If you would like to add a comment to any of the threads here on AADB, registration with blogspot.com is not required. Simply click on the ‘comments’ link at the bottom of an essay, and either enter a nickname under ‘choose an identity’ or post your comment anonymously. Serious comments are always welcome.

REQUIEM

Below are the two final essays to be posted on Allegiance and Duty Betrayed. The first one is written by a friend -- screen name 'Euro-American Scum' -- who, over the past four years, has been the most faithful essayist here. He has written about everything from his pilgrimage to Normandy in 2004 to take part in the 60th–year commemoration of the invasion, to his memories of his tour in Vietnam. His dedication to America’s founding principles ... and those who have sacrificed to preserve them over the past 200+ years ... is unequaled. Thank you, E-A-S. It has been a privilege to include your writing here, and it is a privilege to call you my friend.

The second essay is my own farewell. And with it I thank all of the many regular visitors, and those who may have only dropped in occasionally, for coming here. I hope you learned something. I hope a seed or two was planted. But, even if not, I thank you for stopping by ... 25 March, 2010

8/23/2007

May Not Be Suitable for Children


Upon good-natured urging from a blogger friend, I decided, on a lark, to find out what rating this weblog garners at a site that is dedicated to blog rating. (*yawn*)

Turns out, this weblog is not suitable for general audiences.

Why?

Because, within the 109 essays, and probably 1,000+ thread responses, the word ‘gun’ appears twice and the word ‘death’ appears once.

That’s it.

Which puts me in mind of an extremely minor, but still nagging, pet peeve I have about the way some of us are raising our children.

I teach piano. I currently have about twenty-five students, only three of whom are adults. The others range in age from four to seventeen years.

As an invention/motivation builder, I have what is known as a ‘prize table’ in my music studio. Without going into great detail (since I would prefer to have most of you remain awake until the end of this earth-shaking epistle), let’s just say that the perhaps two dozen objects on that table at any given time are there to reward the younger students when they show consistency in practice habits, or do something particularly praiseworthy in their studies.

When a student earns a prize, it is always fascinating to watch the process of deliberation that occurs when it is time for the momentous ‘prize decision’ to be made.

There are those who simply stand in silent contemplation for three to four minutes, then pick up the most valued (to them) object and skip happily out the door.

There are others who will rearrange the entire table into sections – presumably categorized from most to least desirable, before finally narrowing the selection to a single item.

Occasionally, I have had a student spend well into the next student’s lesson standing behind us in deep contemplation over which item will go home with him. (It’s a major life decision, don’tcha know?)

Over the past maybe ten years, two prize-table items have caused considerable distress to my kids:

    (1) a miniature (maybe two-inch long) pen knife that contains a small nail file, a tiny fold-away blade, barely sharp enough to cut butter, and a little pair of fold-away scissors that, oddly enough, cut paper quite cleanly,
mini pen knife 2.jpg
(acutal size)

    (2) and a very informative, and not the least bit violent (in word or illustration), children’s book about Davy Crockett.
Crockett.jpg

Whenever I come across an item that I believe will be popular on my prize table, I will occasionally buy half a dozen – knowing that several students would like it. Then I will put them out on the table, one at a time, until all six are gone. I had six knives and six Crockett books. Earlier this year, the final one was won, presumably leaving my table forever empty of miniature pen knives and stories of Davy.

But getting rid of them proved to be unexpectedly difficult. Not that the children (the boys especially) didn’t like the little knife or the book. On the contrary – they were among the most popular items.

No, the problem lay with the parents.

Whenever a student (almost always a boy in the eight to twelve-year-old age bracket) would pick up the knife to examine it during the ‘prize selection ritual’, I would advise him that that particular prize cannot go home without first obtaining parental permission.

It turns out that parental permission was sometimes quite difficult to come by.

An example of parental responses (to the children, never to me):

‘We do not have knives in our house!’

‘That’s a weapon. You don’t need a weapon.’

‘That’s too dangerous. Pick something else.’

I have three questions in response to those reactions:

    (1) What ever happened to parental supervision?
    (2) What kind of irrational fears are you instilling in your children?
    (3) Has the generation that was raised in the fifties and sixties, who walked around with significantly larger pen knives in their pockets (granted, we weren’t banned from bringing them to school, but they can be left at home during the school day), turned out to be a generation of delinquent marauders? (the Clintons aside)
Another aside: I had two pen knives growing up. A Boy Scout one that was given to me by a lad who believed it would win my heart. (At the time, it did. :) And a much smaller pink ‘girly’ one that I kept attached to a tan rabbit’s foot. I believe I eventually returned the former to its rightful owner, and I still have the latter (packed away somewhere in the basement). I never drew anyone’s blood, or threatened to, with either.

On to Davy ...

A few of the parental responses to that particular prize were even more surprising to me. Davy, like knives, was ‘too violent’. He represents an era in our history that apparently some of us would choose to forget -- the modern sins of Brittney, Lindsay and Paris being considered much more palatable.

As I said above, all twelve prizes (six of each) have now been finally dispensed. So there are parents out there who see neither the little knife nor the story leading up to the battle of the Alamo as a threat to their children’s physical or emotional health, or their vision of America.

But, somehow, that handful of parents who see a tiny knife in the hands of a ten-year-old boy as undesirable, or a book on the grizzly but important history of our country as a national embarrassment, will forever remain a sad enigma to me.

(Are you still awake?)

~ joanie

20 comments:

Anonymous said...

You live in San Francisco?

Ithaca?

Minneapolis-St. Paul?

Berkeley?

Madison, Wisconsin?

john galt said...

I have a Boy Scout knife. Will that still work? ;)

Good essay.

daveburkett said...

It looks like political correctness is even infecting rural America.

Damn! (I think I just got your rating reduced to "R".) {G}

marcus aurelius said...

Sad commentary, well done.

robmaroni said...

That's pretty scary that such craziness in happening in PA Dutch Country. Were most of the parents who wouldn't allow the knife or the book people who migrated to your area from Philadephia or Harrisburg, etc.? I can't believe natives of Lancaster County would behave like that.

All_good_men said...

It's a shame that your commentary describes the losing of who we are as Americans and that is what the left has been trying to do for forty years. When we forget who we are and where we came from, we can be molded into anything. Our culture and heritage is being destroyed. The Constitution can mean whatever the nine in black robes says it means. Nothing and nobody is sacred. Our founding fathers are just dead white males that had their own agenda. Our country and form of government is nothing special. We are like all others. Morality is relative. God help us because we are about to lose the ability to help ourselves.

smithy said...

Boys are no longer allowed to be boys and girls are no longer allowed to be girls. If the PC briagde has its way we're all going to wind up being one big unhappy gender. God will not be happy that we messed with his design.

Anonymous said...

Try this!

http://parents.berkeley.edu/advice/playing/weapons.html

siliconvalleyguy said...

Here are some good prizes for your table:

http://content.kapowwe.com/images4/store4.jpg

And I think you should tell all the parents that their kids can't take lessons unless they take a toy gun home. ;)

Parents who say a little knife like that is dangerous in the hands of a ten year old need to get a grip. And besides, what's going to happen to the art of scrimshaw and whittling? ;)

Anonymous said...

You should try handing out condoms, bongs, or copies of the Kama Sutra. I'm sure the parents who objected to the pen knives and Davy Crockett books would wink and knowingly approve of those three items.

/maximum sarcasm

You know, when I was a budding teenage rocket scientist, I used to drive to the student scientific store and buy 15 lbs. at a time of the same stuff that those "terrorists" in Florida had in their trunk. I'd mix it with the same stuff they mixed it with (only I did lots of research to determine the proper ratio). Then I'd make "rockets" and "bombs" with it, and blow up model airplanes and lots of anthills.

Later on, in college, my roommate was from farm country. He and his Dad had lots of the stuff that Alfred Nobel invented for blowing stumps and stuff. He'd routinely bring some down to our apartment and keep it in the closet for times of great need.

...like when Thermodynamics (he called that class "Thermo-Go*damics) homework was simply overwhelming (which is *always* was - I flunked it myself the first time). Then we'd prepare the stuff while sitting at the kitchen table and drive to a deserted beach to make a really loud noise.

My other roommate had a brick of *real* solid rocket fuel which he swiped from his father who worked in that area. We made some really cool "rockets" with that stuff by wrapping it in aluminum foil and shooting it across the quad.

Hell (Adult Language - yet another reason to rate this blog PG) I'd be in jail if I tried any of that stuff these days.

What does one do when he has a legitimate need to blow something up (e.g. big rocks for a road, big tree stumps from the middle of a farm field)? Even excavating companies don't keep the "Nobel" stuff around any more - too many federal regulations to deal with.

All in all, I've come to the conclusion that Joanie has been right all along - the American Experiment is over.

(Posting this anonymously is just another reason why.)

cw-patriot said...

‘Anonymous’ –

Thank you for your excellent observations.

I checked the revised status of this blog on the rating website after your post, and, although you didn’t lower its rating from PG, you did mightily contribute to the grand total of ‘trigger words’ which deem it ‘unsuitable for children’.

To which I say, ‘Bravo!’ :)

Your comments closely parallel those of John Cooper (toward the end of the comments under the essay entitled ‘Over Extension and Bad Management’, a couple of essays down the list). Both of you are rightly lamenting our incremental loss of liberty, and the burgeoning demand that we request permission from our government to put one foot in front of the other, and breathe the planet’s air.

Unfortunately, those (like you and John) who are acutely aware of the fact that we no longer live in a free society (at least not that individual-freedom-based society envisioned by our Founders) are finding themselves in an ever-shrinking minority.

Both our public and higher education systems are now geared toward indoctrination, and away from encouraging independent critical thought. And, as a people, we have become desensitized to the increasing amount of bureaucratic tyranny in our lives. So each generation moves farther and farther away from experiencing genuine individual freedom … and grieves the loss of that precious gift less and less.

I work with some very good people in local government. And yet they have become so immersed in the myriad of state and federal rules and regulations that more and more stifle our freedoms that they rarely, if ever, say to themselves, ‘Wait a minute! Why must we jump through all of these hoops in order to accomplish what our ancestors could go out and do without asking permission from their government higher-ups?’

It’s as if the mountain of bureaucratic mandates had been handed down along with the Ten Commandments. So few of us question them anymore. They have simply become a fact of modern life.

Your personal accounts illustrate that sad condition beautifully.

Claire Wolfe describes the sorry (and growing sorrier) state of freedom in America so well:

Maybe you just decide to live your own life in freedom, no matter what barriers the controllers build in your path. That can be the hardest, most gutsy action of all these days.

When did we get to be so scared, anyway? So bloody compliant? On what day did we all decide to go along with the fiction that the government 'requires' obedience of us -- rather than that we require obedience of it? On what day did we decide freedom wasn't worth living for, as well as dying for?

I don't really have much hope that we'll wake up in a free country someday. But at least we can make the job harder for those who want to control us. And even if that's all we achieve, at least we can live for a while in a spirit of freedom, instead of always cowering in fear or seething with frustration.


Again, thank you for your pertinent, insightful comments.

~ joanie

Anonymous said...

This is a great blog. Do you take column submissions from other people?

danthemangottschall said...

"You should try handing out condoms, bongs, or copies of the Kama Sutra. I'm sure the parents who objected to the pen knives and Davy Crockett books would wink and knowingly approve of those three items. /maximum sarcasm"

I like the way you think, and I'm not so sure the sarcasm tag is necessary.

robmaroni said...

"Anonymous" who wanted to know about submissions---

I know Joanie's not at her computer this weekend so I'll answer for her. Essays may be sent to:

a_and_d_betrayed@hotmail.com

Anonymous said...

We now have a large government run institution for the feeble-minded.

It’s commonly known as the House and Senate.

Al said...

That's a nasty looking knife.

Sure scares me.

.

Anonymous said...

http://www.rightnation.us/forums/index.php?showtopic=126521

Two years ago, the son of one of my friends was expelled for having a copy of Guns & Ammo magazine in the trunk of his car. Someone saw it when he open the trunk to put his backpack in it, and reported it.
The school called the police, and (illegally) forced him to open the trunk, and the was immediately expelled for the rest of the school year.

Last year, another was punished with 5 hours of detention for refusing to tell "What I Did On My Summer Vacation" because he was afraid to tell the teacher that he had gone hunting with his dad and grandad.

Four 5-year-olds in New Jersey are suspended, from kindergarten, for playing the age-old game of cops n' robbers.

A 10-year old boy was suspended for 10 days for telling a classmate that a Lifesavers Wint-O-Green mint would help him jump higher.

A 6-year old boy kisses a girl and is suspended for a day, and is not allowed to attend a school ice cream party. His Crime? Sexual harrasment.

An 8-year old boy points a chicken strip and says, "pow,pow,pow" and receives a 3-day suspension.

A Michigan 12-year old ran afoul of the school during a discussion about school violence when he said that he would feel safer if some of the adults in the school were trained, and carried a firearm. School officials "flagged" him as a potential violence risk and contacted his parents about setting up a meeting with the "Hazard and Risk Assessment Team." They were told that their son should be placed in the "Mentor" program, where his "thought processes" could be monitored by a "watchful adult." By doing this, the school said, they could avoid involving social services.
The Holland 6th grader had also refused to sign a "Red Letter" written by the principal in January as a part of Martin Luther King Day. According to WorldNetDaily (3-30-00), the letter asked students "to take an oath to turn in their friends for suspicious activity, to vow to never defend themselves if attacked, and to never use a gun or other weapons." Convinced that their straight-A son has been singled out for his views, the parents have spoken to an attorney. The Rutherford Institute has also reportedly expressed interest.

A first grader at Struthers Elementary school in Youngstown, OH, was suspended for ten days for taking a plastic knife home from the school cafeteria in his book bag. The six-year-old wasn't threatening anyone; he just wanted to show his mother he had learned how to spread butter on his bread.

A third grader at O'Rourke Elementary School in Mobile, AL, was given a five-day suspension for violating the substance abuse policy after classmates reported that he took a "purple pill." His offense was taking a multivitamin with his lunch.

At LaSalle Middle School in Greeley, CO, three 13-year-old boys were given one-year suspensions because one of the students brought to school a key chain from which dangled a 2-1/2-inch laser pointer. The school called it a "firearm facsimile" and sent one of the boys (a good student who had never before been in trouble) to an alternative program where he is taking classes with young criminals and juvenile delinquents in "anger management," "conflict resolution" and gangs.

Four kindergartners at Wilson Elementary School in Sayreville, NJ, were suspended for three days for playing a make-believe game of cops and robbers during recess, using their fingers as guns.

A seven-year-old at the Edgewood Independent School District in San Antonio, TX, was banished for eleven days to an "alternative school" for troubled students when he was caught bringing a pocket knife to school. For three days, he was the only first grader at the facility among older students guilty of serious offenses.

A 12-year-old at Magoffin Middle School in El Paso stuck out his tongue at a girl who declined his invitation to be his girlfriend. School administrators called this sexual harassment and suspended him for three days.

When the Fred A. Anderson Elementary School in Bayboro, NC, held a Camouflage Day, a nine-year-old proudly came in his new duck-hunting outfit. His joy was smashed when the teacher discovered an empty shotgun shell in his pocket left over from a weekend outing with his father, and punished the straight-A kid with a five-day suspension.

In Hurst, Texas, a 16-year-old honor student was expelled from high school after a security guard found a butter knife in the bed of his pickup truck parked on the school grounds. The knife apparently fell out of a box of household items he and his father had transported the previous day from his grandmother's home to a local Goodwill store.

School officials claimed that the butter knife was a danger to other students and placed him in a disciplinary alternative school for five days.

Two eight-year-old boys who pointed paper guns at classmates in Irvington, NJ were charged with "making terrorist threats." A judge ultimately dismissed their case, but the incident may remain on court records until the boys are 18.

In a North Carolina pre-school called Kids Gym Schoolhouse, the state evaluator deducted five points from its high rating because plastic soldiers were found in the play area. The toys were said to "reflect stereotyping and violence and can be potentially dangerous if children use them to act out violent themes."
SOURCE

Cheese State Zero Tolerance
When Madison, Wisconsin, 6th-grader Chris Schmidt and several classmates planned a presentation about onions for an assignment "to discuss the properties of a fruit or vegetable," Schmidt thought he'd get a better grade by slicing one of the onions open to display its inner layers and disperse the smell. For this purpose and without consulting his parents, he brought a small serrated table knife to school.

Schmidt was suspended, and school administrators recommended a one-year expulsion for possession of "a dangerous weapon." Then the school district provided the boy with a private tutor off campus for two hours a day at taxpayer expense. District officials advised the family that, if Chris admitted to committing "a crime," agreed to a psychological evaluation and took an anger management course, his expulsion could be reduced. The parents refused, and instead rallied the support of other parents and friends.

The incident received local publicity and news quickly spread over the internet. People from across the country emailed the media and posted comments on internet message boards protesting Schmidt's plight and offering their own bizarre examples of zero tolerance. In April, the Wisconsin Public School Hearing Examiner ruled that Madison school district officials had not proven their case and that Schmidt could return to school.
--
When seven 4th-grade boys at Dry Creek Elementary School were discovered pointing "finger guns" at each other on the playground during a game of soldiers and aliens, Principal Darci Mickle found them in violation of the school's zero tolerance policy. She quizzed them about whether their parents owned guns and then suspended them for the remainder of the day. They were required to serve a one-week detention during lunchtime recess, sitting in the hallway where they were teased and taunted by other students.
Following the incident, one parent reported that her son dreaded going to school. Another student developed stomach problems, and still another began complaining of headaches. None of the seven had previously been in trouble.

According to the May 13 Washington Times, the parents were angry that their children had not been given a warning to stop the offending behavior before disciplinary action was taken, and they objected to the grilling "about private family matters such as gun ownership." "It's none of [the principal's] business," asserted one boy's father. "If she wants to know that, she needs to ask me."

While Colorado law mandates expulsion for students who "carry, bring, use or possess a firearm or firearm facsimile at school," the Times pointed out that "nowhere does it mention fingers."

Pupil Suspended for Drawing Soldier

A picture of a soldier holding a canteen and a knife has earned the third-grade boy who drew it a suspension from school.

The boy's father said he was forced to explain to his son that being in the Army and owning guns "is not bad."

Anonymous said...

RE the Davy Crockett book:

Political Correctness has made it impossible to teach history.,

stonemason said...

Anonymous, thanks for the link to rightnation.us. It's sickening to read the amazing number of examples of how political correctness has invaded our public "eduation" system. It's not only teaching our children that having the means to defend themselves isn't a good idea, but the whole process has become irrational. "The inmates are running the asylum" would be a correct thing to say, except the "inmates" know exactly what they're doing. They're disarming us and teaching our children that guns, knives, etc. are evil.

Well it's the pushers of these ridiculous rules who are the evil in this whole thing. They want us disarmed, and they want us disarmed for a reason.

Anonymous said...

Repeat:

Well it's the pushers of these ridiculous rules who are the evil in this whole thing. They want us disarmed, and they want us disarmed for a reason.