Scare Tactics

For thousands of years parents and teachers have been trying to get kids to learn, behave, and understand. There have been many schools of thought on the “correct” method of accomplishing that. They have ranged from using logical explanations to beatings and threats to using drugs and counselling. However one of the longest enduring methods is scare tactics.

I’m not just talking about saying, “If you keep making that face, it will freeze that way.” I’m talking about horror stories. I’m talking about traumatizing our children to keep them safe. I’m not saying that this is the best way to accomplish the goal, but it is effective.

Every country in the world has cautionary tales. Some are folk tales. Some are fairy tales. They used stories to #1 get their kids’ attention and #2 get their point across in a way that stuck in their heads.

Not long ago our High School here in Conrad MT staged one such event. It was called the Ghost Out. Click here for the blog and pictures.  This event showed the results up close and personal results of drunk driving. Telling them not to drink and drive did nothing, but seeing their friends lying dead in pools of blood made an impression. There hasn’t been a decrease in the partying, but there has been an increase in calls for rides and checking in to let their friends know they are okay and have made it home. I know that some of the kids wanted nothing to do with anything involving blood, no movies no video games, for quite some time after the Ghost Out.

So now I find myself thinking perhaps it’s time to scare some more kids to save some lives.

I know that most of you will gasp and rant at what I’m about to suggest, but desperate times call for desperate measures. I believe it is time to scare kids about guns, about school shootings.

Desensitization to violence in all forms has made it hard for kids to understand the results of a moment of action. Whether it be horror movies, video games, social media, or even the news, kids in this day and ages have seen it all before. But until they have lived it, violence doesn’t make an impression.  How many kids who were running for cover and trying to survive a school shooting have a new perspective on how precious life is? How many are rethinking how they treat their fellow students? How many are asking if they could have changed things just by acting a little different?

This idea came about after I saw a news clip about the emergency teams that were going through training on how to use battlefield medicine in case of a school shooting. The EMTs were talking about how much this training was driving home the reality of how devastating a school shooting is.  So this got me thinking, maybe it would have the same effect on students. Maybe students wouldn’t be so keen to bring a gun in and shoot their fellow students if they had some up close experience with seeing their friends bleeding on the gym floor.

I know that this idea seems severe and maybe a little over-reactive, but so far what else had worked? People preach and rant about gun control. People blame the government. People blame the police, the administration, the parents, social media, video games, medications… There is no end to the “blame game” of reasons this type or tragedy should never happen. Unfortunately that hasn’t been working. It is time for scare tactics.

How much would it change a kid’s perspective of school shootings if they got to experience it without the actual tragedy? What if they were in class and heard the gun shots? What if they were to go through the drills for a school shooting? What if they were then taken to the gym or the cafeteria to see a scene of massacre where some of their friends were lying dead or dying? What if they saw how hard the EMTs were working to save those injured? What if they then had the opportunity to talk about it and share their fears? What if they were given a crash course in how to save a life?

How many of those kids would go home and rethink their perceptions of the world? How many would reach out to others who they knew were hurting? How many would reconnect with what’s important and do their best to keep each other safe?

I know that this idea is not a perfect solution. I know that in some kid’s cases it might make things worse and give them ideas. There is always a danger of things like that. I know that a lot of parents wouldn’t want their children to go through something like that even if it is fake. However, I keep thinking how effective the Ghost Out was and I just think that maybe scare tactics might just save their lives.

What do you think? Scare them to save them?

The Great American Catch -22

I found this when I was digging around in some old assignments from school. I had to chuckle a bit at it. Things haven’t changed much in a decade. Except for maybe adding in Obamacare and the near requirement of having a smartphone which costs more than some cars I’ve owned.

The Great American Catch -22


“I’m sorry we can’t hire you. You just don’t have enough experience.”  I’m sure you’ve heard those words before, we all have. It is the old problem: you can’t get a job without experience and you can’t get experience without a job.  America is full of these frustrating “Damned if you do Damned if you don’t” loops called catch- 22’s.

The United States is often hailed and the land of opportunity and freedom. However, it is actually the land of stalemates and restrictions. We box ourselves in with these ironic restrictions in order to regulate our lives and make the country fair.

Car insurance is one of those areas.  The government requires drivers to carry auto insurance for the protection of other drivers. The government doesn’t subsidize car insurance. If a driver can’t afford to carry insurance, they are under the constant fear of being fined or having their license is revoked. If the driver can’t afford the insurance then how are they going to afford the fines?  If the driver’s license is revoked, how will the driver get to work, to make the money to pay the fines or to afford the insurance?

Health insurance companies are great at snaring Americans in catch-22s. Most doctors’ offices require you to have health insurance before you are treated. Health insurance companies require you to be in perfect health before you can be insured. So unless you buy full coverage insurance, including dental and vision, when you are born it is unlikely that you will ever be in perfect health. For some, even birth is too late.

America was once the land where a person could “go out and seek their fortune” by working and being creative. Fortune seekers are now hampered by the need for governmental regulation.  For example, if a person wanted to make a product and sell it they would first have to get a license to sell the product. To get the license the person has to know how much they are going to sell, but in order to do that they would have to sell some. It is easy enough to make a guess, but if the product is a new invention then the guessing is not so easy a task.

Financial institutions are masters of the catch- 22.  Trying to get a loan to buy a house is impossible unless the buyer has enough money in their pocket that they don’t really need the loan in the first place. Bankruptcy is the same way; the filer must have at least $500 to file the papers. But if the filer has $500 then why file bankruptcy why not pay off the bills. It is also impossible to build credit without a credit card; however you can’t get a credit card without credit.

Our personal lives are filled with these little ironic annoyances. If you have children you need more money to live. To get more money, you have to get a job. To get a job you have to put the children in daycare, which costs money. So in order to make money you have to pay out money. In many cases it is almost more money going out than coming in.

Or how about the adult who is returning to school to get a degree and a career? They must first find a job that pays enough money in order to afford college. However, the only way to get that kind of job is to have a degree and a career.

The American culture is self-destructive by nature. Americans demand the constitutional right to carry fire arms. They don’t stop to think why this is so necessary. We want to carry guns to protect ourselves from other people with guns. If there weren’t any guns we would not have to protect ourselves from people with guns.

America no longer has the ability to stop the catch-22. The American motto of “freedom for all”, means that anyone can have anything, anywhere. This creates the problem of trying to please everyone. But in trying to please everyone, it starts a catch-22.

Some of these catch-22s will make a person laugh and are apparent only if you think about them. Such as someone who buys a sports utility vehicle (SUV) that is loaded with all of the extra suspension and off-road perks and then only uses it to run to the grocery store. The Phone Company announces triumphantly that you can now report telephone outages over the Internet. But don’t you need a working telephone line to use the Internet?

Once, withholding education from the masses was the most effective way to control them now you simply turn them loose in America and watch them spin their wheels. They are too busy trying to make it somewhere to realize they will never get anywhere. Welcome to America.