I became insane with long intervals of horrible sanity.
Edgar Allen Poe
The trouble with fighting for human freedom is that one spends most of one's time defending scoundrels. For it is against scoundrels that oppressive laws are first aimed, and oppression must be stopped at the beginning if it is to be stopped at all.
- H. L. Mencken
Many people would sooner die than think; In fact, they do so
What I have been telling you, from alpha to omega, what is the one great thing the sigil taught me — that everything in life is miraculous. For the sigil taught me that it rests within the power of each of us to awaken at will from a dragging nightmare of life made up of unimportant tasks and tedious useless little habits, to see life as it really is, and to rejoice in its exquisite wonderfulness. If the sigil were proved to be the top of a tomato-can, it would not alter that big fact, nor my fixed faith. No Harrowby, the common names we call things by do not matter — except to show how very dull we are ...
-James Branch Cabell
April 12, 2013 - 11:00 a.m.
My head is throbbing a bit. Where did my acetaminophen run to? No matter the blog must go on.
Yesterday was not an exciting day. I'm grading the precalculus test now. So far not too good considering that I was grading the "do you know how to use your calculator" section of the test. There was only question that involved more than plugging numbers in. I take that back as they also had to know how to round off. They don't know it. The vast majority don't know it. I didn't specifically teach it as this is precalculus but I did say in class, "I'll round this to three decimal places and the 3 becomes a 4 because the next digit is a 7." Most simply had no idea what round to 3 decimal places mean. They'd say 0.12 or 0.1234.
Some students never come to class and failed the first test but came back for this one, why? What do they think they'll accomplish? Why subject themselves to taking a test they have no hope of passing?
I told the class multiple times that if they come in late I will not give them credit for attending if they come in too late. A student came in half an hour late yesterday and at the end of the class asked to sign the attendance sheet. I marked his name with an L for late and told him that he won't get credit for attending. He was shocked. Despite that fact that announced this many many times he didn't know it. He was never paying attention and I told him that. He said he was he just didn't know. So I said, you mean you have amnesia? you can't remember things? He said that wasn't it. He can remember things and he pays attention, he just didn't know that. I wonder if he actually thinks he pays attention.
I stayed after school for a while to get ahead in my prep. I decided to move into probability in my finite math class. I haven't taught that in at least a decade. That should be fun.
I wanted to see Rebecca Pronsky at the Rock Shop last night but decided to be good and grade instead. Will somebody give me a cookie for being good.
Guess what, one of the things I thought I was an idiot about, I wasn't being an idiot. I forgot who it was that I wanted to see last night and checked my Facebook events. When I did I saw that Rebecca Loebe's event was at 10 PM, just like I thought. The event got the time wrong, not me.
I've been planning on writing about guns since the aftermath of the Sandy Hook massacre. It created a powerful emotional reaction and when people start thinking with the glands I don't like what they come up with. I found myself at odds with people that I not only love dearly but almost always agree with politically.
One friend was going to unfriend anyone who wasn't for gun control in the wake of the massacre. I have friends who are gun advocates, well at least I have one friend who is. He isn't a monster. He isn't evil, and he isn't uncaring. He's a really good guy. He's simply wrong.
Another friend is blaming gun violence in the movies and on tv and wants to control that. Now I don't get worked up about the second amendment and think that interpretation that it pertains to an individual's right is absurd but the first amendment is another story. You need a powerful reason backed with facts to curtail the freedom of expression; not an argument by analogy.
I'm very strongly for stronger gun regulation but we shouldn't fool ourselves. They won't make a sudden difference. As Patrick Moynihan pointed out there's a 200 year supply of guns out there. He proposed putting a huge tax, 10,000% on the types of bullets that aren't used for hunting and target shooting, ones meant just for killing people. I wish somebody would propose that in congress. If we were to ban assault weapons we'd have to also have programs for taking the ones out there out of circulation. I'm not talking confiscating guns but buyback programs.
What we really need is for people to know more. Buying a gun for protection is not just ineffective it's counterproductive. People who own guns die by guns at a much higher rate. A gun is not a defensive weapon. It won't stop somebody else's bullet. Ever notice how many soldiers die? What is an even bigger factor is that it makes it easier to commit suicide or die by accident. You keep a gun in the house to protect yourself then your son or his friend or you when you are despondent kill yourself in a moment of despair or you shoot someone by accident or on purpose in a moment of rage. So you say you'll keep it under lock and key,. Then it isn't going to do you any good when the people you are protecting yourself against break into your house. It does make it a more inviting target though.
What gets me the most upset is the bans on doing research on gun safety. Yes there are bans on the government sponsoring research to find out how dangerous it is to own a gun. Why do you think that is? Because people are afraid it will prove how dangerous it is. they know they are wrong an don't want it to be proven.
Even if congress does act now I'm not optimistic that it will have much of an effect. Of course even if it only cuts gun deaths by 5% we are talking over 600 lives a year. According to the Center for Disease Control there were 31,762 firearms deaths in 2010.
I was afraid of this. What prompted me to write was reacting to the emotional reactions of people for gun control. My Gentle Readers have many of them. I have far fewer gun advocates in my readership. I don't want to preach to the choir. I want to get people to think.
I want to get me to eat. I better get going.
Brother Brothers in Arms - October 01, 2017
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