The Second Amendment and “Snowflake Syndrome”

I’ve been somehow involved in education for about 13 years. At this point, I’m subbing – mostly at the local HS, sometimes at the local middle school where my education career started. I’ve a daughter in public school.

 

With all the school shootings, am I scared for myself, my daughter, and the students I’ve come to know? Yes.

 

I don’t espouse the idea that violent video games/movies, etc. are responsible; seems to me that this belittles the issue – like avoiding a cancer screening because the abdominal pain is “just indigestion.”

 

I do think that, like a stubborn virus or infection, the cause is a gnarled lattice of factors fit for Dr. House.

 

Submitted for your review, internet, I’ve identified two components that I believe to contribute to our troubled times –

 

  1. The second amendment/right to keep and bear arms –

Let me start by saying that the right itself is not the issue. The issue is the narrow-minded, no compromise mentality of its proponents

 

Does your right to keep and bear arms supersede my right to peace of mind from knowing that my daughter, her friends, students I’ve come to love in my own way, and my own person are safe as we go about our daily lives? Another way to say this might be my right to life, liberty and pursuit of happiness.

 

Listen, we don’t have an amendment that specifically says “The right to attend school without fear of being massacred by a confused guy with an assault rifle.” BUT, we do have one that “Protects rights not enumerated in the Constitution.” (amendment #9)

 

This is a gross oversimplification of that amendment, but we can no longer imply safety and security for ourselves individually in this once great nation (still waiting for you to “make it great again”, comrade president – dead school children and unchecked bigotry do not a great country make).

 

Anyway, as “The right to attend school without fear of being massacred by a confused guy with an assault rifle” is not “enumerated” and we’ve become perverted enough as a nation to think that the right to own a shiny piece of metal that makes lots of noise and puts holes in things is more important than the life of someone’s child, perhaps it’d be appropriate to “enumerate” this right or invoke the ninth?

 

Let me be clear – I’m not saying take away all guns. I’m simply saying that we need to have a more rigorous process for acquiring a gun and to prohibit the sale of assault rifles to civilians.

 

To accomplish that, we need to compromise.

 

HERE,  the blogger from Engineering, Parenthood, and a Solid Attempt at Adult Status

provides several compelling reasons why civilians don’t need automatic weapons.

 

Ok, I feel like I’m digressing. Shootings are merely one symptom of a much deeper problem. Getting back to the virus/infection analogy. There’s a school of thought that says that society functions like an organism. A dysfunction occurs when some part of that organism fails to perform properly and throws the whole system into chaos.

 

So, what social organ is dysfunctional? It would be tacky of me to raise this point and not offer my explanation, so here goes –

 

  1. “LOOKATME! LOOKATME! LOOKATME!”

 

In my opinion, our country suffers from an affliction that I will call “snowflake syndrome.” We have become accustomed to praise and recognition of our achievements, no matter how small, we are surrounded by stuff we want but can’t afford and a social media juggernaut that has evolved beyond our control.

 

This paints a picture of a world of material success and social acceptance – for most Americans, is that the case? The individual has taken over. Instead of “ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country”, it’s “ask what my country can do for me, then sue for more”

 

Listen, internet – my education is in sociology. Indeed, in my case the old phrase “if your only tool is a hammer, every problem is a nail” rings true. When I hear of a mass shooting or other such atrocity, I instantly look for information about the suspect’s race, gender, socioeconomic background, affiliations, etc.

 

Such information can be compared to ingredients in a recipe – each of us is a dish made with slightly different ingredients and preparation instructions. Time in the oven could be family makeup, oven temperature could be schooling experience (public/private, and so on), an extra teaspoon of salt might be an abusive dad.

You will, as many have, say this is far too simple for a creature as complex as a human.

Such a “flavor” prediction is far from possible at this time precisely because of its complexity. Is it possible? Given rigorous application, yes I think so.

 

“But wait, I’m a special and unique snowflake!” cries the millennial. In a way, that is what the school shooters are saying with their actions. Gloominess and despair that was once reserved for suicide have become a license to commit atrocities in order to take center stage in a nation obsessed with being a unique individual.

We are not a nation of ~327 million people, we are a collection of ~327 million egos that happen to live on the same patch of earth.

 

Based on the demographic data from 2016 found HERE), that number includes a hair over 200 million white people. To each individual white person living in the US I say, you are not special.

 

Almost 60 million of that population is Hispanic or Latino. To each individual Hispanic or Latino person living in the US I say, you are not special.

 

African Americans are more than 42 million strong. To each individual African American living in the US I say, you are not special.

 

Even the American Indian/Alaska native population sports a shade over four million. While this certainly makes you more unique I still must say to each individual American Indian/Alaska native living in the US, you are not special.

 

I hear the refrain of a lonely white person in Hawaii “surely I am unique among all these copper-colored people!”  . To you I say “nay! You are but one white bird in a flock of 266,400!

“What of me? A female in the far flung land of Alaska.” To you I say “don’t despair madam! You share that frozen chunk of earth with 350,499 other members of that whimsical gender!”

 

It gets better, dear reader. Take heart, foreign-born male of two or more races located in Payne county, OK, seek and ye shall find 71 other souls in circumstances as unique as yours.

 

I could continue on like this – “I’m a white woman with red hair living in Waldo county, and I’m so frustrated that I can’t fit a whole hand into a Pringles can.” I don’t know if you will find other redheads living in Waldo county vexed by the same predicament. Believe it or don’t, a community over 900,000 strong shares your frustration. Find it HERE. You’re welcome.

 

Some of you are asking “where’s Waldo… county?” It’s in Maine. The county seat is the city of Belfast.

 

Moving on… if you’re like me, then you can’t abide standing idle watching your hot pocket spin as its bombarded with microwaves. That’s 90 seconds that you could’ve spent cleaning out your belly button or throwing away expired cans of pinto beans. Look no further than the Facebook group entitled “Accomplishing something before the microwave reaches :00” I tell you what, I’ve since joined this thriving (1 million +) association of go-getters, and I’m wracked with anticipation to learn the nuggets of wisdom that are surely waiting for me.

 

HERE is a short list of groups that cater to very particular interests. You can bet that if there is a group established for the sole purpose of spending Sunday mornings cleaning public toilets in Japan for the fun of it, you’ll find something out there that offers an opportunity for you to rub elbows with like-minded individuals who are as “unique” as you are.

 

It is my first instinct to apologize to anyone I’ve offended with my words here. However, the persons inclined to be offended by my message are the ones who most need to hear it. That said, let me offer some consolation – you are very, very special; as special as everyone else on this plot of earth with its imaginary borders and it’s constitutional government.

Bashing Through the Prose, In 100 Days…

I recently tried an accelerated writing program offered by thewritepractice.com. The program is designed to help the aspiring writer complete the first draft of a novel in 100 days. It is aptly named “The 100 Day Book” program, the brainchild of Joe Bunting (not to be confused with the “100 Novels in a Day” program from Bo Junting).

Full disclosure – I didn’t finish a first draft, but I’m still pleased with the overall experience. To finish a draft would’ve been great, but I did come away with several valuable lessons.

First and foremost, I learned that I am what Kurt Vonnegut refers to as a “basher”, as opposed to a “swooper”. Hard as I try, I can’t churn out 800 to 1,000 words a day. The basher

“goes one sentence at a time, getting it exactly right before going on to the next one. When they’re done they’re done.”

The swooper

“write[s] a story quickly, higgledy-piggledy, crinkum-crankum, any which way. Then go over it again painstakingly, fixing everything that is just plain awful or doesn’t work.”

Teh Basher
“Hey Joe, where you going with that hammer in your hand?”

I did have a few breakout sessions where I produced 1,000 words, so I can swoop, but for the most part, I bash. All the same, no matter what your approach, this program provides sage advice, deadlines and a support forum for other aspiring writers to hold you accountable and provide feedback on your writing.

Perhaps the most useful feature of the program is the daily email tips to spark the flame of goodly writing inside the budding writer. Notable examples –

“Today, have a character do something. It can be as small as eating a cookie or as dramatic as drawing a gun on someone. Whatever they do, use it to show us who that character is and make them stick in our minds.”

And

“Open up your book to something you wrote a few days or weeks ago. Glance over it and take a few minutes to laugh. Then, once you’re feeling good about writing again, jump back to today’s scenes and keep writing!”

Uno mas,

“Challenge yourself to write something deliberately bad today. What’s the worst sentence you can imagine? Write it down, and then keep writing.”

 

This last tip is especially meaningful for me. As were all the messages concerning what a pissant perfectionism can be. That was what held me back – the unquenchable desire to be perfect.

Many of the daily emails harped on the myth of perfection. Applying the practice tips from these messages were tools that allowed me to write 1,000 words in one day a few times.

I saved all the emails and plan to revisit them as I do my own thing.

BONUS! A cute lady with a squirrelly last name sends you weekly emails with your progress and other words of encouragement. Perhaps most impressive of all is that both cute, squirrelly last name girl and the Joe himself always responded to my questions and concerns with a genuine, not canned response, and in a timely manner.

And Joe is a good sport, I’d message him on Facebook, starting with “Hey Joe, I heard you shot your lady down” or “Hey Joe, where you gonna run to now?” and he played right along.

I was way short on the word count, but that’s because I need to get over this idea that my writing must be perfect as soon it’s written. I’m happy with every single word that I wrote – wish there were more…

I suppose that’d be a complaint – the program didn’t write a book for me. Writing a book is frickin hard, but this program breaks it into manageable tasks, making the process a more… manageable task.

Another perk was weekly author interviews. I attended a few, and it always got me thinking about my own writing process, but while sitting there listening I was jonesin to write, so I skipped some. Looking back on it, I wish I would’ve sat attentively through all of them, that’s part of the experience that I paid for.

In closing, I’d say this program would benefit any budding writer. You may not finish a book, but you’ll be writing and you’ll gain an understanding of the logistics involved in writing a book. In the end, if my ho-hum attitude toward interviews is any indicator, you get out what you put in.

Doctor Pillow…Talk

The universe has spoken to me once again (for previous occurrences describing words descending upon me from the totality of existence, read HERE and HERE). I’ve experienced a singularity of my present and the experiences HERE chronicled.

You see, I got a comment on the above linked post from a woman whose husband has sustained a brain injury and is contemplating having a Baclofen pump “installed” (for a compendium of my posts concerning the Baclofen pump, direct the graphical representation of your mouse (i.e. “cursor”) HERE and apply pressure to the left button on said mouse). It is to these good people, that I dedicate this entry.

Listen, the battery on my pump was near death, so I had to have the whole pump replaced.

This I did, or rather had done, two days ago. There are a few remarkable occurrences that I would like to relate to you, dear reader.

1. This first point is not particularly remarkable compared to the other two, but deserves to be mentioned – the procedure was performed by the fabulous Dr. Deborah Fisher. She does surgery, pump refills, Botox injections and pain management, all with a very cool South African accent. She is, without a doubt, one of the good ones and one of my favorite people.

2. The name of the anesthesiologist was, I sh*t you not, Dr. Pillow. Put another way, the man whose responsibility it was to put me to sleep was named “Dr. Pillow”. Dr. Pillow had an assistant named Rip Van Blanket*…twas the darnedest thing that team Pillow/Blanket should manage my sleepy time…

Syringe Doc Pillow Head

3. True to their names, the Pillow/Blanket duo had me so stupefied that, when I woke up in the recovery room, I could swear I was in a staging area, awaiting the procedure. I was nearly set off when this blue flaming nurse asked me if I wanted something to drink, I had to check myself because I was indignant that this guy was trying to thwart this procedure that I worked so hard to set up by offering me a drink minutes before it was to be performed.

The hoops I had to jump through to get this operation scheduled is a saga worthy of its own post. Moreover, my recovery from this procedure has been much smoother than when I got the first pump. For next time, I’ll give a full summary/timeline of the major events associated with the pump.

That the words on this website have reached but a few people is reason enough to keep it up.

FIN

@JarrettLWilson

*This name is total bullsh*t, his real name was “Todd” or “Bill” or some other such name common to a suburban, middle class white male. He didn’t say his last name, so for purposes of this blog let’s say his last name was “Valium”.

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