Violence-101: A Syllabus of Higher Awareness

Violence is, and always will be, that uncensored part of human existence to which we are all subjected to becoming exposed to it in one form or another; either as perpetrator, victim, or spectator. For those who have suffered violent acts at the hands of their attackers, there’s a road to recovery for them that seems optimistic for some survivors and yet exasperating for some. Over the past few years, there have been numerous repetitive situations of violence involving a generation that retains a monstrous amount of uncontrollable rage, with their focal point being a desire to strike fear into the hearts of innocent onlookers in one of our most highly regarded traditional environments: our schools.

On December 13, 2013, Karl Pierson opened fire at his school, the Arapahoe High School located in Centennial, Colorado, critically wounding a 17-year old student before killing himself. Originally, detectives had several leads as to a possible motive for the gunman’s violent rampage, however, the most reliable source of information would have to come from the person themselves.

Prior to this incident also in the state of Colorado, Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold entered the Columbine High School located in Littleton to carry out a terroristic massacre that resulted in 15 deaths before both students turned their guns onto themselves. Both suspects left a trail of clues for detectives to decipher the meaning behind this premeditated killing spree with all of their conclusions directing towards the most obvious cause: mental illness.

Both of the above cases, as disturbing as they may be, seems to point to an even bigger issue with youths who suffer from incurable psychological illnesses that, if left ignored, can alter one’s perception of reality in the most tragic of ways. It’s sad when youths turn to violence as a solution for the pain and rejection they feel for not being deemed as “normal”, for so many innocent bystanders have had to have their lives ended without warning or defense. It is time for society to stop brushing this issue under the rug and start taking into consideration the innocent blood that is continuously being shed among the students of our educational institutions.

©2013 Learus Ohnine

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Literacy In America

The advanced potential of technology, along with its mainstream function of being able to access information at any given time, has now overturned the way readers have access to books. Having the potential to access publications from the comfort of your own home at any given time of the day or night may be the main contributing factor as to why consumers have elected to invest in the purchasing of an e-book reader as opposed to spending money on transportation costs to their local bookstore. More recently, local and large chain bookstores have reported an enormous drop in sales since technology has introduced a more convenient way to read by way of the Barnes & Noble Nook, the Amazon Kindle, the Pandigial Reader, and the Sony Reader. While e-book sales have increased over the years in the United States, the U.S. adult literacy rates have decreased.

Literacy has a major impact on the functional ability of a country. However, statistics reveal a sad truth concerning the readers residing in the United States: approximately 32 million Americans cannot read. According to a study performed by The Organization for Economic Adult Literacy, the United States ranked 16 out of 23 countries. 1 out of 3 American adults cannot read properly, meaning either they do not fully understand the material they have read or they cannot analyze the information they have read correctly. Oddly, 33% of American adults, or 1 out of 4 Americans, own an e-reader of some sort. As the number of e-books sold has increased by 43% over the past 5 years, over 10 million e-books have been sold thus far yet this does not indicate there is hope for an increase in American literacy rates.

One possible explanation as to the awkward imbalance in statistics when comparing the number of e-reader and e-book sales to literacy rates is the decline of available bookstores where physical books may be purchased. When assessing the literacy rates, approximately 1 in 3 adults scored low in problem solving abilities within a technical environment. Not every reader is computer literate. In bookstores, customers can readily ask for assistance if needed when searching for a specific topic or publication. With e-readers, the reader is pretty much on their own. Since the sales of e-books has risen over the past 10 years, bookstores have been forced to shut down due to their low sales volume. Their low sales volume is contributed to the rising number of readers who prefer to purchase e-books rather than the traditionally printed book, and not all adult educational development resources are available in electronic form.

With bookstores becoming extinct and electronic book sales increasing, there may still be hope for raising the literacy stats for American adults as long as the number of library locations does not decline in the process…

©2013 Learus Ohnine

Furry People

Pet ownership can be a gratifying experience with its many underlying purposes as to why people become owners. The mutual bonding, the companionship, and the experience of feeling what it’s like to be a caretaker all play important parts in the duration of relationship between pet and its owner. Most pet owners choose the pets they wish to care for based on their ability to care for the pet, the functions of the pet, and some may even purchase a pet based on their own personality or that of the pet itself.

While some become pet owners just for the purpose of having a lovable little furry friend around the house, some become owners to fulfill a much needed deeper psychological desire to transform their pet into a furry human being. For example, for those who cannot bear children, pet ownership makes a wonderful replacement when the probability of parenting a child is not likely or at all possible. In this situation, the owner cares for the pet as if the pet were a human being. They may buy throw birthday parties for their pet every year, they may call themselves “mommy” or “daddy”, and some may buy their pets products that were strictly designed for human use only, such as pacifiers, McDonald’s happy meals, etc.

Another case scenario may be the pet owner who disdains the idea of having children due to their own personal contempt for them in general, yet they still want to nurture something lifelike that does not resemble a child but will return the love and affection they desire from their role as a caretaker. Regardless of the fact caring for a pet can start out being just as time-consuming as it is in caring for a child, this particular type of pet owner will feel as if their responsibility as caretaker is more fun than work as a child will demand more attention and need more supervision. Also, pet owners of this type may suffer from other psychological issues stemming from their own childhood and would rather refrain from the presence of children in their life altogether, however, they do like the idea of feeling needed and wanted – something a pet will give unconditionally.

Whatever the reason a pet owner may have for substituting a pet for a child, one thing is for certain: there will never be a shortage of human beings in this world, so no worries on contributing more to masses.

©2013 Learus Ohnine

Something to think about: “Walls were Made to be Broken” (part 4) The Demolition Process

Hopefully by now, you have uncovered which walls need your immediate attention and which walls do not. I would suggest beginning the demolition process on any wall that is causing an immediate hindrance to your daily living, such as anything that is interfering with your peace of mind. Nothing compares to enjoying life with a healthy state of mind. Remember – you only get one life; it is better to make the most of the time you have to spend on this earth than to waste it and regret it later.

So on to the demolition…

The demolition process basically starts off following the same procedures for both Conscious and Unconscious Walls. The only difference is the amount of time it takes to completely destroy them. That time is determined by factors such as when that wall was placed there and who put it there. For example: an Unconscious Wall that has been built by an authority figure, such as a parental figure, a lover, or whomever you have depended on for emotional support and approval, may take years to demolish simply because it has been ingrained inside your heart and mind as a necessity for survival. Let’s say, for instance, a child who grows up in an environment that is unsympathetic and is full of callousness may have had to learn to adapt to that kind of situation by becoming so thick-skinned that they do not know how to love or be loved. They reject anyone who comes across as caring and sympathetic, or the total opposite, because they do not recognize that real love and are only receptive to people who resemble the authority figures of the environment they have grown up in. They will recreate their childhood environment because that IS their comfort zone. It may take years before this person can make a successful personal transformation, but it is not impossible.

So let’s begin with a less challenging wall to destroy: the Conscious Wall. Just a quick recall, a Conscious Wall is one that is derived from a realistic fear stemmed from an illogical belief. Examples of this would be along the lines of stereotyping: ALL marriages end in divorce, ALL blondes are dimwitted, ALL males are cheaters, and ALL women are not as intelligent as a man, and so on. Plenty can be said about the stereotyping of gender, sexual preference, and races but I will not get too deep into those details. When stereotype a person, place or thing, we will react to them according to what we feel is appropriate, and that includes avoidance. Keep in mind it is healthy and wise to avoid something or someone we know for a fact is not in our best interest. However, stereotyping is not based on facts. Stereotyping is based on opinion and does not necessarily mean one part applies to the whole, if you catch my drift.

But how do we debunk any hypothetical stereotyping beliefs we may have?

Get out there and find out for yourself. Be realistic; nobody is perfect. We all have flaws, hang-ups, etc., but is that not what makes us all unique? None of our personal flaws may have anything to do with our gender, our cultural background, or our sexual preference.  The funny thing about social networking, such as Facebook, Twitter, Linked-In, etc., is we all can be whoever we want to be behind the screen, but it is the words that we speak that will be noticed by others first. We do not see a face, a race, or a gender unless we post a profile picture, and even that sometimes is not always truthful. The bottom line is: you will never know what you are missing until you get to know the character of a person. Drop everything that you have heard and read about a gender, a culture, or a sexual preference and just meet a variety of people from all, and I do mean ALL, walks of life and from any and every category. Remember, you yourself fall into one or more categories. Would you want someone to discriminate against you without giving you a fair chance?

 

© 2013 Learus Ohnine