Archive for the ‘Education’ Category

Never happened

April 14, 2009

They weren’t goths or loners.

The two teenagers who killed 13 people and themselves at suburban Denver’s Columbine High School 10 years ago next week weren’t in the “Trenchcoat Mafia,” disaffected videogamers who wore cowboy dusters. The killings ignited a national debate over bullying, but the record now shows Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold hadn’t been bullied — in fact, they had bragged in diaries about picking on freshmen and “fags.”

Their rampage put schools on alert for “enemies lists” made by troubled students, but the enemies on their list had graduated from Columbine a year earlier. Contrary to early reports, Harris and Klebold weren’t on antidepressant medication and didn’t target jocks, blacks or Christians, police now say, citing the killers’ journals and witness accounts. That story about a student being shot in the head after she said she believed in God? Never happened, the FBI says now.

A decade after Harris and Klebold made Columbine a synonym for rage, new information — including several books that analyze the tragedy through diaries, e-mails, appointment books, videotape, police affidavits and interviews with witnesses, friends and survivors — indicate that much of what the public has been told about the shootings is wrong.

Greg Toppo

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We would not fail?

April 13, 2009

Yes, if we were down there, if we were the damned of the American cities, we would not fail. We would rise above the corner. And when we tell ourselves such things, we unthinkly assume that we would be consigned to places like Fayette Street fully equipped, with all the graces and disciplines, talents and training that we now possess. Our parents would still be our parents, our teachers still our teachers, our broker still broker. Amid the stench of so much defeat and despair, we would kick fate in the teeth and claim our deserved victory. We would escape to live the life we were supposed to live, the life we are living now. We would be saved, and as it always is in matters of salvation, we know this as a matter of perfect, pristine faith.

-From the book “The Corner” by David Simon and Edward Burns

Postage stamp world

February 4, 2009

By Ann Davis

Yesterday, I had to go to the post office. Accustomed to long PO lines, I’d thought ahead and brought a book – which the clerk thought was funny, because there was only one other customer in there, and she was already being helped by another staffer.

After mailing a package, the clerk asked if I needed any stamps. She had Valentine hearts and flowers. I asked if she had any of the Edgar Allen Poe ones in (before leaving the office, I’d looked online to see what fun stamps are currently out).

She said, “Oh, yeah, we have lots of those. They’re not selling because no one knows who he is.”

“Except the girl who brought a book to wait at the post office,” I said, sadly, as a little piece of me died.

Now part of me thinks this story should encourage me, who’s starting a masters of Library Science this spring, to want to go into reforming libraries in lower-class, crime-heavy suburban areas such as the one near my office. But the larger part of me is just too disheartened. You can clean, stock and renovate all you like, but how do you make the people go in and read? But if I DO do it… and am successful… they can make a movie about it…

“And it’s a shame, it’s one of our prettiest stamps,” said the post office clerk.

If only that were the biggest shame!

Stress and grammar

February 4, 2009

The premise may be a bit of a stretch, but the recent MSNBC article “Is stress pushing spelling snobs over the edge” might be worth reading if, like me, you cringe at the site of a misplaced apostrophe, unnecessary quotation mark or preposition at the end of the sentence.

Thinking grad school for humanities?

February 3, 2009

Think again, says Thomas H. Benton, aka William Pannapacker.