Lydster: talking about school shootings

January 17, 1989, in Stockton, California

Active Shooter DrillsAt the end of the summer, my daughter was waiting for her friends, who were late. She calls me at home, and she brings up the subject of school shootings.

She wanted to know if I had to think about these things growing up. Heck, no, but I’m better than a half-century older than she is. This got me to look up the Wikipedia page for List of school shootings in the United States. Ah, such a convenient tracking of carnage.

There were shootings back in the 19th century, but most involved zero to two casualties. An exception took place on March 30, 1891, in Liberty, Mississippi when “an unknown gunman fired a double-barreled shotgun into the mixed audience, made up of black and white students, parents and teachers. Fourteen people were wounded, some seriously.”

Six were killed in a melee in Charleston, West Virginia on December 13, 1898. I’ve written about the 1966 University of Texas shooting, the first crime of its sort that I remembered.

20th century

Hmm, they counted Kent State and Jackson State from 1970. I have no recollection of the December 30, 1974, Olean (NY) shooting that killed 3 and injured 11.

The worst shooting in the 1980s was on January 17, 1989, in Stockton, California. A 24-year-old fatally shot five children and wounded 32 others at an elementary school, before taking his own life. “The victims were children of refugees from Southeast Asia.” The shooter “had a history of violence, alcoholism, and drug addiction, and criminality.”

Then April 20, 1999: Littleton, Colorado, with 15 dead, including the two shooters, 21 wounded. I had to admit to my daughter that I had managed to forget the March 21, 2005 incident at Red Lake, Minnesota, where five students, one teacher, and one security guard were killed, wounding seven others, after the shooter previously killed a couple of relatives.

I do remember the guy who killed five Amish girls in Pennsylvania in 2006. The Virginia Tech shootings in 2007 made the international news. Then Newtown, CT; Parkland, FL; Santa Fe, TX. I remember that my daughter was particularly upset by Santa Fe after she and her classmates protested following Parkland.

How stressful her life, and the lives of her friends, must be. She so related to the disturbing Sandy Hook Promise ad here or here or here.

We had duck and cover, but I don’t think we took it too seriously. They have active shooter drills, and they have reason to believe it COULD happen “here.”

Lydster: Instagram, copyright, bullying

teen drama

breaking bad kids
via Aaron Paul’s Instagram
Early in my retirement, my wife and I were sound asleep in our bed at 11:30 p.m., because that’s what we do. Our dear daughter came into the room needing to talk, preferably to the male parent. Oh yeah… zzz.. that’s me.

The issue is that some young woman, who I’ll call Happy, had taken a graphic from someone else’s Instagram page. The artist, who I’ll call Art, is a friend of my daughter.

Art politely asked Happy to take the piece off her page. Happy refused. As some of Art’s friends got involved in the conversation, Happy became more adamant. She suggested that Art and all of his friends should get together and cut themselves.

My daughter wanted my advice, which I suppose I should appreciate. I recommended, regarding both the artwork and the response by Happy, was to contact Instagram.

This is not the first time I’ve learned about the Sturm und Drang involving teenagers on social media. Back in the old days, if there were bullies, you and your geographically close friends knew who they were and how to avoid or confront them.

Now, there’s a network of friends and “friends” who get intricately involved in these dramas. I am utterly fascinated, baffled and more than a bit concerned how these issues can escalate.

I know this is probably unAmerican, but I have never warmed to Instagram. It seems difficult to ascertain what pictures actually belong to whom, with photos and graphics swapped about.

Huh. I went to my Instagram account, which I hadn’t used in so long that I had forgotten the password, which is not that rare. I was puzzled to note that while I had 14 followers, I have apparently never posted anything.

It’s weird because I swore that I had submitted photos of some of my ancestors. I probably will use Instagram at some point in my purported free time. But I will have expectations that the pictures will be shared.

Oh, here’s the kicker. Because I went to visit Happy’s Instagram page, she sent me an invitation to friend her on Facebook! I declined.

Lydster: Working Girl, per Melanie G.

stolen t-shirts

Coverville.CokeShirt-frontThe fun facts in our household this season:
1) I’m no longer working; I’m retired
2) My wife is not currently at work; she’s a teacher and it’s the summer
3) My daughter IS working

For some reason, the youngest among us seems to be irritated by this situation, the ONLY person employed. For instance, she’s been grilling me about MY first job, which was delivering the evening and Sunday newspapers in Binghamton, NY when I was 12 and 13.

“No, what was the first job when you had to Deal With Other People?” That’d be working as a page at the Binghamton Public Library when I was 16.

She’s involved in this Summer Youth Employment Program conducted by the city of Albany. While I know where she works, I haven’t quite sussed out what she DOES. Something about being a non-profit co-ordinator? Wha?

They’ve been teaching the teenagers some life skills. The teens have been wrangling smaller kids. My daughter noted that she kept running into one young girl and smiled at her. The girl brought my daughter a cup of water.

I did not expect that my daughter would start stealing my clothes. Specifically, my T-shirts. To be honest, my tees are more interesting than my wife’s. Mine tend to be about social causes (AIDS, peace), sports, and especially music.

I haven’t let her steal my green Beatles T-shirt yet, but I have allowed her to purloin my Coverville shirts, and I have about a half dozen of them. She doesn’t even listen to the podcast yet. I ought to just go out and buy my daughter her own set!

I understand that she likes earning money so that, one of these days, she can buy a car. I’m assuming she has no sense of the expense of owning a car beyond the purchase price and maybe the gasoline. You know, the maintenance, and the insurance.

Fortunately, a 20 hour/week job for five weeks won’t get her there THIS summer. Then again, she’s still too young to get a driver’s permit. Oh, and who’s going to teach her to drive? It can’t be me, and my wife and I agree that it oughtn’t to be her.

A problem for another year, thank goodness. Do they still teach driver’s ed in high school?

What the heck is a Triennium?

‘Here’s My Heart’

Triennium“The Presbyterian Youth Triennium is a gathering for high school age youth from the Presbyterian Church (USA) and the Cumberland Presbyterian Church that occurs every three years. The 2019 event is July 16-20, 2019 at Purdue University. The theme for the 2019 event is ‘Here’s My Heart.'”

Here’s the thing: my daughter and I just got back. Or we will have just returned since I’m writing this BEFORE we departed. Talk about your time warp. I’ve been one of four chaperones for the Albany Presbytery.

“Five days of CONVERSATION, RECREATION, LEARNING, WORSHIP, AND FUN! Drawing from the rich and diverse theology, history and education of the Presbyterian tradition – the Triennium experience is packed with the information students long to explore!”

Moreover, it will have taken about 17 hours on a bus to get to Lafayette, IN and another 3/4 of a day to get back. Our departure was scheduled for 8 p.m. on July 15. That was my wife’s birthday, which was our present to her! Our return ETA was July 21 at 8 a.m., by which time she will have had time to miss us.

If I had still been working, I almost certainly would never have agreed to go. A week away from the job meant taking two days just to catch up. That’s been the nature of the beast. Also, if my daughter didn’t want me to go, I surely would not have done so.

“Digging into faith through a variety of activities and experiences – all focused around the theme ‘Here’s My Heart’ (Recognize the line yet? Hint: It’s a lyric from a classic tune/hymn we sing!) participants at the Triennium will re-enter their lives with a fresh sense of inspiration grounded in the context of personal and communal worship!”

One other thing, I will have been without anything to write on electronically for a week, a curse when you have a daily blog. I will have a cellphone but no laptop. So, if I haven’t visited your website, or approved your comments, or commented on Facebook, it will have been a combination of busyness and inaccessibility.

One other selling point of the trip that can check Indiana off my list of states. That will be #31. I had been through there back in 1998 on a train, but I did not actually DO anything for it to count. Sooner or later, I may actually write about the experience.

BC: British Columbia; Before Christ

the use of BCE was popularized in academic and scientific publications

British ColumbiaWhat possessed me going through the two-letter postal codes for United States states, Canadian provinces and territories of both? It started with a game I used to play with my daughter, usually in the car.

I’d say there were four states beginning with A and she’d name them. None with B, but three with C, one with D, etc.

Re: British Columbia, I started wondering about something. How does the province in Canada furthest from the country and explorer for which it’s named become so dubbed?

Here’s an explanation: “The Colony… was founded by Richard Clement Moody [et al.]… in response to the Fraser Canyon Gold Rush… He was hand-picked by the Colonial Office in London to transform British Columbia into the British Empire’s ‘bulwark in the farthest west,’ and ‘to found a second England on the shores of the Pacific…’

“Today… the question of Aboriginal Title, long ignored, has become a legal and political question of frequent debate as a result of recent court actions. Notably, the Tsilhqot’in Nation has established Aboriginal title to a portion of their territory, as a result of a 2014 Supreme Court of Canada decision.”

The traditional English abbreviation was B.C., the traditional French C.-B. for Colombie-Britannique. Capital: Victoria; largest city: Vancouver.


Dionysius invented the Anno Domini system in the sixth century, “which is used to number the years of both the Gregorian calendar and the Julian calendar.

“Common Era or Current Era (CE) and BCE (Before the Common Era or Before the Current Era)… are alternatives to the Dionysian AD and BC system respectively… Since the two notation systems are numerically equivalent, “2019 CE” corresponds to “AD 2019” and “400 BCE” corresponds to “400 BC”.

The expression has been traced back to 1615, when it first appeared in a book by Johannes Kepler… The term “Common Era” can be found in English as early as 1708, and became more widely used in the mid-19th century by Jewish religious scholars.

“In the later 20th century, the use of CE and BCE was popularized in academic and scientific publications as a culturally neutral term. It is also used by some authors and publishers who wish to emphasize sensitivity to non-Christians, by not explicitly referencing Jesus as “Christ” and Dominus (“Lord”) through use of the abbreviation “AD”.

There’s a daughter story here, too. Someone in her class a few years back suggested that AD meant After Death, presumably of Jesus, but someone (OK, I) had told her some time earlier that it meant “in the year of our Lord”, or Anni Domini. However, the teacher agreed with the other student until he subsequently checked.

For ABC Wednesday