You can take my gun from my cold…..

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I have tried real hard to see both sides of the gun issue. Because of my basic distrust of government and the potential tyranny that has brought down so many societies in the past, I enjoy, even if I do not use the right to bare arms. I choose not to own firearms because of the potential for unauthorized use of weapons. I always worried about our children finding the guns and unintentionally injuring themselves or others. Guns are certainly not beneficial when tempers flare on the bumpy road of life. Despite this, I do honor the right for responsible and sane people to own guns. I hope that they keep them in a safe place away from those who might misuse them. When I talk about guns in the home, I am not talking about military assault weapons but am referring to hunting rifles or multi-shot pistols. I see no need for common folks to have weapons capable of mass killing. I imagine that if I watched MADMAX every night for several years I might become paranoid enough to buy an assault weapon, but I do not plan to spend my evenings in that way.  I am pretty sure that the Founding Fathers could not foresee the sophisticated weaponry that is available today.  And, I am pretty sure that they would see the need to control these types of weapons.

Our most recent unimaginable assault on a school, has explosively reignited the gun debate. Everybody is proposing new ideas in a national discussion, and the gun manufactures are throwing gobs of money with ridiculous ads warning us of the coming apocalypse when the American people are disarmed. I am not certain how many times I have heard people say that President Obama would like to take away their guns. This is the most ludicrous thing I have heard. Right now, most Americans believe that there should be tighter control over who owns weapons and better procedures for monitoring who buys them. With current gun laws, were Charles Manson released from prison, he could hypothetically then go to a gun or a yard sale to buy whatever gun he wants.  This notorious gun user will never get out of jail but there are many other crazies out there willing to take his place.

One has to ask oneself, how many school, movie theater or postal shootings are we going to endure before we decide that we have a monumental problem in this country?  How many times are we going to wake up to the news that another group of children has been killed or traumatized for life by one of these massacres?  Of course, the NRA has a mindless answer: put guns in all school. So, now are children can see real-time shoot-outs in class. Our kids don’t have to go home to their televisions to see someone get murdered; they can see them right in their classroom. Talk about enhanced education!  Is anyone stupid enough to think that teachers would have had a chance with a little pistol against the firepower of this last attacker? Oh, I guess we will have to arm out teachers with Uzis so that little Johnny can get an even better show when the guns are a blazing. I bet the arms manufactures are already gearing up production as they get ready for what I choose to call the CLASSROOM ARMS RACE. The next step to in making our children really safe will be we to send them to school packing so that in every way it will be a fair fight when some nut-bag comes into the school with a Uzi.  Sounds like a new reality show to me…..

Getting Older The Right Way

If you have read any of my previous blogs, you know I practice a healthful life-style. I exercise on a regular basis, try to eat well and work hard to keep my weight down. You would think that I would be pretty healthy; basically, I am, but my blood pressure began to go up inexplicably about six months ago and has continued to rise. During that time I attended a Life-line Screening heart clinic and had several tests done on my cardiovascular system. The results suggested that I should see a heart doctor as soon as possible. So, I made an appointment with one in Winchester, Va.  I called the office to request a doctor who was physically fit because I believe that he would better understand what I was dealing with. Six weeks later I got to see that doctor, who in turn made an appointment for me to get a new sonar picture of my carotid artery.  A week later I went to the diagnostic center to get my test. When my cardiologist doctor saw the images, he took them to the vascular surgeon who requested that I get a more detailed CAT scan of my carotid. When the doctor saw the CAT scan results, he decided that I would need surgery on my left carotid which was severely restricted.  I scheduled an appointment with the vascular surgeon, met with him and then we decided to do the procedure on January 23.

Here is a pictures of what they are going to do to me.

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So what is the point of all this?  The current theory on this problem is that it is a combination of life style and genetics. My mom and younger sister both had major issues with their cardiovascular system. With that said, I guess I would expect to have some problems as I aged.  I somewhat believe this, but am leaning more towards life style as a main contributor to this problem. About a year ago I changed my diet to the more current approach referred to as PRIMAL DIET which is sometimes called the CAVEMAN DIET. This diet is quite simple; i.e., eat only things that a caveman would have access to. This means not eating wheat, sugar or anything processed. I believe that my problems developed throughout my entire life despite the fact I had a fairly healthy diet, according to the then current theories. Moreover, I did not smoke and exercised regularly. The problem may lie in the fact that I ate many foods that were at the time thought to be wholesome for almost 60 years. I believe that if I had eaten ‘primally’ during that time, I would not be dealing with these issues today!

This leads us to the collective nightmare that we are facing as a culture. The way we eat today is atrocious! And, if we do not change our eating patterns along with our approach of exercise, it is hard to fully grasp the inevitability of the huge medical issues we are going to face in the near future!  Consider my life as a cautionary tale. I thought I did most things right but probably ate too many Twinkies, too much bread and processed food, and look what that got me-a cruded up artery in my neck!  I suggest that you take a trip to the local Ponderosa restaurant to watch the kind of eating that is going on in that place!  Go to the local Wal-Mart to witness the many obese Americans who walk or ride up and down the isles.  If you do not think we have a problem, then you must be asleep!  We need to reevaluate the way we eat, and hopefully help the next generation of geriatrics avoid the oncoming avalanche that will bankrupt our medical system. The time is now;  we have waited too long and allowed the food industry to lie to us with inpunity.  Serious research needs to be funded to discover the best way to eat and maintain a healthful life style throughout one’s life.  Remember, you decide what you eat.

Cherish the Children

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My Granddaughter, Claire with her loving mother, Amy.

One of the hardest things for me to learn as a teacher has been that, a broken child is almost impossible to fix. The emotional scars that some children endure are forever and cascade down through future generations. I have witnessed trans-generational abuse such that a child who is beaten often beats his children and so forth and so on. All children are emotionally fragile and vulnerable to the extreme pressures of a broken or dysfunctional home. Here in America this occurs often for a plethora of reasons: divorce, drugs, financial, physical and emotional abuse; they all tragically enough tear families apart. Because of this chaos, many children who eventually find themselves on the wrong side of the law are removed from their home and shuffled from institution to institution as the overloaded system of juvenile correction tries to deal with the many different issues involved. Recently I began working as a substitute in a facility that houses delinquent children. These are the ones who have been removed from their families and schools and now live as wards of the state in various facilities around the state. The major offense of many of these young people is more often than not related to drugs. You may reasonably ask why I took this job. The three reasons are these: the pay is good; I am very curious about what it is like working in an institute of this type; and most importantly, I enjoy the challenge of working with young people who are considered difficult.

Here is a clip from the show THE NEWSROOM ( http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BJWKccHQFOA ). Listen as the actor tells his audience why America is not the greatest country on earth. The main reasons I believe that we are not one of the greatest countries on earth is that we too often treat our children poorly. I am going to go way out on a limb by saying that few developed countries abuse their children as much as we do. This all begins with weaning our children on violent video games and television, providing them with easy access to drugs, along with poorly funding one of the worse education systems in the developed world, resulting in a juvenile system that has no clue or monetary means to help our young offenders. To make matters direr, employers often require parents to work all kinds of weird hours. Any culture can only survive when it cherishes and protect its children. Children are our future as a nation and a culture! This does not require buying them everything in Toys-r-Us or giving them more freedom than they can handle; it means loving, nurturing, being there and providing role modeling that they can embrace.

This past week I had my students write their autobiographies, hoping that the process of writing their personal journeys would help them deal with the realities of their current situation. As I read over one of my students’ papers, I began to cry. He is just one of the many children who have fallen through the cracks and like so many, sees very little chance of climbing back into the real world. Those tears were heavy and came from deep inside…. Why aren’t many more people in our culture moved emotionally by the mistreatment visited on our children? Where are their tears???