Friday, August 28, 2015

Guns Plus Mental Illness – A Recipe For Disaster

There have been too many killings lately at the hands of people with guns who are mentally ill. I have no issue with people having their guns, but there needs to be some way to prevent people who do not have the capacity to use them properly to get them and keep them. 

We are a country of many freedoms, but we also need to be able to protect people from those who are abusing those freedoms. The problem is: a person may be mentally stable when they buy the gun, then a mental “break” occurs and that gun is used in the wrong way. Other than mandating some sort of annual mental illness test in order to keep a handgun – which would likely not be legal,  much less practical – I don’t know how it could be policed.

There are so many new treatments for mental illness, but identifying the mentally ill and getting them access to and mandating treatment can be difficult.

I don’t have the answer. I’m not sure anyone does. But what I do know is that I am tired of innocent people being killed by someone who is mentally unstable.

We must find a solution!

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The Frequent Critic, here.

Friday, March 27, 2015

The Rational Fear of Flying

For me, the simple thought of flying on an airplane fills me with dread. Even driving to the airport makes my stomach feel tied in knots. I get horrible motion sickness when flying (medication doesn’t help) but that’s not the only reason why I hate flying. I haven’t flown on an airplane since being on a horrible flight in January 1993. The plane on which I was flying passed through a massive line of unusual January thunderstorms and I think everyone on that plane thought we were not going to land in one piece. We were heading to a business meeting on the east coast and colleagues from Chicago were also flying there, on another flight about a half hour behind us. They flew through the same storm. Their flight was even worse than mine and some people on that flight had to be hospitalized for injuries. I swore on the flight home that I would never set foot on a plane again.

Since my last flight in 1993, air travel has become even more unsettling for many people. The planes crashing into the World Trade Center on 9/11 tightened security and that made the process of just getting on the plane to be a hassle. Stories of plane crashes in general are unsettling. But over the last year where planes have crashed or gone missing - Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 in March 2014 being the most notable – flying is becoming uncomfortable for even those who aren’t afraid to fly. The crash of Germanwings Flight 9525 this week, which currently is presumed to be a deliberate act, is a horrifying thought which brings the fear of flying to a whole new level.

The fear of flying can no longer be considered an irrational fear.

I’m not sure if there will be anything so critical that will force me to get on a plane. I do realize that no method of travel is 100% safe. But when I put my life in the hands of someone else – an airline, a plane, or a pilot – I want to have complete confidence that they will deliver me to my destination in one piece. I simply do not have that confidence any longer, not even a shred of it. I don’t think the earth will stop spinning if I never board a plane again. But each air tragedy breeds more people like me: not phobic, just those who have a reasonable and rational fear of flying.

Check out my blog home page for the latest information,
The Frequent Critic, here.

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Often: The “T” Is Silent

After going through the last several months with no issue causing me enough grief to complain about it here, I’ve finally hit a high level of annoyance with one thing. It’s a little thing really, but with each day it annoys me more. It’s the pronunciation of the word “often.” Despite some who believe that pronouncing the “T” is acceptable, I am here to state that, in my opinion, it is not. The most common pronunciation has the “T” silent (“off-fen”).

Here’s why I think pronouncing the “T” (“off-ten”) is incorrect: people don’t pronounce the “T” in similar words, such as listen, hasten, soften, etc. I know that the English language doesn’t always follow its own rules of pronunciation, but in this case, I think it should.

I’ve noticed that the pronunciation of the “T” seems to be spreading with news reporters, news anchors, and TV pundits.  I almost never hear it in TV shows (dramas/comedies) where actors are delivering scripted dialog, and who are likely being told HOW to say what they are saying. But news people are pronouncing the “T” more and more often (read "off-fen!").  Do they think it makes them sound smarter? In my opinion, it doesn’t. It sounds “off,” especially coming from people who make their living by talking in front of a camera.

So my suggestion is this: please hasten to read this, and listen to what I say. I don’t want to soften my message: The “T” in “often” is silent!

Check out my blog home page for the latest information,
The Frequent Critic, here.