Thursday, December 27, 2012

Brain Dead Kids? Is the computer ruining our children?

In August 2011, I wrote(View Article) about the lack of imagination that our children seem to have these days.  I listed the internet and video games as a likely cause.  Now, "The Mail" has published their own article.

If you have a 10 year old boy and he has never held a hammer, a piece of wood, and nails in his hands and tried to build something, shame on you as a parent.  You cannot let the sterile inside of a house or computer screen drive your child's imagination.  They must have alone time outdoors, away from you and your spouse.  

If you have a 10 year old daughter who has not done the same as a 10 year old boy, shame on you. Even though few girls take up any kind of building, it is about imagination and creativity.  

Let kids be kids.  This is why I stand so strongly against 3K and preK education.  Once the kids enter the walls of the education establishment, they are in it for the next 13 to 20 years.  In the education system they will deal with structured learning and creativity.  Yes, even the creativity is structured as it is graded and fawned over. 

Yet, if allowed to discover on their own, and allowed to be kids without overly strict guidelines, they garner experiences that no school will ever teach them. They see things through the eyes of the innocent.  This is where they develop curiosity and the desire to learn. 

Don't get me wrong.  The internet is the best thing to come along since sliced bread.  But, it must be used for what it was designed as, a tool, not a replacement for learning, common sense, and hands on experiences. 

Even today, we see parents with their heads stuck in the Ipad, Iphone, or laptop.  I am as guilty as anyone in this sense, and am trying to spend less time online.  

Your thoughts...........

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Laredo Town Center Alive and Well

Looks like the Laredo Town Center is coming back to life.  For those that do not remember, there was a huge fight between the Rio Grande International Study Center and the owners of the Laredo Town Center (LTC) over the "wetland" area just south of the big hill of dirt.  The US Corp. or Engineers has apparently ruled.  I am assuming since the LTC is back on the books that the US COE ruling went the way of the developers.

What new tactics, if any,  will the RGISC employ now to keep the project from moving forward?

DECEMBER 27, 2012
12:15 P.M.

2. Ordinance approving the sale of a tract of land containing 88.6913 acres,
more or less, legally described as Lot Numbers One (1), Two (2), and Three
(3), in Block Number Two (2), Laredo International Airport Passenger
Terminal Subdivision, as per Plat recorded in Volume 16, pages 45-47, Webb
County Plat Records and authorizing the City Manager to execute all
conveyance documents to Laredo Town Center, L.P., in the amount of
$15,865,000.00 and providing for effective date.

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Quit Scaring the Kids

People should be ashamed of themselves for taking this horrible tragedy in Newtown Ct. and using it to scare little kids.

Why did so many school districts in the United States rush to practice their security drills immediately after the shooting?  What real purpose did is serve except to scare the kids?

Explain to me how scaring elementary school age kids is going to make them safer?  I remember as a kid in third or fourth grade having to get under my desk in school, or "duck and cover" while on the playground in a exercise that was supposed to prevent us from being vaporized if a nuclear bomb were to go off in the neighborhood.  Even as kids, we knew these drills were futile, the TV people told us so.  So, we went to bed at night dreaming about being vaporized.

Would we have dreamed about it anyway?  Maybe, as it was all over the news.  But the schools were the only real re-enforcement that such an incident was possible.  If you are a kid, you do not understand probability, or risk analysis, you only understand what adults tell you.  And if you are told to practice something, you, as a kid, assume that practice is for an upcoming event.  This is not to mean I am against practicing emergency drills, but let's be careful about how we explain them to the kids.

I would like to see a quick poll of how many elementary kids think they are in danger of being shot and killed while at school.  Unfortunately, I would bet that number is extraordinarily high while the chances that a kid would be shot at school are microscopically slight.

I know people say "We must do anything to protect the children, there is no limit."  Well friends it is time for the adults in the room to stand up and say, yes, there are limits and we need to analyze and understand our actions and what the unintended consequences are before we implement something.

Tom, how can you say we do not do everything we can to prevent children from being killed?  I will give you a couple of examples and you can go from there:

1.  Cars, we allow kids to ride in cars traveling 75 mph in Texas.  Many parents drive much faster than that, even with speed being the number one cause of traffic accidents.  Parents still run red lights with their kids in the car.  Parents drive with kids in the car after having a drink or two.  A quick, kneejerk fix:  at a national level, we could reduce the speed limit to 20 mph.  At that speed traffic deaths would be minimal, if there were any at all.  Hello, I am talking about saving lives here.  In 2009 there were 1,314 kids under 14 killed in automobile accidents, and over 179,000 injured.  Where is the outrage?  Lower the speed limit to 20 mph?  Save the kids.

2.  Swimming pools.  Swimming is one of the top killers of children.  Yet, fly over Laredo and look at the swimming pools.

Both of the above are examples of risk.  Both have bad consequences if abused foolishly.  Yet both are legal and are practiced with the understanding that children will die in accidents that could be prevented if very strict laws and bans were put in place.

So, after all this, my point is, do we put our children in school prisons, with metal detectors, razor wire, steel doors with no windows, playgrounds surrounded by 20 foot high walls with armed security guards manning towers?  Or do we learn to understand risk and make adjustments to our security without scaring our kids?

What say you?

Bans and Laws That Work

Here is a comprehensive list of banned items that criminals use or produce that are no longer used or produced by criminals:

and so on......

Here is a list of criminal actions that are against the law and are never violated:

and so on......

Oh well.................

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Betty Flores to Run For A County Seat (Treasurer????)

I just saw on Facebook where it looks like former Laredo mayor Betty Flores may run for a county office.

My sources think it will be for the Treasurers seat.

Update on Gun Issues

I do not support President Obama on many issues of the day.  However, and we will see how it progresses  I do support his call for a group to really study the causes of  mass murders.

I am ready for the adult dialogue on this issue, which would review gun usage  mental heath issues, the impacts of specific actions a mass murderer may  perform or encounter on a regular basis.

Mass murder really boils down to a type of mindset that must be identified and then remove the ability of the mass murder to commit these acts.

Hopefully, politics will not lead the investigation.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Assault Weapons Ban - Will it matter?

A friend I taught to shoot.
Unless you have been off the planet for the last few days, you are most likely aware of the horrific mass shooting that took place in Newtown Ct.

This mass shooting, as they all do, re-opened the questions about banning certain types of firearms and accessories.  However, this time, the timing is a little different.  We have a newly re-elected President Obama, who has in the past supported banning certain types of firearms, and we have a lame-duck congress with a lot of members not returning as they were defeated in the last election.  Plus the fact that the majority of the victims in this case were 5 and 6 year old kids, makes the climate in Washington and the country different than it has been in the past.  But, this fact remain the same.  Banning the "assault rifle" will have no real effect on mass murders.

I really will not put a lot of data on this initial post, as I will respond to each comment I get with facts and my opinions.  The only data I will list on the top page is this:

Newtown, Ct shooting 12-14-2012:  Shooter used a Bushmaster rifle as the primary weapon, killed 26.

Binghamton, Ny shooting 4-3-2009:  Shooter used pistol as his only weapon, 13 killed, 4 wounded.

Ft. Hood, Tx. shooting 11-5-2009:  Shooter used FN Five Seven pistol, 13 killed, 29 wounded.

Killeen, Tx shooting 10-16-1991:  Shooter used Glock 17 and Ruger P89 pistols, 23 killed and 20 wounded.

Of course I did not list all the mass murders, and I was selective in picking those murders committed with only handguns.  The point is, the rifles have done no more killing in mass murders than handguns at any single event.  The assault weapon ban, in my opinion, will do nothing to reduce mass murder.

PS, more people are killed in the United States each year by clubs, hands/feet, knives, and shotguns, than are killed by rifles.  Facts are pesky are they not?

Now, please comment here, and let's start the discussion.  Please be civil.

I have been out for a while.

I am back to updating the blog now.  I hope to start reporting more often.  The gun control debate has brought me back.

Thanks for viewing.