17 April 2007

Wow.

Y'all, I am scared of guns. I will admit that right here and now. Scared Stupid Of Guns. Before you ask, I have fired two guns in my life, a .22 and a .45 on a shooting range. I have had a shotgun fired in my general direction by two high school "friends" who had too much to drink and didn't recognize the car I was in coming up their driveway. I know people who own guns. I will say that I wish that it was illegal to own handguns in our country like it is in others.

The events yesterday at Virginia Tech have me thinking, and y'all that know me know that's a dangerous thing. But I just feel moved to post, so bear with me.

I did a little research this morning on the internet about gun laws in Alabama where I live now and I was horrified. Horrified. Just google "gun laws + Alabama" and you'll see what I mean. For that matter, just google gun laws + any state, specifically those in the south, and I think you'll get the jist.

Alabama has no law that requires adults to either store loaded guns in a place that is reasonably inaccessible to children, or use a device to lock the gun.

Alabama does not require a permit before purchasing a handgun, rifle, or shotgun. There is a 2 day waiting period required before purchasing a handgun, but explain to me how that works? If there's no permit then how can a two day waiting period be enforced? The only requirement I could find is a permit to carry a handgun.

After I got out from under my desk, I went on with my research. Check out these pearls of American wisdom:

From an About.com article on the lifting of the assault weapon ban:
A free human should be entitled to own any gun that he or she desires, both as a basic human right to an effective means of self-defense against everyday evildoers, and as - brace yourselves, oh ye trusting masses - a hedge and defense against oppressive government... just as was intended by the founders of this great nation.
Meanwhile, I will hope for a respite from new idiotic and ineffective laws, and hope that someday soon our world will tilt back onto its axis so we can get back to enjoying the freedom we were promised by the many men who perished in founding this nation. Tough to envision that when you can't even take your fingernail clippers onto an airplane these days, but it could happen I guess. I'd like to live to see that happen, and here's hoping that you will, too.
I find it disturbing but unfortunately not surprising to share my country with people who truly hold these opinions. There was an occasion recently where a person who was a guest in my home talked about "having to shoot" a neighboring dog that was apparently a nuisance. Had to. No other choice. People who think that is a method for problem solving should not have easy access to guns. People who have severe mental illnesses that are going untreated should not have access to guns. I understand that there are those in this country who do take the time to be trained in the use of firearms and who have their weapons licensed and registered and permitted and whatever else you can do safety wise if you must own a firearm. But I'm sorry to say that there are far more that don't than those that do.

Just look at this statistic I found in an AP article this morning:
Britain's 46 homicides involving firearms was the lowest total since the late 1980s. New York City, with 8 million people compared to 53 million in England and Wales, recorded at least 579 homicides last year.
One city in our country had more homicides involving firearms than all of England and Wales. One city! And it isn't just one or two more, it's 533 more. That's 533 people that might still be alive today.

What does the rest of the world think? This sound byte from an Italian online newspaper comes via Yahoo News:
"The latest attack on a U.S. campus will shake up America, maybe it will provoke more vigorous reactions than in the past, but it won't change the culture of a country that has the notion of self-defense imprinted on its DNA and which considers the right of having guns inalienable," Corriere wrote in its front-page story.
I know that stricter gun control laws won't put an end to the violence in my country. It might curb the numbers, but I think that we are past the point where we could conceive of an end to the kind of horror we saw at Virginia Tech yesterday. It's in our culture, in our blood.

My thoughts and prayers are with the families of the victims, the survivors, and the family and friends of the shooter. My hope is that some sort of change, however small, will come out of this tragedy and make my country a safer place to live.

32 comments:

AmyMB said...

Of course, you could also make the argument that if Virginia Tech wasn't a gun-free campus, and at least one teacher or student had been carrying a concealed weapon, 32 people may not have had to die.

Remember, if guns are outlawed, only outlaws will have guns...

That said, the students, teachers and parents involved in this terrible tragedy are in my prayers. There are no easy answers to explain why something like this is allowed to happen.

Elizabeth said...

Amy, I love you, but I find your response ignorant and deeply troubling.

I think for the first time, I'm actually so shocked by what you've said that I'm lost for words.

AmyMB said...

You can't make a blanket statement like that, Liz, and not back it up with some facts. That's the problem I have with a lot of liberals - you guys call anyone who doesn't agree with you "ignorant", but you don't have any facts to support your opinions.

Here are the facts:
The states in the U.S. with the least restrictive gun laws are the ones with the least violent crime per capita.
In comparison, "A review of the areas in the U.S. with the most restrictive firearm laws, including such areas as Washington, D.C., Chicago, IL, New York, NY, and the state of California, shows that these areas have some of the highest crime (especially violent) rates in the U.S. The crime rates in all of these areas exceed the national average and they all have enacted in-depth restrictions on firearm ownership that includes licensing and registration schemes, various taxes, testing, and even bans on firearms. In essence, these areas have become a gun control supporters Utopia."
(Dr. Jeremy Blanks - Doctors for Sensible Gun Laws - http://www.american-partisan.com/cols/blanks/081400.htm)

"...in recent years the murder rate in England has been going UP under still more severe gun control laws, while the murder rate in the United States has been going DOWN as more and more states have allowed private citizens to carry concealed weapons -- and have begun locking up more criminals."
From the book "Guns and Violence" by Professor Joyce Lee Malcolm

The state of Florida is an excellent example of my point that guns make people safer:
Prior to their enactment of concealed carry laws in the late 80s, the crime rate in Florida was higher than the national average. However, following concealed carry law enactment, their crime immediately began to drop and has continued to do so today.
In fact, today the crime levels in Florida are considerably lower than the national average.
The U.S. state with the lowest crime rate per capita, Vermont, also happens to be the state with the fewest gun control laws and they allow ALL law-abiding citizens to carry concealed weapons.

Those are the facts.

By the arguments of gun-control advocates, if we ban guns, we'll see less gun-related crime. The facts do not support that rather emotional and naive conjecture. Criminals are going to get guns, just like they get drugs. And we, the law-abiding and responsible citizens of this country, will be at their mercy, just like those poor students were at the mercy of that crazed gunman at VT.

If you care to dispute these facts rationally and unemotionally, feel free.
If all you want to do is call me ignorant, well, I won't be surprised. That's how most misinformed people react when they don't have the facts to support their spurious and unfounded opinions.

Elizabeth said...

Actually, I can make a statement like that. I wasn't making that statement based on fact. I was making that statement based on emotion. You remember what emotions are, don't you Amy?

Anyone can find facts to back up what they want to say, we have Google to thank for that. But not everyone has the compassion and honesty to make an observation based on emotion and their feelings.

For what it's worth, I didn't say you were ignorant. I said your response was ignorant.

I'm afraid that I can't debate this without being emotional. And I may be misinformed, but I'm glad that I live in a country that has outlawed guns.

The UK did that after two massacres not unlike what's just happened at Virginia Tech. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hungerford_massacre and http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dunblane_massacre). Last year, the number of murders by gun were a grand total of 50. Not perfect, but a hell of a lot less than in New York City where there were 579 homicides last year.

There are an estimated 200 million privately held guns in the US and the number of gun-related deaths each year runs into the tens of thousands. Don't you think the two are related?

See what I said about facts?

But hey - why listen to me? I'm just a misinformed emotional liberal with false opinions. Heck, I don't even let my child watch commercial television, nevermind let her see/play with toy guns or anything that could be used as a weapon.

Damn tree hugger, peacenik that I am.

You should try my way of living, Amy.. it's sort of nice to not have to worry who has a concealed weapon in line at the grocery store that might just not have enough brains to use it sensibly.

AmyMB said...

Sure, I know what emotions are.
I get very emotional at the thought of anybody hurting my child. That's why we have two guns in our house, and yes, both Charles and I know exactly how to use them.
They're in a safe place where Drew can't get to them, but trust me, if anybody breaks into my house, they'll wish they'd gone to an anti-gun peacenik's house where they could do whatever they wanted with impunity.
Did you know that average police response time to an emergency call in London is between 14 and 22 minutes? Do you know what a crazy person with a gun or a knife could do to your daughter in 14 to 22 minutes?
How are you going to stop him? Are you going to tell him that England has strict gun laws and he should put that weapon down and play nice? Seriously. Imagine a madman breaks into your flat with the intent to harm MC. He's armed and crazy. You call 999. In the 14 to 22 minutes before the cops arrive, what are you going to do?

If you honestly think that because England has gun bans that you don't have to worry about crazy people getting guns, then you're either crazy yourself or you're just incredibly naive.
Did you not read what I wrote about violent crimes in England INCREASING since your country instituted weapons bans? Do you not think there's some correlation there?
But hey, as long as you feel safe, I guess the facts don't matter.

Nan said...

Okay, I have made use of my inalienable right to Google for facts and taken it a step farther, I've Googled the Google. Meaning what? I've looked up the backgrounds of the people, newspapers, journalists, etc. on whom I am basing my opinion because I think that if I can find opinions on both sides of the Conservative and Liberal argument that support my belief then it has more credibility than one that is just from one side or the other.

My typical sources are admittedly mixed. The AP is supposed to be unbiased, so I feel pretty secure ingesting information gained there. NPR is admittedly liberal leaning, though I feel the news programs broadcast there do a good job of presenting both sides of the argument. The New York Times and Washington Post are others that are admittedly and unabashedly liberal. I try not to quote them unless the sound byte is just too good to ignore because like the Fox News Network (admittedly and unabashedly conservative), it is easy for the other side of the debate to dismiss "facts" that come from there due to political leaning.

So let's look at the facts we've all presented, with a bit of scrutiny.

First, my facts from my original post: I quoted the AP as seen on Yahoo News, but still the Associated Press when I said that "Britain's 46 homicides involving firearms was the lowest total since the late 1980s. New York City, with 8 million people compared to 53 million in England and Wales, recorded at least 579 homicides last year." That seems to be in direct opposition to Amy's report that England's violent crime (did you mean in general or involving firearms, because I was only quoting crimes/deaths related to firearms specifically...)rate has risen in the last year, unless the year before there were less than 50 deaths in the whole of the country that were related to firearms.

Now, I looked up The American Partisan, the publication where Amy found the comments she referenced above as attributed to Dr. Jeremy Blanks, Ph.D. To me, a liberal, it is important to note that the managing editor of TAP is also a member of the Church of Latter Day Saints, a fairly conservative and fundamental branch of the Christian faith. Many of the articles published in TAP are of a "right wing" flavor, which tends to be in favor of less gun control from what I've seen. I'm sure that there are those that would label themselves conservative that support stronger gun control legislation, but I just haven't met them. Dr. Blanks holds a Ph.D in Chemistry, and his bio states that he was in support of gun control until "through extensive research into the issue of gun control and the effects of such measures, he reached the conclusion that firearm ownership by law-abiding citizens saves lives and lowers the crime rate." Not convincing. My extensive research shows me otherwise, I just don't have Ph.D. after my name.

Now, on to "Guns and Violence" by Professor Joyce Lee Malcolm. This book was published in 2002. It is an excellent history of gun control legislation in the United Kingdom, but as amazed as I am to say it the information is dated. Who would have thought that our world would move so fast these days that a book published a mere 4 years ago would have statistics that are no longer current?

I want to pause on my fact finding mission for a moment to mention something that I think is very important to debate as it exists on forums such as this and as it relates to highly charged emotional issues such as this one. I don't think we can call each other's perspectives ignorant or wrong or naive or crazy until we see the opinion from the perspective of the person making it. For example, Liz and I have lived in both countries. I lived in the UK in 1995 and remember some of the debates and discussions presented in Ms. Malcom's book as being current issues. Liz lives there now, and has for a lot longer than I did so her perspective is different than mine and Amy's. Amy has never lived outside of the United States, so she has a still different perspective. I don't have children yet, so I have a different outlook on my life and my actions than Amy and Liz because they do have children. I work in a field where we see perpetrators and victims both on a daily basis, and feel that BOTH of them have the right to treatment so that their lives can improve regardless of what they did prior to coming into treatment. Amy works in a field that is more focused on retribution for wrong, I think, than on treatment, so that makes her perspective on sometimes the same group of people (perps) different. Liz works in the private sector and generally doesn't come in contact with people who have serious mental issues on a daily basis. Totally different perspective than mine or Amy's. None of those perspectives are wrong or ignorant or naive or crazy, just different. When you look at what is said in light of the person's perspective, it makes a lot more sense. You may not agree with it, but you can see why they believe that way.

I could go on and on but I think that I'd be writing a new blog post, so I will leave it there.

Back to my comments on my original post and the comments that followed...what has disturbed me was the initial comment, made by Amy, that "if Virginia Tech wasn't a gun-free campus, and at least one teacher or student had been carrying a concealed weapon, 32 people may not have had to die," and "And we, the law-abiding and responsible citizens of this country, will be at their mercy, just like those poor students were at the mercy of that crazed gunman at VT." (bolding is mine) First, I don't think that anyone that might have had a concealed weapon were that allowed at VT could have been able to use it in an effective manner to make a substantial difference in how many people died. Research (that I can look up and quote later if you like) has shown that in a crisis, normal functioning humans without specific training (I say that to rule out military and law enforcement who HAVE been trained to react in a crisis) would be more concerned with getting away (the FLIGHT response) than blowing the head off the agressor (the FIGHT response) with the handgun they have concealed in their backpack or in a holster under their jacket. Secondly, I am saddened to see so much in the media and online that refers to the gunman as "crazed" or as "a madman" etc etc. Why? Because PollyAnna still believes that if his symptoms had been recognized early enough he might have gotten some treatment that would have prevented this kind of clearly psychotic behavior. That would have made even more of a difference in the outcome, no? All 33, including Cho Seung-Hui. He had a history of mental illness that clearly wasn't being addressed properly.

Anyway, enough from me. I stand by my original belief that guns are dangerous, that gun control laws in the United States should be more strict, and that hopefully this tragedy will be a catalyst for that kind of change.

Oh, but one more thing about my perspective...I'm not just a pie in the sky PollyAnna peacenik. I'm a person who has been threatened with a concealed weapon by a person who should NOT have have had access to it, but because of lax gun control laws in my home state of Georgia did have access. Not the shotgun firing I referred to earlier either...this was a handgun, and he was 17 years old at the time.

Nan said...

PS-Just so no one thinks I'm editing comments...well, I am kinda, I was re-reading mine after I'd published it and I'd made an error of the gramatical nature which the Martha in me absolutely required that I fix. :) So I deleted and reposted the corrected version, then put away my virtual red pen. For now, anyway...

Elizabeth said...

Cheap shot Amy asking me how I would like it if someone broke into my house with intent to harm Mary Catherine. Nice bit of scare mongering there - you sure you don't work for the American media?

Statistics still tell me that the ratio of guns to people here make it much less likely that will actually happen than in the USA.

I will refrain from asking you questions about how you'd feel in a situation involving Drew somehow getting on the wrong end of the firearms kept in your house in a drastically tragic accident.

Opinions are like assholes, huh?

I will continue to state that it's not the facts behind what you said that offend me. It's the fact that what you said was, in my emotional opinion, insensitive to the families of the VA Tech victims.

AmyMB said...

First of all, Nan, I applaud your point about our different experiences and how they affect our opinions and perceptions.
As the only one of us who has never lived outside the country, I bow to your expertise in that area. I don’t know what it’s like to live in a country with strict gun control laws. The thought of it makes me shudder, but you’re right in that I have no personal experience with it.
As the only one of us who is a professional counselor who works specifically with criminal offenders, I can tell you that criminals prefer and seek out easy targets. (notice that you never hear about someone shooting up a police station.) An unarmed target is an easy target.

“Research (that I can look up and quote later if you like) has shown that in a crisis, normal functioning humans without specific training (I say that to rule out military and law enforcement who HAVE been trained to react in a crisis) would be more concerned with getting away”

Yes, but remember, in order to carry a concealed weapon in the U.S., you do have to undergo weapons training. Having been through some weapons training myself, I can tell you that it makes you a lot more comfortable with firearms and therefore more willing and able to use one to defend yourself if you have to.
Also, you’re correct when you say most people’s first reaction is flight, but the VT students couldn’t flee. They were locked in. And they had no ability to fight, because the gunman was the only one who was armed. VT was a gun-free campus, remember? Lot of good that did them.


“Britain's 46 homicides involving firearms was the lowest total since the late 1980s.”

Yes, but I didn’t refer specifically to homicides. I referred to violent crimes, such as assault, burglary and robbery, which are on the rise in England and have been since they instituted gun bans.

“hopefully this tragedy will be a catalyst for that kind of change.”
It has been for me. I plan to go get my concealed weapons permit as soon as possible. I have absolutely no intention of being somebody’s victim.

“I will refrain from asking you questions about how you'd feel in a situation involving Drew somehow getting on the wrong end of the firearms kept in your house in a drastically tragic accident.”

Ask away, it won’t offend me. We keep our guns locked up and well away from Drew’s reaches. Parents who allow their children access to their firearms are stupid and negligent.
I’m not scaremongering. You live in a huge metropolitan area. Have you seriously never considered that you or your child could be the victim of a violent crime? You aren’t seriously that na├»ve, are you? I asked you how you planned to protect your child if someone breaks into your house, and your only answer is to accuse me of scaremongering. So I guess that means you don’t have a plan. That’s OK. Hopefully it will never happen to you.

And how was I insensitive to the families of the VT victims? Because I refuse to allow people to use their deaths as political fodder for emotionally overcharged anti-gun propaganda?

Nan said...

I don't know to what specifically Liz was responding when she made the "insensitive" comment, but I will say that I was NOT using anyone's deaths for anything. Nothing, nada, zip, and I have noticed that any time an incident in the news makes me think and therefore post, I (and those of like mind)am accused of using someone's trauma for propaganda purposes. Remember when I was saddened by the death of the 2,000th soldier in the Middle East? I posted about it and was subsequently lumped in with the liberal media that were celebrating the death because it gave us more fodder for our anti-war propaganda. Interesting that, because in response to "That's the problem I have with a lot of liberals - you guys call anyone who doesn't agree with you "ignorant", but you don't have any facts to support your opinions," we post facts, researched ones, and are accused of using horrible events as "political fodder for emotionally overcharged anti-gun propaganda." Do you want the facts we base our opinions on or not?

What I think that today's debate has taught me is that despite my sister's plea in her blog this past Monday (http://soozmuse.vox.com/library/post/fire-the-democrats.html) it doesn't seem to be possible to get along when the fundamental core of your beliefs are so absolutely opposed. There is always going to be a google search to prove that the liberals are tree-hugging peaceniks or that the conservatives are gun-weilding warmongers. And I am always going to be in the former camp, forgiving beyond apparent (to anyone but me) reason and working toward a world where my children don't have to know what a gun is from personal experience, let alone have the want or need to own or use one.

People with attitudes like I quoted in my original post that seek to answer violence with more violence frighten me. Sadly, whether intentional or not, that's how you're coming across today Amy. You and I will never agree about this and I understand that, but I guess I was just being too PollyAnna to see your true feelings on the topic. Not a surprise to anyone that knows me, clearly.

Liz I think has some good points but she's getting TOO wound up in the emotional side of this issue to let them out. I don't think she'd argue that point with me.

Sometimes the grass is greenest where we are...I have been to London, I felt safe there most of the time, but that's nothing to do with whether or not the people next to me on the Tube could have had guns. I lived in a small town in semi-rural northeastern Georgia and was threatened with guns twice while living there. I live in Alabama now and am honestly frightened to even look crosseyed at someone in traffic for fear he/she might have a gun. It's all relative.

I honestly don't think too much about politics unless something like the VT massacre or that 2,000th death or the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina is brought to my attention. So to say that I'm using this tragedy for anything is not only unfair, it's just wrong. The tragedy made me think, which made me research, which made me post what I'd found and my opinions about what I'd found. Hardly propaganda.

Elizabeth said...

You're right - I am too wound up emotionally. Apologies for flying off the handle - it's just that.. well, it's like the Amy I used to know and love has just been replaced by this hateful gun toting person and it freaks me out. I know people change and move on - I'm just not coping with it well. Haven't for a while, I suppose. It's clear that Amy and I no longer see eye to eye and I suppose I get irritated and jumpy about it because it just makes me sad to see a former close friend* so far off my belief system radar.

Am I liberal? Totally and proud to hug as many trees as possible. Naive? Nah - I just choose not to think about things that I can't immediately control. If I live in fear, then fear wins. I worry a lot - but honestly, not as much about getting blown up/shot on the Tube as I do when I'm in Steak and Shake in my former home town and three men walk in plain clothes with big guns strapped to their belts in front of my child.

And as for you getting your concealed gun license - go for it. I just pray for you that you never have to use it and feel slightly sad that you feel like you need something like that. Nothing against you - just the state of the world that saddens me the most, I suppose.

How's that for an honest (and emotional, I know, I know) response.

*said as in I still consider you a friend based on our past history. I actually have no urge to withdraw the hand of friendship to you but sometimes I wonder how it can be possible with such diverse opinions.

I'm going to bed now. Alone without a man next to me, a handgun in my dresser or a shotgun in the closet. I hope I make it to see morning.

AmyMB said...

I apologize to Nancy, first off, because I wasn't referring to your post specifically when I spoke of anti-gun propaganda, and I know I didn't make that clear.
I've been following the media on this very closely, from all sides, and that's what I've been seeing - anti-gun groups are jumping on this as an excuse to promote their political agenda, just like they did after the 2000th soldier died in Iraq.
And yet I get called insensitive and "hateful" for daring to disagree with that tactic.
That's one thing that really irritates me.

Another thing that irritates me is when I can't express my opinion without being called "ignorant" and "hateful" and "insensitive."
You'll notice that I didn't throw out a single personal insult, to anybody, until I started getting attacked, and then I think the worst thing I called Liz was naive. Yet my beliefs get slammed with all sorts of derogatory names.

That's why I can't get along with so many people on the left. They admit that their opinions are founded solely and completely on emotions, not facts, but I, whose opinions are based in reality and not hot-headed overemotionalism, am the one whose beliefs are ignorant.
How is that even possible? One opinion is based on fact, which is objective, and one on emotion, which is subjective, and yet my beliefs are the ignorant ones?

Yes, I have changed quite a bit from when I was in college, because the world has changed since then.
Let me tell you a story I heard, that sums up perfectly how I feel. This is from a speech by a guy named Evan Sayet, a former liberal turned conservative: (the italics are mine)
"I call myself a 9/13 Republican. I grew up a liberal, a New York Jew — you don’t get much more liberal than that...Graduated from high school knowing one thing (about politics basically) that Democrats are good and Republicans are evil. (sound familiar?)
I’ll tell a story. It’s not a true story, but I think it clarifies what happened to me. Imagine being in a restaurant with an old friend and you’re catching up, and suddenly, he blurts out: “I hate my wife.”
And you kind of chuckle to yourself because he says it every time you’re together and you know he doesn’t hate his wife — they’ve been together for 35 years...
You'rehaving some dinner and you look out the window and you spot his wife, and she’s being beaten up and you grab your friend and say, “Come on, come on, let’s help her!” and he says: “Naw, I’m sure she deserves it.”
At that moment it dawns on you, he really does hate his wife.

Well, that was what 9/11 was to me. I would hear my friends on the left say how evil and horrible and racist and imperialistic and oppressive America is, and I’d laugh to myself: “Oh, they always say that; they love America.”
Then on 9/11 we were beaten up and I grabbed them by the collar and jumped up and said, “C’mon, let’s help her, let’s help America”, and they said:
“No, she deserves it.”
At that moment I realized they really do hate America.
It began for me what is now a five year — a five year plus — quest of trying to understand the mind set. How could you possibly live in the finest nation in the history of the world and see only oppression? How could you live in the least imperialist power in human history and see us as the ultimate in imperialism? How could you live in the least bigoted nation in human history and, as Joe Biden said, see racism lurking in every dark shadow?"

That's my story, basically, only much more articulate than I could ever make it, and I wasn't Jewish. :-)

Here's another problem I have with the liberal mindset - the abnegation of the idea of personal responsibility.
I take issue with the whole idea that the government should be responsible for everything while we are personally responsible for practically nothing - the government should provide me with free health care, the government should provide me with free housing, the government should provide me with a job, or with money if I'm too lazy to get a job, the government should protect my personal safety 24/7...why? Why can't you do that for yourself? This country was founded on those very freedoms and responsibilities.
That's where the whole gun issue comes in. The left thinks the government should be responsible for the round-the-clock personal safety of me and my family, and I think the brunt of that responsibility falls to me.
If someone breaks into my house in the middle of the night, I'm going to call 911. And while I'm waiting for the police to arrive, I'm going to shoot the intruder.
Oh, sorry, is that hateful?
Should I maybe give him a hug instead, Liz?
You still haven't told me what you would do if it happened to you - don't think I haven't noticed you ducking that question.
And no, "I hope it doesn't ever happen to me" is not an answer.

One thing I like about having these debates with Nancy is that she never calls me names or puts me down. She argues clearly and concisely and she backs up her arguments with facts. She really makes me think.
I get the feeling that, even though she disagrees with me, she still respects me as a person.
I don't ever get that from you, Liz. I get the feeling that you're threatened by intelligent people who believe differently from you, so you feel the need to try to break them down by belittling their beliefs.

If it bothers you so much, maybe you shouldn't participate in any more of these debates.

Nan said...

"One thing I like about having these debates with Nancy is that she never calls me names or puts me down. She argues clearly and concisely and she backs up her arguments with facts. She really makes me think.
I get the feeling that, even though she disagrees with me, she still respects me as a person."

From an earlier comment:
"People with attitudes like I quoted in my original post that seek to answer violence with more violence frighten me. Sadly, whether intentional or not, that's how you're coming across today Amy. You and I will never agree about this and I understand that, but I guess I was just being too PollyAnna to see your true feelings on the topic. Not a surprise to anyone that knows me, clearly."

I'm just not as brave as Liz, I guess, and couch my retorts and responses in murky paragraphs so that I know what I've said, but perhaps the other person won't see it and then I won't have hurt their feelings. PollyAnna Strikes Again.

Also:
"That's why I can't get along with so many people on the left. They admit that their opinions are founded solely and completely on emotions, not facts, but I, whose opinions are based in reality and not hot-headed overemotionalism, am the one whose beliefs are ignorant.
How is that even possible? One opinion is based on fact, which is objective, and one on emotion, which is subjective, and yet my beliefs are the ignorant ones?"

I posted facts that supported the opinions that Liz and I share. I posted my own research that said to me that the facts you posted (in this particular debate) seemed to my liberal eyes to be just as subjective as our comments seemed to you, but I guess I did too good of a job hiding them since you seem to have missed them completely. Or were you just addressing Liz here?

I'm not defending Liz. She doesn't need me to do that. But since I share a belief system (for the most part, I'm ashamed to admit she's far more Green that I am) I rather take offense to some of the comments here because what I believe in is based in facts as I know them to be true. No one can say that their truth is more true than my truth. Well, I'm sure some can say it, but I won't believe it.

I don't hate Republicans. I don't love all Democrats. In fact, I'm hesitant to say that I hate anyone, really, and there have been those in my life that have deserved it. Yet because I consider myself a free thinker, because I feel some responsibility toward my fellow man, because I believe the words of Ghandi when he said "an eye for an eye will only leave the whole world blind," then I am over-emotional, I am irrational, I am weak?

I know what I think. I know that after 9/11 my reaction was not to blow everyone in the Middle East to Kingdom Come because they dared invade my home. Honestly? I was scared to death and sure that it was going to keep on happening because of the way the Almighty U S of A has treated people in the rest of the world for years. I was hoping that we could make amends with the others out there who hate us so much so that we didn't keep seeing planes crashing into buildings on television in the days to come. That is what it did for me.

Violence answered with more violence will never ever lead to peace. Ever. That's how I feel. Whether you're talking about war or gun control or a patient where I work slapping a staff member. It's my universal truth and it may lead me and my family into serious harm one day. But if it comes to that I will face that harm knowing that I don't have anyone's blood on my hands and trying as hard as I can to forgive the one or ones about to have my blood on theirs.

"Turn the other cheek."

"Love thine enemies."

Maybe I was more clear this time. Still no personal attacks, but more clear.

AmyMB said...

Nan, did you miss the part where I said that one of the things I like about arguing with you is that you back up your opinions with facts?

"I'm just not as brave as Liz, I guess, and couch my retorts and responses in murky paragraphs..."

So, what are you saying? That you don't respect me as a person because of my beliefs? I know you disagree with me - that's what I said. I disagree with you, too, that's obvious.
But I have a lot of friends from all sides of the political spectrum, and I'm able to disagree with someone and still like and respect them.

"I was scared to death and sure that it was going to keep on happening because of the way the Almighty U S of A has treated people in the rest of the world for years."

See? That's exactly what I'm talking about! You're saying we deserved what happened to us, and that attitude, precisely, is one of the main ones that pushed me to become a conservative!

England was recently targeted by terrorist attacks, too. Do they deserve it also? What did they do wrong?
What, oh what, should we do to appease these poor, misunderstood terrorists...um...excuse me, freedom fighters?

Nan said...

I'm not saying I don't respect you. I'm saying that your attitudes and beliefs scare me.

I don't know the exact reason for the attacks in London because I'm not English, nor have I paid that much attention to their foreign policy other than how it intersects with our own. My gut says that it was a reaction to the "war" but I also know that the people that carry out such attacks generally fall into the extremeist category.

Freedom fighters? Hardly. Terrorists? Yes, because they are using terror to achieve their goals. Psychotic? Probably. Just because I can understand what makes them think the way they do in accordance with their religious beliefs and cultural influence does NOT mean I thought what they did was right. Now who is using emotions to twist the argument?

I'm not saying you specifically, I'm saying everyone who let themselves be caught up in an emotional time (9/11, Columbine, the attacks on the US Cole, the London subway bombings, etc etc etc) and instead of working to understand and learn from what happened let their opinions and beliefs be radically changed. It's a scary world out there, but unless we learn from history we are doomed to repeat it, right?

You have earned my respect in the past and have not yet lost it. We disagree on this subject and agree to disagree, but what I am saying and what I think Liz was saying is that we may be moving so far apart...I don't know. If I've made you think that I don't respect you as a person, I'm sorry. I respect all life as creation of the Divine and try my best not to judge. If I've made you think that I am terrified by your beliefs, political leanings, and so forth then I've been clear.

I don't think there is much we can do anymore to make amends for our attitude that we are the "finest nation in the world." And I don't think we are...as long as just one of my fellow Americans goes to sleep hungry or cold tonight then we still have a lot of work to do to even approach that description.

But that's MY truth.

Elizabeth said...

I hadn't answered your question about the madman just waiting to break into my house and attack me and my family because I thought you'd probably already know my answer. But if you need me to type it out..

I'd dial 999 and most likely die, Amy, as would my husband and daughter, if the person was intent on that happening.

There - was that nice to read? I live in a place where guns are outlawed, what else would I do? Hopefully due to the gun ban I'd have a higher chance or merely being stabbed or hit with something really hard. Heck, I might even live if that were the case. Who knows.

But I could also argue that I won't aim my gun at the intruder and accidentally kill Mary Catherine as she runs from her room to see what's happening..

Even if I lived in America I wouldn't own a gun, so I'd probably die there too.

England being targeted for terrorist attacks.. what did we do? Well, some say that it has to do with our relationship with the USA. However, I don't know enough on that to comment.

Amy, I continue to state that I didn't call you ignorant, I said that I thought what you said was ignorant. But, yes, I did call you hateful and insensitive. Why? Because that's how you're coming across in my opinion. If I've hurt your feelings, I sincerely apologise.

I'm not threatened by intelligence, far from it. I am, however, put off by lack of tolerance and people who believe in violence and an eye for an eye.

Showing emotion isn't the same as showing weakness. Compassion and love for our fellow man is of the utmost importance. Even if the fellow man doesn't look/feel/think like we do. On that note - I should tell you that I don't care for the way you think, but I do still love you as a person. I wish you were able to listen to others opinions and actually process them before dismissing.

Different doesn't equal wrong.

AmyMB said...

You and Liz both have said that my opinions "terrify" you.
What terrifies me is people who think that we should try to appease terrorists rather than defending ourselves and fighting back.

It is that kind of attitude that gets people killed.
Witness this week's tragic shooting. The shooter (i.e. terrorist) thought that society had done him a grave injustice. Just like the Muslim terrorists, huh? Did that give him the right to shoot up a bunch of innocent students? Did they deserve it because America is so evil?

I stand by my original statement. If just one victim had been carrying a concealed weapon, perhaps all those people wouldn't have had to die.
What's so terrifying about that? I'm talking about saving lives while you're saying, well, gee, I surely hope that never happens to me. That is terrifying.

You think that by making society gun-free you'll make people safer, when in fact you're only disarming the people who follow rules; law-abiding people who are no danger to society. Like me, for example.
I've already said I have two guns. I know how to use them. And yet I'm one of the most law-abiding people in the world. I don't do drugs, I don't steal, I don't assault people, hell I don't even break the speed limit anymore. Why is it scary for a person like me to own a gun?

For example (and as a way to back up my opinions with fact), though press accounts downplayed it, the 2002 shooting at Appalachian Law School was stopped when a student retrieved a gun from his car and confronted the shooter. A school shooter in Mississippi, Luke Woodham, was stopped when the school's vice principal took a .45 from his truck and ran to the scene.
Two examples of how guns can save lives.
What's terrifying about me wanting lives to be saved? What's terrifying about me wanting people to wake up and take personal responsibility for their own lives?

No, what scares me is people who not only refuse to take responsibility for their own safety and well-being, but want to take away my right to take that responsibility for myself.

"instead of working to understand and learn from what happened let their opinions and beliefs be radically changed. "

I didn't let my beliefs get changed. I took a very active role in the process. I did my research. I read media reports from all sides of the issue. I still do. And I have learned from what happened - I just learned something different from what you learned.

And your reason for why America isn't the finest country in the world is because we have poverty and hunger? Is that why terrorists are targetting us? If that's the case, they should go target Africa. They have a lot more hunger and poverty than we do, those infidels!

"You have earned my respect in the past and have not yet lost it. We disagree on this subject and agree to disagree, but what I am saying and what I think Liz was saying is that we may be moving so far apart...I don't know."

I have not yet lost it? But if I keep on expressing these opinions, I will?
OK.
I personally enjoy it when people intelligently and articulately challenge my opinions, because, like I said, it makes me think.
But if it makes you feel safer to only be friends with people who agree with you, so be it.

And we conservatives are the ones who are called intolerant...how ironic.

Elizabeth said...

I think you're missing Nancy's point..

Nan said...

Amy, please see above when I said first of all that I respect all people, yourself included. When I said what you quoted:

"I have not yet lost it? But if I keep on expressing these opinions, I will?
OK.
I personally enjoy it when people intelligently and articulately challenge my opinions, because, like I said, it makes me think.
But if it makes you feel safer to only be friends with people who agree with you, so be it.

And we conservatives are the ones who are called intolerant...how ironic."

I meant in this debate. You will continue to express your ideas and opinions, I have no doubt, and I will continue to think that they are valid because they are yours. I can think that and at the same time find the actual beliefs disturbing. This is what I've been saying all along. Your truth is your truth and my truth is my truth. That's all I'm saying. It's not a personal attack as much as it is a comment on how different our beliefs are.

See also above when I say I don't hate all Republicans, I don't love all Democrats...so to call me intolerant is erroneous. You know me, you made testimony to my tolerance earlier when you commented on how I meet your debates fairly, didn't you?

AmyMB said...

"I'd dial 999 and most likely die, Amy, as would my husband and daughter, if the person was intent on that happening.

There - was that nice to read?"

No, it wasn't. It makes me very sad.
I understand that England doesn't allow law-abiding citizens to own firearms, and that you are simply obeying the law, but what I don't understand is why you wouldn't choose to protect yourself if you lived in a country that allowed you to.
It's not a matter of me feeling like I have to own a gun. I live way out in the country. My closest neighbors are my parents-in-law a half a mile away. I'm probably far, far safer than you are.
But I choose to have guns in my house because, on the off-off-off chance that someone were to break in and try to hurt me or my family, I don't want to curl up in a ball and be a victim.
And I seriously do not understand people who just resign themselves to being victims when they don't have to. Moreover, as a mother, I can't understand any mother not doing everything within her power to protect her child.
Help me to understand this mindset, and you'll go a long way towards helping me to understand your points.

"Hopefully due to the gun ban I'd have a higher chance or merely being stabbed or hit with something really hard."

But see, that's where the faulty reasoning comes in. You are assuming that a ban on guns will stop criminals from getting weapons, or at least reduce the number of criminals who can, and the numbers just don't support that. The facts do not support it, and just simply wishing for it isn't going to make it happen.

Look at the drug situation, for example. The U.S. outlaws marijuana, cocaine, methamphetamines, etc. etc. But these drugs still make it into our country and into the hands of criminals every single day. Our tough drug laws have done nothing to stop criminals from accessing drugs whenever they want to.
England's gun laws have done nothing to stop violent crime in your country - in fact, as I've shown, violent crime is actually increasing now that robbers and burglars know that nobody except them is armed.
Whereas here in the U.S., the states with the least restrictive gun laws are the ones with the least amount of violent crime.
That is a direct and provable correlation. When law-abiding citizens are armed and able to defend themselves, they are less likely to become victims. Period.

I think what you guys really find scary is not my belief system. I think what you find scary is the thought that the world is not a safe place to live in, and, because of your own beliefs, you feel powerless to do anything to make it safer.
I can see how that would be frightening. But the answer is not to continue to absolve yourself of power and responsibility and blame "society" for being so bad and wrong.
How is that going to make you any safer?

Nan said...

(From Simon, who doesn't have a blogger account but is a Brave Lettuce Reader...)

My opinion on gun control.

Let's argue for a second that Amy and the NRA are correct, everyone in America has the right to bear arms, period. In fact furthermore, not only is it their right, but the arguement goes on to suggest that individuals should regularly carry firearms, perhaps concealed, on their person.

If this is the case, what happens in the following situations?

A terrorist pulls a gun out on a plane - answer - everyone else on the plane has a gun and they shoot him/her. No problem there then.

A teacher goes to sit down and prior to sitting down they pull their concealed weapon out and move to place it on the desk - answer - a child on seeing the weapon panics and pulls out their own gun, shooting the teacher. No problem, there is nothing in the second amendment that discludes minors from the right to bear arms.

A man walks into a bank proudly displaying their gun in a holster strapped to their belt - answer - the bank clerk shoots the customer because he feels threatened. No problem the second amendment doesn't prohibit taking a gun anywhere nor shooting someone if they are perceived to be threatening.

(Nancy's Note: I'm not sure that's legal in the US unless you're law enforcement or military, I think it would have to be concealed or you'd get arrested the moment you walked in the bank door.)

An undercover police officer sees a suspect and draws their weapon - answer - a member of the public sees the weapon panics and shoots. No problem, there is nothing in the second amendment that stops you from defending yourself.

The list could go on. The second amendment is all well and good but it says almost as much in what it leaves out as it does actually say.

In writing the amendment I believe the authors assumed that the audience had at least an amount of common sense. Just because it is your right doesn't mean you have to do it. If you are going to arm yourself be sensible about where you keep the weapon. Remember, just because your intention is good doesn't mean another person is going to accept or believe you, (just look at the comments on the blog to see how even friends can misinterpret each others thoughts). Carrying a weapon in public is a recipe for disaster, the risk is of something going wrong is greater than the risk of someone else shooting you, assess your own risk.

The end, for what it's worth. Unfortunately guns have a time and a place in the world today, I remember hearing one of the scientist who had worked on the Manhattan project stating that they wished they hadn't build the bomb. In an ideal world I think we'd all agree the world would be safer without; guns, spears, swords, missiles, bombs etc. Can we at least agree on that and move on? In some countries guns have become a fact of life, I wouldn't want to live in Iraq right now for that very reason. Guns aren't a good idea, but I guess you could argue that if someone else has one why shouldn't you or that if you can live without them, so can others.

Nan said...

From Jenn (Oliver) Hawkins, emailed to me this morning...

I am mostly with AmyLyn on this one, but you guys are getting way off the point. There's a couple of points I'd like to make about all this.

Stricter gun laws would not have prevented this tragedy. Banishment of guns would not have prevented this, simply because when someone wants a gun to commitment of a crime, they're readily available either legally or not. This guy purchased at least one gun legally, going thru a "criminal" background check. In the event you haven't heard (Liz) this idiot was adjudicated guilty by a judge and seen as a threat to himself and a threat to others as a result of a mental condiiton. That was a crime though and he slipped thru the criminal check. I'll come back to why this is important in a minute.

Amy Lyn, you and I disagree on one thing and that is I'm not sure I'd want drunken 18, 19, 20 years olds running around campus with handguns. I just don't think they have the maturity (some of them) to handle the responsibility of a gun safely. How many times did you hear stories of the jealous boyfriend stalking, threatening the girlfriend or others ( and not just our friendly Korean shooter). Now professors, janitors, and support people, sure why not.

The real question here is how are civil liberties are going to be altered as a result of this. This guy spent 4 years at a major university with the voices in his head telling him to do this or that. The higher ups at VaTEch knew that this guy was a nut case and they let him continue his education anyway, unfortunately to the demise of 32 people. You guys managed to make it out of the four year universities without harm,but think back on your days in Athens and remember the faces of those slightly odd people. They could've just as easily shot up any school in this country. There is no way to protect these college campuses.

Gun Control means hitting your target :) . Actually I'm all for the right to own a gun. Every year around July I think I need to get one in the event of a hurricane, and life in general getting ugly around here as a result. As you guys saw on TV there is not law and order for the 12 hours after a hurricane makes landfall and I will defend my property and family from opportunistic idiots should that ever arise. Will I join the NRA as a result of owning a gun? Absolutely not! Although the guv-ment has increased its gun control, they've not done enough to keep guns out of the hands of criminals or mental cases (VaTech as case in point).This is becasue the gun lobby has an "all or nothing" approach to its lobbying efforts. Gun ownership is not restrictive enough. So what if I have to fill out a few more bits of paper.

Finally, we have become (and to some extent the UK, the societies mirror each other) a society of victims. The questions was put forth thru all this bantering about what would you do if someone broke into your house and threatened you/your kid, etc....thats a little extreme and the chances of it happening are slim and none. However, I put the question to AL and Liz, and this should give you a better idea of rights to self defense and self preservation....AL and Liz, when it comes time for your children to enter into the word of elementary school and middle school and your child becomes the target of another kid, they poke, prod, and basically torment your son/daughter to where they come home in tears every day as a result, and don't want to go to school as a result, what are you going to tell your kids? And be honest, are you going to waltz down to the school and "insist that this stops now". You know in the kid-dom world that creates more issues. I'll be interested in seeing ya'lls answers because it will happen, not if, will.

And remember, ultimately, be nice in making your points and don't think someones point is more ignoratnt than yours. Agree to disagree, move on, but continue to be friends.

J

AmyMB said...

Excellent points, Simon and Jenn. (good to hear from you, Jenn, by the way!)

I completely agree with Simon when he says that the world would be a safer place if there were no guns. I think the world would be safer if there were no street drugs and no pedophiles, either.
But the fact is, there are guns, and there are street drugs and there are pedophiles, and nothing I can say or do is ever going to make them go away. So the only power I have in this situation is the power to protect myself and my family from these dangerous things.

To discuss Simon's points a little bit: I don't think there should be no laws relating to guns or gun ownership. I don't want to see a wild-wild-West mentality here in the U.S. where everyone runs about whipping out guns at the slightest provocation. But see, the chances of that happening are slim to none, and I have proof.
Here's what really happens when everyone in a town has ready access to a weapon. It's not mass hysteria with people shooting each other in the streets, as the media would have you believe:
In Kennesaw, Ga., a law was passed in 1982 that required all heads of household to keep at least one firearm with ammunition in their home. (there are a lot of exemptions, including the mentally disabled and anyone convicted of a felony...)
After the law went into effect, crime against persons plummeted 74 percent.
Population of the city tripled between 1982-1996 without one single gun homicide. (there were only two homicides during that time period, both with knives)
Kennesaw proves that the presence of firearms actually improves safety and security.

Jenn, that's a good question, too, about how we're going to handle bullies and tormentors at our childrens' schools. Personally, we are raising Drew to know how (and when) to defend himself, so that he won't have a victim mentality. We plan to start him in martial arts and self-defense classes as soon as he's old enough to go. (probably within the next two years). We want to instill in him a sense of confidence and the knowledge that he can defend himself if he has to.
I think that will help him avoid becoming a victim, and even if he does become one, he'll be more able to defend himself.
I don't encourage or condone fighting, but if he has to kick the crap out of some schoolyard punk to let them know he won't be a victim, well, so be it. (and won't that get me some more "terrified" responses from Liz and Nan. :-) )
Remember the line in the movie "Office Space", when the lawyer is talking to the guys about prison life? "The key is to kick someone's ass on the first day."
LOL, OK, I'm not going to go that far. (it was a JOKE! :-) )
I don't want Drew to be a perpetrator, I just don't want him to be a victim, either.

Your kids are older than ours, Jenn. How did you handle it when it happened to them? Any advice?

Elizabeth said...

Mary Catherine is already in primary school and we feel the single sex private school we have chosen for her has small enough classes and enough adult interaction to prevent the kind of bullying you're referring to.

However, I'm sure that it will happen in some form. Bullying is a hot topic here in the UK at the moment and there is a zero tolerance approach to bullying in Mary Catherine's school.

I would never encourage her to fight it out and I certainly wouldn't send her to martial arts classes to prepare her 'just in case'.

I would hopefully have an open enough relationship with her to encourage her to tell me what's going on. I would them work with her teachers and the school to ensure that the bullying was stopped. I expect her school, teachers, headmistress and board of Governors to help with any problem concerning bullying.

She won't be a victim by telling someone and seeking help instead of karate chopping her way to victory.. she'll be smart enough to know that there are people and resources available to help her. Just because I'm teaching her that violence NEVER solves anything doesn't mean that I'm teaching her how to be a victim.

Nan said...

Nothing you've said in that comment today "terrifies" me, Amy. How you raise Drew is your own business, just like how Jenn raises Mitch and Delaney (sp?) and how Liz raises Mary Catherine is their business. Besides, as the only one of us still childless, I can't say from personal experience...but I will say that when I do have children my plan is to raise them much in the way I was raised.

First, there is never a problem in school that you can't find an adult to help you deal with. Period. That is the first course of action, find an adult. Doesn't matter if you're 3 or 13, doesn't matter if it's someone trying to get your lunch money or trying to beat you up, that's what adults are there for...can't find a teacher? Tell your parents, tell a police officer, tell the librarian...just seek out an adult.

Second, I actually do plan to enroll my children in activities that will make them more confident and less "victim-like" when they are with their peers. However, I'm looking more at Tae Kwon Do than Karate b/c TKD is a self-defense ONLY form of martial arts, at least as far as I understand it. It teaches strength and encourages healthy living. (I'm also planning to get my children involved in yoga for the same reason.) I am not planning to take them to TKD so they can learn to beat up other children or other teenagers or other adults...even if it calls for it. I'm planning to take them because it gives them poise and attitude and character. It teaches them that violence is a LAST resort...which will fit nicely with what they learn at home.

That's my plan. I want my children to be strong and independent as well as have a healthy love and respect for others that would make any sort of violent act unthinkable.

Nan said...

(Another from Jenn, who seems to have lost her ability to comment directly...just kidding Jenn.)

How do I help my children handle the school bullies?

My kids are 11 (in middle school) and 8 (primary school). My kids are good kids, good temperments (with the exception of Delaney who's in the beginnings of puberty). And we keep them engaged in different stuff (baseball/softball) so they understand working together with others to accomplish things. We've been pretty lucky so far that we haven't had anything more than mild arguments. The worst that has happened is Delaney hit her cousin in retaliation for a smack ( and that was what was needed so this girl would quit being SUCH a PITA), and Mitch bit a kid on the bus who was aggravating the crap out of him. Mitch was written up, the school called me, all is well.

We've both explained to our kids that they are never allowed under any circumstances to "throw the first punch". But if they're attacked, they've have my full permission to defend themselves at all costs. They might get their ass kicked but at least they put up a fight. And the other thing they know is if these fights takes place in school, be prepared for any punishment that might be handed out and accept it. My experience has been, for myself and also talking to others, when you stand up to the bully, the bullying stops, even if you don't win the fight. When I first moved to Florida in the early 80's, I fought this black girl in the school yard 'cause she called me a cracker. She got her licks in, I got mine in, but the end result was that they never messed with me again, from the 4th grade to the 12th grade. I always try to mediate the peace.

Liz, all the support from adults and educators in the world will not prevent it. At some point MC will have to stand alone and make the decision to defend (I'm not saying attack) herself. This might not happen now, or next year, but there will be a time when she'll be out in the world when they want to spread their wings and be on their own and she'll be faced with that.

Can we talk about religion now :)

AmyMB said...

"We've both explained to our kids that they are never allowed under any circumstances to "throw the first punch". But if they're attacked, they've have my full permission to defend themselves at all costs. They might get their ass kicked but at least they put up a fight."

That is exactly what I believe, too. If I ever find out that Drew is instigating fights, I will quickly intervene, because that's not acceptable. But he's allowed to defend himself, as long as he understands that there will likely be consequences.

"there is never a problem in school that you can't find an adult to help you deal with"

I'll tell you from my experience in working professionally with teenagers, even when adults are available, if the teens ask for adult intervention, that makes the bullying worse, because then they're viewed as "crybabies" or "tattletales".(I don't view them that way; their peers do - and the teens who tell me this use much worse words, but I'm trying to keep this PG-13 :-) )
So, sure, adults could help, temporarily, but in the long run, it just doesn't solve the problem. That's why there always has been and always will be fighting and bullying in schools.
And that, again, comes back to our primary, underlying difference: I believe in doing for oneself, not depending on other people to do for you. Just like the police can't protect you all the time, neither can teachers, or parents.

And when I talk about martial arts, TKD is what I meant (I just couldn't think of the term and didn't feel like Googling) - a form of discipline that concentrates on self-defense and building confidence.
See? I knew somebody would read the wrong thing into that and think I was raising my son to be a big bully.
Nope. I'm raising him to have enough confidence in himself and enough independence so that when he's an adult, he doesn't expect other people to do things for him (i.e. protect or rescue him) that he should be doing for himself.

And we already got into it about religion, Jenn - check the archives. :-)

Elizabeth said...

I posted on this topic on my site.. here are some of the comments:

From my mother: AL, your child would be suspended for 5 days for throwing a punch, fake or otherwise. many of our students say my mama told me to hit back, but mama is wrong. do you clobber someone in walmart because they jumped you in line. do you flip someone off who makes you angry for a small reason? i think all of this debate has merit, but both sides have lost the sight of the golden rule, do until others as yo would have them do unto you. in today's world that does not mean violence of any form.

From K: Tobes is in his fourth day in primary school and he's already come home saying that one of the children is mean to him and keeps calling him a 'fat-head'. We responded by pointing how silly and rude the other child is being and that Toby should simply tell her not to be so rude. I'm also going to talk to his teacher on Monday about it. I agree with Elizabeth that teaching children to trust their parents and teachers to help them rather than feeling the responsibility to fight their own way out of a situation is a healthier approach in the long run. One day when Tobes is an adult he won't be able to hit someone at work because they're rude to him or do something unjust. I certainly don't think that someone is a victim beacause they don't 'fight back'. Surely having self-confidence and respect for oneself means maintaining one's dignity and integrity rather than stooping to the level of a bully.

Just FYI..

"Liz, all the support from adults and educators in the world will not prevent it. "

We shall see Jenn.. but I still will not encourage my child to be violent and I will not encourage her to fight. Maybe it's a cultural thing.

AmyMB said...

"Surely having self-confidence and respect for oneself means maintaining one's dignity and integrity rather than stooping to the level of a bully."

A bully is someone who is habitually cruel, overbearing or aggressive, specifically to people who are smaller or weaker than they are.
A person who defends himself when someone attacks him is not a bully.
A person who is self-confident does not need other people to do for him things he should be able to do for himself.

"I agree with Elizabeth that teaching children to trust their parents and teachers to help them rather than feeling the responsibility to fight their own way out of a situation is a healthier approach in the long run."

And I think that teaching children independence and confidence in themselves is one of the most important lessons you can impart.

It's absolutely silly to think that because I teach my son to defend himself that he'll grow up to "clobber someone in line at the walmart." That's some seriously screwy logic, there. That's the same kind of specious argument the anti-gun folks use - "oh, no, if everyone can have guns there will be rioting in the streets and people will start shooting each other if they get pissed off in traffic!"
I've already shown you, with a specific, researchable case study (the Kennesaw, Ga, case), that that's not the case and that, in fact, the exact opposite happens. Remember? Only 3 homicides in, what, like 10 years?
When law-abiding people are armed, they are less likely to be victimized. When responsible students stand up to bullies, they are less likely to be bullied.

Elizabeth said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Elizabeth said...

sigh.... you've had an anon response on my blog under the comments, Amy.. I'll let you go and respond to it there if you like.

Nan said...

Comments are closed. And then it became real...

Once again, into the breach...err, semester...

Trying the blog thing again are you? Pardon me if I don't stay awake until you leave it hanging...again... -Willow-Pickle Here we f...