Category Archives: Uncategorized

Common Sense and Logistics Blocking trump’s Gun Reform Agenda

In light of the tragic event at a high school in Parkland, Fla., there’s understandably been a great deal of talk around how to make our schools safer. While trump supports tougher background checks and banning bump stocks which are both good ideas, he also wants to arm teachers. To be fair, making guns more accessible is not a solution that originated from the gray matter between trump’s ears. After each recent school shooting, people wanted to arm more than just teachers: arm security guards, arm the janitor, or arm a retired military person – heck, arm all of them. trump’s solution of course is music to a gun nut’s ears but it’s also remarkably, and unsurprisingly, short-sighted.

Let’s say trump signs off on new gun legislation. Part of that legislation calls for arming 20% of a school’s teachers, as he’s said here. My high school, for example, currently staffs 58 teachers. (For argument’s sake, let’s call it 60 teachers so 20% = 12 armed teachers.) Also as part of the proposed legislation, that school is required to put signage outside the school property that says, essentially, some of the teachers in this school are “packing heat,” have been trained to handle their particular weapon, and will do whatever it takes to ensure the safety of their students.

I’m not a forensic psychologist so I’m not even going to pretend I know what’s inside the head of a school shooter. But if someone said you have an 80% chance of finding gold buried underneath random yards in your neighborhood, you’d better believe there’d be a run on shovels and metal detectors at Lowe’s. If a shooter is intent on causing mass casualties like we saw at Columbine, Virginia Tech, or Parkland, I find it hard to believe that signage outside the school will be an effective deterrent. Also, will the shooter be in communication with a school official ahead of time, providing specific details about when they’re going to be at the school entrance, what they’re wearing, or what mode of transportation they’re taking to get to the school? They won’t. Then how do we know that any of the 20% of teachers will be in that particular area of the school at that particular time? We don’t.

It’s been established that kids with guns is a bad thing and they shouldn’t be allowed in our schools. However, if we’re going to arm 20% of teachers, who’s deciding which 20% to arm? Here’s what I could see happening: school arms a history teacher because he is an ex-Army Ranger. “He’s a great shot,” they’ll say, “who’s fired a gun in a real war zone. This is only a high school.” This particular ex-Army Ranger fought in Afghanistan and kept his PTSD hidden for years. His students love him and describe him as the “nicest man who loves all of his students as if they are his own kids.” Then one day, the unthinkable happens. He snaps. Administrators would say they never thought he could do something like this … blah blah blah. Did his medical records state that he sought therapy for PTSD? Who reviewed his medical records? Due to current HIPAA law, this teacher’s medical records wouldn’t be public anyway, so who’s going to work on amending that law?

Even if 20% of teachers are allowed to carry a gun, did it occur to trump that some teachers might be uncomfortable with such a plan? A February 2014 poll conducted by the Association of American Educators (AAE) found that only 26% of surveyed teachers would even consider bringing a firearm to school if they were allowed to. Applying these statistics to my high school would mean that instead of 12 teachers carrying a firearm to school, it would only be three. Not exactly a great return on investment for a “successful businessman.”

Jarrett Muzi, a high school Special Education/English teacher in West Chester, Penn., echoes the sentiments of a majority of teachers in the AAE poll. “I honestly believe that if this happens and I was selected, [that] would be the day I would start looking for a new career,” says Muzi. “I just don’t feel comfortable being responsible for the safety of the entire school.”

Surely this situation wouldn’t have occurred if someone other than a teacher had a gun. Oh right, they did and nothing happened. “Teachers would have far less training” than a highly-trained officer with hundreds of hours of training, according to a high school history teacher in New Jersey. “What’s to think [a teacher] would respond differently.”

As the father of two young kids, I’ll be damned if I send them to a school where any teachers are allowed to carry guns. With this half-baked idea, the risks truly outweigh the rewards. We’ve come to expect half-baked ideas from trump but we owe it to the victims of all school shootings to come up with a long-term solution that is comprehensive as well as practical.

To help the victims of the Florida school shooting, visit https://publicgood.com/media/cnn/campaign/help-parkland-school-shooting-victims

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Don’t Shun Non-Technical Users – Teach Them

Working in tech support for a large electric company, I see customers with a wide variety of technical website issues – some issues are user error while other issues stem from a “blip” in a back-end process. Conservatively speaking, I’ve fielded between 2,000 and 2,500 technical website issues and, more often than not, it’s some combination of customer and company issue.

While my company trains our customer service representatives on how to use the website, who can do the same for customers in an attempt to reduce user error? If utilities are serious about catering to all customers, they should take the initiative and offer FREE, online, website navigation workshops for all customers who want to participate.

The obvious question you’re asking yourselves is: ‘what responsibility does a utility (or any company) have to educate its customers on how to use its website?’ Stakeholders would argue the company’s responsibility is to make money. If customers can’t use Company A’s website to pay their bill or view their daily usage, for example, assume that they’ll look for another company, Company B’s website, that does. I’m no economist but that can’t be good for Company A’s bottom line.

Or maybe a majority of customers don’t feel like they need to know the website or don’t believe a free workshop would help them anyway. Maybe they feel like it’s easier to simply call Customer Care who will submit a web form to Tech Support who will call them back in less than three business days.

But if there’s data supporting the fact that enough customers are struggling to figure out the exact same website functionalities, and said company has the resources and the means to educate them, it would be foolish for the company to dismiss those customers as “lost causes.”

Great, I’ve identified that there are customers who could have self-served on the website, but didn’t. Now what? If I was running the show, I would want my Tech Support person to sit down with my Training person and my Customer Service Supervisor and hash out a few things:

  1. What is the most frequent complaint that the Care Center hears (“I can’t pay my bill online”) AND;
  2. Does that align with the most common technical support issue (“I click ‘Submit’ on the Pay My Bill page and nothing happens”) AND, if so;
  3. How do I give the customer the knowledge and tools to work through the issue themselves, via an online workshop?

If it’s check and check, I would move forward with a pilot workshop to address the third item.

Analysis of Week 1 Featured Pick

If you made your picks based off of Section 426’s Week 1 post, some of you, namely the Survivor pool people, were really happy. Others, those who participate in a football pool with spreads are in play, not so much. Atlanta won the game but they didn’t cover the seven-point spread.

What I Got Right

With Chicago missing its top WR from last year, I had a good feeling they’d struggle moving the ball downfield. As it turns out, the Bears attempted one pass of more than 15 yards in the air – it was to the RB out of the backfield and it was incomplete. For comparison’s sake, the Falcons attempted three such passes, catching two of them for 106 yards and a TD. This was 88 yards of it in one fell swoop:

Zach Miller was targeted four times between the 20s, catching three passes for 28 yards. Two of those targets came on the Bears’ last drive of the game.

What I Got Wrong

Takkarist McKinley was a non-factor. He had two tackles. Oh and he told some really good jokes to his teammates on the sidelines. Lots of laughs.

Devonta Freeman had a TD, but don’t be fooled, he wasn’t “on.” Last year, the Bears surrendered the sixth-most rushing yards in the league (1,950) and the sixth-most rushing yards per game (121.9). Freeman managed 37 yards on 12 carries.

Featured Pick

Baltimore Ravens over Cleveland Browns (+8)

First off, I’m comfortable picking Baltimore over Cleveland in Survivor as well as ATS (against the spread) pools. Since 2010, Cleveland has only won one time in Baltimore. WR Mike Wallace scored two red zone TDs against Cleveland last year when the teams met in Baltimore. Now there’s no shutdown corner in Cleveland as Joe Haden is now playing for the Steelers. I know it’s only one week into the season but Baltimore’s defense is playing out of its ever-lovin’ mind: per Pro Football Reference, five takeaways and five sacks and kudos to you if you started the Ravens defense in fantasy last week.

How does that saying go? You can take Jared out of Fantasy Football but you can’t take Fantasy Football out of Section 426.

Prediction: Baltimore 24, Cleveland 3

Two Words for You Domonic Brown: Mea Culpa

“When I’m wrong, I say I’m wrong.”

It’s the phrase uttered by the late Jerry Orbach in the classic ’80s flick, Dirty Dancing. It’s also a completely apropos statement relating to Phillies’ outfielder Domonic Brown. Thanks to a home run barrage by Brown in May, he’s made bloggers like me look plain silly. Continue reading