It’s A Scary World

Brad, the “dad”

I had just dropped the Elf at the middle school when I heard a familiar name on the radio. It was the top-of-the-hour headlines: a 13-year-old had been shot and killed over a dispute involving a pick-up basketball game. Shot twice, no less. By a fellow student.

And it happened at my old middle school. Back when it was still called “junior high,” and less than a hundred yards from the house I lived in at the time. I suddenly, chillingly, realized that I had been playing pick-up basketball (badly) on that same outdoor, asphalt court, at the same time of day, exactly forty years ago. Before they put up the security fence all around the campus. Before the fire that burned most of the original building to the ground. Before…well, apparently before everything changed.

Yes, I know it was a long time ago, but this wasn’t some impoverished gang-infested, inner-city school on the Bad Side of Town. This was the same moderately overcrowded, moderately well-run school in the same middle-class, highly diverse, Southern California suburb it had been in 1968, so…what the hell has happened? What kind of world has grown up around us in the last forty years? What was I dropping my daughter into? It wasn’t just ironic that I had just deposited my own kid at her own eight grade mere moments before; it was downright terrifying.

California suburb

I’m probably worrying too much. I don’t even live in that neighborhood, or that town, or even that county, anymore. And I know we hear stories like this every few days, and click our tongues and shake our heads. I know the only thing that makes this one different for me is that it’s my school, in my ancient and distant home town. But still…is it worse ‘out there’ than it was forty years ago? Or am I just being paranoid and overprotective? Again?

Mary, the “mom”

I don’t think it’s paranoid or overprotective to worry, because there is plenty to worry about, but it doesn’t accomplish anything. All we can do is teach our kids to be good and be careful and then we just have to hope they’re not in the wrong place at the wrong time.

When I say ‘all we can do is teach them to be good and careful’, I don’t mean the standard “be good parents and it will all work out”. I think we need to make sure our children are tolerant of others and, to quote the ‘Golden Rule’, “treat others as they would like to be treated”. I’ve been trying to get my 9-year-old to see a little social squabble from the other girl’s perspective. Maybe it’s a lot of these little teachable moments that add up to them having empathy for others. It seems as though much of the senseless violence in schools today is perpetrated by kids who have been bullied or excluded. Sometimes all it takes is one kid standing up for the outcast to make that kid’s life more tolerable. Of course, if I’m being honest, I have to admit that standing up for the outcast against a popular crowd could be downright dangerous in and of itself. But, if enough kids have empathy for others, maybe some of this senseless violence will stop.

However, since it won’t all stop, I also think we need to try to educate our children to be “street smart” and the ‘street’ might be a city street or it might be the playground at school, but they need to know to look out for trouble and avoid it. That can be a little hard to accomplish in suburbia, but I think we’ve got to try.

All that said, the news I heard on my drive home today included a report of a group of third graders plotting to attack their teacher. My youngest is a third grader – it’s beyond my comprehension that 9-year-olds would do such a thing. It makes you wonder what they’ll be doing when they’re in middle school. I guess I’m worried, even if it doesn’t accomplish anything.

California suburb

Rach, the “teen”

Every year, without fail, there is a bomb threat at my high school in the suburbs. Every student here looks forward to “bomb threat day” – we love it. They take us out of classes and let us hang out on the fields across from the school. It’s a great day spent in the sun while bomb-sniffing dogs search the entire building and grounds.

In fact, we have lockdowns (where we aren’t allowed to leave our classrooms for an hour while the dogs sniff the building, or someone gets arrested) more than we have fire drills or student assemblies.

Violence is part of our country, our culture, our schools, and our media. And that’s what really so scary to me. That society lets all this violence filter through into our thoughts and the thoughts of our children.

Of course, education is the best way to protect people from violence. Teaching them that it is not OK to harm someone with actions or with words is important. And, sadly, it’s our only option right now.

So, mom and dad, you are dropping your kids into scary violence and the hate-obsessed world. And I’m sorry.

I don’t want to live in a world where kids shoot other kids, or where students plan kidnappings of their teachers. But I don’t have a choice. It’s really scary for us, knowing that there could be shooting at our high school or college campus, or that the draft would come back and we’d all be shipped off to war.

We want you to worry for us because then it doesn’t seem so irrational when we are afraid of what’s next.

Couples Negril Vs. Couples Swept Away

Couples who are looking to get away and spend intimate quality time together travel to the tropical island paradise of Jamaica. The first all-inclusive couples only resort appeared in Jamaica in 1978 and was called the Couples Resort. The concept was formulated by Tower Isle Hotel owner, Abe Issa. Still in the Issa family, the Couples brand of luxury all-inclusive resorts has grown to include Couples Negril and Couples Swept Away. Although both resorts are Couples properties, there are many differences between them.

Couples Negril Vs. Couples Swept Away

Both resorts are located on the western coast of Jamaica in the resort area of Negril. Couples Swept Away is located on the white sands of Negril’s famous Seven Mile beach and gives guests the opportunity to enjoy the casual and laid-back atmosphere of Negril up close. Guests that prefer a more private atmosphere will choose to stay at Couples Negril which is located over five miles from downtown Negril on its own private beach on Bloody Bay.

Couples Swept Away is a larger property which has 312 suites and six restaurants, while Couples Negril is slightly smaller housing only 234 rooms and suites with five restaurants.

If keeping fit is important to you on your tropical isle getaway, Couples Swept Away has a ten acre fitness facility that offers equipment and classes for all fitness levels. Although there is fitness equipment available at Couples Negril, there are not any classes offered. Group exercise is available in the form of nature walks and playing beach volleyball.

The Best South Beach Hotels on a BudgetRooms
Both resorts have a variety of rooms and suites available, however they range in the number of jacuzzi suites available. Garden suites and Beachfront suites at Couples Negril have jacuzzis, while only the Great House jacuzzi suites at Couples Swept Away have jacuzzis. All rooms in both resorts are air-conditioned with a ceiling fan and a king size bed. Additionally all rooms have private bathrooms, CD players, blow dryers and safety deposit boxes. Except for the Garden suites and Atrium suites at Couples Swept Away, all rooms have satellite television. Couples Negril has upgraded to flat screen televisions in all of their rooms.

Because Couples resorts are all-inclusive, there is food available 24 hours per day. Both resorts offer full and continental breakfasts and a variety of dining options throughout the day. Their menus consist of continental cuisine, Caribbean cuisine and Jamaican favorites that are served buffet style throughout the day. However, during the evening there are significant differences between the cuisine offered in the ala carte restaurants. The Lemon Grass restaurant at Swept Away offers Thai cuisine, while Heliconia at Couples Negril offers Mediterranean cuisine and Lychee offers an Asian fusion menu.

Both resorts offer virtually the same activities. There is live entertainment every evening that includes comedy, dancing and other favorites. Unlimited green fees are included for golf enthusiasts that would like to practice their swing at the Negril Country Club.


The Brazilians are the only people in Latin America who don’t speak Spanish (except Haiti) and they have a quite different behavior from the South Americans because their homeland is Portugal rather than Spain.

Although Brazil is a stranger to racism, it is largely a society of classes. It is enough to examine the composition of government bodies. In Brazil is still important to come from a good family.

The state slowly begins to derive from the success in the business area and political influence.

BRAZILBrazilians have a very small comfortable distance (80 cm to unlike 1.2 meters as the British) and are happy to work near each other. They are tactile, affectionate and very extroverted. Women are always welcoming another woman with kisses on both cheeks, and men join hands.

Brazilians consider it is rude to arrive on time when someone invited you to his house for dinner. Business meetings rarely start at the scheduled time, and usually lasts more than the scheduled time, thus delaying all subsequent meetings.

Glib and overly talkative, the Brazilians call the gestures and facial expressions in order to emphasize their point of view. Although sometimes seem overly emotional, they only intend to make you understand that their words come from their heart. As their speech is longer, they fell that they consolidate your loyalty, as a foundation upon which it can be built and created long-term sympathies.


Try not to respond with a suspicious attitude at Brazilians’ warm behavior because they strive to please the others and thank them whenever possible. If you are stiff and formal, you will confuse them.

As for the tourist attractions, Sao Paulo is an important touristic center and a city that is worth being visited by all the tourists from all around the world. You will feel great wandering on Avenida Paulista or through the neighborhood in which are most of the constructions built since 1900.