Monday, August 13, 2007

Due to great boredom...

And the fact that I've already posted two "big" posts today, rather than getting a third (the subject of which I've been contemplating for a while now) I'll just give an update on the school situation.

Tomorrow morning first thing, I'm running down to the college to the head of the Ag program's office, and seeing if I can't snag the work study position there. I've dealt with the head of the Ag program, I like the guy, and I know for a fact that he'll understand my weirdo schedule (he helped me put it together, after all.) So, I'll see if I can't get that.

Tomorrow afternoon, the cable/internet/phone guy had BETTER have his jumpsuited (I don't know if this company actually makes them wear jumpsuits but after Cable Guy thats my mental image of, well, a cable guy) butt here, and ready to hook up all my stuff, or I am going to be one unhappy little Farmgirl.

I will dance a dance of joy when I have real tv. My apartment is clean, I've vacuumed every day this week, the dishes are done and the counters wiped down, and I'm bored out of my freaking mind. I've watched every DVD I have here at least twice, and let them play as background noise at least that much. If I have to go one more day without distraction, I will go insane and start tracking the chihuahua down the hall with a paring knife, I swear.

On a slight side note, I discovered today that I can reach every carpeted part of my apartment to vacuum using the plug-in by the door. I've been unplugging it and moving it from the living room to the bedroom, on the assumption that it wouldn't reach, but I proved myself wrong.

Still not sure if that's a nifty labor saving fact or very, very sad. So far I'm leaning towards the first.

My soft spot...

I have a soft spot for the fuzzy critters. It has, in the past, led my mother to shake her head and sigh, before getting me an old towel and the kitten bottle, or a syringe, or neosporin and some gauze, depending on the situation.

Farmmom has the same soft spot, though, so she only made me promise to find homes for whatever balls of fur I brought home. Sometimes, it caused her to bring me the fuzzy ones.

I have a certain talent for nursing critters, I guess. Anyway, I've had a fairly good success rate with kittens, injured dogs, and the occasional sparrow. That, combined with my notorious soft spot, has caused other people to bring me critters to save, too. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn't.

When they were cleaning up the area around the ethanol plant near my hometown, they flushed a raccoon from her nest. When they looked closer, they discovered that she had a litter, and several of the workers decided to split the litter amongst themselves. One of the workers knew me, and brought the tiny little bandit to me.

This little guy was so new, his eyes weren't open yet. He was tiny and fragile, and fit in the palm of my hand. Nevertheless, he made plenty of noises as I took him from the bowl lined with a towel that they had used to transport him. His little nose sniffed the air and he chuckled to himself as I talked to him and cradled him against my body to warm him up, while I set up a heating pad under a towel, and an old stuffed animal, in one of our cat carriers.

He cuddled with the stuffed lady bug on the heating pad while I dug out the bottle, and the rodent nipple that I'd never used before, mixed up some condensed milk with a little honey, my standard first meal for quick energy, and warmed it up.

I was concerned about his body temp, but he was a little warmer when I got him out, and he drank a little bit out of the bottle, so I was optimistic.

I cuddled him and talked to him a little bit, to help teach him my scent and my voice, and then put him back in his warm cage while I did some research on the 'net.

See, I'd never tried to save a baby raccoon before. I'd never read anything about it, or seen any shows that concerned it, or anything. So I was in a bad place... I didn't know anything.

Two hours later, I was ready to take a break and give him another feeding, and I knew a little more.

Like the fact that those well-intentioned workers had done the worst thing possible for those little guys by splitting them up. I tried to contact some of them, and arrange for them to be taken care of for a couple of weeks at least, in groups of two or three, but I couldn't get a hold of anyone.

See, baby 'coons don't generate enough body heat for themselves. They survive their first weeks by staying in a big pile with the rest of the litter, with their mother helping keep them warm most of the time. There also seems to be a psychological connection with the litter, since individual 'coons rarely survive, even if they're kept warm. Behaviorists think that the babies only feel secure when they have their families around them, and its possible that the stress of being alone kills them.

So, the lady bug and the heat pad stayed.

Throughout that night, I got up every couple of hours to warm up the bottle and get tiny amounts down him. I cuddled him and talked to him, and he talked back with that chittering chuckle that I've only heard from him.

I fell in love with that little guy in that short space of time. He was tiny and cute, but already he had an attitude. If I pulled the nipple from him before he was finished with his tiny meal, he'd scold me. If he was napping when it was time to eat, he'd tell me about it.

Its hard to rescue anything without falling in love with it. How do you put the effort in to get up every two or three hours to bottle feed something, anything, without loving it a little? If it's not about love, then the effort just isn't worth it.

The next morning, I woke up to his chuckling, and looked at the clock. He still had an hour to go before he needed another feeding, so I left him in his warm bed, and had a cup of coffee.

When I went back to get him and feed him, he was dead. Maybe the behaviorists are right and he was too stressed to live, but I'll never know. None of the rest of the litter lived, either, even the two that went to the same home.

Sometimes, you just can't save them, no matter how hard you try.

Firearms on Campus

I said I'd post this this afternoon, I know. But, I started putting it together, and once I decided to link to the statutes instead of copy/pasting all of the relevant parts, and paraphrase here, it kinda just kept going, So, here it is.

This is the Colorado state statute regarding unlawful possession of a weapon on school grounds. And this is the statute concerning restrictions on a Colorado Concealed Weapons Permit, or CCW.

Please notice that the first statute says "NO! Unless its a handgun, and you have a permit."

The second statute restricts this again, stating that a permit holder may not carry on the real property of a public elementary, junior high, or high school, unless they are a peace officer, participating in an extracurricular activity, or employed by a school district in a position that requires the use of deadly force.

Colleges aren't mentioned there, are they?

Thats right folks, its legal for me to carry my handgun on my college campus. There is nothing in the student handbook, either, that restricts me from doing this.

Now that I've got the legalities out of the way, lets look at the question.

How do I feel about gun-free zones on campuses, in light of the Virginia Tech shootings? Well, since we've already cleared it up that my campus is not a gun-free zone, lets look at the Virginia Tech shootings, shall we?

I admit, my knowledge of the Virginia Tech shootings is limited to what I saw on the news, and thanks to the media's obsession with it, I probably missed some things, after I reached the point where I was just tired of hearing about that psycho, and started tuning it out. So, if there is something that I have missed, or something that I am misinformed about, please, feel free to correct me.

So. Here we have one student, already having had therapy, the mental kind, who goes out and buys a couple of guns. From what I understand, the student is somewhat anti-social, spends a lot of time in his room, etc.

And this student decides to drop a package in the mail to a news network, and then kill a couple of people.

But wait! He's not done yet, he walks (or drives, I don't know) across campus, and starts killing *more* people!

People who, according to their state laws and school student handbooks, are not carrying weapons. This makes it a very bad day for them.

However, I'd like to address something here, something that's bothered me since I started hearing about the whole shebang.

How is it that this nut-job managed to kill himself??

A building full of college students, presumed to be adults, and professors, who really should be adults, and the most resistance that was mounted was barring the door against him.

Granted, if unarmed and faced with an armed attacker, I wouldn't jump up and run at him, but most of the people in that building just laid down to die.

How did our society get to the point where this was possible? Not one person attempted to disarm him. Not one person attacked him directly, which considering what I know of his mental malfunctions, only fed into his "I'm invincible and better than all of you, so you deserve to die, because you can't stop me" mindset.

Not one big football player tackled him while he was reloading. Not one art major threw paint brushes at him. Hell, they didn't even throw their Lit books at him.

Armed or not, no one should simply allow themselves, or those around them, to be shot at, and possibly killed, in that situation. No one.

Would guns being allowed on that campus have changed anything? I doubt it. Its possible that the people who blocked the doors, if they had been armed and trained, might have taken the little worm out. Maybe. But, I can't see it. Those people had a survivor's attitude, and thats fantastic, don't get me wrong. I just don't know if they had the mindset and the capability to shoot another human being, if they had had training with a firearm and if firearms had been allowed on campus.

The way I see it, the entirety of the problem, and yes, I do believe that it is a problem, is not the gun/weapon safe zones on college campuses. A good chunk of it is the mindset of entirely too many of our nation's young people.

"It's the cops' job to protect me."

"It's Security's job to protect me."

Might as well be saying the tooth fairy will protect me. Don't get me wrong, I admire and respect the people who go into professions that are all about protecting other people and enforcing the law, and that includes the military.

But they can't be everywhere. Police officers are not clairvoyant, they are not Super Man, and they simply cannot guarantee every single person's safety at all times. Anyone who expects them to needs a swift kick to bring them back to reality, and in some cases, a cranio-rectal extraction.

Each and every person should be capable of protecting themselves, or at least fighting back in some way against an attacker. Not everyone is mentally "built" to carry a gun, that's just a fact of life. But, our society, as influenced by the anti-gun side of things, has "evolved" to the point where a lot of people don't even realize that such things could happen to them.

It's an extension of the teenage immortality thing, I think.

It can happen to you. If you don't think so, well, neither did those kids at Virginia Tech.

The mindset you need is that it not only can happen, but that it most likely will happen, and that you'd better be prepared for it when it does. Simply having a little training in crisis management, through any of a dozen high-pressure classes like CPR, firearms training, etc., might have saved lives at Virginia Tech. I mean the kind of classes that help teach you to shove that little screaming voice to the back of your head and think clearly about the situation.

If someone had been thinking clearly, they might have jumped him in the hall while he was reloading.

If someone had been thinking clearly he might not have been able to line them up on their knees.

If someone had been thinking clearly, he might have been stopped sooner than he was, and he might have gotten his day in court, and gone to jail, instead of eating his own gun.

Sure, you might say that he's dead now and better for the world, blah blah blah... but obviously being incarcerated was the last thing that he wanted. He killed himself rather than sit in a cell for the rest of his natural life, or face that strap-down table and the needle. So, what better punishment?

Anyway, Pop I hope that answers your question.

Ask Farmgirl

Pop Asks:

Hi, Farmgirl;
This is totally off-topic, but having read your blog I am aware that you have a CHL, as do I. Now that you're starting school, I was wondering what you're thoughts are on gun-free zones at schools, etc. in the light of Virginia Tech, and how you will handle that at your school.

Pop: Due to the sheer amount of relevant information in the Colorado State Statutes (and I do so want to include the legalities) I'm going to postpone posting this one until I have caffeine, and time enough to do it justice. Probably this afternoon after I get all my running around done. So stay tuned!