Hi. There is a lot to cover today, and I'm actually avoiding news sites this morning because I am already overloaded here. I think I am going to return to a legal analysis piece at least once a week, because although I cover a lot of the issues here in TTPMOT, some of them just need a more detailed analysis.
I also updated the logo for TTPMOT because there are a few people out there who have taken this idea (and others I've come up with) and for-lack-of-a-better-way-to-put-it borrowed the idea. I'm going to go with borrowed. Yeah. Uh huh.
The Way to Combat Bullying is To Remove Whatever The Kid Being Bullied is Being Bullied About....Right???
Good lord, there are times that I don't want to live on this planet anymore. A few people sent me a story yesterday, but it was already on my radar, mostly because I tend to be a little closer to the Brony community than your average person and have already had some super awesome experiences with bullying.
If you haven't heard, 9 year old Grayson Bruce was told by North Carolina school officials that he was no longer allowed to wear his Rainbow Dash backpack to school because it was a trigger for bullying.
As the mother of a boy who wants a Rainbow Dash hoodie for his birthday (only because he's 20% cooler), this chaps my ass.
Let's review, shall we?
So instead of teaching the kids who are picking on him that their actions aren't appropriate, we are going to tell the kids who are being picked on that they can't love what they love, they can't be who they are, they can't express themselves however they choose because the bullies just won't be able to resist the urge to pick on them?
I guess women shouldn't wear skirts, too. I mean, men can't resist the urge to rape them, right?
Following this logic, we should just tell all children who have some aspects of their lives or personalities that don't fit into our tiny little boxes that they need to not be that way because the adults in charge can't be trusted to teach all the other kids to respect them.
What about the kids who are a different race or ethnicity? What about the learning disabled and handicapped kids? What about the kid with glasses and the kid with a speech impediment? What about the gay children? What about the kids that practice a religion other than what the majority does? Should they all just stop that too, lest they trigger the bullies???
Give me a fucking break.
We live in a world where we empower bullies. YES I SAID IT. I haven't written much about this because it will ruffle feathers, but it is the honest truth. We talk and talk and talk about combating bullying, but don't actually do much to address it. The good kids who are the ones being picked on are often made to feel, by the adults in positions of authority, as though they are to blame for what is happening....just like what is happening here. The parents of the bullies "just can't see their sweet angel child doing so and so", and the bully gets off with a warning. The kids being picked on get hauled into the office and interrogated, then returned to the schoolyard with the bully who didn't get in trouble last time. Repeat this a few times and you develop the bullies to the point where they pretty much think they are invincible precisely because they've been made that way. The good kids who are being picked on realize pretty quickly that there is no point in seeking help.
Oh, but we put up posters all over the school and have assemblies about how bullying is bad. That'll fix it.
Grayson has a Facebook page now titled Support For Grayson. You know what to do.
The Cruel Irony of Manufactured Hate
Fred Phelps, the man who founded the Westboro Baptist Church, is on his death bed. His estranged children have come forward, stating that he was recently excommunicated from the church, though the reasons why aren't clear at this point and the Church is refusing to comment.
Many have speculated whether the WBC may protest his funeral, though they claim that would be impossible since WBC members don't believe in having funerals and they don't believe Phelps will have a funeral.
Others have speculated whether his funeral (assuming one happens at all) might become a spectacle for other reasons. Phelps and his movement have become infamous for protesting all types of funerals in a desperate grab for a platform for their anti-gay speeches. They have not respected the dead. They have not respected the families and friends of the dead.
Some are calling for gay pride marches and parades at the time of his death.
I, for one, don't think any of it will come to fruition. At least I hope not.
I hope not because doing that would require whoever protests to stoop to his level. It would require people to sacrifice their own reverence of the dead just to make a point, which is no different than everything WBC stands for.
Phelps will have to answer for his actions soon enough. I hope, for his sake, that he has asked for forgiveness and seen the error of his ways, though that isn't something I believe any of us is privy to. That's between him and the God he serves.
The moral high road is difficult to walk, but it's a walk worth taking, every single time.
ADHD Isn't Real
This pissed me right off. Richard Saul, a neurologist, just released a book on the issue and has written several articles, including the one Time ran this week. He asserts that ADHD, as the public knows it today, just doesn't exist.
He asserts that what we believe is ADHD is almost always some other underlying condition that just hasn't been detected, diagnosed or addressed.
Naturally, this all has the parents of children with ADHD shaking their heads. Though he makes several terribly valid points about the rates of diagnosis, the dramatic increase in medication, the side effects of medication and the existence of other potential issues, to me, it all gets lost simply because of his dismissiveness that the condition exists in the lives of people every single day.
I joked, somewhat, that I'd like to invite him to spend a day in my house and then tell me ADHD doesn't exist.
Are there probably a lot of kids misdiagnosed? Absolutely.
Are there probably a lot of kids who are the way they are for other reasons that have nothing to do with ADHD, but ADHD is the easy label to slap on it? Sure.
Are there probably a lot of kids with comorbid conditions, where ADHD exists in conjunction with something else? ABSOLUTELY. I know because I have one of them. Her other issues neither negate or cause the ADHD.
Are there parents and doctors who rush to medicate kids that might benefit from cognitive behavior changes instead? Almost certainly.
Are there very real concerns about the use of strong stimulants in children, particularly when you weigh the risks of addiction later in life? Without a doubt.
Just because there are concerns, very legitimate ones, with the way that ADHD is diagnosed and treated does not negate its existence in all cases. We deliberately sought out every single other possible alternative with my daughter. We tried medication and dealt with the side effects he warns of, something that parents need to be made more aware of. We elected to pull her off her meds and use other methods. For him to just proclaim that there is no way that she has what she has is irresponsible.
Would we tolerate a doctor telling a diabetic that the disease was in their head?
Would we tolerate a physician telling a cancer patient that there was probably something else wrong with them and it wasn't really cancer?
Why do we put up with it when the conditions are mental health ones???
There is an argument to be made here that this doctor is just trying to sell books, just trying to start controversy. The title he chose for the Time article certainly seems to indicate that. The problem is that no one will pay attention to all the legitimate concerns he brings up if he approaches it from a standpoint that the condition itself is fake. He is doing a great disservice to children (and adults) who live with this every day.
The Vaccine Debate is Baaaaaaack
Here we go again. Wheeee.
Kristin Cavallari is the latest celebrity to throw her hat into the ring of the vaccine wars. Awesome. If you click on this link, there is a cool (but scary) interactive map showing all the preventable diseases that have resurfaced because of the anti-vax movement.
I've written about vaccines before, and my opinions aren't terribly popular. Get our your flamethrowers and pitchforks.
I have a background in public health and studied epidemiology, unlike most of the celebrities out there spouting their opinions about vaccines. I fully understand the value of herd immunity and that it will only work when a certain percentage of the population is immunized. I wholly understand that there are people who cannot receive vaccines because of allergies or hyper sensitive immune systems (hell, I even have one of those kids myself - and because of that we spaced and delayed his shots, but he eventually got them all).
I think we vaccinate against waaaaaay too many diseases and should reserve them for illnesses that can cause death or severe disability. I think we are administering too many vaccines at a time, particularly in infants, whose immune systems can become overloaded. I think that certain vaccines (particularly the HPV and H1N1 shots) were rushed to the market without enough testing and consideration of side effects. I think that we are urged to believe that vaccines confer total lifelong immunity when the truth is not exactly that. I think there needs to be more objective research about vaccine safety and efficacy, not just industry research.
I think that parents are scared to death because they don't know who to believe and I think too many people are making decisions purely out of fear.
Blurring the Lines of News and Propaganda
You guys know that I am not a fan of fracking, nor of the huge increase in well sites around Colorado in the past few years. A huge well was just installed beside a brand new neighborhood not too far from here, and I can't help but feel for those homeowners.
I was disgusted this weekend when a special advertising insert appeared in the Denver Post Sunday edition. The entire thing, the same size and shape as the rest of the newspaper, styled to look as though it was just another section of the paper, was actually an advertisement for oil and gas. Paid for by the seemingly innocuous Coloradoans for Responsible Energy Development (CRED), it was designed to look objective and well researched, just like the commercials they are running on television and radio almost constantly around here.
CRED isn't an objective group. It's funded by Anadarko Petroleum and Noble Energy, with an absolute agenda to get citizens to accept drilling and fracking around them as quickly as possible with as little resistance as possible.
Frankly, I'm disappointed in the Post for allowing what amounts to a propaganda piece to be run in such a misleading manner, masquerading as actual objective reporting.
Don't Get Raped in Michigan
Told you guys there was a lot this week. Michigan passed a law forbidding (yes, forbidding) insurance plans from covering abortion, even in cases of rape. The only way to obtain coverage for abortion in cases of rape is to purchase a rider to the policy (which none of the plans are actually offering) ahead of time.
So, you should totes predict when you or your wife or your daughter will be raped, and be able to predict with certainty whether or not they would become pregnant from that rape ahead of time.
What is wrong with this country???
Never mind. Don't answer that.
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