It is very seldom that you pick up a newspaper and connect the headlines together because most of the stories are not related to each other. That was not the case last week when two headlines really caught my attention and the more I thought about them, the more they seemed to intervene with one another. One was about the passing of one of the greatest men to ever have walked this earth, and the other was about a White House meeting with people involved in the Florida school shootings and President Trump. The President listened as a few students expressed their thoughts and frustrations to the President. They want answers and solutions so another mass shooting does not take place at another school. You might wonder what I am talking about until you begin to think about what these headlines represent.
The Reverend Billy Graham was a man on a mission to help mend a broken world. He truly represented what is good in this world, the love of Jesus Christ and how that can translate into a much better society for all. In his sermons, Graham spoke of how sin creeps into our lives and destroys our families and culture. He also preached on how we can restore our lives by following Jesus and his teachings. Many have followed his advice and have totally turned their lives around for the better. I cannot think of more people more responsible for doing good in this world the Reverend Graham. He will be sorely missed and we definitely need to have more people like him to help spread the word to an increasingly hostile and troubled world.
Maybe those in the meeting with President Trump and others who are seeking solutions to this troubling problem in our schools look at the sermons of Reverend Graham. I strongly believe that our culture is rotting because we are straying away from family values and the school shootings are just one of many results from that acceptance. We accept the fact and let our kids play violent video that have absolutely no regard for human life. Our kids watch shows and movies that also have no value for human life. We fail to spend time with our children and spend time making sure their problems are being addressed. It is a sad fact but many parents are just too busy these days working for the almighty dollar instead of raising their kids properly. Several years ago, family values actually meant something. Staying together in a marriage was something that we tried to emphasis in our society. Now, marriage is deemed to be very old-fashioned and only something that lasts for a few years. Single parent families are becoming more of the norm these days and that is NOT a good thing for so many reasons. And then we wonder why kids grow up to be like the disturbed young man who shot 17 people in a Florida school. Is it any secret that the decline in family values have contributed to this?
If anyone wants to start a discussion on ways to stop further school shootings for ever occurring again, maybe they need to start with our culture. Christianity is increasingly being frowned upon in our society. People such as Graham and other followers of Christ as mocked and made fun of in social media. Many people ignorantly fail to understand that the message Graham and other leaders of faith put out is one that can help stop many of the violent attacks that take place in schools and the streets of the inner city. The raising of a strong family through Christian principles and teachings is one of the best ways to help create a strong society for everyone.
You can have all the new laws you want but you cannot legislate morality. Until that changes in our culture and society, you can expect more tragic events like these school shootings. How ironic was it that a man who represented a solution to so many of our problems garnered headlines with his death next to a headline representing a growing concern in the United States. Sometimes you don’t have to look far for an answer. Reverend Graham taught about so many solutions to our needs. Unfortunately, his words and legacy seem to be falling on deaf ears these days and our society is suffering as a result.
In the aftermath of the Florida school shooting on Valentine’s Day, there has been a ton of discussion and debate on the best ways to protect our children from having this tragic event happen again at another school. Some of the ideas are foolish and will not solve anything, such as those who feel we need more gun reform or perhaps shut down the NRA. Others are more logical; having armed and trained staff on hand at schools seems like a decent idea to begin with although I see some concerns with that plan as well. Regardless, I am resigned to the fact that protecting our kids at these schools in this day and age might be one of the biggest challenges this country has ever faced.
Last week, a number of students walked around the country walked out of class to demand tougher gun control laws. Members of Congress are taking heat these days for allegedly doing nothing in regards to gun reform and many are being criticized for taking money and donations from the NRA. While I can sympathize for those students and understand the emotion that still lingers, newer gun laws will not fully protect our children from some nut case walking into a school and doing a lot of mayhem. Lets say that we ban assault guns. I am sure many gun grabbing lawmakers will grandstand and celebrate over that new law. Does anyone believe for a minute that will prevent some criminal from obtaining one? Perhaps this individual will have a tougher time obtaining one, well what about hand guns? Are we going to ban all hand guns as well? The person responsible for the mass shooting at Virginia Tech used a hand gun to do his work and nearly twice as many were killed.
Now lets suppose that we really restrict gun rights in this country so that the only people who could use them are law enforcement officers and military personal. Normal citizens are not allowed to own any type of firearm. I am sure that many leftists in this country could only dream of that type of scenario. We have finally made our schools safe for our children, right? That is until some disturbed kid makes a pipe bomb, puts it in his backpack and kills several students when it explodes. And believe me, it is not that hard to make a small bomb that could kill hundreds at any school or any public place. If that unfortunate event happened, are the gun grabbers going to now call for a ban on fertilizer and pipes? Do you get my points? There are multiple ways that some wacko kid could kill students. If we take away one weapon, they will just use another. A student or any individual intent on causing great harm to a school will find some way to do so. There is little that we can do from stopping it.
Nearly of all the recent mass school shootings were done by individuals who left hints of their upcoming intentions. These clues were not followed up on and the results were tragic. If we are going to stop further school shootings from taking place, we have to be tough on students who post on YouTube that they want to be the next school shooter. Or they exhibit some type of weird behavior that would indicate that something is just not right. I know some feelings and friendships might get severed in the process, but we need to start at the beginning. The FBI and law enforcement officials really should be at fault on this latest one. If they do not do their jobs, we can forget about our schools from ever being safe again.
Any student in this country should feel safe and comfortable when they attend any school. As a taxpayer, I demand that our schools be safe. But as the trend seems to be, the level of safety seems to be decreasing all the time. What can be done? Some of the best ideas probably don’t involve and type of gun control at all. We have always had a lot of guns in this country. Why is this suddenly a problem for many people? I think we as a society have to dig deeper into this problem before more innocent kids lose their lives. It is a big problem with many components to it. Some are not even being discussed, but should be very obvious.
American sports fans love underdogs or overachievers. We love to see some unheralded college team from a mid-major knock off a highly touted program from say Duke or Kentucky in the NCAA basketball tournament. I find that is what makes sports so fascinating to follow and watch, the unpredictability factor. Now if that unheralded team just so happens to be involved in representing your country and they beat some hated country, it makes that moment even sweeter. What I am referring to is the shocking victory by the United States hockey team over Russia in the 1980 Olympics. In all my years of watching sports, it is certainly the biggest sports upset ever that I have seen and might be the best feel good moment for many sports fan across this country. It certainly was for me.
I was a young boy at the time and still remember that day as though it were just a few years ago. Things were a lot different back then with television. The game was not televised live, it took place late on a Friday afternoon, early evening and would be rebroadcast during the prime time slot later that evening. It was a much-anticipated semi-final matchup with the winner playing for the gold medal a few days later. The game also represent more than just another Olympic hockey game. It was a matchup between what many perceived as one between good and evil, the evil empire of the Soviet Union; a country which represented every thing that the United States was not, communism versus freedom. In addition to those things, this was a classic David versus Goliath matchup. Russia was loaded with talent and might have been the best team in the world including the NHL. The United States had a good team of college stars, but how could they possibly compete against this machine?
Since the game was not televised and I had not way to pick up the game on the radio, I listened for updates on the game. To my surprise, the United States were hanging tough with this juggernaut of a team. It was only a one goal difference into the second period. Later on, I was watching the 6 pm news when the sports host ended his segment by announcing an update on the game. The game was tied in the 3rd period. I was not believing what I just heard! Then news broke that the United States had taken the lead. Around 7pm word got out that the improbable had happened. I am not sure exactly where I heard the news, but is was a final. The United States had pulled off the epic upset. I had to watch the replay of the game just to see if this really happened.
Another thing I still remember from that night was the overwhelming celebration by people outside the hockey rink. People were waving flags and chanting “USA” in the streets. It was the game that people could not stop talking about all weekend long. The host said it best when he compared it to some college team football team beating the Super Bowl Champions. I still get chills up my back when I watch replays and highlights of the game on YouTube. Do you believe in miracles? Yes!!! I doubt I will ever see another sports moment like that ever in my life.
Very few events bring about as much outrage in people as a school shooting. You have innocent kids who are victims and school is supposed to be one of the safest spots to send your kids. When that level of safety is broken, people have every right to be extremely upset and want answers. I fully understand why people are so upset that this horrific act happened. It was an event that could have been prevented, and naturally, there has to be some blame to go around. What I do not understand are the scapegoats who are taken the blame. Many folks have targeted members of Congress, the NRA or even the President as people responsible for this school shooting to happen. If you are going to start playing the blame game, lets start with those who deserve the most blame.
For starters, lets begin with the FBI. Not one, but two very credible tips were given and not followed up on by that government agency. If someone posts something to my social media page saying that they want to be a school shooter and I call authorities to express my concerns, I would expect them to follow-up on my tip and track this individual. Nothing was done in this case. The fact that a government agency who has a sole responsible of keeping American citizens safe dropped the ball should cause everyone to be outraged. Why more folks are not as outraged over this incompetence of great magnitude is baffling to me.
Congress has been another target of many people, particularly Republican Congress members. Democratic politicians have wasted no time in grandstanding this event in an effort to gain political points. Former President Obama came out shortly after the shootings and lectured us on how we need much tougher gun control laws. Funny but didn’t he have 8 years to accomplish that mission? And didn’t he have a fully majority in both the House and Senate for 2 years? I find it rather disturbing that many politicians are using this awful event as a way to gain votes when both sides share some of the blame. But the truth is, what new laws would have stopped this shooting? You can have all the new laws you want, but if law enforcement agencies do not do their job and enforce these new laws, they are totally useless. This is what happened in this event. I am sure any criminal will have an overwhelming desire to follow new laws for obtaining guns, right?
The sad reality is that we now live in a very violent culture at the present time. Coming up with a solution to prevent future school shootings is very difficult. These events seem to inspire other nut cases who would just love to perform these evil acts. The Columbine killers were heroes to these guys. If we take away every gun in this country, all 250 million of them, these evil cowards will just find another way to do harm. What is going to stop some disturbed kid from bringing in a bomb to school? It would be very easy for someone to carry a bomb in a backpack. It would cause even more harm than a gun. People who think that a lawmaker can suddenly just wave a magic wand and prevent more school shootings are extremely delusional. It is a much bigger problem than just enacting new and tougher gun laws.
We all have some role in stopping further school shootings. If you are a parent, you have a strong obligation to raise that kid the right way so they understand and appreciate the value of human life. Somewhere in past 50 years, we as a society have diminished the importance of raising a strong family and it is showing these days. Perhaps this might mean showing some tough love to your kids and infringing on their privacy if you suspect some irrational behavior. Or going even further, maybe you have a friend who constantly talks about doing great harm to many people. How would you feel if that friend suddenly followed through on those threats and killed many people at your school? You kept quiet to protect your friend and now this happens? So many of these evil mass murderers give out warning signals before hand and it our duty to report these people to the police. It may mean losing a friend, but would you rather have to deal with the overwhelming guilt is you did not?
My heart really goes out to the families of those poor kids and adults who were killed in this school shooting. Instead of playing the blame game, lets focus on ways to make our schools safer. Unfortunately that will not be an easy task. You just cannot legislate morality or the evil acts of a select few.
Chances are pretty strong that an overwhelming majority of Americans cannot name more than a handful of athletes competing in the Winter Olympics. If you went out on the street and conducted a survey asking people to name at least one Olympic athlete, I bet more than 70 percent could not name at least one. Even these so-called sports experts who host sport talk shows would probably have a hard time naming even 5 athletes competing in South Korea. They would have no problem naming 100 NFL players but the Olympics is a totally different ball game. The fact is, Olympic athletes are among the most unheralded athletes in the world. And in some ways, that is what sports should be all about.
A couple of thoughts came to my mind last night while I was watching something called women’s biathlon. You know, the sport that combines cross-country skiing with rifle shooting. I have to admit it was the first time ever that I have seen a biathlon event. A couple of the competitors were in their 30’s. One of the announcers mentioned that it was the last Olympics for one of the women. This had to be the biggest moment in her life. The last chance to go out on top in a sport she has probably dedicated many countless hours to. I could not help but to root for this woman even though she was from a different country. The Winter Olympics is filled with so many athletes like her. Individuals competing in virtually anonymity for the one chance of glory.
As a former athlete myself, I can deeply appreciate the sacrifices that a majority of these athletes have to make. Many have full-time jobs in addition to the overwhelming amount of training they must go through. While many of their co-workers are enjoying the comforts of a nice warm bed in the morning or a few drinks during happy after work, these athletes are up at the crack of dawn or a sacrificing valuable social time in order to chase a once in a lifetime dream. The thought of standing on that podium stand during the medal ceremony drives these athletes to push even harder. A medal is the end goal for them.
I really admire the pressure these individuals have to put up with as well. In most sports, there are several opportunities if one fails. If a quarterback on a football team has a bad game, there is always next week to look forward to. For an Olympic athlete, there is not next week to look forward to, there is 4 years later to look forward to or maybe never. One bad start or a slip and all that training and sacrifice goes down the drain. These athletes are under incredible pressure to perform not only for themselves, but for their country.
I know for some, watching the Winter Olympics is not the most exciting thing to watch on television. I look at it a different way. It is fun for me to watch anytime type of athletic competition. Some of the events are totally new to me. I am learning just like everyone else is. Even though I do not understand some of the sports, I can certainly appreciate the vast amount of effort they have put forward to be an Olympic athlete. Every one of us should at least watch some of the games. Even though only a few will end up with medals, all these athletes are winners in my eyes. I wish them all the best of luck.
Well it is that time of the year when many guys are filled with a tremendous amount of anxiety and stress. Valentine’s Day is just around the corner and you cannot escape the constant non-stop advertisements for that day. Everything from chocolates, jewelry, flowers and pajamas are gifts suggested for that desperate guy who is trying to score for some major brownie points for that special gal. As someone who is currently single and has been through all of this before, let me offer some advice, please be creative with the gifts and also do not forgot another gift that will leave a bigger impact on her than all of these gifts combined. It is free and simply comes from your mouth. No I am not talking about some deep and passionate French kiss. I am talking about the words that you say to your sweetheart. Never underestimate how important they are to win her heart.
Don’t get me wrong, buying your lover a special gift on Valentine’s Day is very important. Women love to be pleasantly surprised with a well thought out gift. But it does not mean anything if you turn around the next day and speak to her in a very condescending manner about some issue. Or tell her how dumb she is for not following instructions on how to do her taxes. Perhaps you mockingly joke about her putting on a few pounds. It might sound funny to you, but to her, it is not and very hurtful. Those harmful words can pretty much eliminate any brownie points you may have garnered from buying her a nice gift.
On the other hand, a huge compliment will go a long ways in capturing her heart forever. On Valentine’s Day, make a huge effort to say something to her that will totally floor her. Maybe she is really big into volunteering at a local homeless shelter. Tell her what a huge heart she has. Or maybe she has a unique sense of humor that you cannot get enough of. Tell her that and make it known how important that is to you. Tell her that she often brightens your day with her humor. Or maybe her smile melts you. She will feel so special and important if you mention these things.
I know these things seem to be very simple things to think about in a relationship, but it is amazing how many guys neglect how important the words they say or not say. Building up your sweetie with compliments and kind words are lasting impressions, much more so than that same old box of chocolates. Never underestimate the value of what comes out of your mouth and your tongue. A kind compliment from you might be the most meaningful thing she will receive this Valentine’s Day. And it will not cost you anything! In fact, why not make it a point to compliment her everyday, not just Valentine’s Day?