Wednesday, September 27

Recent Scares at Fletcher High School Sober Reminder of Gun Culture

With two kids in high school, I'm concerned about a lot of issues. Kids might dabble in sex, drugs, and country music. They might get injured playing sports or doing a social media challenge. They have to get into college. The usual concerns. Oh, and they could get shot in a mass shooting. Recent events at Fletcher High School are a reminder of the ever-present threat of mass shootings in America, even if the actual events were fairly harmless.

It began with a Code Yellow and a gun. Well, not a gun. A suspected gun that turned out to be a toy gun. As parents, we were assured the guilty party who accused someone of having a gun that was just a toy would receive severe punishment. I don't know the whole story: maybe there was a threat, maybe there was a joke, maybe the snitch knew the SWAT team would would do a takedown or his nemesis. In some ways, it doesn't matter, as teens have made false accusations and threats since teens have existed. In a gun culture, however, it's more real, even if it's fake. It could happen, and it has happened. Lots of kids have died, so any accusation is taken seriously, and the resulting fear is real.

The next even was a typical Fletcher v Sandalwood sporting event. Trash talk, rivalry, etc. It led to a fight and an overturned table (a la Jesus in the temple). Some say a gun fell to the ground in the melee, but most accounts focus on the loud noise of the table that caused people to scatter. Everyone at the game knew the stories of other mass shootings, so everyone ran. Luckily, no one was trampled to death. And there was no gun fired. But there certainly could have been a gun, with or without security, as items can be tossed over fences and players who arrive early likely aren't fully checked (I could be mistaken on that one). Besides, the parking lot is right next to the stadium, and probably half the parent cars are carrying. 

In a kind of crazy twist, we received a message that two vehicles that were somehow (maybe) associated with people involved in the fight were later pulled legally? over by police and found to be "legally" carrying assault rifles. I realize I might be alone in thinking the ownership of AR-15s should be illegal, but can't we all agree that no one has the need to be transporting assault rifles after 9pm on a Friday night? My assumption was that friends were called to pick up friends who were at the game, and automatic weapons came along for the ride. Like when I was in high school and ventured out with a friend to find the Werewolf of Walworth County and I brought my Daisy BB gun, just in case. Sure, an AR-15 with silver bullets might have made more sense, but I'm pretty sure assault rifles were illegal when I was in high school (which makes even more sense).

So we're gun crazy. Parents are afraid of losing their kids and kids are afraid of other kids. The best answer from politicians and police is to arm more people and arrest more people. Schools secure more buildings, limit more exits, extend reach to parking lots, etc. My kids decided they wanted to have the typical high school experience, and, unfortunately, that's what they're getting. For every mass shooting in our country (and there are a lot), I bet we have dozens of threats, hit lists, manifestos and all kinds of crazy-ass BS, all rooted in the gun culture. As it somewhat extends to college, the workplace, and the roads, I assume my kids will get the true American experience of paranoia throughout their entire lives. Maybe it will get so bad that retirement communities will eventually experience 2nd Amendment rights first-hand.

Or we could start fixing it now. Take guns away from anyone who is crazy, stop allowing assault rifles, and prosecute parents whose kids commit these crimes with family weapons, just as a start. In general, handguns and assault rifles are manufactured to kill people. Hunting rifles and shotguns are for killing animals, and I am fine with people killing animals.

Friday, September 22

Holy Hard Water, Jacksonville

We finally got enough ahead to put on the new roof that didn't really help with insurance rates, and the next improvement probably has to be a water softener, since we have especially hard water. In fact, based on our zip code, we have hard water bordering on mineral water. For 32225, it's 339 ppm of minerals or 20 grains per gallon for figuring out your water softener. Here's a link to the JEA water hardness by zip. No explanation as to why JEA doesn't soften the water for us just a little bit. Probably too expensive, but it costs all of us, either in buying a water softener or in appliance and plumbing destruction that needs repair or replacement. Our shower heads go bad quickly, our dishwasher keeps getting broken parts, and our hot water heater had inches of crusty stuff in the bottom of the tank last year, so I know the hard water is, in fact, hard on our house.

When I ran the numbers for a water softener we would need (you take the grains per gallon x gallons per person x number of people, I got 6000. That translates to a 48,000 grain capacity water softener (5,751 – 6,850). I am assuming the average of 75 gallons per person per day.

The problem is that if we add one more person, which many houses our size could accommodate, that would put us in the 64,000 grain water softener range. I'm thinking we might want to opt for the larger unit for resale, since a 4-bed and 3-bath house should be able to house five or more people. But it also looks like I'll have fewer options if I go for the larger capacity, so maybe 48,000 is good. Or maybe there's a 56,000 unit out there. Anyhow, it'll be somewhere just under $1,000 for the water softener. Hoping the installation doesn't double the price.

I'm not sure if realtors or neighbors tell those of us who are new to Jax that it might have some of the hardest water they've ever used. Our zip code's 20 gpg ranks among the highest I saw in any of the cities with supposedly the worst hard water in our country. The caveat for a lot of the other cities was that city water might be significantly softer than surrounding areas based on water source. Obviously, JEA uses the hardest water source available, so lucky us. Even though my former hometown of Milwaukee is in the "Extremely Hard" area of the map, the Lake Michigan water distributed to homes was 8gpg/137 or moderately hard, so fine for home use. If salt does a number on hard water, couldn't we just mix in a little salt water to our system? We have a lot of salt water all around. I realize it's a different process, but it just seems frustrating.

Thursday, September 7

Clay County Dad Has Made One-Third of Book Complaints in State, Should Probably Homeschool

I'm not a huge proponent of homeschool. I think kids should have the social interaction of school and they benefit from the different teachers. But I'd like to make a suggestion to the whiney dad in Clay County that the world would probably be a better place if he homeschooled his little darlings.

I believe everyone in our country has the right to a free, public, liberal arts education. However, if a child is too violent, that child eventually gives up his right to that education. Or if a child skips school so often that he can't perform the work required to pass, then he also gives up the right. And if a parent makes a third of all the complaints in an entire state against using books at his kids' school, he also gives up the right. Why? In all the cases, it's about what's good for the many versus what's good for the few. If we let a violent kid continue to beat up his classmates, those other kids are negatively affected. And if we pass kids to the next grade level who don't earn the grades, the school's reputation and the value of the education earned by classmates suffers. And a parent who wastes time and resources just so he can prove how much he doesn't trust the decisions made by the school board elected by the many is just as much a nuisance to the school district.

Maybe no one has thought to ask this guy to pull his kids out of the school district. They might be worried he'd submit a complaint form if they do. But I don't really care, so I'll ask him to send his kids elsewhere. Like home. Online school doesn't have a library, so that's an option. Or, since he's such an expert, he can just teach the kids himself. He probably has a real doll of a wife who could handle it if he has to go off to work. And if they both work, then maybe a classical academy is the right setting, although he might be surprised how many classical books were written by homosexuals or how many classical paintings depict naked people, sometimes engaged in homosexual activities. Or send the kids to a private school and then join the school board there in order to police the staff. I mean, who has time to research all the books your kids' school might have? And does this guy's employer know how he spends half of his work day? Take it from a dad who has embarrassed his kids a few times: stop. Just strip-search your kids every day after school before you lock them in the dog kennels in their bedrooms in order to make sure they're not reading books about gay penguins. Or use the book about gay penguins in a teachable moment about why sodemny is wrong or why book-banning is so good.

Honestly, if this dad needs a new hobby, they exist. He could volunteer at the schools to maybe do lunch duty or monitor recess. He could help distribute food to those less fortunate or help them find meaningful employment so they aren't taking food from his family. He could distribute Bibles in North Korea. Lots of stuff. People would like you more if you had a meaningful hobby, or even an unmeaningful one, like watching the grass in your yard grow or racing RC boats in your pond. Or drinking heavily. Or sexy-time with the wife. But the best hobby would be to write a series of children's books that would be appropriate for all kids. Most brilliant and self-important people are amazingly creative and talented, which means writing several books for kids ought to be a snap.

So, to recap, I hope this dad sends his kids elsewhere with school choice vouchers and finds a new way to annoy others, maybe even a blog.

Contact Brian


Email *

Message *

Pennies From Heaven AKA Welfare for Writers

The reason why we have ads on this site is because that's one way writers make money online. Your presence on this site right now might make a penny for our family. Clicking on an ad might get us closer to $.50. Buying something online as a result of clicking on a link can make us a few dollars. We will not get rich from this money, but every penny helps out. Every like or share or re-post or follow. Please, make a donation to our family by clicking.

JAX Weather


Jacksonville jax money Florida crime housing activities vehicles economic development school home news transportation planning police Duval website design kids politics traffic research TV neighbor reviews sports taxes parks statistics East Arlington writing history environment St. Johns roads travel water employment fun men previous owner rankings Arlington weather women beach review business church jaguars pollution dating fashion football guns hurricane library race tourism fatalities health care zoning baseball music JEA Mayport restaurant summer animals games military unf Lyft St. Augustine education flooding pets spanish AC Halloween farms film french hockey noise ocean po radio Duval County Fletcher high school armada cats christmas controversy debate decision fall fort caroline style superhero 2021 AAA Roadside Assistance Advice Blowhard Cambridge AICE County Sheriffs Duval County Public Schools Easter FDOT FL Google Gyros Haretna Hilton Honors James jaeger Kernan Boulevard Lutheran Milano's Ocala Pressers SEO St. Johns County Starbucks T-shirts Tim Tebow VW acting ad of the week addiction again all balls arts asked avoid behavior belief best bi-polar boo celebration chances chump colleges column common comparison consequences councilmembers credit card cuisine difficult to use don't work doors driving games entertainment experience expression faith finding food frustration future gambling gaming gas station grass hack handles high school exchange homes housing market humor illegal traffic stops impact importance improve indians informed infrastructure insightful issue. killing language last chance light boat parade lights local dating scene lottery love made mascot meaning mental health merchandise mistakes mood swings no U-turn sign no brains notebooks opening opinion origins ownership party paying for hotels personal opinion pet ownership pitbull play players pooper popular pound sand program protect real estate reason reform religion request revenue rewards program rights road trip save school identity school pride school spirit service simple sketchy slang someone state struggle support system take down taste teachers thank you timucuan traffic laws traffic stop universities unpredictability usage vehicle pet peeves welcome workplace