American Elephants


There’s A Battle Going On Here, But It’s Not Quite What You Think! by The Elephant's Child

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For years, everyone has pretty much agreed that ordinary Americans are blessed with plenty of plain old common sense. I believe that to be true. But the level of society represented by businesses and managers and officialdom at all levels seems to have gone remarkably nuts.

For example, consider the “zero-tolerance” thing that has infected our public schools across the country. Remember the little boy who chewed his Pop Tart into what the zero tolerance administration at his school considered a gun-shape, and he was suspended from school. What it actually looked like was the shape of the state of Idaho. You just turn the state on it’s side and voilá — a gun. Kim R. Holmes points out:

Children are suspended from school for pointing their fingers as a gun, using an imaginary bow and arrow on the playground…  Seven high school students are arrested for engaging in a harmless end-of-the-year water balloon fight, A student is slammed down on the sidewalk and hospitalized for an injury, and a parent standing nearby and complaining about the excessive use of force is threatened with a stun-gun, hospitalized for an injury, and arrested for trespassing. … So-called “free-range children” who are allowed to walk home by themselves from the playground are picked up by police, and their parents are investigated by Child Protective Services. Only decades ago their “offense” was the norm for most American families.

The sheer insanity of the “snowflakes” on college campuses has become well known, as has the utter inability of college administrators to do what would seem to be common sense and send the brats home. “A backlash from parents and alumni is turning up as a result of the campus disruptions of the last academic year. The University of Missouri, where the high-profile, racially-charged protests made national news, have found that enrollment is expected to decline by 2.600 students in the fall. The new freshman class will decline by 1,400. For every 100 fewer students on campus the university loses $1 million in tuition revenue, which rises to $2.5 million for 100 fewer undergraduates from outside the state.”

Across the pond, the experts told us not to worry, that BREXIT would never pass, the consequences would be too severe, but ordinary Englishmen were sick of being controlled by unelected members of an unaccountable bureaucracy and voted to leave. The world has not fallen apart.

Target Corporation responded to the current zeitgeist when it announced that it would allow customers to use whatever bathroom corresponds to their “gender identity.” The American Family Association charged that Target’s new policy would make women and children susceptible to sexual predators, and led a boycott effort that has now garnered nearly 1.5 million signatures. When Target announced its policy, its stock price was $83,50 a share. It has dropped to $67.17 a share. A man who “identifies” as transgender was caught taking pictures of a female customer in a Target fitting room. Target decided to add a third single-toilet bathroom at all stores, which can be locked by users, at a cost pf $20 million. Target clearly still doesn’t get it. Common sense Americans probably will not return.

Kim Rhodes is an Olympic champion who has won medals in six games. Her historic feat  had gone unmentioned by the press. She won her medals by (Gasp!) shooting a gun, which apparently puts her beyond the pale. No major corporate sponsor, but her ammunition and training costs are offset with sponsorship from firearms companies. Companies fear a backlash from the progressive anti-gun lobby. She shoots skeet, better known as clay pigeons.

Even when the press has reported on her achievement, the tone has often been dismissive. An NBC story noted that her medal record is arguably “far less impressive than, say, a gymnast or a swimmer” because shooting “requires fewer physical attributes.” Sure, all it takes is remarkable hand-eye coordination, quick reflexes, steady nerves and dedication over 20 years.

Trap or skeet shooting is a pastime for tens of thousands of Americans outside the main media corridors. I even tried it once myself, I wasn’t too bad .

Meanwhile in Academe — the chancellor of the University of Wisconsin-Stout — has decided that two paintings should be removed from hallways in Harvey Hall, because the uncontrolled access poses a risk of having a “harmful effect” on their students. They are “French Trappers on the Red Cedar” and “Perrault’s Trading Fort.” They will be hidden away in the Library along with a document that explains their historical significance and the concerns Native Americans have expressed about how they are portrayed in the paintings. Can’t foist those ideas on unaware or unwilling recipients. It is becoming clear that today’s college students don’t know ANYTHING about history.

It is a pattern, repeated over and over. It’s not ordinary Americans who are out of touch. It is those who conceive of themselves as smarter, more enlightened, and just ever so modern and up-to-date for the 21st Century, you know. Every time someone utters the phrase “21st Century” you will know just where they are coming from.



Paranoia Persists: Pointing Fingers and Saying “Pow” Gets Suspension by The Elephant's Child

This last month, a six-year-old boy in Silver Spring, MD was suspended from a Montgomery County public school for pointing his finger like a gun and saying “pow.” This was an incident that school officials characterized in a disciplinary letter as a threat to “shoot a student.” Oh please.

I’ve done that, haven’t you? I have also fired weapons and know the difference. I’m a real dead-eye when it comes to woodrats.

The first-grader was suspended for one day. The family found it necessary to hire an attorney, asking that the incident be expunged from the child’s school record amid concerns about potential long-term fallout. (Smart parents, but this is the most alarming point about the whole incident).  Attorney Robin Ficker said:

The boy had no intention to shoot anyone. He is skinny and meek, In his words, he was playing. She described the child as soft-spoken.

Of course he had no intention to shoot anyone. A finger is not an assault weapon.  But similar incidents have taken place in Oklahoma and elsewhere. I don’t think I was ever instructed in how to align my fingers to represent a pistol. It comes pretty naturally. Also note water-pistols, cap-pistols, NERF guns and carbide cannons.

The child’s parents received a letter from an assistant principal saying that their son “threatened to shoot a student” and that he had been spoken to earlier about similar behavior. A counselor “had an extended conversation” with the child to emphasize “the inappropriateness of using objects to make shooting gestures,” and an assistant principal had talked to the boy about the “seriousness” of the issue, the letter said.

“Yet, after the meeting with the counselor and assistant principal [the boy] chose to point his finger at a female classmate and say “Pow,” wrote the school system’s attorney. OMG. Call the cops, send him right to juvenile detention. What is the matter with these people?

In the meantime, there seems to be a little common sense at the Maryland State Board of Education which is preparing for a final vote on a proposed regulation that would transform the use of out-of-school suspension for minor offenses. [Please define minor]. The new regulation ban zero-tolerance approach and require school systems to “adopt a rehabilitative philosophy toward discipline, with the goal of limiting suspensions and teaching positive behavior.” Sigh. There’s some nice bureaucratic language intended to absolve anyone from blame for anything.

Ridicule is still the best weapon. When our schools get all paranoid about such trivial stuff, you realize why our education system has fallen so far. These schools should be made national laughingstocks.  Just try a little common sense.




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