It hurts my head every time I am forced to be conscious of the fact that Dubya was *president*! It's like a hammer hitting me on the head to remind me we don't live in a meritocracy. If Bush can succeed, one can only conclude that we live in a mediocracy.
The school doesn't seem to understand the concept of zero. (I sympathize; I didn't believe in negative numbers until 4th grade!)
They invoked the zero-tolerance policy, but they admit this wasn't the first one. The district spokesman said, "Price 'has been warning the students for some weeks'...". And then said that Nathan's "was the first incident after Price gave 'her final notice last week.'"
So, OK, everyone's been doing it for weeks and they get warning after warning, none of which stick. Then the principal says, "OK, last warning." And then a 10-year-old doesn't believe them. Shocking!
This is quite the example of bad parenting. First, demonstrate that your warnings don't mean anything. Then when you secretly reach your breaking point, over-react!
Seriously, let's just take a face value that this (fake gun pointing) is something the faculty had been trying to stop, and had asked repeatedly that the kids stop doing it. (Ignoring the obvious possibility that story is just a cover story to make the actions seem less idiotic.)
So, the fact that the kid did it again does merit some kind of consequence. How about any of these?
- Write an essay on why the student thinks the teachers care about this so much.
- Write an essay on why fake gun play is disconcerting given the way guns are portrayed in the news and popular culture.
- Do some time doing make-work (cleaning up the playground, cleaning the classroom, washing dishes).
- Sit down with the teacher and parent and discuss what happened and why they don't like it.
- Do extra homework.
- Write sentences, "I will not make others think bullets can come out of my fingers. I will not make others ..."
When I was a new dad, I learned this phrase from all kinds of educators: "age appropriate". The punishment should fit the action, and be age appropriate. Any school employee who can't apply that to this situation is no educator, just a bureaucrat. We want educators leading our schools, not bureaucrats!
I think consumers need their own TOP, "Terms of Purchase". A contract that spells out what we expect, and what businesses need to do if they want to go beyond. Of course, no one consumer could get anyone to agree to such a thing.
A large-enough group of consumers could band together, though, and threaten a boycott of any business that won't agree to the terms. If we can find at least one that will, things could change.
Of course, that "large-enough group of consumers" should actually be represented by *our* government, but as we know the government conceives of itself in an adversarial position with respect to citizens, not as our *representatives*.
Corporations have the power imbalance: "agree to our (onerous) terms of service" or you get nothing. Consumers should be able to balance that power: "agree to our (hopefully not onerous) terms of purchase" or you get no sales.
Oh, forgot to say, your second statement is wrong. Legitimate surveillance on a legitimate target may not have value now, but could have value in the future. Example: you find a target talking to what seems like a wrong number. Later turns out that wrong number was another key suspect. *If* you have a legitimate surveillance interest, then storing the data makes a lot of sense.
But that's the problem with dragnet surveillance, too. Things that seem innocuous now can be "reinterpreted" later when those in power change their opinions. (Think McCarthyism.)
Wanted to mark this comment insightful for the first comment. I think that is the crux of the argument on many fronts. Of course, there are lots of things that are OK if we trust the people doing them to behave. Lots of our constitution (i.e. the bill of rights) exist in order to protect against times when people won't behave, and most of our laws serve to protect us against people who don't behave.
So to argue all this surveillance is ok because "trust us" misses the point. It's not ok because it can be used to "target, threaten, attack" etc. Perhaps not now, but later. That's the problem with dragnet surveillance.
You have to imagine what happens if really bad (or just really greedy, or even just really lame) people get into power.
I live in Pittsburgh. I fired a contractor once. He still had tools at my house, and showed up at my door at 6am banging, swearing, and threatening to break in if I didn't let him in to get his stuff. I called the cops. I began video taping everything just in case the contractor accidentally or intentionally damaged anything. When the cops saw the camera, they said they wouldn't speak to me if I kept recording. It irks me to this day. They wouldn't even say why they objected.
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