Monday, April 28, 2014
Too Many (Hair) Triggers?
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.