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Archive for the ‘Rules’ Category

Oh, how times have changed…and not for the better.

We were told by our parents that we should treat our school teachers exactly as we would treat our parents…with both courtesy and respect. Those of us – yep, I was one of ‘em – were punished accordingly if a note was sent home that we had, in any way, misbehaved in class. The only time my folks didn’t drop the hammer was when the teacher, Miss Lannin, sent a note home saying that I had kissed Gloria Madden. Of course, Miss Lannin didn’t know that I’d been dared by the ‘janitor’ to do it and had received a nickel for my efforts. Mom and Dad had a difficult time trying to bawl me out while holding in their laughter.

Later, in my academic career – fifth grade to be exact – I received a sharp rap across the back of my hand from Miss Shea, a former nun, who was exceptionally skilled in the use of a ruler as a weapon of individual destruction. My crime was in mispronouncing the word frigid – looked like frig-it to me, but evidently, Miss Shea found my interpretation bordering on the edge of indecency. How the hell would a nun know that? Ah, well, I guess we’ll never know.

Later, I sat in Bertha Tenney’s math class in junior high school, and when Billy Bailey decided to act up, Bertha knocked his ass right out of his seat and onto the floor. Billy was tough. How the hell she could have put him flat on the floor is something that still confounds me.

There were several other examples of corporeal punishment that I could relate about my own high school experiences, but I believe you can see where this is going. What happened to me after the Holy Roller incident and to Bill after Bertha took him out with one swift back hand was nothing to what happened to us when our parents learned of our misdeeds. Yet, in spite of all of this, Bill and I grew up, went off to college, achieved a modicum of success…depending on how you define it, and raised children of our own. Were we as tough on them as our parents had been on us? I doubt it, but if a teacher told me that my kid had disturbed a class, I kind of doubt that I would have blamed the teacher.

Today, it would appear, that the teacher is never right, can’t lay a hand on some little puissant who is disturbing her/his class, and can be sued at the drop of a missed call in class. My reaction to this is one of horror. Recently, a teacher with 16 years of experience clapped a piece of candy out of the hand of a 14-year old who had been disrupting her class. She is now being taken to court over this…she left a mark on the poor child’s wrist. She should have left the little punk with a couple of black eyes.

There is a law now that says teachers cannot touch students. Are we afraid that some teacher is going to go “postal” and wring some kid’s neck? I rather doubt it. I won’t reiterate what I did to one of my sophomores in high school, other than to say that two weeks after I’d punished him, the Massachusetts State Police came and took him away on felony charges.

These are different times. Latch-key kids whose lives are programmed from the moment they rise in the morning until their heads hit the pillow at night are given little outlets for some of the hormones that begin raging in their bodies earlier and earlier. The word, “Discipline,” is foreign to them. They aren’t disciplined at home…”You’re grounded; go to your room!” Go to the room with your cell phone, computer, and every other electronic device one can think of; that’s not discipline; that’s peace and quiet. Sparing the rod and spoiling the child has become too much of a mantra for today’s parents and it has carried over into the legislatures which are makings laws that completely handcuff teachers in their efforts to do what they are poorly paid to do…teach children who are eager to learn. If a child is a disturbance in a classroom, he or she should be disciplined to the degree possible and that doesn’t mean giving up a cell phone for 24 hours. Punishment must be meaningful and fitting. Unruly child…refused to listen…created a disturbance in the classroom…was eating candy openly…hey, kid, I’m so sorry that you didn’t know Miss Tenney. Had you lived, you would never have forgotten her.

Years ago, teachers were treated with the honor and respect due them. What happened? Where did all of the respect go? Did teachers change that much? I taught high school for a brief period of time. It was in the same school from which I had graduated. I gained an even greater respect for teachers, now colleagues, in whose classrooms I had been a student. Did teachers, as a whole, become people to be disrespected and not believed? Has television and social media been responsible for the lack of respect shown to these people who, generally, want nothing more than to increase the knowledge and intelligence of those with whom they work day-in-day-out?

Perhaps the parents of captain-candy-eater should be in the dock with the teacher. After all, who raised him to be disrespectful to other adults? I cannot imagine what this child gets away with at home. There is no such thing as “Stop it Bobby; stop it Bobby; stop it Bobby; stop it Bobby” ad nauseum. There is only one “Stop it Bobby,” and if it is not stopped, Bobby will wonder if anyone got the license plate of the truck that just ran him over.

It’s time we reinstated two words in the classroom…RESPECT and DISCIPLINE…on both sides of the desk. Teachers have known those two words for years. It’s too bad that today’s children have not been taught their true meaning before they even begin school.

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I am so goddamned sick and tired of hearing how Michael Brown was just a great big jolly kid who didn’t deserve to die that I want to puke.

The way this kid is being portrayed by members of the community, most of whom are probably like me and didn’t know him, is that he was just so wonderful, laughing, the life of the party, etc., and he was shot by that white son-of-a-bitch who was out to get him. That’s what I’m hearing; that’s how I’m interpreting what I’m hearing. Now that white son-of-a-bitch is going to go free, just like that white son-of-a-bitch in Florida who killed Trevon Martin. All the white sons-of-bitches are going to go free because it’s open season on Black people.

What a crock of shit! Michael Brown robbed a store minutes before he was shot to death. He threatened and pushed a clerk or someone, perhaps the man who owned the store and who was so small he wouldn’t stand a chance against someone of Michael Brown’s size and obvious disposition. Give me a break, folks. Michael Brown was killed because he was a punk who thought he was bigger, badder, and the meanest son-of-a-bitch on the street. Evidence says he got two punches into the face of Darren Wilson before Wilson started to shoot.  In my mind, from all that I’ve heard, Michael Brown got exactly what he deserved.

That being said, I don’t believe that Trevon Martin got what he got. I do believe that George Zimmerman should be sitting in jail for murdering that particular 17-year old. I toss that in here just to placate those who have reached the point where they would like to shoot me.

Fact: If you are told to stop by a police officer, stop!

Fact: If you are told to put your hands up by a police officer, get your damned hands in the air!

Fact: If you are told by a police officer to get down on the ground, hit the deck with your arms and legs spread!

These are the facts. I’ve been there; I know this. If a cop tells you, “Stop or I’ll shoot,” you better freeze in your tracks and hope your bladder and bowels don’t let go. I’ve been there; I know this. If you are acting suspiciously – and we were – and a cop comes toward you with a gun, you are well advised to do what “the man” says, regardless of the color of your skin or the size of your body! My personal experience happened in South Boston many years ago. It was a mistake, but it was a very frightening experience.

Had that cop shot and killed any of us, I find it difficult to believe that a large group would gather and burn down businesses in Southie. Being Irish wouldn’t have helped me or my friends in that Irish neighborhood. In Ferguson; in Detroit; in many other cities around the nation, if a Black person is shot, that seems to be time to riot, burn businesses – many owned or franchised to  Black entrepreneurs – and otherwise cause trouble…because “the man” hates Black people.

I read an editorial in the Boston Globe this morning. In it the writer notes, “Being black in America means trying to heal wounds that feel like they’ve been left raw since long before you were born.” I’m sorry but for me, many of these wounds have been self-inflicted. Most of us, Black or white, can only speak anecdotally about our experiences with people of the opposite color. Most of my experiences have been good; some have been extremely unpleasant. When I walked into a Black bar in the Mission Hill section of Boston, I was the first white face in there. Until the members of the Boston Patriots football team walked in behind me, I was terrified. Why, because a group of Black men were already on their feet and coming toward me and from the expressions on their faces, they did not have handshakes on their collective minds. Had we not been previously invited by the bar’s owner, things could have gotten ugly. The writer goes on to say, “Over and over he (St. Louis County prosecutor Robert McCulloch) repeated two themes: That the loss of Brown’s life was tragic; that Wilson was justified. This reinforces a message that gets whispered and shouted from black parents to their children and all along the family tree: Your life is not your own, your body is all you have, and even that guarantee can be voided in this country. Wait a minute; that’s not a Black thing; that’s true of every single one of us. Our lives are not our own. Our lives are governed by the environment in which we live. Our body is all any of us have, and it can be snatched from us with the snap of one’s fingers. Don’t you dare go attaching color to something that is universal. Yes, if you choose to live in a violent neighborhood, your chances of survival go down, but please don’t tell me that you are required to live in that neighborhood. There are  many people who manage to get out of those neighborhoods by hard work and an understanding of why they should move.

I am sick to death of this “Woe is me” attitude that I’m hearing from people like Jesse Jackson, Al Sharpton, and the protesters in Ferguson. Stop blaming all of your problems on the white man. Burning out businesses and turning over and burning cars is not the answer. Organize; run your own candidates for public office; work to get out the vote and vote yourself. Stop bitching and start building opportunities.

 

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When I was in college – yes, they had colleges back then, and no, we did not write with pieces of charcoal on the heads of shovels – I joined a fraternity. The term that was used at the time was “pledged.” One pledged a fraternity and if the brothers thought that you were acceptable, ie, take a good paddling on your ass and perform other, less vicious and idiotic tasks, e.g., going to the ladies room at South Station in Boston and present a detailed sketch of how the inside of that toilet appeared, then you were voted into the fraternity. The catch was that each of the brothers was given two colored balls with which to vote, a black ball and a white one. If you received all white balls, you were in; one black ball and you were out, fini, kaput, so long, don’t let the door hit you in the ass on your way out! Somehow, this vote of no confidence was supposed to ensure that all brothers were fine, upstanding young men of similar strong character. We even had a fraternity house. It was a rather large Victorian, located off campus. Rather than staying in on-campus housing, a brother could stay at the fraternity house at a somewhat reduced rate. The expectation was that all residents would chip in for food and other household necessities. Since I was a commuter student, I’m not certain how that really worked out.

In my junior year, a freshman pledged ‘my’ fraternity. He had been asked to pledge by one of the upper class brothers from the same hometown. I knew the young man by name and community only. I knew that he had impregnated a high school classmate and that his parents had paid for the young woman to travel to another state to go through the nine month gestation period – abortions really weren’t approved of in those days, particularly if you were a member of the Roman Catholic church. How I knew all of this is quite immaterial, but you should be aware that this young man was considered to be something of a rich asshole who liked to play, “hide the pecker,” and he didn’t care which young lady was available. Did I mention that his parents were rich? Very rich? Very, very rich?

During the pledge period, I went to the brother who had been designated, “pledge master,’ that is, he was in charge of the pledge class and responsible for assigning the idiotic tasks and ensuring that the pledges were doing what the pledges were supposed to do. I told my “brother” of my concerns about this rich asshole and requested that he be washed out immediately. I was informed that if I wished him out, I could do so by blackballing him at the end of the pledge period, not before…veddy interesting! When the time came for the vote, I dutifully cast my black ball. Somehow, it never made it to the final count. My vote was not in the voting box when the balls were counted. Despite my protest, the rich asshole became a member of the fraternity and I left the organization. It was not that many years later that the fraternity lost its national affiliation, was forced to sell its house, and to the best of my knowledge, was eventually disbanded.

I’m not in the least surprised by what is supposedly going on at the University of Virginia or at any other college or university in the country that allows fraternal organizations on campus. Can they be good spirit boosters and create lasting bonds? Sure, of course they can. Is it possible for them to become the animal house of movie fame? You bet your ass it is and there will always be an element within the frat who believes that is exactly what they are supposed to be.

Understand something very clearly; every four or five years, the leadership of any campus organization undergoes a complete transformation. If leadership succession is not considered a major part of the organization, it can go from top dog on campus to the bottom of the heap in that short a period of time. And once the “good old boys” take over and every night is keg night, the organization will go straight to hell in no time flat. With the mentality that goes along with eat, drink, and make merry, come other attitudes which are far more criminal in nature, and which involve, eventually, taking advantage of young women by getting them drunk and doing things that neither party would ever consider when sober.

“You’re speaking from only one experience,” you may say. The answer to that is, “No. I spent forty years in higher education; on two campuses where fraternities were in place.” My experience goes far beyond my single personal episode when I was an undergraduate. I have seen young men and women drunk out of their minds at ten o’clock in the morning. I have seen couples screwing in stair wells and behind a tree – not in the trees – knowing full well that one of them had to be drunk…and you can well imagine which party it was.

This raises the question; are college campuses safe places to be? For the most part, I would have to say that yes, they are. They are safe enough for anyone who knows the reason they are there. They are safe for anyone who knows their limits when it comes to alcohol consumption. They are safe enough if you understand that you’re not in college or attending a university where getting drunk every night is tolerated. Every year, some magazine or more than one will come out with their rankings for “party schools,” and every year, school administrators who find their institution on that list attempt to clamp down…or not. Did my kids belong to a fraternity or sorority when they went to college? My oldest daughter belonged to one of the two sororities on campus. They were so busy competing with each other for good kinds of recognition, they rarely found themselves on a Dean’s carpet. Did she drink along with others? I’m certain that she did…but I was never told by anyone, “Hey, your kid’s a drunk,” and a great many people knew who she was and to whom she was related. My son belonged to a different type of fraternal organization; it was a team; a swim team to be exact. Between practice, a tough academic schedule, and meets, he still found the time to booze it up occasionally…and he’d be the first one to tell you that. However, to this day – and he’s damn near 50 – he’ll tell you that he never once intentionally plied a female visitor with booze for dishonorable intentions. As far as the youngest was concerned, she was too busy overloading her academic schedule and, like her brother, swimming on her team, that I have to admit, I’m not certain when she had time to drink…add to that, that she’s not much of a drinker today, and you sort of get the point.

Are all fraternities’ places of debauchery and indecency? Of course not, I’d be willing to bet that those where wild things take place on a reasonably regular basis are a very small group. As I have said, that can change in one four-year cycle. Fraternities, however, are supposed to have advisors. With a weak advisor or a weak Greek system – the administrators who are, theoretically, in overall charge – things can change rapidly. Just because there has been no trouble in the past doesn’t mean that just below the surface, trouble isn’t brewing.

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My friend Juli is extremely inquisitive. She’s one of those who loves to learn and, having learned, retains a fantastic amount of knowledge. When she moved here from California, we traveled all over New England and up-state New York. Now that I have difficulty walking, she explores on her own through bus tours and trips run by a local bank. Since the windows of buses are far above those of cars, she’s seen some interesting sights. Yesterday was the best yet.

Juli arrived and couldn’t wait to tell me about the woman who was driving her car while balancing a plate of food on one knee and eating, while she talked on the phone, holding it in her other hand. I guess rules don’t apply. Another man was texting while glancing at a newspaper propped on the steering wheel. I guess…rules don’t apply.

We see it every day. It shows itself in so many ways. I have been driving down our street and received the one-finger salute from women who have been walking…in the middle of the street. I’m offending them, I gather, by not driving on the sidewalk…where they belong. Once more…rules don’t apply.

Have you ever been in a supermarket where two people are talking and blocking an aisle with their shopping carts? It’s happened to me on more than one occasion, and I’m not above saying, “Excuse me please.” On one occasion, as I passed through the chatterers, one of them muttered, “How rude.” That was it. I pushed my cart to one side and walked to let her have it. “This is rude you dumb bitch,” I said. “The two of you are standing here shooting the bull while other shoppers are trying to get through. You just don’t care about anyone but yourselves. You might at least have the courtesy to allow others to do their shopping.” I walked away while her mouth was still open. I don’t believe she ever got past hearing herself called a “dumb bitch.” It wasn’t nice, I know, but there are times when you just have to get their attention.

Rules don’t apply to people in restaurants who speak loudly enough about their own wonderful exploits that one is tempted to tell them to “shut the front door,” but they wouldn’t understand what you meant. These are the same people who wave their arms around and get pissed off if a waiter or waitress happens to get hit by one of their flying appendages.

Banks, supermarkets, garages, gyms, and various other businesses have hours of operation. They have them for very specific reasons. It may be that their insurance covers only certain hours of operation. It may be that experience has demonstrated that these are peak hours for doing business and to extend or increase these hours would adversely affect their bottom line. The reasons don’t really matter. Those who feel that they can do their banking, grocery shop, work out, or conduct business based on their own personal schedules are those to who rules don’t apply. These are the people who become very offended when, if they arrive at the bank 20 minutes after closing and see someone inside, will bang on the door until the lights go off. Before supermarkets were open 24/7, back when they would close at 9 pm, there were people who would come in and begin shopping at 8:45. These are the people to whom rules do not apply. They are inconsiderate and discourteous. If, as an employee, you confront them, the first response is something about paying your salary. They’re right, but that doesn’t mean that they are your sole means of support.

Recently, there was a drowning at a local beach. The parents are suing the lifeguards for negligence. Excuse me, but what were the parents doing? Yes, lifeguards are on duty at beaches and pools to guard against tragedies, but parents bear some responsibility for looking out for their own children. Perhaps these parents should have taken that into consideration. We used to watch our kids like a couple of hawks, and they were each competitive swimmers at the age of six!

None of us, not a one is so special that rules don’t apply to us. As Americans, we seem to forget that a great deal.  We blow through stop signs and red lights, thus teaching our children how they should drive when they become licensed. We expect instant service when we sit down in a restaurant; unknowing of the fact that the place may be short-staffed on that day because someone was sick. Am I being the holier-than-thou perfect being? C’mon get real; absolutely not! I’m not a big believer in the 55 miles per hour speed limit that we have on some roads. However, I won’t jump lanes without a directional. No, I’m probably…well, I’m not so sure…but there’s a great deal that I do of which others can and probably are critical. However, when I see some of the flagrant “the world revolves around me” behavior that I see or Juli reports, I think it’s time to let folks know.

Malcolm Forbes, Sr. and his son were extremely intelligent, successful in their business ventures and sage in their advice. I have profited greatly from the dad’s advice, “You can judge the character of a man [or woman] by the manner in which he [or she] treats those who can do nothing for him/her.” I think you can also judge that character by the way in which people obey or disobey society’s rules.

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How much of our lives is regulated? In Great Britain the amount of salt one uses is being regulated as a health improvement. How do they know? Are there salt police who come around at breakfast, lunch, tea, and dinner time? Granted, salt can cause any number of medical problems, but…what if people in Great Britain really don’t give a shite?  It’s their lives. We’re all going to die of something. If person A doesn’t care how long he lives, let him layer the fish and chips in white, beautiful salt…yuck…but what the hell; that’s what he wants; that’s what he gets.

In the United States, we used to “throw out the trash.” Whatever trash we had went in plastic or paper bags or maybe old boxes, and we took it to the dump…and dumped it. Times have changed. In our community, we have trash pickup as part of a town service. However, we are asked to separate our trash by barrel color…yes, we have differently colored lids on our barrels. The blue cover is for recyclable materials; the green cover is for burning…everything not recyclable is turned to ash…which is then recycled. I suppose it’s possible that we could have the ‘recycle police’ who might come around and check your barrels, handing our tickets if you’ve put a recyclable in your green covered barrel. It would serve to reduce unemployment, I suppose.

Not too long ago, I made a trip to Maryland. Coming home, I made the mistake of getting trapped in one of those EZ pass lanes. Rather than stop, cause an entire lane of traffic to back up; in all probability cause several accidents, etc., I placed money on a ledge – stupid me – and about a month later received a “you-naughty-boy” letter and bill from the State of New Jersey. I called my friend, Bridget Anne Kelly in Chris Christie’s office and she and I were so mad…well…you know the rest of her story. Nah, not true; I paid the fine, but the letter was pretty threatening.

Our food is more regulated than ever before. Why,,,because the government is trying to make us more healthy or conscious of our health. We can no longer eat any trans fats because it’s been determined that they are not good for us. It wouldn’t matter that I might think my food cooked in trans fats tastes better; I’m not allowed to have them! I know you’re doing it for my own good, but get outta my face; let me make my own decisions. People are considered bad parents if they don’t want their kids to receive certain inoculations…well…I happen to go along with that but when you think about it, why can’t we just say that they’re no longer welcome in our schools or anywhere else in town…pack up and leave. Whoops, that’s just a bit too much regulation for me.

In America, we have been so used to so much individual freedom that when any action is taken that might, somehow, infringe on that freedom, we get really upset. I have several articles about the dislike of cameras that focus on catching speeders flying through intersections. There are stores and banks where one cannot enter wearing a baseball cap, sunglasses, or a hoodie in the “up position.” Is this or are these infringements on our individual freedoms. You walk into my bank with your hoodie up and sunglasses on, I’m going to have you accompanied by an armed guard!

We are now regulated into having health insurance under penalty of being fined. Is this fair? One of my younger friends who played in an amateur hockey league after completing his high school and college days in the rink would say, “No.” Last time I saw him he still didn’t have health insurance. Now that it’s mandatory, I have no idea what he’ll do.

We say that we live in a free society. There is no such thing. Without rules and regulations, life would be so chaotic that no one would be safe. The big question in my mind is how far regulation should be allowed to go. If we’re trying to get everyone to eat healthier, exercise on a regular basis, aren’t we creating additional problems for ourselves? Gee, people live longer; Social Security will have to be paid to a larger population, but we don’t have the funds for Social Security; where do we get that money? Should people be forced to work longer…up to the age of 85 or 90, perhaps? If people live longer, they have to be housed, which means we’re taking away more animal habitats, and that means the bears and deer and wolves and elk and the…holy crap, I’ve got a zoo in my back yard…and they’re looking at me while licking their chops!

Our space in the United States is finite and before we go a building, building, building, maybe we should consider the amount of pollution that results from such efforts. All of this begs several questions: “How much is too much regulation…of the way and the things we eat; of the observation of the individual by monitors; of the manner in which we dress; of the speed with which our cars will carry us; of the demand that public transportation be used? Don’t laugh; regulation is already an integral part of our daily lives.

Finally, there comes the big question: “Will there come a time when the United States actually carries regulation too far and regulates itself to extinction?”

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According to the American Correctional Association,1 “Prisons have four major purposes. These purposes are retribution, incapacitation, deterrence and rehabilitation. Retribution means punishment for crimes against society. Depriving criminals of their freedom is a way of making them pay a debt to society for their crimes. Incapacitation refers to the removal of criminals from society so that they can no longer harm innocent people. Deterrence means the prevention of future crime. It is hoped that prisons provide warnings to people thinking about committing crimes, and that the possibility of going to prison will discourage people from breaking the law. Rehabilitation refers to activities designed to change criminals into law abiding citizens, and may include providing educational courses in prison, teaching job skills and offering counseling with a psychologist or social worker. The four major purposes of prisons have not been stressed equally through the years. As a result, prisons differ in the makeup of their staffs, the design of their buildings and their operations.”

That sounds pretty reasonable to me. If someone commits a crime that is punishable by time in prison, that is where that someone belongs should be sent. It doesn’t really matter what gender that someone may be; it shouldn’t really matter what race or creed that someone is {wink, wink}. Social status should not be a consideration regarding whether or not that someone is put into the prison system. Put in the more popular vernacular, “If you can’t do the time, don’t do the crime.”

Are we on the same page so far?

Recently, there have been two reasonably high-profile cases that have made a joke of our crime and punishment laws in this country. The first was the case of a 16-year old Texas kid who, while driving drunk and on Valium, plowed his pick-up truck into another vehicle, killed four people and seriously injured several others. His alcohol level was three times the legal limit for the state of Texas, probably from the two cases of beer that he and two of his ‘buddies’ stole from a liquor store. His penalty is ten years probation. The judge maintained that it was not his fault; that his parents were to blame because they didn’t instill any values in their son. In other words, he was the spoiled little rich kid whose folks are so wealthy that rules don’t apply. In fact, the defense attorney indicated that the boy was so spoiled that he didn’t know the difference between right and wrong. There was so much controversy surrounding the initial sentencing that the judge refused reporters and cameramen inside her courtroom as she reaffirmed the sentence. One psychiatrist who testified for the defense coined the term “affluenza” in describing the boy. Had this kid been a minority or a young man from a middle class family, his ass wouldn’t have seen the light of day until he arrived at the Pearly Gates. In fact, the same judge, Jean Boyd, sentenced a 14-year old Black boy to 10 years in prison for killing another person with just one punch. What Judge Boyd is doing sitting as a county judge is beyond my understanding.

The second case concerns one of the heirs to the DuPont fortune. Robert H. Richards IV, unemployed and living off his trust fund, was convicted of raping his three-year-old daughter and assaulting his two-month old son. It appears that none of this would have become public had his ex-wife not filed charges accusing him of the crime. Richards was initially indicted on two counts of second degree child rape, felonies that carry a 10-year prison sentence for each count. In her decision, the judge said that Richards would benefit more from treatment and that he “will not fare well in prison.” Despite being six-four and 250-275 pounds, you can bet your butt that Richards would not have fared well in prison. There are few people more despised by prison inmates than child molesters, and to my mind, it’s highly doubtful that Richards would ever have left prison alive.

 

All of this points up a serious problem. Are the one-percent of the American population going to continue to commit crimes and use their wealth as an escape from the justice system? It seems to me that judges like Jean Boyd in Texas and Jan Jurdan in Delaware would do well to find another profession. At the very least, they should be forced to read the American Correctional Association purposes for prisons.

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For more than 125 years, the American Correctional Association has championed the cause of corrections and correctional effectiveness. Founded in 1870 as the National Prison Association, ACA is the oldest association developed specifically for practitioners in the correctional profession. During the first organizational meeting in Cincinnati, Ohio, the assembly elected then-Ohio Governor and future President Rutherford B. Hayes as the first President of the Association. The Declaration of Principles developed at the first meeting in 1870 became the guidelines for corrections in the United States and Europe. At the ACA centennial meeting in 1970, a revised act of Principles, reflecting advances in theory and practice, was adopted by the Association. At the 1954 Congress of Correction in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, the name of the American Prison Association was changed to the American Correctional Association, reflecting the expanding philosophy of corrections and its increasingly important role within the community and society as a whole.

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This is the time of year for inaugurations, state of the states, state of the union, town meetings, and, of course, the Grammy Awards. It’s that period where we take stock of what we have or haven’t, how we’ve done during the past year, and what bullshit we will perpetuate or inaugurate on the unsuspecting public during the next year. Therefore, in keeping with this time-honored and non-sensible performance, I shall present my own state of the mind for the upcoming year and for time in perpetuity, a.k.a. Bishop’s banal diatribe….

…My fellow Americans, illegal immigrants, alien terrorists on US soil, and children of all ages…to put things mildly, the Union is not in very good shape. There is too much violence in our own nation, whether on our college and university campuses, our local schools, our shopping malls throughout the land, the streets of our inner cities and – more and more – in neighborhoods where violence has not existed before. This is both unacceptable and intolerable.

After months of discussions with the FBI, CIA, NSA, DOD, PTA, DARPA, CASE, CUPA, NRA, BSA, GSA, 4-H, ICOP, and several private contracting firms, we have reached agreement that, beginning, immediately…that means tomorrow for those of you nodding off…American soldiers and sailors, in pairs will begin patrolling every avenue, street, road, and drive in every city and town with a population of more than 500 people. Schools, from kindergarten to high school will have a pair of armed military in each and every classroom. Writ of habeas corpus is immediately suspended for the foreseeable future, and the penalty for any crime which inflicts any kind of harm on any American citizen will be punishable by immediate death. I have been reading, watching, and being told of too many crimes and I’m sick to death of it. We have ‘deevolutionated’ – okay, I made it up – back to cave man tactics as a society and, therefore, those who wish to act like Neanderthals shall be treated as they were back in the Neanderthal period. When the nation evolves back into a 21st Century society, with the mores expected of 21st Century men, women, and children, we will…slowly at first…begin to eliminate our police state.

Our plan calls for the withdrawal of all American armed forces from all bases throughout the world. I am sick to death of watching planes land at Andrews Air Force base to unload the coffins of young Americans who have died on foreign soil for no particular reason other than to make a small group of fat cats in our own nation get fatter. Just as we never see John Boehner smoking or drinking, so now, we will never see military caskets being brought home from foreign lands. In addition, we will not tolerate any attempt by any nation or combination of nations to invade – overtly or covertly – our land. We are open to free trade between our nation and others. However, the days of the US as world cop are over. If nations wish to make war among themselves or with other nations, have fun. If any nation should consider the use of nuclear weapons as acceptable, then and only then, will the United States turn the offending nation to glass. Granted, this will end the world as we know it, but what the hell, you started it, and we are fully prepared to end it.

Our native form of speech is American. While it was English for a while, it has been bastardized by various groups who now use such words as “whatevah,” “selfies,” “hinky,” and other bullshit words which have no place in a civilized society. Students using any slang in the classroom may be immediately bitch-slapped by a teacher or either of the two military peace keepers in the classroom…or all three. We will return to speaking a combination of correct English and American beginning tomorrow. Before immigrating to this country, those from other nations must demonstrate a proficiency in the English/American language that is free from native accent.

Beginning tomorrow, all citizens with assets of over five billion dollars will be required to establish foundations to benefit the less fortunate. The initial investment will consist of one billion dollars. I have requested and received consent from Messrs. Warren Buffet, William and Melissa Gates, Harry Reid, and Eric Cantor to select a board of no more than fifteen people of their choosing to administer this fund.

Beginning tomorrow, welfare families will be required to perform twenty hours of community service to be eligible for benefits. Babysitting services for children under the age of six will be provided by the National Board of Children’s Services. All adults over the age of 18 who are not attending school or college and who are unemployed will be required to participate in this Civilian Community Service Program. Those who refuse will be shot.

I could go on, but if you believe this sounds dictatorial and impossible, you’re right. That’s not the way America operates. Would we like to see our children and grandchildren more protected in our schools than they have been over the past half century? Of course we would. Does that mean patrolling the corridors of our classrooms with armed members of the military? No, not in this country…not yet… not anymore than we consider having our military patrol our streets.

Can we demand that people speak English? No, we can’t demand this. In American schools, English is the language of choice. Those unable to grasp this concept should either learn our language or return to where they won’t be burdened with having to learn it. I have always been embarrassed when I’m in Canada, not to be able to speak French, and I generally apologize for my inability to do so.

Can we demand that our billionaires use their monies to help others who haven’t been as fortunate? Of course we can’t. People like Mr. Buffet and Mr. and Mrs. Gates, just to name a few, are already doing more than their fair share to help others. As far as Harry Reid and Eric Cantor are concerned, well, you take your pick as to which one is the greater idiot.

No, I can’t give a state of the union address. We have checks and balances in this nation that protects the general public from the manner in which I sometimes express myself. But…we have many problems in this country that do need to be addressed. We seem to pay lip service and crocodile tears when a shooting occurs at an elementary or high school, a college or university, a theater or a mall, or on the streets of Boston, Chicago, or Detroit. In reality, we haven’t done a damned thing to prevent similar tragedies. We put thousands of troops into Iraq and Afghanistan, but I don’t see the same effort being put into eliminating the cartels in Central and South America, and they are killing probably more Americans daily than are being killed on the sands in the Middle East. Our problems are myriad and many, and rather than face them head-on, we quibble; we squabble; we have elected officials who are more interested in loyalty to party than they are in loyalty to America. These are our real terrorists because they refuse to let the nation move forward. As the late Thomas P. O’Neill, former speaker of the House of Representatives, said, “Country first; state second; party third. Or, if you prefer, how about Rodney King’s, “Why can’t we all just get along?” Take your pick…either one works for me.

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It warms my heart when I hear of people doing stupid things. It reinforces my belief in Voltaire’s famous quotation, “Common sense isn’t all that common.” On Sunday, the NFL’s Denver Broncos will host the Tennessee Titans…so far, so good. The temperature at game time promises to be somewhere around twelve degrees below zero. The stadium is not a domed venue. Hospitals in Denver are already planning to set up triage centers around the stadium to take care of fans. At least the hospitals are showing some semblance of common sense. The fans common sense, on the other hand, is open to question. Yes, we all know that the tailgating and getting sloshed is a part of the pro football team’s fans ritual…and it would be fine if we were dealing with 17 – 20 year olds, the majority of whom are assholes in their own right, but many of these are adults; husbands and wives with jobs, home ownership, and all that other crap that goes with being a mature adult. And I’ll bet even money that those stands will be filled. What the hell has happened to common sense?

 It may not yet be the official beginning of winter; however, much of the country is already being battered by a snowstorm with, in some cases, blizzard conditions. The salt being spread on the roads is melting and refreezing almost immediately. Communities are warning people not to drive because there is a good chance of an accident. Yet, people will climb into their cars because, “I have a job and I have to get to the office.” So, in other words, these people feel that it’s more important to get to an office than it is to put their life at risk. I don’t care how pissed the boss will be if you don’t get to work…and if the boss is in the office, he or she may also be lacking in common sense. “We have to open the store so the customers can come in.” Excuse me, but the customers are probably using their heads and staying home. Denver isn’t alone. It happens everywhere…even as to me and thee.

In January, 1978, I had just started working at Babson College. Small flakes had begun to fall as I left for work so I threw a shovel and some kitty litter in the trunk. By noon, the governor was on television, indicating that all roads in the Greater Boston area would be closed at two o’clock. I contacted a couple of colleagues and asked if they were all set for their rides home – we lived reasonably close to one another – and was told by both that they wanted to get home but couldn’t trust their cars. Macho man here told them I’d give them a ride if they could get to my car. Long story short, we left the college at about 1:30 in the afternoon; we were stopped by the Massachusetts State Police; talked our way out of just abandoning the car; and by 5:00 pm, I had made it the entire twelve miles to my home. Thankfully, my wife and kids had shoveled a place for me to park. I did not return to work until two weeks later. Did I use common sense in trying to get home? Absolutely not, and angels must have been riding on our shoulders all the way. On the other hand, I really can’t see myself wearing the same outfit for two weeks or sleeping in a dormitory. It didn’t take a genius to look at the weather maps and see that we were going to be up to our ears in snow with one storm coming right on the heels of another.

This leads to another point, and that is, when is common sense overruled by so-called wisdom? It would appear that the two somehow magically go together, but that’s not always the case: Scott Simon of National Public Radio (NPR) tells the story of a father – a not-particularly-bright-father – who took his son to a Detroit Tigers baseball game. The seven-year old asked for lemonade, so dad went to the concession stand where the only lemonade was Mike’s Hard Lemonade. This contains five percent alcohol, but the father didn’t know this. A security guard sees this child with an alcoholic beverage and instead of letting dad know that it probably wasn’t correct to let his child drink this stuff, he called the police – there goes common sense; – the police called an ambulance that rushed the child to a hospital. The hospital could find no, zero, zip, nada alcohol in the child’s blood. The child was put into foster care for three days because of the dad’s “child endangerment.” The child was returned to his mother on condition that the father not be present in the house – the old man had to go to a motel.  Two weeks later, the family was finally reunited and what was the excuse given by the security guard, the police, the welfare workers, and a judge? “We hate to do it but we have to follow procedure.” Since when does common sense get overruled by what people assume to be wisdom but which is actually a procedure that makes absolutely no sense at all?

Here’s a final example of common sense taking a backseat to rules and regulations: The Chamblee, Georgia police department arrested a man for stealing five cents worth of electricity from the school where he had gone to watch his son’s tennis match. The man had plugged his car into an external outlet for twenty minutes. A police officer noticed the offending vehicle but rather than arresting Kaveh Kamooneh on the spot, the local police investigated the crime – talk about nothing to do – and once they determined that Kamooneh did not have permission to plug in, went to his home – eleven days after the crime – arrested him; made him do the perp walk, and locked him up for fifteen hours. The good news is that the crime rate in Chamblee must be almost nonexistent; the bad news is that the police in that community aren’t too bright.

There is no question that we have rules for a reason and those rules should be enforced. There is also the rule of common sense and it’s quite apparent that this rule is often ignored. While the Denver hospitals are correct in setting up emergency tents for Sunday’s football game, doesn’t it make more sense to either cancel or reschedule the game? Was getting home a common sense thing for me to attempt in 1978? Probably not, but I had two passengers, my car was equipped to travel in a storm that was not quite yet a blizzard, and I knew exactly what my route would be. Secondarily, was it wise for the police office to tell me to abandon my car? What the hell was he going to do; give us a ride home; I don’t think so. Did the father screw up by buying his child hard lemonade? Sure; even I know what hard lemonade is. Did he know what hard lemonade was? Did he screw up; of course he did. Was the security guard using his head when he called the police? Of course he was; the problem there is that he was using rules over common sense. If you see all of these scenarios in black and white, then the security guard, the police, etc, as well as the Chamblee police were all correct. Kamooneh did not receive permission to plug his car into the school’s outlet and five cents is one twentieth of a dollar after all, but come on, a bit of common sense should have been at work here.

All I would ask is that people use their heads for something besides a hat rack. Let’s start a campaign to “Bring Back Common Sense,” and stop looking at everything as either black or white.

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It’s no longer enjoyable to give or receive Christmas presents.

Like you, I think, I’m not crazy about Christmas promotions that begin sometime in late September. Also like you, I recognize that need for merchants to sell goods, make a profit, even create jobs to help keep the economy growing, but I truly believe pushing some of this crap that you never see advertised at any other time of year is just plain tacky, tacky, tacky. For example, when else do you find ‘Clapper’ ads being pushed so hard, or the plush animals with all of their pockets? Want to drink fizzy flavored water, buy the stream dream or whatever the hell they’re calling it this year? I must admit that Chia Pets don’t appear to be big this year, but energizer bunnies are getting another shot in the arm.

This year, Christmas ads are vying with health care promotions; thus, it would appear making it unnecessary for writers to develop scripts too complicated. While there may be rules and regulations regarding how many minutes of advertising can be crammed into an hour of programming, I get the gut feeling that those rules are suspended between Halloween and the Super Bowl.

The one market that has yet to be tapped by the advertising agencies or the manufacturers is the over 70 group. Since some are saying the, “Seventy is the new fifty,” there must be a Christmas market there somewhere.  You can’t really sell them a “year’s supply of…” anything because while you’re preaching youth to these folks, the fact of the matter is they could go anytime…and they know it. Since so many seniors are computer literate, selling board games (a) isn’t particularly profitable and (b) can easily be found as an “app” somewhere. Pushing a Nook or a Kindle also becomes a complex issue when dealing with seniors, most of whom will tell you they “…like the smell of paper and ink” that a book gives them, and what do you say in a thirty-second spot to counter that one. Gift cards are great but for how much? Is the degree of importance measured by the amount of a Walmart card? Not only is it a gift card – which shows just how little you think of me” – but to what store…”you know I never shop there” – which means you’re just going to regift the card anyway. Understand something very, very clearly: When you are searching for a gift for a senior citizen, there is a ninety-nine point nine percent chance that you will screw up!

I sort of came to an agreement with my three kids years ago, after they were married and had children of their own…I won’t give to them and they don’t give to me. I will give only to the grandchildren and because I have no idea what they like – our ages being as separated as they are – I give money. Obviously, it can never be enough but I figure that’s their problem, not mine. If I have a rough year, they have a rough Christmas…my answer to their downturned-little-mouths is a very silent, “tough shit; get over it!”  I say that the agreement to give or not with the children versus grandchildren only, because the kids will sometimes try, but then, they don’t know my tastes, nor do they know that I really don’t need anything. I’d rather they put what money they spend on me into reducing their mortgage or buying something extra, like a good steak, for their refrigerator…”I don’t friggin’ need anything.” That’s not to say I have everything I want. Sure, I’d love the winter home in Boca or the Grand Caymans. The jet to get me there and back would also be nice, but who the hell is kidding whom. At my age, I like my bed at home; I don’t like flying anymore; and Boca in the winter is just as bad as it is in the summer – it’s God’s waiting room and who wanted to be reminded?

When Joan was alive, I would give a gift in her name to the Make-a-Wish Foundation. It was her favorite charity. If you asked her why, she wouldn’t have been able to give you a good reason, but she loved what they were doing. She may have seen a story on television or something that impressed her. To me she would give a gift in my name to the Pan-Massachusetts Challenge to help benefit the Dana Farber Cancer Research Center. I have lost so many friends and family to that insidious disease that anything that can be done to find a cure makes me happy.

Christmas is a great Holiday. It’s also a great Holy Day. Sure, scholars can prove six ways to Sunday that Christ was not born on December 25th. I don’t care; that’s the day we have chosen to celebrate the birth of Christian’s Lord and Savior. My rabbi next door and my Jewish friends at the gym all wish me a Merry Christmas and, tomorrow being the first day, I will wish them a Happy Chanukah. Our faiths may differ but I’d like to believe we all have faith. My prayers may be a bit longer around the Christmas Holiday, but that’s not to say that my faith is weaker throughout the rest of the year. It seems at Christmas I just like to spend a little more time talking to the Big Boss. Gifts don’t seem as important as prayers that He somehow help to unscrew this screwed up world.

My gift to myself is to watch White Christmas and a few other movies on that day. It’s a day when I cry some because Joan is no longer here to celebrate with me; and I cry some because I have a wonderful woman with whom to celebrate the holiday. I’m a pretty lucky guy when it comes right down to it. I pray that you feel lucky too.

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“I would like nothing better than to see you die …..”

“However, this is the time to begin the healing process. To show mercy to someone who refused to show mercy.”

Dennis Shepard spoke those words in a Wyoming courtroom several years ago. He spoke them to one of the killers of his 21-year old son; a killer who, joined by his fellow bully, had beaten and tortured Matthew Shepard, tied him to a fence and left him to die, naked, in the freezing cold.

What kinds of people do this? How deep is their hatred of someone with an alternative lifestyle that they believe killing them…and not just killing, but torturing them to death…is the only answer? Is it possible that they believe they are doing something good to prevent the rest of the world from being exposed to those who don’t think as they do? Can they consider themselves ‘good guy’ vigilantes? I rather doubt it. My personal belief is that they are cowards. They are afraid of anything that is new; that is the opposite of what they were taught at home. That’s right, taught at home. Hatred is taught; it is learned behavior. They certainly don’t teach it at school. “Queers must be killed” is not part of the first grade writing curriculum, nor is it found in Dick and Jane. Therefore, where else do we learn?

The concept of aggressive and bullying behavior begins in the first two years of a child’s life. It seems awfully young, doesn’t it? However, it’s true; if there is an environment that fosters violence, the child absorbs it. The next three or four years are spent refining it, so that by the time, the child is off to school, it is acceptable to take what you want and to kick the crap out of those who don’t wish to give up what you want. Bullies don’t have to be big; they just have to want what another child has and be willing to take it. Once they learn they can do such a thing, they will do it until they are stopped.

While we normally think of “the school bully,” there is some evidence to show that those who were either bullied or were bullies in their youth are more likely to be involved in domestic violence situations when they reach adulthood. One research report concludes that, without intervention, bullies identified by age eight are six times more likely to be convicted of a crime by the age of 24 and five times more likely than non-bullies to end up with serious criminal records by the age of 30.

If you are as concerned as I have been about the problem of bullying in this country, continue on; if not, stop reading and go back to what you were doing.

When I was giving bullying workshops, I used to break the audience into teams and give them a case study on which to work…here’s yours:

The following case contains language that might not be considered appropriate for all readers. The author makes no apology for this, and in an attempt to make this case as realistic as possible, the language will remain. Bullying is a worldwide problem. It has been defined as “repeated systematic attacks perpetrated by groups or individuals.” Anyone who has ever been the victim might not be so charitable with his or her definition.

Nathan Barnes was nothing special; just a good-looking 14-year old boy of somewhat above average intelligence. His home life was great, with a loving mother and dad…almost too loving, Nathan might have told you. He never, ever wanted them to know anything negative, and he’d go to great lengths to ensure that they weren’t aware of his little “secret.” He liked riding his bike to school everyday, feeling the wind on his face and seeing the beauty all around him. He enjoyed science and math; was fairly good in English and the social sciences, but absolutely couldn’t stand physical education. Nathan wasn’t strong physically, had little interest in organized athletics or games in which physical domination was the key to success. He felt that his mind was his weapon. Unfortunately, at 14, others didn’t quite see it that way. You see, Nathan Barnes was the victim of bullies.

It had always been easy for bigger kids, tougher kids, kids looking to “make a name,” to do it by abusing Nathan Barnes. Pushing him around, taunting him with names, playing practical jokes on him, and even taking his personal possessions became sport for the bullies. Nathan wouldn’t tell. Nathan was “chicken.” Nathan was a wimp, a nerd, a whatever-the-popular-derogatory-term-du-jour happened to be for that school year. Nathan was terrified. Although he liked them, Nathan had trouble in his relationship with the opposite sex. Girls found that going out with “the Barnes kid” was an invitation to be the center of controversy at some Mall encounter when the bullies might find them together. Nathan either wouldn’t or couldn’t defend himself so how could a girl expect him to defend her? As a consequence, several of the girls his age also took up the taunting.

Near the end of his 13th year, Nathan happened on what he hoped was a cure; he developed stomachaches. They kept him home from school on days that he had physical education or, when that began to become obvious, he developed them shortly before gym and would go to see the school nurse, Miss Caruso, asking to be excused. She was pretty good about it, too, usually, not always but usually, buying his psychosomatic illness.

This time, it hadn’t worked. Miss Caruso wasn’t buying. “Nathan, this is the fifth time this month you’ve been in here. You say that your parents want you to go to the doctor,” she added, “but you haven’t. I ask you to bring a note from your parents, telling me what’s going on, and you don’t. I’m sorry, Nathan, you will go to gym today.”

And he had gone. He’d gone and gotten tortured, first by Coach Ryan, not only the head football coach, but the physical education instructor as well. “Don’t know what we’re gonna do with you, Barnes,” he’d said. “Even my 10-year old daughter can climb ropes better ‘n you.” Ryan’s pet, football captain, Billy Johnson, had picked right up on it. “Yeah, c’mon wimp; up the ropes; what a freakin’ girl you are…c’mon needledick.” The humiliation was bad enough, but after gym, when Johnson was telling others who hadn’t been there…well, that was that. Mary Arnold and the other cheerleaders had been merciless in their harassment. It hurt; it really hurt. He’d show them. He’d show them all. They’d be sorry.

They found Nathan two days later…in the old cabin in the woods…about two miles from the school. His book bag was on the three-legged table in the corner. The chair he had stood on was kicked off to one side. He’d left his bike in the corner, near the hot water heater. Although his hands were untied, it appeared that he made no attempt to free himself when the rope tightened. Nathan Barnes was 14 years old. Nathan Barnes had been driven to kill himself by bullies.

The Parents

Nick and Katherine Barnes couldn’t say why Nathan had killed himself. They thought they knew their son. They knew him to be a “great kid,” with a happy home life. “His room was always picked up. I never had to say a word about it to him,” Katherine told the doctor. “He was just a joy to be around.” Katherine went on to add that Nathan had been a good student…but that she had noticed lately that he didn’t seem to have much interest in school. “He seemed to be getting a lot of stomach aches that would keep him home from school,” she said, “but I thought maybe he was just eating…oh, I don’t know what I thought.”

With Nick, it was pretty much the same. “Oh, sure, there were times when I had to tell him that the lawn was getting kinda long, but you know, the kid would jump right on it.” He was great that way.” School? Yeah, yeah, I guess he liked school. I mean, he wasn’t into sports the way I was – you know, three years all-state cornerback – but hey, we all do our own thing.”

The Classmates

 At school, Nathan’s “friends” told an entirely different story. “What a fuckin’ wimp,” Billy Johnson, the football co-captain said. “The kid was always wimpin’ outta gym ‘n stuff. If it was somethin’ physical, Barnes didn’t want it. We took to calling him ‘needledick’ because he’d never go in the shower. Some of the guys liked, you know, liked to shove him around a bit. We thought he could take it, ya know?”

Mary Arnold’s story was not much different. “He really didn’t know how to behave around girls, like, ya know,” she said. “I mean, he couldn’t really make a conversation…and, well, he just wasn’t with it, ya know.” Other classmates disagreed. Paula Anderson said, “I liked Nathan. He was kinda quiet, but he was really nice, considerate. We went to The Mall together a few times and just hung out. We weren’t goin’ together, ya know, but I kinda liked him. This really sucks.”

“Nathan wasn’t a wimp,” Tommy Baron told us. “Anyone who said that doesn’t – I mean, didn’t – know Nathan. I’ll bet it was one of the jocks told you that. They think they’re such studs. They tried that shit with me til I got one of ‘em alone. They never did anything to me again. Nathan wouldn’t be like that, though. Nathan didn’t want to hurt anybody; he just wanted to be left alone or be your friend. They couldn’t understand that.”

Nathan Barnes, “boy wimp,” wasn’t “with it,” “really nice,” “just wanted to be left alone.”  The tormenting of his classmates, perhaps not measuring up to his father, and too intimidated or terrified to ever mention his concerns to anyone…Nathan Barnes took what he considered the path of least resistance. He ended his life.

The Faculty

“Nathan was a good kid, intelligent, hard working,” Louise Gagnon, his science teacher said, echoing the statements of most members of the faculty. “Oh sure, he was a bit less outgoing than some of his classmates, but I thought that a lot of that had to do with his maturity level. We see a lot of that in kids. Then, when they turn 15 or 16, they’re completely different.”

School nurse, Nancy Caruso, told a different story: “Nathan was coming in a lot lately, asking to be dismissed from any physical education activities. He always presented with symptoms that were pretty vague and yet, not the type of thing you wanted to ignore. I asked if he had spoken to his doctor and he said he was going to get around to it.” Becoming somewhat more emotional, Caruso went on. “Dammit, I should have seen this. I should have dug deeper.”

The Follow-Up

Although he appears, in this brief synopsis, to be capable of talking about his son’s death openly and candidly, it should be noted that two years later, Nathan’s father selected the same method of suicide, leaving a note in which he blamed himself for the death of his son.

The Assignment

You are a concerned community leader. You might be a member of the school committee, a police executive, or even a parent with a little clout. You wish to make certain that bullying in your community is eradicated.  You can’t do it alone. This is a team effort. Assume that you have sought and received a one-year grant of $15,000 to examine the problem in your community and to develop a plan to combat it. Here are some questions you are being asked to answer in detail.

 

  • At the very onset of this case, you were given one definition of bullying. How might you modify that definition?

 

  • List the physical, cognitive, emotional, and behavioral signs you might notice related to a bullying victim? To a bully?

 

  • Develop a budget for the allocation of the one-year grant of $15,000. Once that grant is spent, what are your alternatives for future funding?

 

  • Questions concerning the team:
  1. Who belongs on your team?
  2. Why have you selected these team members?
  3. Identify the skills required of your team.
  4. How will the team be drawn together?
  5. How often will the team meet?
  6. How will team members communicate with one another regarding issues that affect the entire team?
  7. Will you serve as team leader or will you appoint another party? On what factors do you base your decision?

 

  • Justify the composition of your team by the skills required to create a workable      anti-bullying plan.

 

  • What are the elements contained in your anti-bullying plan?

 

  • Present an outline of the overall anti-bullying plan that your team will be implementing.

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