Heading off a steep cliff

Published 9:20 am Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Just days before the Christmas break, a 6-year-old elementary school student was suspended for forming a gun with his hands, pointing it at a student and saying “pow”…that according to a story I read at www.rt.com.

While administrators at Roscoe Nix Elementary School in Silver Spring, Maryland termed the child’s actions as a “serious incident,” the child was suspended for only one day.

The story alluded to a similar incident involving the same child earlier the same school day. However, it appears the child’s family was not made aware of what that “similar incident” was, nor have they been informed of any previous problems involving their kid.

But in a letter sent to the parents, a school administrator wrote, “He threatened to shoot a student.”

With his finger? If any of these school administrators are males, it’s a safe guess they played cops and robbers or cowboys vs. Indians as a child. To a small boy, pretending that your hand is a pistol is as natural as it gets.

Did he really “threaten” a fellow classmate? I wonder if he uttered the words, “I’m going to bust a cap in your butt.”

I seriously doubt it. Children of that age are not old enough to form intent.

Heck, when I was six years old about the only thing my developing mind could comprehend was that #1 meant pee pee and #2 meant…well, you know, that other bathroom action.

But nowadays we’re all on edge on the heels of the deadly school shooting in Newtown. However, that crime involved an adult pulling the trigger…a person old enough to know better.

I don’t think a 6-year-old understands the sensitivity of his actions. Perhaps, a conference between the boy’s parents and school administrators would have been the best course of action to take in this matter. Make an effort to let the child know that this particular behavior is not acceptable in this day and age. A one-day suspension is of little or no impact.

Here’s another sign that the world is heading off a cliff…and perhaps not a fiscal one.

I heard last week that the number of electronic gadgets used by Americans now exceeds the number of people living in the good old USA.

According to the Consumer Electronics Association, there are more wireless devices in use in the United States than there are people.

The number of mobile devices rose to 327.6 million by mid-2011, when the report was generated. That’s two Christmases ago, so I would figure that number is even higher now.

Counting Puerto Rico, Guam and the U.S. Virgin Islands to our population, the United States numbers 315 million citizens. To account for the difference, the CEA figures that a typical American home consists of 2.6 people who possess an average of 24 gadgets.

Electronic-crazy Americans are busy on their devices, using 341.2 billion megabytes of wireless network data. Americans also sent 1.138 trillion text messages during the period the CEA used for its report.

On the other side of that equation, the wireless network providers are loving it to the tune of generating nearly $165 billion in revenue at the close of 2011. I’m figuring sales didn’t slack off a bit in 2012. Some folks would rather have the latest gadget…I guess for a prestige thing…than spending that money on the basic things of life.

Cal Bryant is Editor of Roanoke-Chowan Publications. He can be contacted at cal.bryant@r-cnews.com or 252-332-7207.

About Cal Bryant

Cal Bryant, a 40-year veteran of the newspaper industry, serves as the Editor at Roanoke-Chowan Publications, publishers of the Roanoke-Chowan News-Herald, Gates County Index, and Front Porch Living magazine.

email author More by Cal