Category Archives: Uncategorized

Homeschooling, Gun Violence, and Left-wing Social Engineering

I just read an article someone placed on Facebook that stated more parents are homeschooling because they are fed up with “left-wing social engineering and violence in public schools.”  Using a quote from the Washington Times the article said, “the top three reasons that parents choose homeschooling are a desire to provide religious instruction or different values than those offered in public schools; dissatisfaction with the academic curriculum, and worries about the school environment.”  I worked as a teacher and administrator in private and public schools, and I can say with confidence that those were the same reasons parents said they chose home school over public school thirty plus years ago.  The only two factors that have changed is the number of school shootings, and what I can only assume is the invention of a left-wing social engineering curriculum.  I say invention since there was no such curriculum – academic or otherwise – taught in the 37 years I was in the profession, and I dare say, there is no such course taught to this day.  There may be some who look at certain course offerings in that light, but that is more a personal ideology issue than a public school issue.  There have always been parents who home-schooled their children and even some parents who home-schooled their children for a short period of time before eventually sending them back to the public school, and they do it today for the same reasons they did thirty years ago.  Parents choosing to home-school does not signify public schools are being abandoned.

Homeschooling is a parental choice that works for some and not so well for others.  To a certain extent, homeschooling does shelter children from outside influences and that is generally the ultimate goal of parents who choose to home school.  The potential for violence in public schools does cause some parents to lean toward homeschooling, and who can blame them?  However, violence not only occurs in schools, but on playgrounds, in low income neighborhoods, in affluent neighborhoods, and in society in general, but overall schools are still one of the safest places for children.  The biggest violence concern today of which schools have little or no control over is the growing probability of gun violence on the school campus. There have been at least thirty school related shootings this year alone, so that is a very viable concern for any parent of school age children – public, private, or home-schooled.

As for left-wing social engineering, anyone making such a statement has spent little if any time in today’s schools, especially schools in the South – and most likely across the nation. Overall, teachers tend to be the most conservative family-oriented people in our society, and that has not changed regardless of fear tactics some people try to push.  There are two major influences on what a child is taught in school – the local and state adopted curriculum and the community in which the school exists.  It is highly doubtful teachings in schools, especially public schools, stray too far outside the parameters of the adopted curriculum or values upheld by the community in which the school exists.

Of course, parents should do what they feel best for their children, and if that is homeschooling, that is what they need do. As for me, I believe in public schools, especially since I have been blessed with three children who received a great education in public schools and I now have eight grandchildren getting an equal or better education in public schools.  No, I am not concerned about left wing social engineering in the public schools my grandchildren attend.  Their schools have professional teachers who follow the adopted curriculum and respect the values of the community in which they teach.  Yes, I am concerned about violence, especially the threat of gun violence.  Unfortunately, these days there are few places immune from such violence including schools, the mall, the streets, the church, and even the home.  In some respect, we are all hostages/victims of this atrocity, and it is ludicrous to think we can wrap our children in a cocoon of safety indefinitely – even in the relative safety of our homes –  until this issue passes or is addressed.  Unfortunately, the gun violence issue will not pass until adults across this nation summon the courage to face it head on even if it means taking an unpopular stand to address the violence.  Until that day arrives, who can blame parents if they decide to home-school to protect their child, but at the same time, blame should not be placed on public schools for this issue.  If blame is to be cast, cast it on a society that allows the slaughter of its children to be looked upon as collateral damage.

Public schools are not without fault, but they are not the reason our society is struggling with its sanity, the loss of civility towards one another, or our self-righteous cherry-picking piousness regarding what is right and wrong. The mess we are in begins behind the doors of conservative and liberal homes where the morals and values of our society are instilled or neglected.  A bigger fault than public schools may lie in the abrasive/abusive gum-flapping and finger pointing that threatens to destroy our country and lately seems to have replaced the values we claim to be so important.  Name calling, finger pointing, labeling, and judging are testaments to the values we hold closest to our hearts, and most likely none of that will change in the foreseeable future.  Neither public schools or homeschooling can shelter our children from such hypocrisy.

Therefore, point fingers at the public schools if you like, sneer at the conservatives if that makes you feel fuzzy and warm about yourself, rant against the liberals if that makes you feel superior, and home-school your children if you believe in scare tactics and left wing conspiracies.  I have nothing against homeschooling, but don’t home-school out of fear and doubt cast by fear-mongers, haters, and conspiracy stalkers – home-school because you, as a parent, believe homeschooling is the best education value for your child.  That is exactly why I sent my children to public school and my children send my grandchildren to public school.

Instead of inventing banners of disenfranchisement such as “left wing social engineering”, why don’t we practice a little common-sense social engineering for a change?  Maybe, if common sense comes back in style, we might actually find a way to improve our schools and resolve the gun violence issue to create a better and safer nation for all children – home-school and public school alike.

JL

©Jack Linton, November 15, 2019

Will Mississippi Teachers Make a Difference in Tomorrow’s Election?

At the close of the Mississippi legislature session this past spring, Lieutenant Governor Tate Reeves showed his true allegiance to K-12 education.  After once again successfully standing in the way of a meaningful public school teacher pay raise, he secretly slipped two million dollars into a non-education bill to support education vouchers for private schools.  Though his lack of support for public education is legendary, why would he risk such a blatant misuse of power during an election year?  It is simple!  He knew there is nothing Mississippi teachers can or will do about it!  Like so many politicians, he looks at teachers as a bunch of little schoolmarms with little serious power or backbone to stand up and be taken seriously.  He believes 20% of teachers might get upset by such a betrayal, another 20% of teachers simply won’t care for whatever reason, and 60% of teachers will be thankful for the crumbs they get and go about business as usual.  So, in his mind, what does he have to fear if he sticks it to public school teachers?

Based on public school teacher voting history, Mr. Reeves knows the odds are in his favor that tomorrow teachers will be among the first in line – if they go to the polls at all – to vote for him as the next governor regardless of how badly he may have treated teachers in the past.  He understands teachers have short memories, are submissive to a fault, and as long as he flies the Republican banner, he has little to fear from a potential power that is basically dormant in the state.  It is sad politicians like him get away with it year after year after year, but in Mississippi it is a fact!

To their credit, there are those teachers who advocate a strike or walkout to get their voices heard, but years ago the Mississippi legislature adopted a “proclamation of servitude” aimed at teachers that effectively squashes any action in that direction beyond words.  However, teachers have a tool that is potentially far greater than the impact of any strike – they have a VOTE!  Teachers have the power to vote politicians like Tate Reeves out of office.  With their vote, teachers have the power to end the disrespect of their profession and the underhanded deals that shortchange public school children and teachers.  It is time teachers stop voting for people because they are from a certain party, they are “good ole boys,” or they know their mamas.  Together teachers have the power to vote out of office Tate Reeves and anyone else who has demonstrated repeatedly their support for public education is only a token nod at election time.

Unfortunately, it is highly unlikely Mississippi teachers will ban together.  Tate Reeves knows that well, and as a result of statewide teacher apathy, once elected governor, he will continue to do unto teachers as he pleases.  Tate Reeves is not a friend of public education or its teachers!  The sad truth is unless educators wake up, the next four and most likely eight years will be little better and probably worse for public school educators.  If Mr. Reeves’ history and past underhanded shenanigans are an indication of his integrity and commitment to public education in Mississippi, Mississippi teachers are in a world of trouble if he becomes the next governor.

It is in their best interests for teachers to stand up for themselves and be heard at the ballot box tomorrow.  Instead of casting a submissive vote based on how the spouse votes or blindly voting party affiliation, teachers should vote as a profession knowing the future of Mississippi and its children are at stake.  If they don’t, there shouldn’t be any future teacher complaints of disrespect, moaning over lost public education funding, or tears over being jilted out of another pay raise.  Instead, teachers should be content to stand aside and watch quietly as more and more of their money and the money of public school children is funneled to private education.  Without a public education infused vote in tomorrow’s election, that is exactly what will happen.   Money intended to support public schools will be funneled to private schools eventually resulting in the dismantling of public education.  The only way for public school education to get its fair share is to hold legislators accountable for their actions towards public education.  The state legislature holds teachers accountable for their actions in the classroom, so it is time teachers held legislators and politicians such as Tate Reeves accountable for their actions regarding public education as well.

The worse thing that could happen to Mississippi in tomorrow’s election is for teachers to have a memory lapse and forget what Mr. Reeves and others like him have done to them rather than for them.  The worse thing that could happen is for teachers not to have the courage to rock the boat and say we are not going to stand for politics as usual anymore.  The worse thing that could happen is for teachers to stay home and not vote!  It is time educators show Mr. Reeves that when it comes to being elected governor in Mississippi there is no such thing as entitlement, especially for someone who has shown so little regard for public school education.

The question is not can Mississippi public school teachers and those who support them make a difference in tomorrow’s election.  The question is WILL THEY?

JL

©Jack Linton, November 4, 2019

The Fountain of Unity: Remembering 911

As we remember the horror of September 11, 2001, it is important to recognize belief in the preeminence of one human being over another remains a threat to our nation.  The difference is today the monster is not only external but internal as well.  We have forgotten how we rallied together as one in the days after the senseless attack on New York City and the Pentagon.  We have forgotten how for a brief moment we stood together as brothers and sisters and defied evil.  No American was superior to another on that day or in the days that followed; all Americans drank from the same fountain of unity.

As we remember and say a prayer for the lives lost on that tragic day, let us not forget to say a prayer for ourselves.  From the ashes of 911, America found itself briefly, but lately, we have lost ourselves again.  To have differences of opinion is common; to debate those differences is healthy; to be unwilling or incapable of working through those differences is foolish and dangerous.  We should not be a nation ruled by hate and mistrust or divided by conservative and liberal ideas, religious beliefs, lifestyle choices, or racial tensions.  As a nation we are united by a Constitution, philosophy, common sense, and decency that says all men and women are created equal and have the right of expression and personal pursuit of happiness.  In America, to believe otherwise is oppression.

The destruction of the Twin Towers in New York City is a reminder of the destructive power of hate and a warped sense of superiority.  It is a reminder that such evil can bring the greatest of nations to its knees.  It is time we drink from the same fountain of unity once again.  It is time we tear the tags, labels, and dialogue of division from the fountain and welcome all to drink – if not for our sake, for the sake of our children and the future of America.

May God bless America and the freedom and shining good she represents for all people.

Jl

©Jack Linton, September 11, 2016

ILLOGICAL vs LOGICAL THINKING

Illogical Thinking:

Guns don’t kill people – people do – therefore, why should a law-abiding citizen’s guns be regulated? That won’t keep guns out of the bad guys hands. AN UNUSED GUN NEVER KILLED ANYONE!

Drugs don’t kill people – people do – therefore, why should a law-abiding citizen’s access to drugs be regulated? That won’t keep drugs out of the bad guys hands. AN UNUSED DRUG NEVER KILLED ANYONE!

Cars don’t kill people – people do – therefore, why should driving be regulated for law-abiding citizens? That won’t keep bad guys off the road. AN UNUSED VEHICLE NEVER KILLED ANYONE!

Sin doesn’t kill or corrupt people – people do – therefore, why should a good person be restrained by the law of God? That won’t keep bad guys/sinners out of the church. SIN BY ITSELF NEVER KILLED ANYONE!

Logical Thinking:

When living in a civilized society, laws/regulations are put into place for the safety and common good of all people:

When people are killed at a train crossing (270 deaths in 2018), we put up crossing arms for the safety and common good of all people to reduce the number of future deaths;

When people die from drug use and addiction (70,200 deaths in 2017), we put into place regulations for the safety and common good of all people to reduce the number of future deaths;

When people die in car accidents (40,000 deaths in 2017), we put into place regulations for the safety and common good of all people to reduce the number of future deaths;

When people die in sin (God only knows this number), we build churches complete with regulations as to how we should live our lives for the common good of all people to reduce the number that are hell bound.

SO . . . .

When 40,000 (39,773 in 2017) people die a year from the use of guns, why don’t we pass gun regulations for the safety and common good of all people to reduce the number of future deaths? Stricter gun regulations may not save everyone, but the ones it saves might be someone you and I know or love.

IS THERE A TRULY LOGICAL REASON FOR NOT PLACING STRICTER REGULATIONS ON ACCESS TO GUNS, OR ARE WE SIMPLY PLAYING BY THE RULES OF THE LOGIC BEHIND ILLOGICAL THINKING?

JL

Advice for a Hot Southern Afternoon

My first advice is to go inside where there is air-conditioning to write.  Like most well-intended advice, that advice was ignored even though it was my own.  However, I am cutting the introduction drastically for two reasons:  even under my porch with two ceiling fans blowing at top speed, it is 97 degrees with a heat index of 105 degrees, and most readers care only about the list and little about an introduction or any other fluff.  Therefore, here is the list.  If you have any questions, you will find me inside with a glass of sweet ice tea enjoying the air-conditioning.

  1. ACCEPT CHANGE: Change is normal – like sh#@, it happens;
  2. BE SELECTIVE AS TO WHAT YOU BELIEVE ON SOCIAL MEDIA: Do not drink the social media Kool-Aid!  Whether it is media, advertisements, or friends on social media, the goal is to influence how you think.  Do not buy into the hype, gossip, and hearsay!  Take social media with a grain of salt and a healthy dose of skepticism;
  3. BE YOURSELF: It is okay to be different – just do it better than anyone else;
  4. DO NOT GIVE LABELS CREDIBILITY: Labels may complicate your life, but they do not make you!  People who label others are usually insecure and use labels to prop up their lack of capacity to understand their fellow man.  If someone labels you less than you are, say “Bless your heart,” and move on to more important people;
  5. DO NOT EMBRACE SOMEONE ELSE’S MONKEY: Do not allow another person to put their monkey on your shoulders.  It is not your job to carry the weight of the world;
  6. DO NOT EMBRACE OPINIONS: Most times it is best to show the opinions of others the door or tell them to go suck a booger;
  7. DO NOT MAKE GOALS AN END: There is nothing wrong with setting the bar too low.  The problem is not resetting it once you arrive;
  8. LIFE IS A RISK, DEAL WITH IT:  There are going to be risks in life, but it can be dangerous to overestimate or over-dramatiz them.  Humankind has a remarkable ability to cope with a discombobulated world, so don’t sell yourself or humankind short!  The world will end in God’s own time – not yours;
  9. LIFE IS NOT ABOUT YOUR BEST INTERESTS: Other than your mother, few people have your best interest at heart unless it aligns with theirs.  Put on your big girl panties and deal with it;
  10. PROMOTIONS ARE ON YOU: People get promoted for going beyond their pay scale, or they know the right somebody.  Accept it as a fact of life.  You should not expect a raise for doing the job you were hired to do.  Expect a raise when you go beyond the job description and make it more than your employer thought it to be;
  11. RUDENESS IS RUDE: There are many things in this world we cannot control.  Rudeness is not one of them!
  12. RUN FROM NEGATIVE THOUGHTS: Negative thoughts are like weeds in a garden – they suck the beauty from your life;
  13. TAKE CONTROL OF YOUR WORRY: In life there are things you cannot control, things you can influence, and things you can control.  The key to success and peace of mind is to focus on what you can control and not worry about what you can’t control.  As for influence, it depends solely on your focus;
  14. THEY ARE NOT OUT TO GET YOU: It is not always a personal vendetta or conspiracy against you when you don’t get picked for the team, you don’t receive the recognition you believe you deserve, or you get snubbed for a promotion.  Face it, sometimes you are not good enough!  Although it may be a bitter pill to swallow, sometimes you simply do not have the needed skill set, so do something to improve yourself, or find what you are good at and focus on it rather than wallowing in self-pity and/or negativity;
  15. THINK HARD ABOUT THIS: Sometimes responsibility trumps rights;
  16. YOU ARE NOT HERE TO FIX THE WORLD: Some problems are not yours to fix, so move on;
  17. YOU SHOULD STAY OUT OF THE SUN: God does have your best interests in mind.  That is why he made shade and iced sweet tea for a hot humid Southern afternoon.

JL

©Jack Linton, July 8, 2019

Is Your Think Tank Empty?

There are times when under breath or maybe even at full throttle just about everybody uses what my mama called “dirty words,” but over the past several years uninhibited profanity in movies, television, social media, and in day to day conversation has become an accepted norm in our society. Today, the crude, true blue, body part slinging, locker room, defecating grudge that would make an old-time sailor cringe is used by old and young alike. It has become a badge of coolness and honor to dot every sentence with a few expletives. Unrestrained gutter mouth is the cool of the 21st century, and if you have a problem with it, folks who take pride in their four letter vocabulary will blast you with every foul, dirty, nasty, disgusting name they can THINK to call you. AND, therein lies the problem – THINKING! THEIR THINK TANK IS EMPTY!

Go ahead and curse if that is how you must express yourself. I wouldn’t say it necessarily makes you a bad person, but if you are capable of a higher level of expression, I will say it makes you a lazy person. When they get mad or want to be cool, chickens cluck, bears growl, dogs bark, frogs croak, and snakes hiss because they lack the capacity to express themselves any other way. So I must assume since we are all God’s creation, people who indulge religiously in a foul-mouth, repulsively self-serving, toxic manner lack the capacity to express themselves any other way as well. They succumb to their basic animal instincts because their capacity to function at a higher level is compromised. THEIR THINK TANK IS EMPTY, and “wordy durds” are all they have bumping around between their ears!

You can call me a gosh dog-it hummerdiddle if you like, but that is how I see it.

JL

The Reality is Pit Bulls are Dangerous

Recently, there was another vicious attack by a Pit Bull that sent a man to the hospital where he underwent surgery to repair the damage.  I do not have all the facts of the attack, but regardless, this is yet another incident of a Pit Bull turning on an adult or child and causing serious injury or death.  The difference is this time the victim was someone I know, and that hits too close to home for comfort.  Such attacks are all too common in the United States, but when the cry goes up against Pit Bulls and the danger they represent, supporters of these animals jump to their defense claiming the fault lies with the person who was attacked and not with the dog.  The American Pit Bull Foundation claims Pit Bull attacks are the result of human neglect or abuse, and when treated kindly and respectfully, Pit Bulls are no more dangerous or prone to maul or kill than any other breed of dog.  They say responsible dog ownership is the key to reducing vicious attacks by any dog.  I agree responsible dog ownership is important, but between 2005 and 2017, Pit Bulls accounted for over 70% of all dog attacks resulting in a human fatality; therefore, it is time common sense prevailed and something was done to protect people from these animals.

There is no question there are dog owners who neglect and abuse their dog causing the animal to lash out, but there are times when Pit Bulls turn on people who were basically in the wrong place at the wrong time.  Animal abusers should be punished severely, and maybe they are getting their just reward when the animal turns on them, but what about children and innocent people who have done nothing intentional to provoke the dog when it attacks?  Is a child getting his just reward when he playfully pulls on a Pit Bull’s ear or plays with the dog too roughly and the dog attacks?  Does a child who accidentally steps on a Pit Bull’s foot and causes the dog pain deserve to be mauled and have his face ripped off?  Does a mail carrier or meter reader doing his job deserve to be hospitalized with life threatening injuries because he unknowingly ventured into a Pit Bull’s territory?  I think not even though proponents for these dogs will never concede the dog was not provoked and the human was not at fault.

I agree humans (adults and children) sometimes do foolish and stupid things.  That is why society has created safety laws/regulations that require people to wear seat belts, warning labels are placed on lawn mowers warning users not to insert a hand or foot in the discharge shoot, and regulations are passed into law that require motorists to stop at railway crossings.  These laws/regulations are there for a purpose – to keep people safe.  People are human; they make mistakes – they drive too fast, they clean clogged grass from lawnmowers with the engine running, and they get in a hurry and race trains to the crossing.  By nature, they are careless, neglectful, and at times down right stupid.  That is why there are rules, regulations, and guidelines, to keep people safe from themselves as well as others.  Therefore, it is reasonable to assume human beings may indeed sometimes be guilty of lack of care and common sense when handling Pit Bulls or other animals, but isn’t it equally reasonable to assume there should be laws to protect people from potentially dangerous animals that pose a threat to human well-being?  When it comes to Pit Bulls, where are the regulations to keep these aggressively bred animals away from innocent children and unsuspecting adults?  Why do we allow people to be maimed or killed with regularity by an animal that is descended from the English bull-baiting dog that was bred to use its powerful jaws to bite and hold bulls and bears around the face and head?

Aggression is in the DNA of the Pit Bull!  The animal was bred to fight and kill; it was not bred as a lap dog or companion dog.  Strict regulations are needed for an animal, that to this day, can turn aggressive at the drop of a hat and instinctively clamp it jaws around the face of a child or adult and literally shake and rip skin into shreds while crushing bones.  Regulation of such killing machines to keep people alive and well is not over-bearing government; it is common sense.

Some will say I am being overly dramatic, and I am giving Pit Bulls a bad rap.  They will say the Pit Bull is a great, friendly, loving family pet, and to some extent, they may be right – until the animal turns on a member of the family or a neighbor.   It should be common sense that such animals have no business sharing space with people, especially children, but unfortunately too many people do not think that way.  They think of their Pit Bull as a valued friend, a personal bodyguard, and a member of the family that would never hurt anyone; however, let’s look at the facts:

  1. The April 2011 issue of Annals of Surgery warned children with a Pit Bull in the home are at the highest risk of injury or fatality. The report recommended “these breeds (Pit Bulls) should be regulated in the same way in which other dangerous species, such as leopards, are regulated;”
  2. Unlike most dogs, Pit Bulls may not give a warning such as growling before attacking. Also, unlike most dogs, they are not likely to back down once engaged in an attack.  They are bred to kill or fight to the death;
  3. The United States Army acknowledges Pit Bulls are high-risk dogs, and prohibit these dogs in many military housing units;
  4. Pit Bulls consistently rank at the top of fatal dog attack lists. Pit Bulls make up 6% of the dog population, but they are responsible for 68% of all dog attacks and 71% of dog-related deaths.  The viciousness of this animal can be seen in the following breakdown – Human Fatalities by Dog Breed:  2005 – 2017:
    1. Pit Bull                                       284
    2. Rottweiler                                  45
    3. German Shepherd                    20
    4. Mixed Breed                              17
    5. American Bulldog                    15
    6. Mastiff/Bull-mastiff                 14
    7. Husky                                            3
  5. From 2005 to 2017, Pit Bulls killed one American every 16.7 days while Rottweilers were second killing one American every 105 days; and
  6. 50 countries regulate Pit Bulls as a dangerous dog breed. In 39 of those countries, the regulation is a national-level law.

Although Pit Bulls are beautiful animals that appear loving and social, the evidence supports they are a dangerous threat to human limb and life, especially young children.  Denying this reality will not make these dogs any less dangerous or threatening.  There are those who will continue to argue the problem is with people, not Pit Bulls, and though there is truth to their argument, that truth does not negate the facts that these animals are a potential lethal risk to children, neighbors, and anyone who comes into contact with them – even owners.  Therefore, is the ever-present possibility of a Pit Bull in the home mauling or killing a loved one worth the risk of ownership?  For a reasonable and prudent individual, I would think the answer would be NO, but sensibility is a human trait that often defies all logic.  However, regardless of the school of thought a person may embrace, the reality is Pit Bulls are dangerous, and ownership should be strictly regulated or maybe even denied completely.

JL

©Jack Linton, March 19, 2019