The federal government could declare a state of emergency and post at least 2 well trained, armed personnel, either police or military, within our public schools. Gunmen attack soft targets. They like to assault "gun free zones." I believe 20 years of wrangling over mental health issues and gun control have only placed our children at greater risk because no real solutions have been reached. Israel implemented a 1 guard per every 100 students policy and all but ended the gun violence problem there. That was in 1974. We can argue and debate the morality issues later, but for now how about we just start protecting our kids? There are armed guards at rock concerts, football games etc. I think are kids are more important than those events. This problem could be fixed in 6 months.
Wow. How about just changing the constitution and just banning guns?
There is nothing particularly impressive about the American constitution. The South African constitution is considered the best in the world - not the American one. And the Charter of Human Rights (United Nations) is pretty awesome as well.
Australia had one massive school shooting about 30 years ago, banned guns, and never had the issue again.
According to Mental Health organisations in America, one in four people are permanently mentally ill. Another 25% will have episodic mental illness. That means half of Americans experience mental illness. It is the only country in the world that has that kind of mind-blowing mental illness. That doesn't even include personality disorders like sociopathy and psychopathy.
Life in the States is beyond harsh. The degree of stress that people experience leads to mental illness. Mental illness has a genetic predisposition that is generally triggered by events.
The kind of people who insist on having guns are generally not well-adjusted people. Their reasoning is absurd. It is, of course, impossible to convince someone who is insane that they are insane.
Your above suggestion would make you a candidate for the crazy ward in any other country.
I agree. But in America, the NRA has too much power and the politicians all need their monetary contributions to win their campaigns. They don't care about the people, and forget they SERVE them.
I lost hope when the group of 1st graders were gunned down in Sandy Hook, and our government did nothing. My son teaches that grade. He says for drills, the teachers tell the children to hide in the coat closet, making them sitting ducks for a shooter with many rounds in an automatic weapon.
Many schools in NJ have doors which lock after the last student and teacher walk into the building. After that, they must announce who they are at the front door before being admitted into the building. It helps, but not enough. Even in the 1970's, when I was in HS, we had a large school with over 3,000 students, the Freshmen couldn't even fit there in the Baby Boom years. We had two policemen who got to know many of us, and in those times it was because of drugs. But again, it did add to the feeling of safety. However, in a neighborhood of people of color, police may be seen as the enemy.
I would also like to see the second amendment changed. It was written at a time when people hunted for food, and by religious fanatics who didn't want a King, and were afraid the government would try to take over their weapons and land. America should revise the Constitution to reflect current times, but never seems to act in their own best interests. Plus we have an old, out of touch, unstable President right now, who is surrounded by cronies who suck up to him because they want to protect their own political careers. At least the students are speaking out in anger this time, maybe their generation can knock some sense into these idiot's heads. Most politician's kids go to private schools.
It has to stop. At least mentally ill people and felons should not be able to purchase guns. And nobody needs a gun with so many rounds of ammo that can be shot off so fast. None of the lists of such people are updated, a local issue which could actually create jobs..Maybe the gun seller who sold a weapon to a mentally unfit individual should go to jail or be fined a lot of money, and they would watch who they sell weapons too. But we already have more people in jail than any other country, for non violent issues like pot, which could add a lot to our economy. The current administration wants to turn the clock back about 100 years.
Jean- To the original point, if the federal government would just place armed guards around the perimeter of the schools as Israel does, I believe it would deter and stop shooters. I think looking too far down the road and airing too many opinions just alientates people you could otherwise work with. I have very liberal and libertarian friends that agree that stepping up security should be the first step. Calling the Presidend of the US names, critiquing the Consititution, doesnt do anything to stop future shooters, in fact it's a distraction. When you go to a doctor you can only address one issue at a time, same is true for car issues. It's like a puzzle. The piece we're currently working on is how to keep our kids safe. Lets talk about that.
Do you have a suggestion as to just how a gun dealer will know when a person is "mentally unfit"? Should we make public the names of any and all people that have ever been in a mental hospital or have ever visited a psychiatrist or psychologist? Maybe a list of all those people, along with the diagnosis, and then require any gun dealer to by a professional psychologist as well as businessman so (s)he can understand that diagnosis?
I think some kind of list of mentally unstable people could be made up, and distributed to gun dealers, so at least they had some kind of idea of a background of instability or some felonies. Most businesses are computerized. I realize the person who sells at gun shows probably isn't, although most of us can access the internet through our phones in the 21st century. There should be a waiting period (and I believe there is in some states, I don't know a lot about guns). I am not asking a gun dealer to make a mental health determination, that wouldn't be their area of expertise.
But all the lists we have of dangerous people could be updated in the U.S. What about convicted felons or even the no fly lists that still let people into the country who shouldn't be? All these lists are outdated or maybe don't exist. This shooter was expelled from the school, and everyone local knew he was a potential problem. He should have been on a list of some sort, and the local police should have been keeping an eye on him.
I just know our children shouldn't be slaughtered for going to school. My son was willing to die to protect his 1st grade class, but as a 3rd degree black belt with 20 years of training, realized he couldn't do that without a gun either. He got disillusioned by the low teaching standards and this safety issue.
Nobody needs a gun that shoots so many rounds so fast in the civilian world. The NRA needs to be stripped of so much power.
Most issues in life are complex and need more than one step to solve a problem. Stepping up school security would be a good start. So would sensible gun control. Thoughts and prayers aren't keeping our children alive.
I have to disagree. Most issues are MADE complex by people more willing to live in the theoretical realm than taking action. You seem to have an abundance of ideas, Jean. What actions have you taken so far? You say "thoughts and prayers aren't keeping our children alive." What are YOU doing beyond offering forum opinions?
I council many young people and spend a lot of time listening to them as they discuss the problems and issues they face. I have always had a strong rapport with young people, because I am young at heart. I have an astrology and tarot business out of my home. But by the time I work with a younger (or even older) person once, my role seems to be more about sensible advice, and I am a life coach now. I, my son, and nephews have lost more people to death at a young age than many of my/their peers, and often they and friends come to me to discuss and work through their grief. People in the US want to sanitize death, and don't talk about it enough.
I am the Treasurer of my town's Democratic Club, only because I once worked in the corporate world. Although I mostly care about environmental issues, I find many of my neighbors and friends come to me to discuss other town matters. My son has been as active as "getting out the vote" as my late husband and I always were. Once again, I am the one often sought out by younger people, though I am respected by my peers.
I am currently taking part in several events in my state regarding changing laws because the youth who experienced the Parkland, FL shootings have been so intelligent and vocal about insisting our politicians not be bought by the NRA.
What are you doing?
I believe that your work with young people (and older as well, but mostly the young) are more likely to help the problem of violence in our country than any gun law we might pass.
We have hundreds of laws and it has not helped for the problem is not a piece of iron but the mind and mentality pulling the trigger (or pushing the knife or swinging the bat, or striking the match, whatever). Change that mentality, turn it from insanity to sanity, and you will accomplish far more than pushing it to find a different, possibly more deadly, weapon ever can.
So you think the focus would be better placed in the mental health category? You could be right. I don't know why everyone is so stressed out now than ever before. We talked about this in earlier posts. Then we need to find a way to reach people who need help with mental health issues, get them help, and not stigmatize them. Health care plans don't cover a lot of mental health care.
I like that idea, but not if they are put on too many psychotropic drugs. I have a bipolar friend. The meds make the person less violent, but are so heavy it is very depressing and it looks like it makes it hard to function at all.
I'm not sure that "mental health" is the term to use. There is something that has changed in our culture, something is very wrong here, that leads people to become murderers, and particularly those murders like Florida.
But is it really a mental health issue if society accepts and condones whatever is causing it? Yes, the urge to murder is, but "healing" murderers, one by one, before they murder sounds like an impossible task. Better to attack whatever it is in our culture that is causing that illness.
There really are rare individuals that are born amoral (without morals) and there are more that have a physical impairment of the brain that causes mental illness, perhaps even the urge to kill. But I believe the problem we're dealing with in these school shootings is much deeper - way down there in our cultural norms. It isn't insanity in and of itself, but it is causing insanity in our people.
And, of course, the fact is that whatever we believe, however we rationalize it, history - real world experience - has over and over shown that guns are NOT the problem and all the gun laws in the world will not stop killings. The best they can possibly do is force killers to choose an different weapon, and quite possibly a more deadly one as was done in Australia.
Am I getting this rather fuzzy message across?
Sort of. I don't know what makes some people so violent or depressed that they would act in such an amoral way. Most of these shooters kill themselves after the rampage, so that's depression and low self worth. We can't analyse everyone to death either.
I still think assault style weapons should be banned for civilians. Innocent, unarmed people don't have a chance against an attack like that. It's mostly in America we hear of incidents like this. Why are we such a violent culture? And why can't we change? Where do we start when most people won't even listen to each other?
The country is so divided, we have to pause, stop, and think about what we care about most and try to change what needs to be changed in order to meet those goals. But we can't even do that, in our own best interests.
I don't have any faith in our government after 6 yr. old kids got murdered at Sandy Hook, and the NRA still gives the standard "Guns don't kill people, people kill people" speech. Too many crazy people still have access to guns. Or maybe they are angry, I don't know. I only know if they didn't have a way to mow down so many children so fast, they would be alive, and all those families wouldn't be shattered forever. Or adults, if it's about the Las Vegas shooting.
I don't know either, but whatever it is, it is also the root of our problem with violence (or whole root system, more likely). Until we address that we aren't going to stop the killings.
I know you want all semi-automatics painted black gone from the people's hands. So far, though, I haven't seen a rational reason to ban the most popular gun in the country, all 5 million of them - the gun that is used to kill less than 300 of the 12,000 people murdered each year - in the forlorn hope that the killers won't go for bombs, cars or even a simple match next time. I absolutely guarantee there are better uses for our resources than that, and a use that actually stands a chance of saving some lives. If we bought them back (and we can't simply steal them from legal owners) at just $1,000 per gun the cost will be over 5 Billion dollars. That would buy an awful lot of school guards, just as a "for instance". It would buy a lot of mental illness treatment or a lot of metal detectors for schools. Or all of them, for that matter, but what it won't do is give us an immediate relief from the guilt of knowing we aren't doing anything, it won't placate people that don't like guns, and it won't buy votes.
Agree 100%. We can't even do that, and until we do we're going to keep right on burying people, including school children.
Jean, the point of that mantra is that even if we could take all guns away - legal, illegal, homemade, whatever - killers will still kill and and about the same rate. It could easily go up - those 17 killed in Florida could have been 200 with a single bomb. Or virtually the entire school if the food supply was poisoned. Or maybe only 25-30 if a truck was used to plow into the playground. The point is that taking the preferred weapon from an insane killer will never stop anything at all.
I don't think anyone wants to take ALL of everyone's guns away. Just the automatic ones that kill so fast.
I have friends who hunt. I have neighbors with guns. Even the Northern part of NJ, an hour from NYC, is not as liberal as many think it is. I live in the Northwestern part, and it's more wooded and farmland. We are, after all, the Garden State.
I have neighbors who have guns and hunt. One of them usually gets his yearly deer or two with a bow. That's real sportsmanship. I know he fears the government wants to take all his guns, but nobody does. Just the ones that shoot so many rounds. He never showed me his whole collection, so I don't know what else he has. But I don't worry about him either, he's been my friend for 35 yrs. and has always been sane.
The idea of buying guns back is OK, it's been done before. I agree it should be voluntary for teachers to decide if they want to carry. My son who teaches says he would do it, to protect his class. But many teachers are women, the majority in elementary and HS. They may not feel as comfortable. And do they get paid more? It's sort of combat pay.
Most of these "lists" were compiled after 9/11, so I admit to not knowing a lot about them or how they were or were not changed over time. If we are going to have lists, we should maintain them.
I think the police do better surveillance in their areas than they get credit for. We had issues with bears for about 5 years, and they were out ASAP if we saw them. The ERA wanted numbers, I asked because I felt stupid calling the police and bothering them about bears.Since it's so wooded on my road, I have seen bears 5 at a time in front of my house. One night I came home from a walk, and one was sleeping by the grill on my deck. I just walked right past him. They aren't afraid of people anymore, it's only mothers protecting their cubs who are dangerous for the most part. But we had a governor who approved several hunting seasons on them, even though the town is so overdeveloped, wildlife has no place to go.
But the police are savvy about the troublemakers in a town or city, I give them more credit than that.
The Judges are usually not impartial either. Agree.
I can't come to any helpful conclusions. Maybe buy back the guns that shoot over a certain amount of rounds? That's what's being used to kill so much at all the schools and in NV. Other countries don't allow this to happen. People have to have the same mental health everywhere, or similarly. They just can't get guns so easily. We aren't going to agree with everything, but it's been a good conversation.
If all you want is to take automatic weapons, that's already done. If you want to limit the number of bullets a gun can have in it at one time that's an option I could support, although you should know that it takes about 2 seconds to put in another magazine holding another 10 or 50 bullets. It obviously won't help, but it will make people feel better, which I guess is more important than freedom is to some and thus I could support it as a minor inconvenience that isn't going to bother the vast majority of people.
I don't have answers either. I just know that curtailing our rights and freedom further than we already have doesn't help. One has only to look at the numbers, at which guns are being used the most and at the areas that have the strictest controls AND the highest homicide rates to know that.
I guess I don't understand enough about guns. Isn't the kind of gun--the AR-15, the one the shooter in Parkland used, an automatic one? It's the ones that shoot so many rounds of ammo so fast that I am against.
Are you saying there were laws so he shouldn't have had that, and he broke them to obtain it? That does change my mind to some degree. I don't want to give up freedoms just to feel a little safer. And you know that quote from Ben Franklin, paraphrased as "people who will give up freedom for safety deserve neither."
As a woman who lives alone, and is planning on moving West, I am considering taking lessons and buying a gun when I move. I want to be able to protect myself too. I never believed I would feel this way, but lately I am coming around to being more comfortable with these thoughts/plans.
No. The AR-15 is a semi-automatic rifle, the same as millions of hunting guns and even more handguns. The only automatic guns are in the hands of the military and a very, very few collectors.
And automatic (machine gun) will shoot bullets as long as the trigger is pulled - as many as 1,000 per minute. A semi-automatic requires that the trigger be pulled and released each time a bullet is fired and is good for maybe 200 per minute. Not much more than a lever action rifle in the hands of an experienced shooter. The difference in sound between an automatic and a semi-automatic is marked, but I've mistaken a lever action for a semi-automatic before.
LOL When it comes to crime, I think you'll find far more in the East than the West, mostly because that's where most of the big cities are. Unless you're going to live in the heart of LA or even Portland or Seattle you're likely to be safer than in the East. Except for bears or (more and more) cougars, of course.
I lived not far from Richmond Va, and recall that it was the murder capital of the country several years running. Chicago is horrible, as is NYC. I don't want to drive downtown Baltimore. I can't recall any western city ever gaining recognition as particularly deadly, but I sure can for eastern ones.
And maybe I'm just biased for the West - that's my home.
I've traveled out West often, and love it. Everything is big and beautiful there. When I was younger, my husband I drove across the country twice, and saw every state. He worked for a family owned company, and they were so good to us.
I live about an hour from NY, and although there is a lot of cultural stuff there, it's so expensive. When I was a teen, you could take a bus for $5.00, get concert tickets for $10.00, and it was affordable to do a lot of things in NY. Now you can take a week long cruise and spend less than one night out in NY, if you see a Broadway show, eat dinner and park. I used to love it, but almost never go there now. Besides dangerous, everyone drives like maniacs. Well, in NJ too.
I don't have many friends left here, although it's my home state. I have old friends in Seattle, and have been working with a realtor there. I can see ranches similar to mine, for a price I can afford, if I sell this house. My son hates teaching (for many reasons discussed in this thread), and is willing to take the plunge with me. He has also been running a martial arts school, he's basically been working two jobs for years now, so is still single. He can open one and his mentor can give him the credentials he needs. Once we acclimate, we would go our separate ways. I'm retired, but can still write and do my astrology and tarot for extra money.
It's not final yet, but I am seriously thinking of it. I don't want to live in the city proper, that's too expensive. But I'm looking at some nice properties on the outskirts. And I am liberal .
LOL We lived in Virginia, between Wash. D.C. and Richmond, for over 20 years. The population density, the cost and the crime finally got to us and we decided to move back west: I'm from NE Oregon in a very rural area.
That was 20+ years ago, and we still miss some things. The lush vegetation (but not the bugs, heat or humidity that comes with it), our friends. But love the open spaces where we can go to "get away from it all" for a few days. The majesty of the Rockies. Family is now close by and that's important to us. One thing we do NOT do, except for rare instances, is visit the large cities. We've been to LA, to San Francisco, Portland and Seattle, but none of them hold anything for us but a few days of sightseeing.
Unfortunately, we live in what we're told is the fastest growing city in the country, and it shows. Nothing remains static, and we sure see it around us! When we came in 1996 the population was a little over 10 or 12 thousand. Now we're pushing 100,000.
I didn't see this - wish I would have.
There are major problems, to me, with your suggestions. First, that "no-fly" list is secret, cannot effectively be argued and no one knows how they got on it. As a tool to remove second amendment rights it would be an absolute horror; we DO believe in the concept of a jury trial, the right to counsel and the right to confront our accuser after all.
Second, that "everyone local knew he <the Florida shooter> was a potential problem" doesn't mean squat. It's an indication he wasn't liked, but not a one of those "everybody local" is qualified or competent to perform a mental exam and, again, remove constitutional rights based on that exam. To put him on some kind of "list of evil people" because the neighbors didn't like him is unacceptable.
Third, I absolutely abhor the idea that any time you visit your shrink your medical diagnosis and history will be forwarded to the FBI for purposes of removing your rights. It's hard for me to conceive of a more egregious violation of privacy.
Fourth, I cannot agree to stripping the NRA of power any more than I can to stripping the NAACP of it's or the ACLU of it's. I don't agree with all their decisions and actions, but any organization founded primarily to protect the rights of all Americans does not need to be banned, disbanded or even cut down in size.
Fifth, that "Nobody needs a gun that shoots so many rounds so fast in the civilian world." has nothing to do with constitutional rights (even though I agree with it). That document does not address "need", only "desire" and anyone desiring a gun has a right to own one...including a gun that others determine that owner has "no need of".
We have a desperate need to reduce violence and violent killings (and not just in schools or of children or even mass murders) in our country, but violating our own laws or eliminating the right of others to do/own something we don't like is not the answer. Instead we desperately need to put our resources, always limited, into attacking the root, the cause, of the problem; what makes us such a violent people? Why do so many of us decide to murder strangers that have done nothing and mean nothing to them? What kind of insanity are "we the people" suffering from and how do we stop that insanity instead of putting bandaids on the symptoms of the disease while we let the disease itself fester and grow?
1. Why do we have these lists if nobody knows who is on them and for what reason? It shouldn't be a secret if a dangerous person is going to be let into our country, they would have been banned from entering the U.S. for a serious reason. I believe that by the time they make the list, the person has been to court with mental health professionals and the court has decided the person is dangerous to themselves or others. It won't hurt to delay someone from a flight, be safe, and ask questions later. Don't charge anyone with anything until it is researched. But this can only work if all these lists are updated. Some probably don't belong on them, and years later, more should be added. It's a fluid situation.
2. The shooter at Parkland was expelled and local cops knew he was a person with problems. There was no need to pry or take away his rights, but they could have been watching him more closely, just in case. There are people in my town who are known problem causers who are watched more closely by local police, and usually they have known hang out places.
3. Many people see psychologists for issues like grief, anxiety, marriage counseling.They are not dangerous. It's people with tendencies to cause danger that need to be watched, once again. If a psychologist or psychiatrist suspects a patient will commit a serious crime, they are obligated to alert the authorities. I don't want to intrude on anyone's privacy or rights.
4. The NRA pays for the campaigns of too many people and they are beholden to them. I just saw Marco Rubio sweating and getting booed at an appearance in FL for the amounts of money he has taken. Of course, in return, the NRA expects to never have any changes in the amount or strength of weapons American citizens can buy.
5. So we agree about the fact most of us don't need military type weapons. I think they should be banned. It's simple. Leave them for the military.
Your questions about how to solve these questions are great. We need all kinds of change and all ideas are welcome. There can be many solutions when there are many problems, and that's just how my mind works, I connect many things at once. Thus my conversation with Leland which has fallen on deaf ears, though his heart is in the right place. I think the U.S. still has a lot of that old West "Shoot 'em up" kind of mentality, we are an independent people who don't like being told what to do. Many of our soldiers come home with PTSD and it's ignored, until they usually commit suicide. They normally are more disciplined and won't take out their depression on children or someone they perceive as weaker. They should be assigned to other vets or someone to discuss their traumas about what they have seen and experienced as soon as their tour is over.
The President seems to be considering changing the ages of ability to buy a gun from 18 to 21. That's a band aid. We both knew people at 18 who could go to Vietnam, but not vote, and the age to buy a beer or glass of wine was 21. Any 18 yr. old has friends or someone 21 who will buy a gun for them, just like they would have bought a six pack of beer. The meeting with the Parkland, FL kids went poorly and they all thought what he said was BS.
As the Mother of a teacher and friend to several, the idea of them carrying guns is ludicrous. Trump went to Reform School, and many teachers there are male. Most elementary and HS teachers are female, and could still be over powered by a strong teen. Teachers are not respected in America, and are seriously underpaid, even though they have to major in another subject besides getting into a teaching program. They won't make back what they spent for college for years. They shouldn't be burdened by learning to shoot. Could the National Guard be at the schools? Or who could be? I think the children would need to get to know whoever is protecting them and build relationships of trust, or it won't work. Then the protectors would get to see who may bear out closer scrutiny.
I don't know the answers, like you, I am asking questions and trying to decide what could help. I still believe military weapons should be banned among civilians. If we mess with the Constitution, we will continue to change it, so I don't believe it should be touched. Maybe it should be interpreted a bit differently since we live in such changing times, and it was written in a different era.
But the Trump administration stole a Supreme Court seat and replaced it with a conservative, and he is slowly doing that with many judges in secret. None of his appointees will ever vote against gun control. The Supreme Court should be a mix of conservative and liberal judges. Imagine if Obama stole a seat. I don't think it should be a lifetime appointment either. I understand it should be long, so the court isn't swayed by trends. But maybe 20-25 yrs.is enough. Some people stay sharp and informed as they age, but some have not evolved or grown and that's a sign of immaturity and intellectual laziness. Our highest court should never fall prey to that.
Do you know what the no-fly list is? It has nothing to do with anyone entering the country; it is to keep American citizens from boarding a plane anywhere in the country. And no, there is no judge reviewing names before they go on the list and there is no psychologist report either. There is a bureaucrat somewhere deep in the bowels of DC that decides you are a terrorist threat.
Sure they could have watched him closely. But how many cops can we afford to pay, or want to have around, doing nothing but a continued 24 hour surveillance for life on people they think are "troubled"? But you know, without real probable cause that surveillance will not last long - it can't in a nation of laws and freedom.
I can't support the age change, either, and for the same reason. I do remember as a teen myself the thing about "We can go die for our country, but can't buy a beer?!?". Doesn't make sense, and doubly so for guns.
Teachers with guns I CAN support...as long as it is not a requirement for the job - that it is totally voluntary.
Military weapons are already virtually banned in the country. Precious few people have one (legally) and there hasn't been a murder using one since the days of the Mafia and their "tommy guns". But you don't want only military guns banned - you want anything that looks scary gone from the scene. Because that's the fraud being perpetuated by the "assault weapon" crap from the anti-gun crowd. The term "assault rifle" has a specific meaning - an automatic firing, military grade, rifle - but the politicians and those spreading an irrational fear of guns has created a second definition while hoping a listener is using the first one. It raises the fear factor much higher to think your neighbor has an army machine gun in his closet, but it's naught but a lie to promote an emotional response rather than a reasoned one.
What the SCOTUS needs is judges that don't care what the liberal, conservative, Democratic or Republican platform is. That will decide based on law instead of their personal morals or what the party that they pay obeisance to thinks is best for the party. Good luck with that!
Creating smaller schools and smaller class sizes and dumping standardized testing would give teachers the time to get to know kids and their families and spot problems early. Putting 2000 kids in one building with only 100 adults to supervise them is asking for problems. It's a money saver, of course, which is why they do it, but it is not conducive to building feelings of trust and community within the school environment. The reason I mention standardized testing is that it pushes teachers to "teach to the test" and eliminates any extra time they might have to really communicate with kids. . I taught for 26 years, some of which were spent in the days before ginormous schools and forced testing. Can't tell you how many kids I was able to keep off of drugs, keep from running away, etc. Was able to build self esteem and foster personal growth. These things are important because they eliminate problems and allow for real learning. They've ruined the schools and with them many of the kids. Time for a big change.
South African schools (the white ones) during apartheid years always had between 30 and 40 kids in them. At the time, our matric (A levels, graduation) was considered one of the best in the world.
We also had standardized testing, and there was no such thing as work during the years countig towards your year-end mark.
If you didn't pass math, science, and three languages, you failed and repeated the year.
Standard testing in America only tests maths and English. I once asked a teacher why she hated it. She said because she had to teach grammar, and she didn't know how to teach grammar because she had never been taught it.
Standardized testing is used in many countries in the world (it's just another word for exams), and in the best educated countries in the world, standardized testing is a way of life.
None of this has anything to do with angry people going around shooting students.
Totally disagree...and I'm speaking as someone who was in the trenches for 26 years. You clearly have no understanding about how standardized testing is handled in the US...so you shouldn't judge They have everything to do with taking time away from learning which children are becoming destabilized, and that is an extremely important point. As for US teachers not knowing grammar? Oh please. If you believe that, I have a bridge in Brooklyn I"d like to sell you! One teacher out of thousands tells you she doesn't know grammar and you make a sweeping statement about this situation that encompasses millions of highly qualified educators. Shame on you!
No, Americans don't understand grammar. They wouldn't know an adverb if it kicked them. It's standard practice to use adjectives as if they were adverbs i.e. "I did it bad." It is "I did it badly." I also did about six or seven writing classes at college in San Diego. 95% of the wannabe writers were semi-literate. There was also a study done in California at the time that said that 95% of American four year students at university couldn't write a grammatical sentence.
With regard to English grammar, the head of the English department at college sent me an email saying that I must be more positive to other students as she was trying to teach them to write. I wrote back (this was two months in) and told that they didn't need to learn creative writing - they needed to learn English grrammar. This was the same professor who had a Masters in Victorian British Literature but didn't know that the word 'casket' meant a small jewellery container (only in America does it mean coffin). Supposedly, if she had read sufficient Victorian British literature, she would have known that. She also didn't know what an Oxford comma was - nevermind where commas were meant to be used.
I also spent four years in your college system. I spent so much time going to the Chair telling them the professors were wrong, I eventually just gave up. I always won my point - including twice with the Math department when I proved that the math text book was incorrect. The math department had a vote on it and I won.
Standardized testing is common in other countries. Our school leaving test is not written by teachers. It is written by the Department of Education and is the same for all schools. It is also not marked by the teachers in one's own school, but by teachers hired for that task by the Department of Education. Guess what? It works well.
One either knows one's topic, or one does not. The answer to 1 + 1 is always 2. I repeatedly noticed that professors at college graded one according to the weather, their mood, whether they liked you or not, etc. I even had one professor who routinely just gave everybody a mark that averaged the first mark he gave them. I know that because we all began to notice and started inserting wrong answers into our assignments. He marked them correct.
The real problem with standardized testing in the States is that teachers have had carte blanche to teach what they liked (and this concealed their lack of knowledge), and that is why the general level of American education is so far below that of the rest of the world (except for third world countries in Africa).
https://www.theatlantic.com/education/a … th/281983/
The reason standardized testing was brought in was to force teachers to actually teach the subjects that were needed Math and a good comprehension of language. With those foundations, anything else can be learnt. With a poor understanding of those, every other discipline suffers.
The reason standardized testing was brought in was to make politicians look like they were doing something so that they could collect even more money from the companies that prepare the tests. If you could see the materials that are used to guide students, how expensive they are, how massive, how slick...you would gasp. Testing has become big business in the US, but it has been an abysmal failure. Those teachers and students who don't know basic grammar? The great majority came through systems that insisted on standardized testing..so of course they haven't learned what they need to know. I don't know how it is now, but when I began teaching in Florida people were required to take tough competency tests before being granted licenses. Now that there are massive shortages, I doubt that still is true. I come from a time when teachers had to know what they were doing or they couldn't teach, so I don't understand some of the comments you made about so many people knowing so little. It almost appears as though you are the only person who knows anything! Good luck with that!
Timetraveller- It's always good to have someone commenting whose been on the frontlines actually doing the job. You made excellent points. My wife is a teacher and would agree with you. I can see how the standardization process could create a disconnect. Students who were borderline could then be pushed over the edge. Do you think standardized tests damages a sense of purpose? Great point I wouldn't have considered in a million years. Thank you.
What I think is that you cannot standardize learning. Each child learns in his own way and in his own time. If you push him into a corner that does not connect with his psyche, you create rather than resolve problems. On the surface, standardized testing seems like a good idea, but the actual practice of it is expensive, time consuming and inhibits real learning. One of the worst ideas US schools have ever created...ask any teacher!
As it is with so many issues who you read and who you listen to is extremely important when trying to get the facts right. In contrast to your post, Australia actually saw a 10 year spike in suicides AFTER the gun ban. Lifeline Australia, an Australian suicide prevention agency, stated that "suicide is the number one cause of death for Australians between the ages of 15-44. While Australians kill themselves with guns less often it doesn't seem that they take their lives any less often." In fact, the Australian government actually reported increases in manslaughter, sexual assault, kidnapping, armed and unarmed robbery after the gun ban in 1996 while in the US between 1993 - 2011 violent crime actually dropped 72% during gun manufacturing and sales peaks. Those statistics come from the United States Justice Department.
Apples with apples and all that.
I believe I said, "Australia had one massive school shooting about 30 years ago, banned guns, and never had the issue again."
The topic is mass school shootings. Don't go off topic.
QUOTE: On April 28, 1996, a 28-year-old man with a troubled past named Martin Bryant walked into a cafe in Port Arthur, a tourist town on the island of Tasmania, and opened fire with a semi-automatic rifle. He killed 35 people and wounded another 28.
QUOTE: But Howard’s response to the shooting was about as different from Trump’s as you could imagine. In his first speech to Parliament after the shooting, just two days later, he called for Australian legislators to take up “the vexed issue of gun control,” and vowed to devote his premiership to the issue.
You can also read about it here.
QUOTE: Following the spree, the Prime Minister of Australia, John Howard, introduced strict gun control laws within Australia and formulated the National Firearms Programme Implementation Act 1996, restricting the private ownership of semi-automatic rifles, semi-automatic shotguns and pump-action shotguns as well as introducing uniform firearms licensing. It was implemented with bipartisan support by the Commonwealth, states and territories. The massacre happened just six weeks after the Dunblane massacre, in Scotland, which claimed 18 lives, with U.K. Prime Minister John Major reaching out to his counterpart over the shared tragedies; the United Kingdom passed its own changes to gun laws in 1997.
You also need to learn to check definitions. Violent crime, obviously, is not defined as suicide according to the American Department of Justice.
QUOTE: Suicide is a major national social issue in the United States. There were 42,773 recorded suicides in the U.S. in 2014 according to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS). On average, adjusted for age, the annual U.S. suicide rate increased 24% over the 15 previous years (1999 to 2014), from 10.5 to 13.0 suicides per 100,000 people, the highest rate recorded in 28 years. Due to the stigma surrounding suicide, it is suspected that it generally is underreported.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Suicide_i … ted_States
QUOTE: The violent crime rate in the United States may be at a historic low, but another form of violence is growing. Suicide rates have been increasing since 2000 after decades of decline, as documented in a new report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
http://www.vocativ.com/412376/suicide-r … areas-cdc/
I see nothing you've quoted as helpful to moving the conversation forward.
Wow. I just derailed everything you contributed and you can't see how I moved the conversation forward? None so blind as those who will not see.
Let me spell it out for you. GUNS HAVE TO BE BANNED. The American constitution has to be changed.
Let me spell it out for you further.
I am currnently living in a third world country. I have better facilities than the USA has. I have also lived in first world countries. America is NOT a first world country.
In those countries, guns are worshipped... Guns are not worshipped in first world countries.
You forgot to mention that the homicide rate after Australia's gun grab did not change; it continued the same slow slide it had been on for years. It was over 10 years before any change in the rate of decrease was noted, making it extremely unlikely to impossible that a gun confiscation over one years time was responsible.
You also forgot to mention that the deaths from mass murders rose after the gun buy back.
The use of the Australian experience to yell out that GUNS HAVE TO BE BANNED is contra-indicated; it is a completely false connection. Instead it pretty clearly points out that banning those dreadful "assault" weapons (so-called by American media and politicians) was either useless in preventing deaths or actually had a negative effect.
Try again? Because for every country you care to name that has a low incidence of gun ownership rate coupled with a low homicide rate I can name you two that have either higher gun/lower homicides or lower guns/higher homicide rate. There is no correlation between the number of guns in a country and the homicide rate.
Wow! Sorry, you are not comparing apples with apples. I just don't have the time to check every little thing you say. When I check one or two and they're wrong, you lose credibility for everything you say. I have already provided evidence that some of what you said is wrong. I'm not going to bother to check the rest. I bet you're a gun owner.
And what did you find wrong, bearing in mind that I did not mention "gun" homicides, but rather any and all homicides?
(You see, I don't find it advantageous to keep people from being shot if they are murdered in some other manner. I figure the dead don't care how they were murdered. In that respect I suspect that yes, it is apples and oranges.
If so, can you support the notion that it worth taking guns from people in order that a different weapon be used?)
And you can't work out that a 16 year old with an automatic military weapon can gun down 50 people in 5 minutes, but if he only had a knife might murder only one, and that he probably wouldn't do so much damage and could be overpowered?
I'm sorry, but that kind of lack of reasoning ability is beyod my ability to counter.
But I didn't say that you, or anyone else, can't "work out" anything at all! Just that real world experience, and specifically the event you spoke of, does NOT support the conclusion OR the "reasoning ability" used to get that conclusion.
You mentioned that you found something wrong - that I provided false information - but you forgot to mention what it was. Can you provide that information?
Finally, had you bothered to educate yourself as you say you did you would know that there are precious few "automatic military weapons" in the hands of US civilians and that there hasn't been a murder with one for many, many decades.
How many mass school shootings had Australia had prior to 1996? A rhetorical question in keeping with your "apples to apples" comment. They didn't, and don't, face the same challenges we face in the US, therefore implementing their policies, policies that didn't do what leftists claim, would not help us. We need decisive action, not snide banter. Tess, please read my article regarding this issue. Part of the problem is what we're doing now. I'm really not interested in bantering back and forth with you playing verbal ping pong while some shooter somewhere is planning to assault a school somewhere, maybe one of my kids' schools. I'm sure your IQ is higher than mine, but for now I'd just like to see a step up in security at our children's schools. I'd like to see them better protected, wouldn't you? Thinking a fire arms ban is feasible in this country of 350 million is not realistic. It will not happen. Australia has a population of 22 million. They confiscated 600,000 guns. The FBI estimates the US has 200 million. You made the apples to apples remark. Lets practice it shall we?
You have to start somewhere. I think that metal detectors should be mandatory. I doubt adding metal detectors and guards is going to stop people from trying to make a name for themselves though. If the violence doesn’t stop can you really can’t blame people for wanting gun control. After the next few shootings there will be marches for gun control.
Joshua- i agree that metal detectors would be a good ancillary tool, and i understand that people will ask for more gun control. Please consider this point- The only places being attacked by these gunmen are places where gun control is practiced.
Temporarily, my opinions is that schools should get a scanner, same machine used in plane stations. Yes, it might be expensive, but it will be really helpful in checkmating school attacks.
Secondly, have read about mounting an armed security officer outside of a school's entrance, but we are talking of mental issues here. A sevurity guard could also go wild, not saying it won't help, it might really help.
Lastly. teachers should actually have drills, or have sessions (kind of a class) lead by FEDERAL AGENT(S), educating them on how to manage this kind of situations. Or maybe arm them with tasers.
On a long run, these are all temporary and can fail. tightening gun laws is the only way to curtail this menace.
You do know that the particular school in Parklands, Florida, was the best prepared school in the USA, and that they had drills continually...
There are two problems, here.
1. The first is thatt 50% (YES, HALF OF AMERICANS), suffer from mental illness, and that the particular type of mental illness, is generally male (http://www.apa.org/news/press/releases/ … lness.aspx), and that mental illness is triggered by extreme stress.
2. If the government were willing to foot the bill, then it proves once again, that American government has been usurped by private military corporations, as they would be willing to foot the kind of bill that would probably cost more than the foodblll of millions of children!
No, it's not going to sort out the problem. The real problem is the tremendous stress engendered by the dog eat dog society in the States which leads to madness.
...not to mention the stress in schools that is caused by the introduction of standardized testing. Do you even understand that schools get CLOSED when students don't perform and that TEACHERS LOSE JOBS when their student's don't perform. Talk about STRESS~
Neither of which will unduly stress either the students there OR an outsider that wants to kill some kids.
I don't think much of standardized tests, either, but I'm missing the connection between those and school shootings by anyone but teachers (hasn't happened yet as far as I've heard).
I'll have to disagree. Preparing for those tests takes most of the school year and kids can be held back if they don't do well on them. The stress is immense. Combine that with issues such as family problems, peer pressure, health problems, etc. and you should be able to see the connection. The testing is just one more negative that adds to the load. Kids are fragile and many don't have strong support systems. They can only take so much. When it's a kid doing the shooting, any or all of these things can push him to it.
Wait. If we didn't have standardized test, depending just on tests teachers make up and other grades, won't kids still prepare all year and be held back if they fail (not that I've seen any kids "held back" for many years)? I mean, we had "finals" back in the 60's, long before Washington decided it knew better than local teachers what should be taught and school boards (and schools) could and did still fire teachers for not doing their job.
The family thing, peer pressure, etc. I do get and think it adds to the load on kids. But I do begin to wonder if we aren't taking the wrong road with our constant protection of kids, whether from physical, emotional or even biological harm. I wonder if we haven't crossed a line somehow and are raising a generation of kids that never learn to cope, never learn emotional self control...because we do it all for them. Not talking of the kid from a completely dysfunctional family, one abused at home, etc. - just normal, everyday kids that can't handle any stress or trouble because they've never been forced to do for themselves. Just a thought that crossed my mind but certainly nothing I would ever be able to provide support for or even propose it as anything real...just wondering.
There is a huge difference between standardized tests and teacher made tests. One assumes every child will learn the same exact information. The other is based on what the teacher decides kids need to know based on their skill levels, etc. You never have all kids in the class with the same IQ, and you never have all kids in a class who do well in each subject. Math is a good example. Some kids just don't do well with Math...so pushing them into a keyhole that says you MUST do well on this years Math tests just does not work. They may be able to learn some, but not all of the concepts, no matter what a teacher does. Same with foreign languages, writing, reading, etc. However, without the push for standardized testing, the teacher can address those differences and help children to learn their own way. There are 7 different ways that kids learn. Some learn by listening to lectures, some by literally copying information from the blackboard, some by creating presentations, etc. Teaching this way takes time and a great deal of attention, but it makes kids feel successful and involved. You still test them, but you do so once you feel certain they've at least picked up the basics. You cannot do this with standardized tests because they do not account for differences. This is not "coddling", this is called TEACHING! Frankly, while it is true that schools do a certain amount of coddling due to their fear of lawsuits, it is the parents who are to blame for this. I have seen more parents destroy their young than any school ever has. You should spend some time shadowing a teacher at school so you could see what I'm talking about. Parents want discipline for everybody else's kid, but never their own. They want to take kids out of school for vacations and then want to blame the teachers because their kids have skills gaps. They lie on notes to teachers and then wonder why their kids become cheaters. They send them to school when they're sick, they abuse them, they make them their "friends" rather than their kids...the list is endless.
Also, the word "normal" is no longer applicable. A typical classroom of 40 students will have 5 mentally and/or physically impaired, 5 language impaired, 10% serious discipline problems. IQ levels will range from 80 to 120 and above. Tardiness and absences are rampant, which means learning gets interrupted often. Yet, the politicians want everybody to be "standardized" and can't see how this adds pressure to an already bad situation. Now do you get it?
I understand the difficulties in teaching, I think. I've no experience in the task, but do have eyes and do recognize the importance (and failure) of parents today. I also recognize the insanity of sticking all students, regardless of potential or ability, in the same classroom.
It's the testing thing that is baffling me. When in college I had a big project to do with a partner (biology) - we did all the work, wrote up a report, Xeroxed it and each signed a copy and turned it in. She got an "A", I got a "C" for the exact same paper! When questioned, the professor said it was because "You can do better (but she couldn't)" - the value of the report was not what was graded but the perceived potential of the student.
Is that what you're saying is done with teacher compiled testing? That whether a student progresses to the next grade depends not on whether they've learned the material needed to continue but on whether the student has performed to their ability level? Because that will surely result in failure the next year - some of the kids will not have learned the prerequisites to move on to more advanced studies! You can't study English literature if you can't read, you can't study geometry or trigonometry if you can't do algebra.
I don't know how we got from school shootings to education, but we're here.
I think Wilderness hit the nail on the head with what he said, as far as standardized testing goes. Or at least teachers tell me that. It's not a fair indicator of anything, some kids just check any box, they are so sick of all those tests. They have tablets and computers in Kindergarten, but should be learning the basics then, they already have too much technology in their lives. They don't have the patience to read or the desire to learn to.
You can't learn anything if you can't read or do math. When I see what young people are learning in college, it's all stuff our generation learned in high school. Only we pay a fortune for it now.
Your pondering about whether we have kids who are not learning to cope with ordinary stresses or problems is something I wonder about too. I see too many young adults who have little responsibility or life skills. It begins with helicopter parents who think their children are always right, but also in schools that baby them too much. The parents bully the school administrations.
Senior year in HS is a waste, most kids have the credits to graduate. They should teach life skills, how to think logically to fix things, or build them, balance a checkbook, learn basic cooking and such. They could volunteer in the afternoons, because by then most just have English and gym--gym being another waste, the schools are so afraid of lawsuits from that and shop classes.
They DO have stresses we didn't have. But people our ages were on our own, working, paying bills and more mature in many ways I don't see now. I went to work two weeks after I graduated HS, and went to college at night (I had to pay for it). I also needed health insurance, and back then we were off our parent's at 18.
That's a point I hadn't considered; the sheer number of test questions a student is being asked to answer during the year. I can see where it can overwhelm a student to the point they just don't care anymore and will answer anything just to finish another test.
But stresses; there are some now that weren't there (much) years ago. And vice versa as well; few 15 year olds feel any pressure to get to work on time, every day, and complete the job they accepted and work at. Even chores around the house and the stress of getting it done right, is missing. They don't get up on a cold morning and have to walk a mile to school, or (too often) even feel they have to go if they don't want to. No responsibilities, no duties, and that is something we had to deal with on a daily basis.
Exactly. I have a brother who is 10 yrs. younger than me, and often was responsible for him.
Before my Jr. year of H.S., I had a neighbor who was Jewish and taught Hebrew in a local temple. She was pregnant that summer, and asked me babysit after school. I spent lots of time learning how to care for her infant, and watched her everyday after school from around 3-7. I was well paid, and never had to ask my parents for money again. I loved feeling independent.
Our High School had a program where kids who had only two classes by Senior year, got paired up with a P/T job in the afternoons. So that was useful and sometimes led to a F/T job.
Now most of the kids seem bored, but not motivated either.
Absolutely. And we all know and understand where boredom (excessive free time) leads.
Kids don't work today, but it's not all their fault. Even 20 years ago it was a problem in that the legalities of hiring children were making it more and more difficult to employ them and today it's worse. I don't know that there is anywhere a 15 year old kid can work today, and even older kids in school still have a major problem. Of course, I'll also add that it is a tough job for an employer to schedule around kids that not only have school requirements but don't bother to show up on time or even show up at all. That have no work ethic, that don't care whether they have a job or not (and often don't want one but are pushed into it. Far too many of our kids slide right into that category as they have never had any responsibilities at home.
Nope, that's not what I'm saying. What I'm saying is that in order for kids to learn, they must be given different ways to do so that meet their learning styles. They still have to pass the courses, but they can only do that if they are taught at their learning level and allowed to use their own personal methods of learning. Your college teacher was wrong to do what she did, obviously. It would have been different if you each had produced your own work, but if the work was the same, there was no real reason for her to downgrade you. Not every teacher is fair or perfect, but that's a subject or a different thread.
Thank you! Couldn't believe that a teacher was saying what I was getting!
But that takes us back to the kid's stress of learning; if they still have to pass to move on, what difference does it make? Standardized tests do not, as far as I understand them, require specific methods of learning; just specific information that must be learned.
That's not quite true. The preparation materials are highly organized and stringently structured. They leave no room or time for any type of creative teaching or learning. A robot could teach from them if one was available because they are so one dimensional. It's hard to explain but, believe me, there is a huge difference.
Then those teaching methods and materials, coupled with classrooms of kids with such widely varying needs and abilities, absolutely guarantees that some will fail. Are they then held back until the material is learned or passed on to the next grade/teacher to fail again?
Insanity! (Actually what I already assumed: even if methodology isn't attached to standardized testing it still comes from more local sources; teachers have very little room for innovation or creativity.) You may have found a far better answer to the carnage in our schools than any futile gun control law. It is one that I had never considered - Kudos for the thought!
For your next impossible task, find a way to find and fire ineffective teachers before they've done years of damage, but without using student progress as a guide.
As I understand it, the killer tripped the fire alarm, waited until the kids poured into the halls for evacuation and began shooting. Smart and effective, and once inside there doesn't seem to be much that could have changed anything.
But I'm interested in that fantastic statement that half of Americans are mentally ill. I know you don't like the country or it's people, but that seems just way over the line. Got something to back that up - a study by reputable psychologists, perhaps, that tested even a few thousand randomly selected people for mental illness and found half of them to be insane?
That's not correct, Tess. They had two unarmed security guards which the shooter killed. That means if the security guards had had weapons they could've returned fire. Your comments are doing two things:
1. Making my case for me
2. Endangering our kids even more
Criteria for being a hub contributor is that you have more than theoretical knowledge of a subject. Please stop insulting our country and other contributors who offer thoughtful insights. Thanks.
Yes, I agree gun scanner would make a big difference. Also, two, not multiple exits with an armed guard at each exit. And teachers that are trained gun owners should be allowed to carry.
2besure- you said it perfectly. Nothing to add. Thank you for contributing.
Once worked building a school where every classroom had an exterior exit. If kept locked, it would give each classroom a way out if a shooter was in the hallway...
unless multiple shooters had the outside exits covered making it a deadly trap... N. Cruz pulled the fire alarm to get kids going into his line of fire. He also shot and killed 2 unarmed security guards. Without a gun a security guard might end up being another target.
Tony- loved your comments. Thank you for contributing. We never know the tragedy that "didn't" happen, know what I mean? We never know the robbery, mugging, or rape that "didn't" happen because criminals never tell us what actually deters them, but we know. We know that like an animal, the criminal preys upon the weak. We can do a hypothetical on this: Pretend you're the criminal casing a neighborhood, looking for a house to rob. You have narrowed it down to 2 houses. The first house has motion detector lights, a sign in the yard that says "beware of pitbul," and a car with a bumper sticker that reads "NRA member." As you watch the second house you see the owner come back after being gone for several hours. You note that he just walks in the door- he leaves it unlocked. There are no signs of a dog on his property and he has a sign in his yard that says, "Re-write the second amendment: Ban ALL firearms!" Who are you going to rob? The answer is obvious, but those are things criminals take into consideration. I was an assistant instructor for a Krav Maga class for 18 months and one of the things we teach is 360 degree awareness. This just means that when you walk out of a building you're not looking down at your phone, you make eye contact with shady looking characters to let them know you've seen them. Criminals are looking for the unsuspecting, the unaware, not paying attention. When it comes right down to it all a gunman would have to do is shoot through class windows then scamper through. Only a good guy with a gun can stop a bad guy with a gun. The answer really isn't more gun laws, it's letting people protect themselves, protecting our kids in school. This is the world we live in now. Israel got it right. For 49 years they've been posting 1 armed guard per 100 students and with very few exceptions they have solved the problem. What are we waiting for? More shootings? Then what, more questions and hand wringing? "What made the shooter do it? How can we understand what makes them do it?" You know, it's been 20 years since Columbine and we haven't figured it out yet- will it take another 20 years of killing before we do something? The Israeli's have it right- we don't need to get inside the mind of a gunman, we just need to stop him. Asking the same question again and again regarding what "makes them do it" is wasting precious time. imagine your house burning down and the fire department arrives. Instead of putting out the fire the firemen stand around in a prayer vigil asking one another why the fire started. Who cares!!! Just put out the fire!! We can figure out all the why's later. For us the fire is school shootings and we need to put an end to them. That means we need to get tough, get hard on the shooter. Our children are too important and they live in fear of a coward busting into their school and killing them. Aren't the criminals supposed to be the ones who are afraid? Hey buddy thanks again for keeping the respect and participating. I know i said a lot and it wasn't all directed at your comments, just expressing more ideas and thoughts. God bless.
by Michael Collins aka Lakemoron 7 years ago
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http://www.humanevents.com/article.php?id=41874You got that right! We can't let that happen here!
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