Category Archives: Politics

Apple Watch, Chicago, Melanoma Monday, and Avengers

Wow! Talk about a fully loaded weekend! I saw the new Avengers movie, went to chicago & had tons of fun, saw my cousin at home & at work, and hung out with a ton of friends and fellow nerds! What a blast!

I’m so tired, but it’s the good kind of tired. I’ve done so much walking. I walked about 7 miles this weekend & I walked a mile today so about 8 miles total. Plus I’ll probably be walking 2 more miles on Wednesday so about 10 miles in 4 days. Not too bad. It feels really good to get out on these awesomely nice days & just walk around.

After being so busy & stressed last week, it was nice to get away for the weekend & have tons of fun & just chill with awesome people.

Anyway, below the text, you’ll see 2 videos. The first one is my vlog from today. The second video is my sister’s radio interview from this morning.

Enjoy the videos & have a great Monday.

May the 4th be with you!

 

Guns In The Classroom – Big Mistake

Before I get involved with this post, I would like to take the time to remember the kids and teachers who died last Friday at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut.  I feel bad for the families affected by this horrific tragedy.  Christmases, Birthdays, etc will be hard for those families that lost loved ones, both kids and adults.  

I would like to take this time to remember the first responders who were there right away and saw the awful tragedy first hand.  I seriously cannot even remotely fathom what they saw.  To me, there is nothing more scary than the face of a frightened child or seeing such a scene of a senseless massacre.  

I also want to say thank you to the heroes too, consisting of good-hearted teachers, police officers, firefighters, emergency response teams, men and women who live near the school who took children in, etc.  If I missed anyone or any team, I’m truly sorry.  

I’m going to pause here a minute to reflect & pray for everyone that I just mentioned. 

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Thanks everyone.  Now I’ll dive into this post. 

TV stations, both national & local, and blogs are blasting out questions such as, “Should we have guns in the classroom?”, “Should we be arming teachers?”, etc.  

In my opinion, the answer is no.  We should not be putting guns into classrooms. I know this topic was raised after the shooting at Virginia Tech and I said it back then, we should not be putting guns in classrooms.  Let me explain myself.  

First, everyone knows that guns are weapons.  We don’t allow weapons in schools currently.  In Michigan, where I live, even if you have a Concealed Weapons Permit, you are not allowed to carry a gun on school property for any reason.  I realize that Governor Snyder is looking to pass legislation that would allow CWP holders to carry guns on school property.  And even then I’m still on the fence if allowing CWP holders to carry a weapon on school grounds is a good idea.  

Let me go on a tangent here and just say this:  I’m proud of the United States Constitution.  I exercise my rights to own guns.  I personally own about 9 guns.  My dad owns a lot more.  My dad is an NRA member and I’m thinking about joining the NRA.  I’m getting my CWP next year at some point.  I love guns.  I love weapons.  I love to go hunting and I’m glad that I have that right to be able to go out into the woods during the month of November and shoot a dear.  But I am a responsible gun owner.  I have been properly educated on the topics of gun safety, handling, maintenance, etc.  My dad taught me all that I needed to know at a very young age.  

This leads to my second point why I think guns in classrooms is a bad idea.  Like I said above, I’ve been educated in firearms safety.  Sure, the teachers and school administrators can receive very similar training, but the problem lies with intimidation.  There are a lot of people who are afraid of guns.  In my humble opinion, the main reason why people are afraid of guns is because they haven’t received the education or training at a young age.  Like learning a foreign language, it’s best to learn it at a young age.  Same goes for gun education.  It’s best to learn at a young age.  That way, when you get older, you are not afraid to hold a gun.  You can feel confident when someone hands you a gun, you know to check to make sure it is not loaded, etc.  Everyone reacts differently in an emergency situation.  If you are afraid of a gun, your first instinct probably won’t be to get the gun out of the safe.  Thus, this makes having a gun in the classroom highly ineffective in most situations.

One of my Facebook friends, who indirectly inspired this post, made a valid point.  It would be more effective to teach teachers self-defense than have a gun in the classroom.  I fully agree with this.  You can use self-defense right away versus a gun that is locked away (as it should be).   If the gunman breaks into your classroom and starts shooting, chances are very likely you’ll be dead long before you could put your own gun to use. The gunman isn’t going to sit and wait for you to unlock the gun from the safe, load it, then shoot.  He’s going to take you out at the first opportunity.  Learning self defense would be a stronger asset than a gun at that point.  If a gunman breaks in, you can throw something at them to distract them.  A coffee mug, books, staplers, papers, etc would make excellent projectile distractions if you are fast enough.  Learning self defense would increase your reaction times.  If you succeed at hitting the gunman with one of the objects mentioned above, you can then easily disarm him. 

What about having the guns on the teachers?  That is no better than having the gun in the safe.  It’s no better because say a gunman comes into your classroom first and shoots you first.  Chances are that he’ll see your down and disarm you and now you’ve just provided him with a second weapon to murder innocent people.  Another reason it is a bad idea is that it would be hard to conceal a weapon from the kids. If the kids know that there’s a gun in the classroom, one of two potential disasters could happen.  First, the students would feel intimidated if they knew / saw a gun in the classroom.  There’s a possibility that they would not feel safe inside their own classroom for multiple reasons.  What if the teacher has a meltdown at a student or group of students?  Maybe the students didn’t receive the same education about guns.  Are we going to make a law teaching our kids proper gun safety?  As good of an idea as it is, there probably won’t be any legislation passed requiring that simply because it is a choice if you want to own a gun as an individual or family, not a mandate.  There’s another factor here.  Bullying is a big problem at schools.  And it seems like bullying has become more severe in recent years.  What if a bully got access to the gun?  Or on the flip side, what if a student who was bullied had a breakdown and got access to the gun?  Either scenario is a terrible thought.  

One other thing, what if teachers take the stance that having a gun in the classroom is a bad idea?  Are you going to fire them because they refuse to have a gun in the classroom?  I already know a few people who are teachers who have said they won’t have a gun in their classroom.  

Now, people who would be pro guns inside classrooms might read this and think that other countries do this.  Sure they do.  Israel comes to mind.  I’ve read blog posts saying that Israeli teachers have guns in their classrooms and even carry guns.  

Remember people, Israel is Israel.  We are the United States.  What works for Israel may not work for the USA.  Israel is a war zone.  They have to worry about rocket fire from 5 miles away. Outside their school walls, it is a war zone. Soldiers are running through the streets, through the neighborhoods, heavily armed.  Here in the United States, we don’t have to worry about our military launching a missile from Grand Rapids, Michigan to Holland, Michigan.  There is no war zone here near that magnitude.  Over there, it’s necessary to be armed.  It would be more harmful to have that stance here, in my opinion.  

To quickly recap, guns would be a bad idea in the classroom because both teachers and students are not uniformly educated on gun safety thus leading to intimidation.  Having guns in the classroom would not be effective near as much as having self defense training.  There are too many negative scenarios occurring if a gun gets into the wrong hands from the teacher, bullies, the bullied, or even the gunman. Lastly, we are the United States.  We don’t have battles / wars on our soil.  We need not fear missile / rocket fire from someone in our own border.  

Again, I love guns, but I think this would prove to be more harmful than good.  Guns have a bad reputation already.  Why would we want to soil guns more than they already are?  I would like to be able to continue purchasing my guns legally and continue to operate them legally in activities such as hunting.  I don’t want to lose my rights as a gun owner because some bad legislation got passed.  

What do you guys think?  Do you think having guns in the classroom is a good idea or a bad one?  Do you agree with my points?  Oppose?  I would really like to have some thoughtful discussion on this matter.  I will not tolerate comments that flame gun owners or gun owners flaming people who blindly disagree with their beliefs.  Let’s keep this clean and please, use critical thinking when posting comments.  Thank you.  

I’m All For Competition – Where Competition Meets Hypocrisy

As the title says, I am all for competition.  Competition is what makes America great.  You can succeed and / or fail.  Most of us, if not everyone, has done both at some point in their lives.  If you succeed, that’s great; If you fail, keep trying or find something else to try.  

Ok, so what’s your point author?

For over a year now, when I wake up, and have checked my twitter feed, I read stories about Apple suing X company or X company suing Apple over various patents. I’m not a fan of pointless lawsuits, but if a company feels that one or more of their patents is in use in other companies products unjustly and the original patent holders are not getting a fair share for their hard work, then by all means, get some compensation. 

I am an Apple fanboy, but what I said applies to Apple too.  If Apple is violating someone else’s patents, then Apple should be held accountable and have to pay compensation.  Period.  That’s how it should work.  And if someone is violating Apple’s patents, then Apple has the right to defend themselves in court and ask for damages.  

I can see just from design that Samsung is violating Apple’s patents left and right, blatantly I might add.  I mean their charging bricks look identical to Apple’s!  That’s just taking an easy design route .  I’m sure there’s a plethora of combinations you can use to design a tablet charger.  

I hear people saying that what Apple is doing within these lawsuits is hurting the competition, stifling it to keep the iPad on top.  Maybe if the competing companies (I’m looking at you Samsung) would innovate instead of imitate, then I wouldn’t have to write a blogpost regarding competition.

I’m sure you can design a tablet with a different hardware design and yet make it functional for people too at the same time.  Google was able to achieve this!  They unveiled their new Nexus 7″ tablet and it doesn’t look anything like the iPad nor does the software interface either.  It looks original, hardware and software.  So if Google can pull it off, so can other companies.  Personally, I don’t like it.  It looks ugly with the large bezels.  

While I’m on the subject of Google, in relation to competition, I have a bone to pick with Google.  

As I said, I’m all for competition, but when does hypocrisy become competition or vice versa?  Let me explain what I mean.  

Google this morning announced a Siri-like competitor.  On multiple occasions, Eric Schmidt, former CEO and current co-advisor to current CEO, Larry Page, is quoted as calling “Siri a threat to competition.”  He testified in a congressional hearing that Siri is a “significant development” and says it is an “entirely new approach to search technology.”

Yes, I agree with him that Siri is a new approach to search technology.  But you’re just scared that Google will become less relied upon among iOS device users.  Yes, Siri does go around google.  When you tell Siri to look up a restaurant review, it doesn’t use Google.  Instead of going straight to Google, it goes straight to the most reliable source, Yelp!.  That makes perfect logical sense.  Siri takes Google out of the middleman position and instead directs your query to the most relevant site out there.  In a technological world, that makes perfect sense.  And by going straight to the relevant source, users won’t have to expend as much data (since data is becoming a precious mobile resource like water is to survival) as they would have if they had to go to google first and then to the relevant website. 

But Mr. Schmidt was at Congress, saying that Siri will hurt competition.  How can it?  Apple took search to a whole new level!  That’s innovation, Mr. Schmidt!  So in other words, Mr. Schmidt, you want to punish Apple for being innovative just so Google can stay the number one search engine in the world?  

So today, Google launched a Siri-like competitor.  Ok Google, is it powered by Nuance, the same people that power Siri?  Does your program understand and extract the key phrases of a sentence or question and pull in the necessary words to perform a specific function?  Is it powered by Google search, taking users straight to Google for answers and then do the end-users have to tap on the relevant answer or issue another voice command, or will it bypass your search engine completely and take your users to Yelp! for restaurant reviews directly?  

So Google called Siri a threat and a few months later, they release their own version of it.  If their Siri-like program takes users straight to Google search or other Google app before taking the user to their desired result, is that innovation?  I guess so, but it’s backwards because Siri takes users straight to their relevant answer right away bypassing search.  If Google’s Siri-like app takes users straight to the relevant source like Siri does for iOS users, then that’s straight up imitation.  Schmidt’s testimony at Congress should be repealed at this point since they developed something to compete with Apple, when they said that it would hurt competition.  

Schmidt should not have said that it is a threat to competition, but rather have just let it be and developed your own app or program.  The way he used Congress makes it look like a huge publicity circus.  Our government has more important things to worry about rather than turning the congressional house floor into a place of clowning around.  

Google, make your app, but know this…by making your Siri competitive app, you can no longer call Siri a threat to competition.  You’ve lost that right.  

And Samsung, hire some people who are creative and who will innovate for you rather than imitate other produces.  I’m sure you can produce great things with the right people in your company.  

What do you think?  Agree?  Disagree?  Do you feel like enough is a enough with the lawsuits?  Do you believe that if a company feels wrongly violated with a patent misuse, it should be able to defend itself?  What about Google?  Do you feel like they are hypocrites for launching their own Siri competitor when they called that new search method a threat?  

Please feel free to post intelligent comments.  I also invite my readers to do your own research and formulate your own opinions.  I hope I was able to spur some thought for you as you read this.  Let’s all be well informed readers.