Posted in Parenting, Uncategorized

Can We prevent Mass Shootings?

 

Hello everyone. I hope all is well with you. I’m back today talking about mass shootings. Just the other day, I saw a video on social media demonstrating a product that will lock doors during a shooting.  It’s called the Barracuda Intruder Defense System. Here’s a video demonstrating how it works.

Barracuda Intruder Defense System

It’s depressing that we even have to have this type of product on the market, but we need it. Mass shootings are on the rise. Most shootings happen in schools or businesses where people feel safe.  On February 20th of this year there was a mass shooting in Kalamazoo, Michigan. A lone gunman stalked random victims, killing six of them.

How do we stop these shootings?

No one has the answer to that question. They do know many of these acts are committed by young men who are mentally ill and have access to guns. Unfortunately, such broad traits do little to help determine who will actually attack.  In fact, most mentally ill people are usually the victims of violence as opposed to the perpetrators.

Photo credit: mjustinecorea via Visualhunt / CC BY

What are some common factors of these shooters?

That’s a good question. They are usually socially awkward, feel alone, and have access to guns. Many of them have been bullied, harassed, and ignored. It’s my opinion, bullying is the underlying cause of many mass shootings.

Most shooters have suffered some kind of loss such as a break up or the loss of a job. This loss puts a strain on an individual who’s already vulnerable. The majority of mass shooters don’t have a support system and when tragedy strikes they have no one to turn to.

What can we do?

Many people believe stricter gun control is the answer, and I tend to agree. When you get right down to it, no one needs an assault rifle. They shouldn’t be easy to get, but they are. You can buy them online.

Photo credit: GovWin a Deltek Network via Visual hunt / CC BY

I also believe communities should pull together and school administrators and teachers need to be aware of some of the traits that all mass shooters exhibit. Below is a list of the traits and the mental process a shooter goes through before he takes action.  For more information click on this article.

 

https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/spycatcher/201506/identifying-the-next-mass-murderer-it-s-too-late

 

Narcissistic Traits: They believe themselves to be special, they have the right to do and say as they wish. The right to act out, feeling omnipotent in their beliefs. They feel they alone have wisdom and therefore their solution is the correct one.

Paranoid Ideation: All of these individuals have an irrational fear of something. They call it hate, but its fear. Ted Kaczynski feared technology. Timothy McVey feared the militarization of the police.

Passionate Hatred: Paranoia, the irrational fear of something fuels a passionate hatred. The kind that drives these individuals to take action. It’s palpable. People can see it in the comments they make, in the way the dress, and tattooed on their bodies.

Wound Collectors:

These people are individuals that collect social or historical slights, procedural wrongs, and injustices real or wrong. They nurse these wounds and use them to fuel their hatred.

Communication:

Communication almost always happens before action. The wound collectors tell others of the slights they’ve received and it escalates from there.

Violence as Magic:

Violence becomes the magical solution as the wound collector keeps track of all the slights he’s received.  It’s at this point that the individual rejects any other form of dealing with his wounds and starts gathering weapons and devising plans.

Isolation:

Before the violence takes place the individual with self-isolate to ensure he’s not listening to outside forces that would derail his plan.

The Lethal Cocktail:

So there you have it. The combination of narcissistic traits, paranoia that fuels hatred, and wound collecting is a volatile combination, a ticking time bomb. The only problem is where and when are they going to strike?

 

Thanks for reading my post today. I’d love to here if you have any ideas how we can stop these individuals before there is a loss of life. Leave a comment! I’d love to hear from you!

 

 

 

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Posted in Teen

How can you stop a Bully?

Hello everyone, I hope all is well with you! A fellow blogger asked me to discuss a topic that’s near and dear to everyone’s heart, and since October is National Bullying Prevention month, I thought why not? So, you guessed it the topic for this post is Bullying.

Did you know one of the underlying causes of violence in our schools and teen suicide is bullying? In fact, suicide is the third leading cause of death for teenagers between the ages of fifteen to twenty four. To me, this is heartbreaking news, especially since bullying is easily preventable.

What is bullying?

According to Wikipedia, bullying is a form of aggressive behavior manifested by the use of force or coercion to affect others, particularly when the behavior is habitual and involves an imbalance of power.

Bullying consists of three basic types of abuse emotional, verbal, and physical. It usually starts out as verbal abuse, and if it has not stopped in time, it escalates to physical abuse.

Who are the bullies?

Again, according to Wikipedia, research indicates that people with a strong need to control or dominate tend to be bullies. Further studies indicate that envy and resentment may be motives for bullying.

While some bullies are arrogant and narcissistic, others use bullying as a tool to conceal shame or anxiety. By demeaning others, they feel empowered by their dominance.

Who are the victims?

People who react to stressful situations by perceiving themselves as victims tend to be the best targets for bullying. These people give the response the bully is looking for, submission. However, if the target responds with a clear attitude of self-confidence that somehow demonstrates that the bully’s attempt at control is futile, then the bullying will quickly diminish or end all together.

There is another factor to bullying that is intriguing. Despite the large number of individuals who do not agree with the bully’s tactics, very few will intervene on behalf of the victim.

In 85% of bullying incidents, bystanders are involved in teasing the victim or egging on the bully. This gives the bully permission to continue behaving badly and may actually increase the behavior.

The reason the bystanders behave this way is that they want to avoid becoming a victim themselves.

Sadly, all it would take is one or two people standing up for the victim to stop the bullying behavior.

What can a victim do?

I found some excellent advice from the link below.

http://library.thinkquest.org/07aug/00117/victimscando.html

They stress the HA HA SO method:

H  Ask for help from friends, teachers, parents, or other adults.

A  Assert yourself. The best way to do this is by using I statements.  For example:  “I feel _____ when you _______.”

H  Humor. The bully wants to upset you, so instead of getting mad use humor to diffuse the situation. Be ready with a joke.

A  Avoid. Stay away from the bully as much as possible

Self talk.  If you are being bullied, think of good things about yourself even if the bully is picking on you.

O  Own it. Sometimes what the bully says might be true, so you can own the comment.  For example, if a bully is making fun of you because you wear glasses you can say “All the better to see you with.”  You can’t deny you wear glasses, but you don’t have to be ashamed of it either.

Of course, these techniques might not work all the time, nothing is foolproof, but to learn more go to:

http://library.thinkquest.org/07aug/00117/victimscando.html

I hope this information was helpful to you! If you have any suggestions or tips to share, please post them in a comment. I’d love to hear from you!

Posted in Teen

Why Don’t Schools have Relationship Classes?

Hello Everyone! I hope all is well with you today! I’m back after being extremely ill for the last week.  Boo! My whole family had this cold/flu bug that’s been going around, but we’re on the mend this week. Well…enough about that. Today I wanted to talk about teen relationships.

During the teen years there are a lot of firsts. First feelings…first dances…first kisses…etc.  Since this is a period of a lot of first times, there are many new emotions that teens haven’t felt before and therefore are inexperienced in handling.

Because of that inexperience some teens may use controlling or manipulative behavior to try and avoid the painful feelings of rejection.  This is unfortunate but true. This kind of behavior can take teens down a destructive path both for the controller and the teen that’s the object of control.

Now, keep in mind the person who’s attempting to control the situation is not trying to be manipulative in any way…they are trying to avoid the pain of rejection. However, his/her controlling behavior does have a detrimental effect. If the teen who doesn’t want to be in the relationship can’t break out of that controller’s grip, he/she’s in a relationship that is no longer working for them. This is where, in my humble opinion, the relationship becomes unhealthy and could even become abusive.

Unfortunately, I see this in many young adult relationships and as a result there’s decreased self-esteem for both parties involved. So what is the answer? I have one…but you knew that didn’t you? 🙂

I think all teens should have to take “Relationship Classes” or “Relationship Workshops.” That’s right; in my opinion these classes should be a requirement of the school curriculum…just like sex education. 🙂

In these classes we can teach teens what an unhealthy relationship is. We can show them what negative behaviors should not be tolerated.  I feel this is important for our kids. These classes will help them maintain healthy self-esteem; and what better place to learn about relationships than in school next to their peers. 🙂 The same peers they are having relationships with.

We can give them tools to cope with unhealthy situations. One that comes to mind is what can a young girl do when she wants to end a relationship with a young man and he threatens suicide? Or the other way around? These situations have spun out of control and are too much for any teen to handle. An adult has to be involved…but how many teens talk to their parents at this stage of the game? Very few.  I say let’s give them the tools they need, so  they can recognize these unhealthy situations. We could even take it a step further and teach them healthy communication skills. They will be better adults in the long run.

Thanks for stopping by and reading my post. As always, I’m sharing my personal opinion and would love to hear some of your ideas! Please leave a comment; I’d love to hear from you!

Posted in Uncategorized

Could e-books be the Solution to our Growing Literacy Problems?

Hello Everyone, I hope all is well with you today! I’m back with another topic that’s near and dear to my heart and that is the literacy problems that we have in the US today.

According to an article in USA Today a federal study has found that an estimated thirty two million adults are saddled with such low literacy skills that it would be tough for them to read anything more challenging than a children’s picture book or to understand a medication’s side effects listed on a pill bottle.  For more information from this article click here: http://usatoday30.usatoday.com/news/education/2009-01-08-adult-literacy_N.htm

I find this alarming, don’t you?  The statistics for our youth are just as bad. According to RIF.org http://www.rif.org/us/about/literacy-issues.htm  nearly forty percent of US fourth graders do not achieve basic levels of reading proficiency. The number is higher among low income families, certain minority groups, and English language learners.

So, how can we turn this around?  That is a very good question and as I ponder it the memory of a conversation with my second grader comes to mind. We were getting ready to do his reading homework and he was grumbling that he really didn’t want to do it.  Feeling frustrated, I started to argue with him and then I stopped and asked him, “Why don’t you want to read tonight?”

He looked at me and said, “Because these books are boring.”

“Well…did you tell your teacher that?”

He shook his head. “No…she would get upset.”

I just stumbled upon part of the problem. Some of these books that schools are requiring students to read just don’t interest them. And with no interest in the subject reading becomes a “pain” to do and the young student’s motivation turns to dread. With all the millions of books in the world I’m sure we could find topics that would be interesting to our young readers.  Why can’t we offer them choices? I feel that offering our little chickadees a choice and letting them pick a topic they like would be a step in the right direction. It would solve the motivation issues that seem to be a problem with our reluctant readers.

As I pondered this I thought, what if all of the students were given e-readers? Look at all the books available today that are in e-book format. I’m sure we could find something to please even the pickiest reader. I know what you’re thinking…that’s kind of unrealistic.  Or is it?

When you think about it…look at the cost of a paperback versus the cost of an e-book. I mean educators will be making up the difference in cost relatively quickly.

And while we’re at it…why don’t we put text books in e-book format? Can you imagine the savings for educators in that arena? With our educators trying to cut costs I think that e-readers represent a viable solution.

Did you know that Scholastic has an e-reader right now? It’s called Storia and parents can get most of the books available from Scholastic in e-book format.

I see E-books as the wave of the future and if our schools hop on board maybe we can turn this literacy problem around. Kids could literally carry a library around with them. What do you think? Leave a comment! I’d love to hear from you! 🙂

I’d like to thank USA Today and RIF.org for some of the information in this post. 🙂