Gun Control Advocate: “We need more/better gun laws to eliminate gun violence.”
Gun Rights Advocate: “Gun laws do not decrease gun violence because criminals do not follow the law.”
Gun Control Advocate: “So we should just get rid of all laws because they fail to stop all crime?”
And that’s where this little exchange usually ends. The gun right’s advocate typically stutters through some non-sequitur argument that doesn’t at all address the apparent “gotcha” from the now smug gun control advocate. Sadly courses on logic are no longer taught in our schools, because if they were, we would easily spot logical fallacies such as this one. This is an example of a false analogy or comparison, that is, assuming two things are equivalent and inferring they must share the same properties. Not all laws are the same.
Laws against violations of person or property (murder, rape, theft, etc.) are primary laws. Their sole function is punitive. They prescribe the consequences for violation of the law. If the consequences are severe enough there may be a small preventive tendency but overall people breaking these laws really aren’t concerned with the fact that somewhere there are words on a piece of paper saying they shouldn’t do such and such. In short, these laws can only affect criminals (i.e. those who broke the law).
Every year, I write a column summarizing the past school year. This year (like our last) our superintendent made a point to visit classrooms of all our schools with as many board members that could attend.
What I saw impressed me. I saw parents giving up their time to revamp children’s gardens. I saw eager, engaged children using SmartBoards just as well as their teachers. I saw our best teachers working in Early Intervention programs, catching-up kids in small, inclusive environments. Reading was mixed with everything, including math and science. Manipulatives (physical models) were everywhere, making sense of math in a way that explains the “why” of the many equations we ask our kids to solve. I saw kids creating their own math problems, as teachers cleverly engage them to make learning more fun. I saw kids in every school taking tests on computers, making standardized tests much less painful than those idiotic bubbles.
I saw newly designed door stops that keep our children safe. To change locks would have cost about $400 a door. Instead, administrators spent an entire weekend sewing patterns that does the job just as well. (I know this sounds odd. Trust me, it works.) I saw incredible use of technology, using personal devices (like iPads) to do classroom work. I saw teachers using freeware and their own personal websites to assign homework. No more “the dog ate my homework” excuses for this generation. Teachers can see exactly how much time students spent on their lessons. I saw technology that allowed teachers to focus on each individual’s needs. Differentiation – the teaching of different levels to different kids within the same classroom – is a viable reality via the use of expanding technology.
So many new plants, so little time: Try something new this summer • Stephanie Hudak, gardening columnistSubmitted by editor on Thu, 05/09/2013 - 18:45.
There are so many yummy looking plants with “delicious” names available this year that it was hard to decide which ones to use in the city containers this summer. I like to bring back some of the tried-and-true winners so I can be assured of something thriving in the pots, but it wouldn’t be any fun for me or you if I didn’t bring in plants that are new and exciting.
This plant isn’t technically new since I used this it several years ago, but it is always draws attention. Centaurea ‘Colchester White’ has striking silvery gray foliage and puts out a lavender, thistle-like bloom in summer. It makes a great center plant for a container, growing from 1 to 3 feet tall. You’re going to have to ask your independent nursery to order it for next year because it is not readily available – but it should be. Where did I get the three I’m using in the containers? I had to beg my wholesale supplier to save them for me since he only had a small crop. Not sure, but I think I may have even promised him my first born child.
Oh, the array of coleus is awesome this year. I’m a bit of a coleus snob – you gotta be grand to impress me anymore and some managed to do just that. How about Coleus ‘Chocolate Covered Cherry’ – Doesn’t just the name make you want to buy it? This is a shade coleus with a large, bright red center, banded with a dark chocolate brown and then edged with lime green. The ‘Under the Sea’ collection of coleus is back this year but with a couple new varieties. All of them have catchy, fish-related names and leaf margins that remind you of fish fins or anemone arms. My favorites are ‘Bone Fish’ – bright fuchsia center with chartreuse margins; ‘King Crab’ – huge red leaves that resemble pinchers; ‘Gold Anemone’ – bright green center with deep purple margins.
God has been getting some bad PR in the last week or so.
One man, Kevin Wilson, was so angry after being refused an audience with his pastor that he drove his Kia Spectra through the entrance of the Central Christian Church of Henderson, Nev.
And yes, in case you were wondering, that’s close to Vegas.
But Alexandra Barnes takes the cake.
While pumping gas into her car in Daytona Beach, Fla., Barnes must have decided that her Scion needed a wash, so she hosed down the vehicle – with gas – and ran inside the convenience store to find a lighter.
Craig Walker, who was working at the time of the incident, attempted to wrest a lighter from Barnes’ hands but was unsuccessful and Barnes returned to her car, setting it ablaze.
Another employee managed to shut off the emergency valve before further damage could be caused by the fire, which looked like “15 different barbecues going on, huge into the sky,” according to Fred Kelly, witness, who spoke to WPDO.com about the incident.
After beholding what she hath done and deeming it to be good, Barnes walked out into the middle of the road, sat down, and began muttering that she was God, according to Daytona Beach police officer Jimmy Flint.
I seem to remember one of Foxworthy’s jokes reading something like: You might be a redneck if you think heaven looks a lot like Daytona Beach.
As a result of her actions, Barnes was taken to a hospital for a mental evaluation.
God Himself could not be reached for comment.
Printed in the May 2, 2013 edition.
A wise man once told me, “If it isn’t in the newspaper, it never really happened.” I have found this to be no truer than in politics. Community newspapers are true guardians of the public interest and the absolute best purveyor of accurate local information.
When I first ran for the state Senate a decade ago, I thought that I had a pretty good handle on all of Northeast Georgia. The 46th District was composed of parts of Clarke, Oconee, Jackson and Barrow Counties, and I had lived in Clarke my entire life. I had family and friends across the District.
Well, it didn’t take long for me to learn that I had a lot to learn. Local newspapers were the ultimate “cheat-sheet” for a first time candidate. Farm Bureau meetings, volunteer fire department information, local PTA meetings, church gatherings, and local political and government meetings can all be found in the local newspaper. As valuable as the AJC and WSB Channel 2 are, you are not going to hear about the Statham Sunflower Festival from them.
Events like these are where I gained a true understanding of issues in each individual community. While Northeast Georgia has a lot in common, each community has its own character and its own issues.
Community newspapers helped Brian Kemp the candidate, but they helped Brian Kemp the elected official so much more. When you get down to the Gold Dome, it is very easy to fall into the mindset that Georgia begins and ends at I-285. The focus is on “front-page” issues that affect education, transportation and healthcare. Too often, all the communication on these issues comes from the major metro media. That means hearing about how a change in the QBE formula will affect DeKalb County, what the loss of the GA 400 toll means to transportation funding and what the trauma care formula will mean for Grady Memorial Hospital.
In the wake of the Boston bombing many of those who claim a deep and abiding respect for the Constitution show a curious tendency to ignore those parts of the Constitution that tend to interfere with their desire for instantaneous revenge (i.e. 4th, 5th and 6th Amendments). The desire for revenge is understandable. Those desires exist today just as they did 200 or 2000 years ago. However, human passions, being irrational as they are, must be put in check so that human reason may triumph in our collective attempt to mete out justice. Fortunately for us, the founding fathers of this country realized that perhaps there was a more ethical manner to ensure justice than relying on a pitchfork-wielding mob. Thus was born the 4th-6th Amendments.
Ensuring that everyone accused of a crime, no matter how heinous, is afforded their full Constitutional rights does not protect the guilty – it protects the innocent. It protects you. It ensures that if YOU are wrongly accused YOU have the right to demonstrate how your accuser’s evidence is flawed. The greater the heinousness of the crime one is accused of does not increase the likelihood of one’s guilt. If the accused is truly guilty, then evidence of that guilt should not be terribly hard to uncover. A guilty verdict will be assured and the validity of that verdict made public. It is curious how the more sure people are of an accused’s guilt the more annoyed they get with the idea of “wasting time” on a trial. If you are that certain of the guilt then what could possibly be lost by burying the accused in a mountain of evidence at trial? To suggest trials are not needed because no one would ever be accused of a crime without evidence is to accept man as an infallible being.