Sunday, 15 December 2013

10:57 – I still can’t find the Polarizing filters that I apparently misplaced. The forensic science kits include a set of two in a coin envelope. My inventory says I’m supposed to have 15 sets and 40 individual slides in stock, for a total of 35 sets worth. I don’t doubt they’re around here somewhere. They’ll turn up, no doubt. It’s not like they have a limited shelf life.

So, at any rate, desperate for Polarizing slides to make up forensic science kits, I ordered another 100 slides a week ago today. I kept waiting for them to show up. Finally, this morning, I checked the USPS tracking number on them and learned they’d been delivered Wednesday. Crap. So I checked the pile of stuff in my office, all of which I thought was Saturnalia gifts. Sure enough, there the slides were. Oh, well.


12:31 – I hadn’t read any details about the Colorado school shooting until this morning. I knew that the shooter was an 18-year old male student and that he’d shot one other student, who was in critical condition. As it turns out, that student was a 17-year-old girl named Claire Davis, who is now fighting for her life.

Having any bystander shot this way is tragic, but it bothers me even more when the victim is a girl. What was this punk thinking? Too bad he didn’t shoot himself first.

The anti-gun folks can’t say much about this one. None of their proposed “solutions” would have had any effect whatsoever. The shooter used a legally-purchased shotgun with a standard magazine capacity. Not even the lunatic-fringe anti-gunners would ban such weapons. There’s no way to stop such outrages. Even if every teacher and administrator had been armed, they could not have prevented what happened, short of shooting the kid simply because he was carrying a firearm.

The solution, if there is one, is to change the entire culture of public schooling to reduce stress on students. Shift the standard school day forward by two hours. The school day should start at 9:00 or 9:30 a.m. and run until 4:30 p.m. or thereabouts. Don’t start schoolbus pickups until 8:00 a.m. Teenagers need at least eight and preferably nine hours of sleep. Reduce homework to at most two hours a night. Most homework is simply busy-work anyway. Let these kids get the sleep they need. Eliminate all standardized testing until the SATs in the senior year. Re-introduce tracking systems, and divide kids early into academic and vocational tracks. Consider re-introducing single-sex classrooms. There are a lot of things that could be done to reduce student stress levels. Something needs to be done. Gun control laws aren’t the solution. In fact, they’re part of the problem.