Category Archives: Culture

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.  

Bark At The BOB And Police Dogs

As I mentioned in my last blog post, I’m now working for my dad in his vet clinic.  Working at his clinic has given me many opportunities to meet some really amazing people.  Some of these people I have known prior to my employment there, but now I actually get to see them in their work environment.  

Last month, I attended a special event at The BOB (Big Old Building) located downtown Grand Rapids.  The event was called Bark At The BOB.  It’s an annual event hosted by Mackenzie’s Dog Sanctuary.  

Mackenzies is a wonderful dog shelter / organization.  They are a “no-kill” shelter; they are also one of the largest no kill dog sanctuaries in the USA.  All dogs live out their lives there unless they are adopted.  All the dogs they take in are housed in spacious runs / kennel areas.  The dogs get spacious outdoor areas to roam and play in.  They have several pools for the dogs to play in.  It’s an amazing facility.  They do have adoption days where you can go and tour the facility and go play with the dogs.  I believe you need to setup an appointment to do that.  To learn more about them, click here.  

Last night, I went to an event called the K-9 Cabaret.  It was sponsored by the Western Michigan Human Society.  (They aren’t affiliated with the national human society which I have deep routed issues with).  The event was all about the police dogs!  I’ve seen the police dogs before either in my dad’s clinic or at other events, but it was really cool hearing some of their stories.  

K-9

Petted

It was a lot of fun getting to see them and socialize with them.  It was fun meeting some very interesting people as well.  

Please support your local police dogs.  They mean a lot to their human counterparts.  They’re not just a working dog, they are also apart of the officer’s family.  

Have you seen a police dog in action?  Have you had a chance to socialize with them?  Feel free to leave a comment and share your experiences.  

Are We Becoming A Culture of Rudeness?

Good afternoon everyone.  Before I start this post, I would first like to apologize for becoming philosophical so early in the afternoon, but I would really like to hear your thoughts and feelings on this matter to which I’m about to bring up.

This morning, I went to Bethel College’s first chapel of the semester.  When I walked into the ER (not Emergency Room), I was expecting the usual Bethel routine: sing a couple songs, hear a mini sermon, and then be dismissed.  Boy, was I wrong today.

After the usual announcements and a reflection about a professor who passed away earlier this week, the Vice President of Bethel stood up on stage and, with a stern voice, pretty much told everyone to behave in chapel.

He made references to people being on their computers during chapel and how he could see their faces being lit up from the computer screens while on stage.  He also pointed out that people whistled during chapel while guest speakers were giving their testimonials.  He also brought up people texting, tweeting, and facebooking during the speeches.

After providing the examples, he brought up what caught my attention the most.  He said, “People tell me that this is the new culture.”  (Meaning that it is acceptable to be on your computer, texting, talking to the people next to you, etc during speeches, meetings, etc).  And this is what really grabbed me….he then said, “It is a culture of rudeness.”

Before I go into this any further, let me just point out that I am very much so connected to the world via my iPhone.  My life is on my iPhone.  I use my iPhone a lot even during church because my iPhone has a large print Bible that I can see clearly.  But I have self control and I don’t need to check Facebook or Twitter during church or send a text message unless is was a big emergency.  So I understand if people are using their phones to access Bible apps or a Bible on the web during chapels or church.  I am not quick to judge people and don’t immediately assume that someone is on their phone texting or tweeting.  I assume they’re looking at a Bible.  “Judge not, that ye be not judged.” – Matthew 7:1.  And if they’re not looking at a Bible app or web Bible, then that is an honesty issue between that person and God.

Having said all that, let me say this.  I’ve been into some nice sit down restaurants like Red Lobster, Red Robin, and a slew of others and I see people texting while at the dinner table with very little to no conversation taking place.  Are we really moving away from normal conventions of conversation?

But what I take great offense to is that if I want your undivided attention, I should be able to get it without you being on your phone texting or playing a game.  It really is annoying because then I have to fight to get your attention.  So please, just put your phone down for a few minutes and listen.

In a chapel/meeting setting, it really is distracting when someone is next to you during a time which does not belong to you in the first place.  That time belongs to the speaker and God.  Don’t become a stumbling block to others.  If you don’t want to be there, then don’t be there.  Don’t drag other people down who really want to be there.

I have been worried about this kind of behavior for a while now and it sounds like to me that the administration at Bethel…well at least from one person’s perspective…has had it with this kind of behavior and will now kick people out of chapel for texting, tweeting, being on their computer, etc.

To Bethel: If you want to kick people out for displaying that kind of behavior, that’s your policy and by all means, enforce it as you see fit.  But please, make sure that the person is texting and not looking up the Bible or using a Bible app to follow along with the chapel speakers.

I am just as connected, if not more so, than a lot of teenagers and people in their early 20’s but please, exercise good judgement and use some common sense.  Don’t be rude.  After all, I’m sure if you wanted someone’s attention, you would want them to pay attention to you and no their phone.

Thanks for taking the time to read this.  Feel free to leave a comment.  I will only approve insightful, intelligent comments.  No hate or bashing of any kind will be tolerated.

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