My little angel might be no angel at all…

What you are about to read is an opinion; it is not a solution, it is based upon expressed emotions pondered for a specific amount of time. We (as a society) are allowed opinions afforded us through the first amendment to the United States Constitution. Although we are afforded these rights, I will never abuse that privilege. I have and always will take very seriously what ever opinion is put forth by my ever spinning brain.

I purchased a laptop, and promised stories would continue, I wrote a few relatively funny snippets about parenthood but just could not bring myself to post them. Why? Life got in the way, and my sense of humor has been affected.

Over the past couple of weeks since posting my last story a multitude of events have transpired both locally and nationally  leaving me wondering what the hell?

  1. A warning comes down from the federal government stating that ISIS is now looking at soft targets.  That is right; no longer are we safe in our homes as operatives are now individually targeting military personnel, (first and foremost) police officers, politicians and firefighters.  We now have terrorism at its very core.  When you become afraid to post with pride what you do for a living through social media, walk out your front door, and fear for your family’s safety.  Our country has a serious problem. Note I said “fear” because that is the root of terrorism. It may never happen, it probably will never happen, but the fear is always there, always present.  For this I have no comment other than to shake my head in sadness for our country.
  2. School shooting in Washington.  We have all read or watched the reports.  Teenage boy gets together with his closest friends during lunch like he does everyday then pulls a gun from his backpack and proceeds to shoot them in the back, in the middle of the cafeteria, with all to see.
  3. Teenager walks towards a high school, back pack containing a handgun and several rounds of ammunition.  A friend of said teenager feels comments he made the previous day are of concern, notifies school administrators that this teenager had in fact made credible threats in regards to coming to school and shooting several individuals, including a teacher that very day. (this is all para-phrased) Long story short-cops look for teenager, teenager finds them first unloading several rounds into unsuspecting patrol car, barely missing the police officer inside. Short chase ensues, face off happens, teenager ends up with a superficial wound after being shot (public knowledge) by police.
  4. A young girl decides she has had enough.  After some discussion with her mother she disappears from home, the police are called and a missing persons report is filed. What no one knows or could have known was this girl proceeded to walk towards the train tracks and step boldly in front of a 70mph Amtrak train. I say boldly because it takes a certain amount of resolve/inner pain to willingly step in front of a moving train. It makes me nauseous just thinking about it.  It was my shift, my guys responded to the incident, and all though it is not the first time nor will it be the last time for our crew dealing with such a morbid scene along the railway. It has forever changed the face of suicide for each and every one of us. Her reasoning for taking her life stemmed from bullying.

These four things all happened with in the last few weeks.  I have screamed at the television, written a few things in regards, decided the tone was all wrong and deleted the subject matter. I as have all of you, have sat patiently while political pundits cast stones in all directions away from any responsibility their own party may bear.  I am frustrated, confused, disgruntled and angry! As a parent it makes no sense to me why we can’t create solutions! Instead we all sit by as the news media (who cares not one bit about finding an answer through non bias reporting, but instead thrives on ratings and if there are none then the story disappears forever) gnaws on the raw meat that is our emotions. My emotions are raw as well. I have pondered and pondered, written and as I stated before, erased. My blog has always been about my life, the life of my family, the fun and exasperating moments along the way. I never want anything on my page to become a political debate as it takes away from the fun.  Unfortunately this is still about my family as I have been affected personally by each of these 4 stories. Number #1 is self-explanatory. The shooting in Washington, #2, only in relation to #3 as my crew responded to this incident, and the “what if’s” rolled fast and furious afterwards. What if he made it to the school? What if-it turned into a mass shooting are we prepared? What if- my son was one of the victims could I have continued to do my job? Number #4 was also my crew and opened my eyes to what is out there, pulling my head from the sand and re-evaluating my own personal responsibility when it comes to our children. Remember these are only my opinions, and although many may disagree I am open to any conversation that is held respectfully on these topics.

  1. More gun laws- More gun laws are not the answer. I would like to say they are but they are not. The answer: allow our police officers to do their jobs, then hold the courts accountable for not upholding the strictest of sentences when these laws currently in place are broken!!! We don’t ever hold our court system accountable! It amazes me that a drug offense is stricter than a gun violation. Our country screams for justice, why are we not starting with the justice system! We knee jerk react instead of planning for the future in turn we allow another idiot politician to revel underneath his own fodder, founding a bill in their
    name so he/she can pat him/herself on the back a little more.  Here is another idea, how about a revision of all laws currently on the books in regards to guns? I bet there are many that are redundant or have no bearing what so ever in this supposed civilized society! Listen people a sign at school that says this is a no gun zone doesn’t mean shit to an angry person hell-bent on vengeance.  And if it’s not a gun, then maybe its a crossbow, or a knife or what ever that angry person is using in the commission of a crime. Hell a weapon is not a description used solely for guns as the news media would have you believe! A weapon is any object used in the commission of a heinous act.  I get it, put up the sign which creates another charge added to the suspect, but that leads us back to my original complaint! Our justice system. Now before you get angry with me, I am neither pro-nor anti gun.  I am for reasonable people making reasonable decisions when it comes to our future as a society. Something I feel we have lost.
  2. Bullying- Ok so we have all been bullied at one time or another in our lives. If you have read any of my stories than you know in high school I was a bit mouthy (yes that means I bullied a time or two as well).  Got myself into trouble and at times ran scared (being bullied in return).  The ability to handle those situations and learn from them is what made me the person I am today, it developed my character.  We as parents cannot protect our children from everything and at some point they (our kids)  need to learn to stand up for themselves, hopefully with our help and guidance. Although that all sounds good and fine, it is not happening, the problem lies with our current way of living, our social structure, the need for rapid gratification! What is the problem, the root cause you ask?  Social media and a severe lack of respect! Not just for others, but for ourselves! Our children are not equipped for what lays in wait for them on the internet, like a wolf hiding in grandmas dress waiting for little red riding hood to come through the door, so does the internet. We have provided our children with too much! To much freedom, too much trust, to many  electronic gadgets with windows to a world we just can’t keep shut from prying eyes! Television shows  that exemplify treating your best girlfriends like shit, talking behind their backs, having sex as a social status in school! Teenage girls portrayed as sluts, hookers, meat for young boys to have anyway they wish and whenever they want! And if you don’t give it up, you are anonymously trashed on every social media site available! FB, Yik Yak, KIK, Snap-chat all there to post how she was a slut, what degrading acts you performed on her (or really didn’t but by lying about it you keep your rep), why she should sleep with your friends-oh hello snap-chat! Here is a picture of her naked everyone, I took it with my cell phone camera! I promised I wouldn’t show any one, but I lied! Also On the Snap-Chat front, girls willingly sending pictures of their boobs to boys! What the hell! It’s no wonder bullying is such a problem! Dont believe me?                               I will use Yik-Yak as an example. I downloaded the app, set my geographical area to the center of my town, within one hour I knew where to go for drugs, who was looking to score, what girls were hoes (yes I even knew a few of them) whose ass was so hot it needed to be (one boys own words) POUNDED! I now know the description of several shapes of a penis’, the detailed description of both what its like having inter-racial sex and sex between boys, what group everyone wants to kill at school, who the hottest teacher is everyone wants to sleep with, and so one. And I really mean SO ON!!! Oh and let me add I only chronicled the boys here, the girls are just as descriptive, mouthy and vile. As a parent I have never been so disgusted by what I read in a very short period of time.  Did we talk this way as teenagers 35 years ago? Hell yes we did, not to the extreme I am reading here, but yup! It happened. The difference is it was between us, our small group, done in person and if you crossed the line it was handled then and there, either with apologies afterwards or some smoothing over that took a few weeks.  Today they are all hidden behind a veil of secrecy, they can say what they want without retribution, it gives them power! It creates monsters that have no repercussion for their actions. The ones with no conscience, or parental guidance will only grow bigger and stronger until someone decides they have had enough, choosing to step in front of a train as their only option, as opposed to seeking help, receiving that help and living.

Unlike the gun control debate where I only provide a suggestion; I think I have a solution to help us begin to conquer our social media related troubles.

  • We can start by eliminating cell phones from campus.  I am sorry your little angel is at school and you need to get ahold of them right now, but guess what? THEY ARE AT SCHOOL!!!! We didn’t have cell phones at school in my day and our parents got along just fine without us! If little Johnny needs a message from you then go through the office! Its called the chain of command. Something we use to a T in the fire service.  If you don’t allow your school to guide and control the motions and activities of your child while they are on campus then you are circumventing the system and empowering your child. You are telling your child they are more important than the lesson being provided which in turn takes away from the respect due towards the instructor inside the classroom.  Eliminate phones and you eliminate distractions, kids texting kids, taking pictures, surfing the internet. Dont tell me your little one would never do that, because I guarantee if given the chance they will. If we can’t take them away (cell phones) maybe just as a few of these social apps restrict their use while near a school campus, we jam all cell signals within the same specified area, neutralizing the temptation. Just a thought.
  • Mandatory bullying class- a class taught by adults, sharing their experiences being bullied. Bullying doesn’t just happen to children, it also happens to adults, if we are to become this great civilized society, an example to all around the world then why aren’t we educating ourselves in regards to the destructive nature of bullying.  Why are we not recognizing the life long damage it can create? Why are we not empowering the weak, celebrating the strong and bringing them all closer together.  Our society currently crushes the weak, watch any teenage show on Disney and prove me wrong. We are teaching our children to cast them aside instead of standing up, protecting them, and showing compassion. Our children, parents and siblings should be supportive, creating change, providing a better society that thrives on pushing forward mankind, people’s rights and ability to thrive. It sounds nice I know, I also know we can’t save everyone, but education has and always will be the key.

So there it is, its off my chest. Like me or hate me, agree or disagree. I felt it had to be said. I am tired of fearing for our world and what we as adult are allowing to happen. I am just as guilty as the next person. My children are just like yours and given the same opportunities will follow the very same paths without proper guidance from their mother and me.  In the end, it comes down to this, we are trying our hardest to raise respectful, well-rounded children who understands the needs of others. It’s a hard enough job parenting with both of us working multiple jobs and running from one kids sporting event to the next, but it is what we signed up for and we all need a little help now and again.  I also never want to see another young child take their life, or see a kid who is so frustrated they feel killing someone or there fellow students is the answer. Because it never is.

Betty is sad………

 

Advertisements

School yard blues..

 

images-8

 

As a child I traversed my way through life feeling invincible.  There was nothing I couldn’t accomplish, no one was going to tell me what to do even when the advice was sound.  My path had been chosen from approximately sixth grade.  This long path, or road of hard knocks, left me mired in my own stubbornness, filled with ignorance along with self prescribed wisdom.  I chose to forge through life at my own pace, following a road map that most would never wish upon their children. Yet I survived, and even though there are many things to regret about this road less traveled, it truly bore a hand in the man created through the journey.

So why am I lamenting these days of yore?

It appears my middle child is slowly heading down the same road at about the same age as myself. As a parent I wish to protect him from this journey. He is a wonderful young man with a smile that brightens even the darkest of rooms.  He is witty, smart and incredibly charming and though these are fantastic traits to have it seems to be his crux right at the moment.  His wit, not yet so formed that most understand the silliness or images-5dryness of his joke.  The smarts, is being used for alternate goals as opposed to his education.  The charm, is allowing him the ability to slide sideways from situations most children would be held accountable for, by adults who definitely know better.

But the main reason for reflection is an issue he is having with a child at school who continues to bully him hoping for a fight.  Now having been in a few scraps myself over the years and knowing that boys on occasion will fight at this age (uncontrollable testosterone flowing through their little systems)  there is one golden rule in our household that must under no circumstance ever be broken when it comes to this particular problem.  Never and I mean EVER start a fight with anyone under any circumstance! I don’t care what the other person has done, I don’t care what the other person has said; walk away.  Tell a school administrator and walk away.  My children all understand this one simple rule and to date my son has followed it to a tee! But I still worry, for you see as he genetically has adopted quite a few of my traits he has also inherited my seething Irish temper. The irish temper is a funny thing, for we can Unknown-1travel along as the butt of your joke for a very long time, even quipping a few sporting little retorts in the process.  But then without explanation or reason one day it will have gone just a bit to far, them BLAM! I worry he is repressing that very same emotion during these encounters while remaining calm as a cucumber.

My sons have asked me if I had ever been in fights as a kid? To which the truth has always been told. Yes.  Your father (do to my overwhelming charm of course) had his ass kicked more times than he would like to remember.  Being one to not back down from a images-4challenge most of my troubles were from my mouths amazing ability to say the wrong thing at just the right time.  Something I am seeing in my middle child as we speak.  And more times than not I lost.  I was never a particularly good fighter, but I always stood my ground and hardley ever backed down.

So then why this steadfast rule for my children today?

Its root is based on some very simple facts.  Today in the year 2013, our children have become so increasingly desensitized to violence I fear for the repercussions of a good old-fashioned knuckle buster.  Because there is no such thing anymore.  Some of my closest friends were people who disliked or disagreed with me to the point of a scrap.  Afterwards realizing how insanely stupid it was we became friends. Those days are dead and gone.  As an adult I have seen the repercussions of a fist fight gone bad. If you are scrapping some dude, friends of the opponent jump in, someone videos it for You Tube street cred, while another may be laying in wait with a knife to give you a good old-fashioned shanking if you beat one from their “posse”.  Violence is as acceptable as drinking a Starbucks at a sidewalk cafe.  Video games, movies, Television, MMA, UFC,  all showing, teaching our children violence is not the last resort but the first alternative.  Unknown-2You no longer try to figure out what you did wrong to upset this person, instead you just bitch about it to all your friends, shun the individual like the plague then jump that person like a stray alley cat.  When it’s over there are no apologies, nothing learned from the incident, instead friends of the beaten start scrapping with your friends and the circle of violence rolls on and on. Also in my day we just boxed or duked it out! Today Karate, Jujitsu, Wrestling (and I was a wrestler in high school), Krav Magra are treated like after school sporting programs.  So our children are becoming highly skilled fighters at very young ages.  I am not saying there is anything wrong with these programs by any means, my sons have participated in these activities with some very stellar instructors.  But it definitely changes the dynamics or social parameters of our children’s world.

Can things be changed?

No, I think we are inevitably doomed. We live in a culture surrounded by violence, protesting, warped media propaganda, criminals that receive more positive coverage than their victims, crime shows glorifying the act of the crime, shows about prisons and gangs, shows about fighting and everyone has a positive spin on where when and why, justifying the existence of what horrible acts they may have committed and we the quiet law-abiding citizens just shake our heads and wonder why.  I hate the argument: if you don’t like it don’t buy it, or let them watch it! We turn off the T.V., the kids are not allowed to watch anything with heavy violence yet ultimately it’s not our family that have become the problem.

So what do we do as parents?

We prepare our children as best we can for the inevitable.  Our children have done very well.  But I still worry as I see the path my son is following seems to be resembling the very same path I strolled down as a kid.  Where I grew up in the era of boys will be boys, and a good old-fashioned bop on the nose every now and again was good for ya, images-9toughening you up and all… We are now in the era of duck and run, don’t protect yourself at all costs, even if some kid is beating on you for fear of being expelled and then go tell a teacher. (who really have no teeth to do anything because teachers have had their hands tied thanks to our passive school system.) The kids in school know this and act accordingly.

So I ask, am I the only one who feels this way?  Am I worrying over nothing?  What have you done to prepare your children for dealing with a bully? Not an emotional bully (thats a whole different topic for a different time)but an actual I want to fight you today, right here, right now, I think you are a big fat stupid head; bully?