The past few days I have spent my mornings at the Illinois Center for Violence Prevention at a training on how to integrate violence prevention in social service agencies. I found some of the information to be very interesting, some to be entirely too obvious to talk about, and some to be downright strange. I thought I would highlight a few of these things.
One of the statistics mentioned was that last year there were 9 shooting deaths in the entire country of Canada (Not Fearing Change questioned this and she is WAY correct. I found 172 in 2004 and that was the most recent data I found in a 1 min search. I would think it has stayed in that range. Still far lower than the US but what kind of training center so grossly misrepresents?). While I don’t have the exact numbers, I would imagine there are more than nine each day in the United States (I would hope there aren't close to 200 gun deaths a day in the US but we could get there in a month easily). Obviously Canadian gun laws are far stricter than those in the US but, if you ask me, the number of lives saved is far more important than having the liberal gun laws that we have today. I firmly believe that if our founding fathers knew how the second amendment was being applied in modern society they would be enraged. One of the main goals of the training was to change the view of violence as a social issue to a public health issue, thereby ensuring more funding and widespread concern about violence in general.
Violence is a health issue. It is a killer and, if the state of Illinois can spend 9million on enforcing seat-belt laws, they can certainly spend a few billion on violence prevention training and education for the people who most need it. Everyone needs to be aware of these things but, like all education, it is important that we start early. Back when I was in grade school we got to middle school and were suddenly old enough to learn about EVERYTHING. We learned about sex, we learned about drugs, we learned about isms of all kinds. We didn’t learn about violence. At the same time, most of us already knew about these things. If education is going to work you have to teach children as soon as possible. Our facilitator recently worked with a group in the Netherlands to incorporate violence prevention education in their schools at every level. Last I checked the Netherlands was nowhere near as violent a society as ours. Yet, the society that needs the most education is getting the least.
Some of the things that I found too obvious to talk about were the numbers and types of violence that get reported in comparison to larger sample surveys done. It seems common sense to me that most of the violence that occurs doesn’t get reported. One of the reasons for that is that I feel the Center for Violence Prevention had a broader definition of what could actually be violence than I would. Sure, I get the difference between physical, emotional, and psychological violence. But I’m not going to report every person who I see yelling at their child in the supermarket because I am not trying to get in a fight. I realize that there are times when being a casual observer is not an option, but I also have common sense and understand what is and what isn’t my business.
The biggest thing that I found downright strange was our discussion of sibling violence. Yes, I know that getting violent with a sibling is wrong but our facilitator seemed of the mindset that there is no such thing as “they’re just being kids,” and I disagree with that. My sister and I fought. We didn’t fight a lot; we didn’t ever put each other in the hospital. When we did fight we would get in trouble and be punished accordingly. We knew fighting was wrong. It seemed tome that our facilitator thought that the world wouldn’t be ok until there was never a case of a sibling hitting their other sibling. Sure, that world might be ideal, but I don’t think it would be realistic. My sister and I now have an excellent relationship and we look back to some of the things that happen and can agree that they were instances of kids being kids. Maybe I am wrong about that. It just seems like that is what happens.
Staten Island Ferry, David Weinstone- This song got downloaded when I made a CD for someone who was moving to NY. I tried to include songs about all the boroughs. I never listen to this song and don’t have any other music by this artist. I maybe should because this song is ADORABLE.
Se A Cabo, Santana- Every time my students want to listen to my iPod (and I let them in my office) they ask me if Santana is Juelz Santana who raps some mostly horrible crap. I then hang my head in sadness.
Lag Time, Ani DiFranco- The guitar in this song is amazing. I wish I could attach it to the post and, even though I probably could, I don’t know how to and I don’t care enough to try.