come up with a good catch phrase to drive this thing home with, but I think about it like “Stop, Drop, and roll”, “Duck, and Cover” and “Say no to drugs”. We need to train our citizens on what to do when they are around guns to make everybody safer.

First of all, every gun owner should know that AS a gun owner, you will have a responsibility for the ones around you. You always have, but now we are really gonna drill that in your mind. You could be called upon at any moment to defend yourself and others, just by owning a gun.

When out in the public, your gun should be concealed. either in a cloth case or in a holster under your clothes. Now, if you are anywhere out in public and see a person’s gun, it will be your duty to say out loud “I see a weapon!” and indicate where by looking and pointing. As the one with the gun, it will be your duty to re-conceal the weapon. (Accidents happen, shirts roll up, jackets flap open, whatever). If you see that person’s gun out of it’s holster or case, You should then begin to yell out “Danger Gun DANGER Gun Danger Gun!” As a nearby gun carrier, you now have a permission and duty to draw your weapon and point at the danger gun. As the one WITH the danger gun, you have two choices, either put your weapon away, or face the wrath of the other gun holders around you.

In fact, the mere act of creating a danger gun situation should be punished. first by a warning, and eventually leading to jail time and confiscation of weapons.

We need to drill these steps into the minds of Americans and make this a mandatory procedure to follow. It won’t take guns away from American’s, It won’t completely eliminate the danger, BUT it will make things much safer and maybe reduce the number of incidents like Columbine, Sandy Hook, and Roseburg Oregon.

One More Review!

  1. Conceal your Weapons
  2. If you see it, say it “I SEE A WEAPON!”
  3. Not in it’s Holster? Yell it! “DANGER GUN! DANGER GUN! DANGER GUN!

If you can make it catchier, PLEASE DO!!

Thank you for your time!

Advertisements

ADD/ADHD: How does anyone SQUIRREL!!!-ing deal with this?!?!

J-D-scrubs-22808844-1024-768

Boy that person has shiny buttons on their shirt!

Let me start this off the right way. I have not been diagnosed with ADD/ADHD. There has not been any medical examination to tell me whether or not I have it for sure. However, this has not been without a lack of trying. Without giving away too much information (not that it’s hard to find), I live in a small town in Alaska that is located roughly 100 miles from Anchorage. The medical facilities here leave much to be desired. Almost a year ago I went to my doctor to talk about the fact that I was sure that I have ADD.

[Just a side note: I’m going to refer to ADD/ADHD as ADD especially when refering to myself from here on out. I don’t seem to have the H, but the more I lose weight (I am currently 300+lbs) I feel myself getting more antsy and “hyper”.]

When I went to my doctor and expressed my concerns, he said that he would be glad to help me, but neither he, nor anyone else in the town is properly qualified to diagnose ADD. He contacted the local Mental Health Agency and said they would call within 3 days. I went home and eagerly awaited the call… for five days. I then called the hospital, who referred me to the Mental Health Agency. I called them, and when they couldn’t find me in the system, they took my information and put me on the “list”. Almost a year later and I’m still waiting for that call. And if they do call, my first words to them will be “Well thank goodness I wasn’t suicidally depressed!!!”.

All I wanted out of that doctor visit was to confirm or deny my suspicions. Anybody can tell you they are sick with some condition, but it takes a doctor to make it believable and worthy of action. That’s what I wanted. If I had a doctor confirm to the best of his/her ability that I have ADD, I would like to pursue some help with it.

I have done a lot of “Internet” research on the subject of ADD. Mostly I have been looking through Tips, Tricks, and Hacks to help me with my tendencies. I have come to understand myself a lot better now, and I have found out things about myself that I have never known, but have been witness to the effects and aftermath. After hearing the descriptions and stories from people all over who have been diagnosed, I am 100% positive that I have Attention Deficit Disorder. (However, I would still like a diagnosis.)

One mind looking in all directions for stimulation

One mind looking in all directions for stimulation

So what is it like to have ADD? There is a lot of ignorance on the subject, and we’ve all heard the jokes (Hell, I used the most common one in the title of this post!). I have heard many descriptions from diagnosed individuals, but I feel we can always use one more. Therefore, I would best describe having ADD as being trapped in a mind that is always looking for stimulation. You are always on the lookout for something interesting and entertaining. It’s the simplest explanation I could come up with.

The scientific explanation (so far as we have discovered) says that people with ADD have a lack of Dopamine within their brain. I think this fits with my description of what it’s like to have ADD. Dopamine is the “Feel Good” hormone in our brain. It’s the reward system of our body. Whenever you do something good (eat chocolate, have sex, hug a loved one, etc) dopamine is released in your brain to tell you Hey, you should do that again. Dopamine is also a neurotransmitter which is essential for the function of the brain. Without Neurotransmitters, your neurons can’t transmit and your brain goes dead (this falls into the “Bad Things” category). Now I am not a scientist, (though I have thought about pursuing that field) but I think that if a brain were hurting for dopamine, it would look as long and as hard as possible for stimulation to create dopamine! Therefore, people with ADD tend to drift and have a really hard time doing mundane tasks.

Probably the first real evidence that I have ADD (that I am aware of) happened when I was in middle school. My grades would be great at the beginning of the year and then start to get worse towards the middle of the year. I would come back in to class and my homework would be partially done or not done at all. I would have trouble realizing that an upcoming due date for a project was really happening next week. (terms like the 18th meant nothing to me.) If we had to repeat a lesson because someone didn’t understand, I would get frustrated even though I understood why we had to do it. You might be reading this thinking “well this kid just hated school” or “well you just weren’t being smart” or something etc. etc. Well turns out, that’s what my Parents and Teacher thought as well. However, I would continuously frustrate them because all of my test scores were awesome! That’s basically what it came down to in the end. Bad at homework, great at tests.

This trend continued straight through high school. I would do terrible at finishing my homework, and then ace the tests. Especially Math. Math was the bane of my existence. We would spend all day learning how to do a bunch of math problems, and then they would send me home with 50 more to do. I didn’t like math at all. If I knew how to do the problem I didn’t want to do 50 more of them. I could sometimes choke down the ability to get it done some nights, but it was SO HARD to concentrate on doing math problems when my brain was looking for something, ANYTHING more entertaining to do. And when you are sitting in your bedroom filled with all of your cool stuff and video games… you’re pretty much doomed from the start. I was bored! That’s basically all it came down to. I would love school if the lessons were shorter and we had just moved on when it was learned.

What were we talking about again?

What were we talking about again?

That’s why people who have ADD will talk about how they go off on these little tangents. It’s the Drifting that they talk about, and the source for the “SQUIRREL!” Joke (Besides the movie UP). Basically You can be talking to someone, and they will say a word that will trigger a thought process that you end up following for a while, inside your head until you snap back to reality and realized you have missed almost all of the story of how their workday sucked. The exact same thing goes for reading. You can read a paragraph about something and the word “list” reminds you that you have to go to the grocery store, because part of your ritual for going to the grocery store  involves making a list. Then you imagine yourself going there and getting something like a banana, but all of a sudden you are thinking of your friend Joe and his relationship with Brandina because you saw them the last time you were there buying bananas and they looked like they were a bit tense. Then you start thinking about how your last relationship with your girlfriend/boyfriend went and how things could have worked out had you only been listening to her when she was telling you about how bad her workday was. Eventually you will get back to reading and you’ll have to start back at the last sentence you remember, but you have to take those little trips, because your brain needs the stimulation and it’s the one calling the shots.

That’s why life is hard for a person with ADD. They need the stimulation all the time, and if they aren’t getting it, they’ll sure as hell look for it. Chores become more of a chore than they already are. To normal people this might sound like a slight inconvenience, but to a person with ADD, this can become a source of stress that is nigh impossible to overcome. I hate doing daily chores, but I live alone so I have no choice but to do them. The problem is, when I do something around the house, I have a problem finishing it. I will eat food and then leave my plate wherever I am. I will start a project, then leave a mess. I will watch movies and play games, but not put anything away. Therefore, daily chores become this never ending battle for my own house.

And that’s just one aspect of my day!

Here is one of my days in a nutshell, in fact, this is probably exactly how tomorrow will go:
I will wake up. Spend my morning rushing around getting ready for work. Work 8 to Noon. Go home for Lunch. Work 1 to 5. Come home and eat something light. Go pickup my buddy for swimming. Swim at Open Swim from 6:30 to 8. go home and eat dinner. Waste time online until I go to bed at 11ish. The next day will go exactly the same minus the swimming. I have been trying to replace it with some other exercise routine.

I try to fit as much entertainment into those 5-6:30 and 8-11ish time slots that I can in order to keep sane. Chores are the last things on my mind during the week. But you have to do them, so I fit them in wherever I can. Mostly this occurs on the weekends. I have found a few ways of making chores easier. The two most effective ways are listening to Audiobooks or stand up comedians while I work. Then there is also doing the chores in small blocks of time sandwiched by periods of rest. (http://www.unfuckyourhabitat.com/ is a great resource for that).

Just keep Swimming, Just keep swimming!

Just keep Swimming, Just keep swimming!

My point is (I think) How is anyone supposed to live with their brain being wired abnormally? I can think of many other conditions that would be worse having, but how is anyone supposed to live with it? My only answer to myself has been one step at a time, one problem at a time. “Just Keep Swimming” as Dory from Finding Nemo would say.

Do you have ADD/ADHD? Hearing my story, do you think I have ADD/ADHD? What signs did you have? Did you notice it before others did? What knowledge can you pass on to me or anyone else who may be reading? please leave a comment down below!

Thank you for your time!

Fixing the Education of America

Picture from publicagenda.org

Picture from publicagenda.org

I am not a Teacher. I am not a PHD in anything. I am not a professor and I am certainly not Valedictorian. I am, however, a student of my past. I think a lot about what I have done in order to fully understand the reasons I did them. My past experience with education systems has lead me to an amazing truth that must be told to the world.

We are teaching our kids the wrong way.

You have heard it all before. You have heard how the school systems are shutting down health classes to give kids more time in the classes that only work their brains. You have heard how the schools have been have a hard time with their funding because the kids can’t pass the tests. There is a reason all of this is happening. There is a reason that kids have a bad attitude in public school. There is a reason why the majority doesn’t pass the tests and why we are now offering High School Equivalencies instead of Diplomas. The answer lies within the kids attitudes.

I remember back in my days of middle school. I would go through school just like the rest of the kids. Answering questions, talking in groups, making the most of my time their. The problem came when math class rolled around. Do not get the assumption that I am going to tell you that I was horrible at math until a teacher showed me a teaching method that turned my life around. No, I was very good at math. Not that you could tell though, my grades always began to plummet after the middle of the semester. I would stop bringing my homework in get zeros and have to make up the grades later. My teacher was always baffled by this. Why? because no matter how low my daily grades got, my test scores were always immaculate.

This always happened in all of my classes all throughout high school. My daily grades would suffer and yet all my tests had good scores. In fact I made it to pre-calculus until I opened up the chapter on “imaginary numbers” and said “That’s enough for me!” After that, I only ever did enough to pass.

Why did I do things that way? Was I not absorbing the information? If that were true wouldn’t my test scores have been low? I pondered this for a long time after graduation. I finally figured out what it was. It was staring me right in the face the entire time. The answer: I was Bored!

image from backstoryradio.org

image from backstoryradio.org

That’s right, I was bored! I was bored because we would spend an hour and a half on a single topic (I know, my school system has wierd schedules), and then the teacher would say “Well that’s enough of that topic for today! Your homework today is the 50 problems on page Twenty!” I would, of course, not do the work because life got in the way. You know, video games, chores, TV, going outside, hanging with friends. That was the kind of life that got in the way. I would say to myself “We went over it in class. I know how the thing works. I don’t need to do 50 problems more. It’s boring and won’t help me understand it more than I already do!” The next morning, I would march into class with no homework and get a zero for the day. I would also have to face the embarrassment of not handing in my homework in front of my fellow students.

I think this boredom problem affects all students and we are approaching the method of teaching wrong. There should be no reason that a kid should be sent home to do a huge number of problems from a text book. THAT IS WHAT SCHOOL IS FOR! The learning needs to be done in a classroom and it needs to be done differently to save time. Maybe that way we can pass the tests and cram some physical education in there too!

What is the solution? I do not have all the answers, but I can put us a step in the right direction. Imagine a class full of kids. The teacher is standing at the front of the class and the lesson is on the board. Today’s lesson: Multiplication. The teacher should spend the first few minutes of the class explaining what it is and how to do it and even giving some helpful tips (like holding up your fingers when multiplying by nines). After s/he is done with the lesson, The students should be asked to create and solve at least ten of their own problems. Then the students will be asked one by one to come up to the board to make an example question and answer it in front of the class. During this time the teacher can check his work on the paper handed in. An assesment will be made if the student understands the subject. If he doesn’t the teacher will help him. If he does, he will help any student’s after him who don’t understand along with the teacher. By the end, everyone should know the subject so well that they can answer any problems that come at them no problem and now we can move on to the next lesson.

This method of teaching will also help develop social skills. Kids will be braver about talking in front of a crowd. They will learn to work together to understand the problems and no one will be left in the back of the class because everyone will have their time at the front. They will also have more time at home for whatever they need because no homework should be neccesary.

image from anarkismo.net

image from anarkismo.net

The only other solution I have is to stop wasting time teaching our kids things that they don’t really need to learn. I spent an entire semester with the rest of my school learning the 50 states and their respective capitol’s by heart. I still know most of the Wakko’s America song by heart. I have never used that information since middle school except to prove that I knew the material to my friends. Kids need to know useful things. They need to know how to survive in the world and solve real world problems. The 50 states don’t come in handy when your tire goes flat on your car. I don’t need to know all of the presidents, just the ones that are important, maybe then I can have room for information on eating right for my health. I don’t need to know that Steinbeck was making a reference to the bible when he wrote the last scene of “Of Mice and Men”. I could, however, use the information of how to fill out those long forms at the hospital! Give our kids information they are going to use.

Even if you give kids information that is useless, try to give it in a more tempting way. I was fed the word “pi” in just about every math class I can remember. I always new it was never ending and I always new its relationship to circles, but did you know “the why of pi”? Pi is a never ending number because the only way we have been able to get it is through measurment. If you give a man a ruler and a string and a circle and tell him to find the exact number of pi and then compare his answer to the man sitting next to him, they will not have the exact same answer. Why? because measuring is not an exact science. You can’t see molecules with your naked eye, and string can stretch and the width of the line on the ruler comes into play as well. The only way we have been able to get pi to the (i don’t remember what it is now, billionth?) decimal point is because we use things like electron microscopes. If you want to get an exact number for pi and make all of our circular objects perfectly round from now on, you need to calculate it. Do not measure, calculate. You need to make an equasion. Did you also know that if you are successful in making that equasion, there are several universities that are ready to drop $1 Million dollars in your lap? How is that for incentive?

After learning all this I spent a month straight with a notebook and calculator in my hand trying desprately to come up with the answer. If I had known abou this in school I would have become an expert in geometry. I would have been obsessed with my school work. Alas, they did not tell me any of this, so here I sit. I am not rich and every circle in the world is flawed.

These are the things that need to change. If the education system is not working, then it needs to be fixed. Kids are smarter these days then they used to be. The education system needs to evolve with them or, God forbid, it will become extinct.