Monday, April 28, 2014

Too Many (Hair) Triggers?

"Sleepwalker," Wellesley College.  Photo courtesy

Last week during a Community Emergency Response Training class the instructor showed a five- minute dashcam video wherein a police officer perishes in the line of duty, right before your very eyes.

Before clicking play he informed us of the tragic outcome and asked if anyone wished to leave the room.  Nobody did.

I didn't think anything of it as the class was made up of 21 citizen volunteers from all walks of life including a few who are middle-school aged.  So his sincere offer to shield anyone who may be unduly traumatized by the clip struck me as common sense.

The video was indeed hard to watch, but drove home a vital safety lesson I don't think any of us will soon forget.

But I still wonder if rules and regulations need to be formerly enacted to ensure/mandate instructors -- especially college professors who are full-time professionals -- issue "trigger warnings" before making presentations. 

Academic freedom and the First Amendment aren't always pretty.  It's the price you pay for freedom, something we Americans take for granted.

Amherst, a "college town," already has enough problems with political correctness run amok.

Our High School was the only entity in history to cancel a performance of "West Side Story" due to alleged "racism."  And then, only five years later, became the only High School in the nation to allow minors to perform the decidedly R rated "Vagina Monologues," which uses the C-word as often as Valley Girls use the word "like."

Yet they now wonder why our high schools kids feel comfortable spouting the N-word.

Former Amherst Town Manager Larry Shaffer threatened to not issue a parade permit for the privately run July 4th Parade Committee because they would not allow anti-war protesters to march (or the Westboro Baptist Church had they applied).

Last week. to their credit, thousands of UMass students appeared at a rally to counter the Westboro Baptist Church picketing with their hateful signs.  But then a few hours later, some students shamefully heckled former Attorney General John Ashcroft trying to give a speech curtesy of the UMass Republican Club.

A few years ago five committee chairs sent a letter to the local District Attorney requesting an investigation of Amherst School Committee member Catherine Sanderson, concerned over the freewheeling discussion generated by her blog.

Last week on this blog, long time Amherst School Committee member Rick Hood (who formerly had his own blog) tried to stir up the trolls just so he could brand blogs as an electronic version of bathroom stall graffiti.

And we know in Amherst, town officials get overly excited about bathroom stall graffiti.

Interestingly Oberlin College, who seems to have started the hot potato rolling with a proposed passage in its Sexual Offense Resource Guide admits that, "anything can be a trigger."  Um, okay, then lets not discuss "anything."

Amherst Town Meeting starts tonight.  Perhaps before I give any of my usual, gasp, conservative minded (God, Mom, Apple Pie or the American Flag) speeches, I should issue a trigger warning.

Only in Amherst does common sense require such a preamble. 


Anonymous said...

"(God, Mom and Apple Pie)'

Sorry, but God belongs in your church, and mom at home. However, apple pie I'm in favor of.

Larry Kelley said...

Hmm, one for three.

Better than I usually do on the floor of Town Meeting.

Adam Sweet said...

I agree with Anon11:26

Larry Kelley said...

Maybe I should have just used "the American flag."

Anonymous said...

God is everywhere, not just in a church. Most moms work these days even though they still spout the 70 cents myth. And apple pie will make you fat. The flag is everywhere except Amherst where it is dangerous and represents the anti-Christ.

Anonymous said...

Really? You must have missed the large American flag right on the common. Plus the ones at the police station, fire station, and town hall. Quit drinking the kool-aid.

Anonymous said...

Nice segway Larry...

Dr. Ed said...

Larry -- a disclaimer that the professor is going to encourage you to commit suicide?

When I was the assistant head of residence at a very small institution that I'd prefer not to name, I was also taking an undergrad English lit course to use toward renewing my K-12 teaching certificate.

This was a very small place where I essentially had no medical (including psych) resources -- there literally was no one for me to "hand things off" to.

A female student in my dormitory was flirting with suicide, and this was back when we respected student rights, so instead of instantly kicking her out (which most institutions would do today), my RAs and I were just keeping a very close eye on her. Memory is that I'd been up late the night before as part of this...

Well the potentially suicidal student is in the class with me, along with one of my RAs -- fortunately the one I would have wanted to have for what happened next.

Now there are quite a few female authors & poets who have committed suicide, and this professor was far enough into the feminism stuff to make most of the Valley Feminists look like Phyllis Schlafly by comparison.

Anyway, the professor goes into a class-long tirade that I can only describe as "go kill yourself for the sisterhood, ladies." Remember that neither I nor the RA can say anything because this was also back when we also respected confidentiality. The professor hence knows none of this, and goes on as to how in killing herself, this author glorified herself as a woman and God knows what else.

I have to quietly sit through it all, painfully aware of just what the consequences of all of this might be.

Larry, I have never hit another human being first, and I'm exceptionally proud of that. But I really wanted to pick that professor up, bounce her off the wall 2-3 times, and ask her what the &^%$% she thought she was doing....

You don't encourage students to commit suicide! Even without this particular student in the class, that was inappropriate at best and not something protected by academic freedom. (Something that her colleagues should have been calling her on as well...)

Teaching is a responsibility -- one which a disturbing number of people don't do responsibly. forget disclaimers, there needs to be some self-control on behalf of the ones doing the teaching...

Anonymous said...

Hopefully this statement won't be a trigger...

“It was the quietest ‘Hobart Hoedown’ I’ve ever seen,” Sgt. Gabriel Ting said Sunday night...

It might've been better to say nothing!

Anonymous said...

Dear Ed, please babble on. Or not.