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Showdown With The Pinkertons 586

Posted by JonKatz
from the Brave-New-World-21st-century-edition dept.
Thursday, I flew to Charlotte to ask executives of the Pinkerton Special Services Group to scrap or modify WAVE America, a "school safety" Web site that encourages schoolkids to anonymously turn in classmates they consider dangerous. We brawled politely for hours over chicken salad, iced tea and fries about school safety, oddball profiling, privacy and reality. Although righteously armed with some amazing and eloquent e-mailed screeds, reports, quotes, studies and pleas from Slashdotters, my expectations were low. I returned with a penetrating glimpse into the corporatist soul. (Read more).

Dawn, Jim, Shannon and I sat down around a conference table in a tightly-secured office building south of downtown Charlotte, N.C. on a brilliant spring day. From the window, we could see the hills of South Carolina in one direction, the towers of downtown in the other. A collection of Pinkerton baseball caps filled a wooden shelf.

If anybody had told me that I would be munching chicken salad sandwiches and fries with executives from the Pinkerton Corporation, the largest security concern on the planet, arguing about kids, violence, oddball profiling and the Net, I would have refused to believe it. But that's the Net for you. Jim was a Pinkerton senior veep, Dawn and Shannon, the Web developer and site architect, respectively.

Jim was courteous, but clearly exasperated.

Two weeks ago, I wrote a highly critical column here about a WAVE (Working Against Violence Everywhere) America Web site developed by the Pinkerton Services Group under contract to the state of North Carolina and soon to go national. It offered an anonymous toll-free number, so schoolkids could turn in classmates they believed were acting strangely or dangerously. After the column appeared, Jim revealed, WAVE America received more than 70,000 e-mails and a few mail bombs, and repelled a number of assaults on their system firewalls. Jim had clearly never heard of Slashdot before all this, and he was still struggling to figure out exactly what it was or why he had to pay attention to it. This Net furor had clearly put a bit of a cloud over Pinkerton's ambitious plan to peddle WAVE America all over the United States in response to the post-Columbine school-violence hysteria. My guess was that this meeting was Dawn and Shannon's idea.

I'd flown to Charlotte, against what I knew were hopeless odds, to persuade Pinkerton to trash WAVE America . We argued for more than three hours behind closed doors. Clearly, the flap over the Web site was something Pinkerton wanted resolved if possible. Jim said the company hoped to set up anonymous toll-free "safety" and anti-violence hotlines across the country to relieve unnerved and overburdened school districts of the responsibility of monitoring students who might be disturbed or dangerous.

Although I write often about corporatism and its unhappy impact on free speech and culture, I had rarely penetrated so deep into the belly of the beast, nor felt so affirmed and unnerved by what I saw there. These were perfectly nice people I was meeting with, and they were unwaveringly embarked on what I believe is an awful course. Corporatism doesn't allow for moral notions like right or wrong, however. Corporatism (which is not the same thing as capitalism or corporations) has one ideology: successful, profitable marketing. Corporatism doesn't like controversy, because it, potentially at least, can scare off or offend potential customers. That's why I was there. I would be reminded of this 20 times over the next few hours. Ethical arguments, like peas off an M-1 tank, failed to penetrate.

It's hard to imagine going into any confrontation better prepared. I felt righteously equipped with the usual brilliant assortment of eclectic e-mail, screeds, quotes, citations, studies, suggestions and encouragements from Slashdotters. The Center on Juvenile and Criminal Justice had sent me some stats -- school homicides declined 40% in a single year, from l998 to l999. Students have a one-in-two-million chance of being killed in school, even though the public thinks it's likely to happen.

Computer engineer Chris Burke of the University of Michigan sent me a wonderful set of applied criterion measuring the probability that children considered dangerous actually will be. Chris's criteria are too complex to detail here, but he concluded that the probability that someone who meets the criterian actually is potentially dangerous turns out to be surprisingly low. "If we assume that the number of dangerous students is 1/25000 -- which is ridiculously high, but for the sake of argument I'll use it ... then only 6.7 per cent will be dangerous. Which means that 92.3% of the time you will be harassing innocent people." Reading this aloud to the Pinkerton people was one of the highlights of my life.

Meredith Dixon and many others e-mailed me about Todd Strasser's eerily prescient novel, The Wave, (which became a movie), about a junior high school teacher who uses anonymous reporting techniques reminiscent of the Hitler Youth to demonstrate how easily independent thought and moral conscience can be subordinated to an evil system. The book, published in 1981 and still available (Laurel Leaf Library: ISBN: 0440993717), was based on an actual incident in Palo Alto in l969. The Pinkerton folks were not happy to hear of this antecedent name for their cheeful, up-with-America, let's-promote-some-respect Web site. Nor were they impresed by my repeated arguments that every repressive political system in the 20th century -- Nazism, Communism, Fascism, Apartheid -- featured anonymous reporting -- especially by children -- as a cornerstone tool in their efforts to subjugate dissidents. The idea that this might not be the way to teach citizenship in a democratic society didn't seem to make much of an impression.

Joey Maier e-mailed me this quote from former Supreme Court Justice Louis Brandeis: "The greatest dangers to liberty lurk in insidious encroachment by men of zeal, well-meaning but without understanding." If anything captured the spirit of WAVE America, that was it.

A Slashdot editor and writer urged me to ask Pinkerton what remedies students and parents would have against false accusations. (The answer: None. Pinkerton doesn't make accusations, they just pass along information. That wasn't the company's problem, the execs said. Nor were any misuses of anonymously reported information by the schools that received it).

I also brought this message: "When I was a teenager, I didn't want people to listen to me because they might be afraid of what I might do," chromatic wrote on Threads. "I wanted people to listen to me because they cared about me and could identify with the way I was feeling and the thoughts I was thinking. Don't alienate young people even further in the guise of helping them. Please."

Even as I was searching for one of my favorite Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn quotes, Jamie McCarthy e-mailed it to me: It's from The Gulag Archipelago, his epic story of Stalin's concentration camps: "... In every village there were people who in one way or another had personally gotten in the way of the local activists. This was the perfect time to settle accounts with them of jealousy, envy, insult. A new word was needed for all these new victims as a class -- and it was born. By this time it had no 'social' or 'economic' content whatsoever, but it had a marvelous sound: podkulachnik -- 'a person aiding the kulaks.' In other words, I consider you an accomplice of the enemy. And that finishes you!'"

I confess to being buoyed by these smart, eloquent messages and citations, which I read and re-read on the flight to North Carolina. I was especially happy to be writing for a site where so many people -- hundreds -- could send such messages, and had such passionate perspective on what freedom really means, in a culture where it's constantly trampled and manipulated for profit, ratings, political gain or cultural power. Somewhere deep in my consciousness was the naive (or just plain dumb, maybe) belief that the Pinkerton execs would hear these messages, experience an epiphany and abandon WAVE America on the spot.

What emerged instead was as strange a cultural stand-off as one might imagine, a mix of the fascinating -- it was amazing to have a face-to-face confrontation with executives of the storied Pinkerton company (the writer Dashiell Hammett was a Pinkerton man, and the company had a bloody history of strike-breaking around the turn of the century) yet it was innately futile, and we all soon knew it. Over the sandwiches and iced tea, which hardly any of us touched, we each epitomized our distinctly opposite sides of a cultural chasm. Shannon and Dawn (given the volume of hostile e-mail Pinkerton was getting, I've decided not to use their full names) let Jim do the policy talking.

If there was any comfort to be drawn from the encounter, I suspect it would have to be from the fact that it was taking place. Voices on the Net had reached deep into a company that wasn't exactly famous for being interactive. That was something new.

These were pleasant, articulate, reasonable sounding -- and profoundly intractable -- people. We weren't speaking from the same sensibility or history or even using the same language. We butted heads all afternoon, but it was an odd argument in that scrapping WAVE America was never really on the table, and it was clear the company wasn't particularly interested in refuting any of my arguments, or those of the people who had e-mailed me theirs. I wouldn't swear that they disagreed. It simply didn't matter. The point was, there was a market for school-safety programs like this, and if Pinkerton didn't pursue them, somebody else would. The corporatist ethic doesn't allow for relinquihing potentially lucrative markets to competitors, any more than it does for conventional notions of right or wrong. In that sense, the meeting was exhausting and, probably, largely pointless. If there was leverage, it was in the fact that Pinkerton clearly wanted to go forward with its program in the least controversial way -- another corporatist hallmark.

I argued that WAVE America was simply wrong. That it was neither necessary, since the amount of school violence had been insanely exaggerated, nor effective -- kids could hardly be expected to accurately gauge the emotional or mental states of their classmates. I also argued that it was dangerous, that anonymous reporting was one of the primary tools of every evil political system in modern times. I reminded them that some of the smartest, most interesting and ultimately successful kids often experienced extreme and systematic harassment and brutality for being different, alienated or otherwise non-normal. That if educators, politicians or private corporations like Pinkerton really cared about school safety, they would do something to protect these outcasts.

The experience, in many respects, resembled talking to an affable stone wall. I did encounter more flexibility than I expected. Yes, my hosts acknowledged, they knew that school violence was dropping sharply (more about this later), but so what? It was still a problem, politicians like those in North Carolina were demanding some action, and so were parents, journalists and educators. Schools didn't have the resources or security skills to police themselves. Somebody had to respond, and Pinkerton was in the "secure environment" business, so why not step up to the plate?

Jim told me something I hadn't quite grasped: the anonymous reporting culture is a growing business, now deeply entrenched in the United States, a result of the victimization movement and lawsuit epidemic rampant for nearly a generation. Encouraged by federal and local governments, and many corporate and educational institutions, hotlines operate all over the country to report date rape, sexual harassment, abuse, and other forms of brutality and insensitivity. Since so many institutions in the United States are now presumed to be unresponsive to the needs of one group or another, privately-administered anonymous reporting hotlines are spreading. Pinkerton itself runs more than 800 such lines. It was inevitable, said Jim, that they would move into schools, and that Pinkerton would extend its security expertise and set them up. I found this amazing, which made Jim shake his head and shrug. I was transfixed by the idea of a democratic country whose response to social problems was to create an entire new tradition of informing. It had been happening for some time, he told me.

Yes, my hosts further acknowledged, they were aware that anonymous reporting was a staple ingredient of some of the world's most repressive regimes. Until the Wave America flap, however, Pinkerton had received no complaints about its hotlines. Privacy and security are the company's cornerstone marketing values, Jim insisted, and it's very careful about screening and disseminating the information it receives. Pinkerton's credibility depends on it.

Basically, the Pinkerton people spouted the now-familiar rationale for behavior like this: "Hey, don't blame us. A North Carolina Task Force came up with this, got the governor's blessing, and somebody is going to run it.Why not us? We know how, and if we don't do it, somebody else will."

Fine, I countered, but what about the schools that receive these forwarded anonymous tips. What about their privacy rules? Their security? Do these reports stay in files forever, or go into computerized law enforcement agency files? Are they destroyed after a given time, especially if they prove false or unfounded? Couldn't a kid be wrongly -- and anonymously -- on file, never know it, yet find this information in government or corporate files years later? Here, the Pinkerton people just shrugged. That was the school's problem. But, I persisted, didn't they just say that schools didn't have the resources to run such programs, which is why Pinkerton was involved in the first place? More shrugs.

Reports will be carefully screened and analyzed by professionals, I was assured.Only the most serious calls, involving serious violence -- rape, assault, possible crimes with guns -- were forwarded to school officials; the rest were not passed along at all. What happened to the not-passed-along reports? Nothing; they stay within Pinkerton's secure walls. For how long? Nobody knew.

Pinkerton was unhappy with some of the media portrayal of some of WAVE America's more controversial features.

Initially, the press reported (and I passed along) that kids were being offered cash and other gifts as incentives to turn in their angry, depressed or trouble classmates. But although the site clearly did offer gifts -- a computer, CD's -- the Pinkerton execs denied that they had or would offer cash or other goodies as a direct incentive for reporting their peers.

Things get a bit murky here, as the site has been hurriedly altered and re-designed in the past week or so. Under "Fun Stuff," the web site now has a message that simply says: "Coming Soon." Clearly, gifts will be used as incentives to draw kids onto the site, and reward them for participating, even if kids can get them without reporting anyone. But Pinkerton explained, there may be marketing tie-ins with companies promoting school safety in the future. Let's see: no direct reward for turning in a classmate, but gifts and prizes encouraging kids to use a site that offers anonymous reporting. A fine line.

The execs seized somewhat obsessively on this point as an example of how the program's goals -- to promote respect and school safety, and to provide a last-resort outlet for reporting of serious crimes in a country where schools are overwhelmed, underfunded and rattled by recurring media and political hysterias -- had been distorted by people like me.

"We understand that you disagree with the program," Jim said, "but we expect you to be responsible and accurate." Fair enough. But I pointed out repeatedly that the goodie give-aways were incidental, never the main issue.

The central question, I argued, was that the Net culture included, even embraced, kids who are brainy, individualistic, sometimes-alienated and rebellious, and often outside the norm in their values, attitudes and behavior. These kids suffer enormously at the hands of hostile peers, unknowing teachers, clueless parents, journalists and politicians. It's hard to imagine how WAVE America would benefit them in any way, but simple to foresee how it might still provide another forum in which they'd be branded -- anonymously, no less -- dangerous.

Pinkerton conceded that the "symptoms" of dangerous behavior its site had listed earlier were too vague. These initial "early signs of violence" included: Suddenly has bad grades or little interest in school; Expresses uncontrolled anger; Has excessive feelings of isolation and/or rejection; Is easily angered by minor things. Dawn and Shannon showed me their new, improved criteria, still under consideration and design and not yet up on the Web site. These new "warning signs," says Pinkerton, were provided by the American Psychological Association.

"If you see these immediate warning signs," WAVE America will announce, "violence is a serious possibility":

  • loss of temper on a daily basis
  • frequent physical fighting
  • significant vandalism or property damage
  • increase in use of drugs or alchohol
  • increasing risk-taking behavior
  • detailed plans to commit acts of violence.
  • announcing threats or plans for hurting others
  • enjoying hurting animals
  • carrying a weapon

My response was that these symptoms were still awfully vague, and in any case that school kids weren't psychologists and shouldn't be asked to evaulate their peers emotional lives, or to try and differentiate between transitional depression or alienation and being potentially violent. What kind of risk-taking behavior? Agressive skateboarding? I still didn't understand why these weren't school or parental problems, rather than Pinkerton ones, or why the monitoring of emotional disturbance was being handed off to children. I still believed it was offensive and disturbing to put schoolkids in the position of anonymously turning in their classmates, enemies, and friends to an anonymous hotline run by a profit-making corporation with a vested interest -- and a classic conflict-of-interest -- in promoting the notion that schools were dangerous. This didn't promote safety, it subverted responsibility and democracy.

Besides, I added, many knowledgeable Constitutional scholars believe that the Supreme Court will eventually overturn police or other administrative actions based solely on anonymous reporting of crimes or potential crimes without supporting evidence. Two weeks ago, the Supreme Court overturned the arrest of a Florida man who was searched because of an anonymous tip and found to have a gun. This, the court said, violated Fourth Amendment strictures against unreasonable search and seizure; the police needed evidence beyond an anonymous report. Though kids are stripped of Constitutional rights in most American schools, it's hard to believe courts will ultimately uphold educational or police actions taken on the basis of anonymous calls. If they do, though, Pinkerton and its Web site will have succeeded in undermining a fundamental freedom.

The Pinkerton people did say they'd consider refining their "symptoms" still further. And they made the inevitable co-opting gesture: Would I be interested in working with Pinkertons on WAVE America, or in writing for the site? Would Rob Malda perhaps like to contribute something? I said "No" on my behalf, and giggled a bit at the idea of Cmdr Taco or his partner in crime, Hemos, as columnists for WAVE America. But if the site were going forward, I suggested, Pinkerton could at least set-up an e-mail account to receive and consider feedback from people involved in the issue. It might even consider assembling some sort of advisory panel to help safeguard the interests of the kids it affects.

I found WAVE America too exploitive, offensive and disturbing to participate in, but others can make their own decisions.

Still, I left the meeting discouraged by the spectre of a country where the emotional welfare of schoolkids, and the potential violence that emotionally disturbed kids might wreak, seem to have been turned over to profit-making security corporations rather than to teachers, guidance counselors, therapists, and parents. The Task Force in North Carolina that came up with this dunderheaded response to a complex social problem is the first candidate that should be reported on that hotline.

Last Sunday, nearly a year after the Columbine massacre, the New York Times finally got around to publishing an exhaustive look at "Rampage Killers." The paper profiled 102 killers in 100 rampage attacks in a computer-assisted study looking back more than 50 years and including the shootings at Littleton in l999. Four hundred and twenty-five people were killed and 510 people were injured in the attacks. The newspaper found -- and convincingly detailed -- what should have been obvious from the first. The most common thread in these horrific sprees isn't media, technology or culture, but mental illness: at least half of the killers shown signs of seriousl mental health problems. Also this week, the National Association of Attorneys General reported that the most important factor in preventing youth violence was a "stable, loving home." The group also reported numerous instances of bullying and harassment of schoolkids all across America because students wore unusual clothing or were taller, shorter or heavier than other kids. This rare outburst of sanity was almost completely ignored by the mainstream media. But since unstable and unloving parents have now been identified as a child safety issue, perhaps we need a new anonymous hotline so that kids can turn in their unstable or unloving moms and dads -- or their neighbor's mom and dad -- along with the angry classmate in the next row. It would seem to follow. And it would seem inevitable.

The Times' series is detailed and impressive. But it comes after years of hysterical media reporting linking violence among the young to pop culture and new media technologies -- TV, movies, computer gaming, the Net. More than 80% of all Americans, reported the Washington Post last year, believed the Internet was at least partly responsible for the killings at Columbine. The very idea that programs like WAVE America will alter this horrific reality is itself a mental health problem.

Was the trip worth it? I don't honestly know. I appreciated the Pinkerton people meeting with me, though it didn't cost them anything, other than a few hours and some sandwiches. (Slashdot paid my traveling expenses.) I made some points directly to the people who needed to hear it. They are well aware that thousands of people are watching them; that's a strong stimulus to behave. They're tightening up vague criteria and dropping the idea of of rewarding tipsters with cash, gifts or caps. They seemed to understand that abuse of the different is a safety issue, along with guns and assaults.

But the meeting also reinforced my growing belief that corporations like Pinkerton are inherently amoral. I'm sure their workers are kind to their spouses, pets and kids. But the Pinkerton people don't see morality as their concern, which, in a sane society, might be one reason not to turn issues like school safety and violence among the young over to private corporations. Theirs is a simple equation, a statement right from the contemporary corporatist heart: they perceive a profitable opportunity in the security market, one created not by them but by irresponsible journalists, lazy educators and exploitive politicians. Someone will fill it. Might as well be them.


Sunday, I received this e-mail from the head of Pinkerton's WAVE America Web Development team:

"Jon,

It was very nice to meet you in person the other day. From that meeting we have made several changes to the WAVE website. The changes include clarifying that there are no prizes, cash, or other rewards for submitting a report via the website or phone. We also made clear that only reports which contain safety concerns should be submitted to WAVE. Our privacy policy, while not yet in it's final form, is much more complete now than the last time you saw it.

While here, you also suggested we get some input from the readers of slashdot to help us with the WAVE project. If you would be so kind, please include the email address [suggestions@waveamerica.com] in your article. We hope the WAVE website will be used not only as a tool to aid in preventing school violence, but also as an educational hub where students, teachers and parents can go to collaborate. Any suggestions or constructive criticism about how to make the website better would be greatly appreciated.

The WAVE website is now, and probably always will be, a work in progress. We hope that with the help and suggestions of you and your readers, we will be able to build a website that will empower the students and give them a voice.

I know that you didn't agree with everything about the WAVE project, but hopefully when you left here, you were able to see that this isn't a "big brother" program, but rather an educational program that hopes to prevent school violence by teaching Resolve, Respect, and Responsibility."

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Showdown With The Pinkertons

Comments Filter:
  • >Mixing state involvement with education will have some perverse effects.

    It has had perverse effects from the beginning. Horace Mann, the father of public education in America, developed his plan for socialized education based on the assertion that all children are alike and can therefore be educated alike. He invented the assembly line long before Ford, but applied it to children instead of cars. This idea has persisted, sometimes blatantly, sometimes veiled, ever since. WAVE America is simply one more example. One kid is different from the rest? Either fix him or throw him out of society. Never allow variability in the process, because that will produce variability in the product.

    "The nail that sticks out is pounded back into place." -- Japanese proverb

  • by Anonymous Coward
    I agree. The one thing we (nerds, geeks, and me) have going for us is the ability to keep Pinkerton from profitably operating their web site.

    I also encourage everybody to turn in people who work for Pinkerton and their families. Let's see how effective their screening is when they have to wade through all of the sordid pedophilic details of the guy in the next cube. Maybe they won't be so apathetic when it's their own kids getting reported.

    If they truly are screening these reports, that's the easiest way to get them. The more reports, the more people they have to train (they _DO_ have a program that trains the people who evaluate the reports, right? I don't mean the armoured car driver who gets $6.50/hour, either. If you're doing psychological evaluations, you should at least be able to speak the target language.) and employ. That will drive a stake into the heart of any profit they might make.

    How about if we combine two evils for a better good? Let's report WAVE to all of the filtering software makers and request that the site be blocked. It's a whole lot more harmful to kids and society than most porn sites and is definitely the most offensive thing I've seen on the web.

    I'm going to do my part. I promise to report a police officer, clergyman, principal, govt. official, or media personality every day. I stongly encourage everybody to do the same. Hell, I'm going to report myself first.

  • by Anonymous Coward
    The only things corporations understand is money.
    So the only way to fight this thing is to sue
    Pinkertons for all false accusatons.

    Now, Pinkertons is trying to weasle out of
    responsibility for false accusations. But the
    fact is somebody MUST BE HELD RESPONSIBLE for false
    accusations.

    Everyone's going to claim no responsibility for
    false accusations, but someone's 'feet need to be
    held to the fire' on this issue. And I think
    that someone should be Pinkertons.

    Unfortunately, this is an expensive way to go,
    but I think it's the only way to fight this
    (frequent, continuous lawsuits against
    Pinkertons).
  • by Anonymous Coward
    Every time you place a call to an 800 number, the 800 number holder is billed for the call. In that bill is, yes you guessed it, the CALLING number.

    (800)!= Anonymous

  • Anyone have any ideas how we can get more exposure?

    Jon writes for Rolling Stone. When things are printed there, people *do* pay attention.


    ...phil

  • "People like Katz are so set in their ways that very little can be done to change their mindset. It's unfortunate, but true."

    Actually, Jon was putting forth well-reasoned arguments and supporting facts, not just saying that WAVE is bad and should be scrapped. The difference between his opinion and Pinkerton's opinion is that he supported his opinion. Pinkerton never rebutted most of his arguments, they just said it wasn't their problem or that some task force decided it was a good program. That's why Jon reasoned that there was no budging them on the issue because they are a corporate entity and they smell profits. They obviously weren't interested in a debate on the morality or responsibility involved in their program. They just want to move forward in a way that will create as little controversy as possible, thereby not jeopardizing their profits.

    So, Katz isn't being close-minded, Pinkerton just didn't even try to put forth an argument to change his mind.

  • For going and speaking and trying. History has told us that speaking out does help. Look at Denmark during the war.

    Lets keep watching them and let them know what we think.

    The Cure of the ills of Democracy is more Democracy.

  • To paraphrase gilroy's dinosaur analogy below(apologies for not responding directly), each corp is a herd. The herd attracts like individuals to it, and those that aren't are driven out. The herd will not react to anything less than another herd, for it lacks the language to deal with anything smaller. (Ahhh frick, I;m out of practive with coming up with analogies. But I hope the gist remains.)

    But the dinosaur analogy is a flawed one. Herds imply a certain homogeneity, that is, everything is essentially one species, but corporations, especially large ones, aren't like that. They are much more diversified because they have to be, because they have to manage so many disparate variables. The end result is that not everyone in a corporation shares the sort of guiding vision that a 'herd' might, and the barriers between these groups are most often found between the lower ranks and the higher ranks, as well as across the different positions within the company.
  • ... the problem is that Pinkerton, as a corporation, is comprised of the very people that comprised the tormentors of geeks in high school.

    That is as much of a stereotype as the one that you are purporting that Pinkerton is advancing. The fact that because you see big, jock-like bouncers and musclehead security guards does not mean that Pinkerton is run by the anti-geeks. Pinkerton is a huge, diverse corporation. They have marketing people (people who could easily have been artists in school), web programmers (most likely geeks like yourself), psychologists (hell, that one can go either way; I knew both in college), accountants (that word itself is a stereotype), economists, managers, and business. The president of my company, an Internet provider which is known for having rather geeky employees, is an ex-football player who is proud, forceful, strongminded, and very perceptive about the Internet world. The President of the NFL, Paul Tagliabue, is a scrawny former basketball player, known for being a brilliant and shrewd legal mind (he looks like a geek, too).

    Do not stereotype Pinkerton the corporation because of what you see at the lowest of their levels. The Pinkerton representatives that you see are not the same ones that are developing WAVE America. If you stereotype them, you stoop to the same level that they have, and your arguments are just as shallow and invalid.
  • Er, you mean that democracies only function to your spec if there is "some capacity for thought in its citizens". Sure, I'd like a smart, issue oriented electorate, too. But fact is, in a world in which power is disposed of by popular vote, it's obviously in a candidate's best interest (as far as getting elected goes) to keep the populace ignorent and uncritical -- if he can somehow manage it. School boards in conjunction with mandatory schooling provide precisely that power.

    On a state level, this is theoretically possible. Not on a national level, however (schools are run by the states, not the federal government). Even then, you only say it can happen. Let's see examples of it really happenning.

    Oh, that's right, you don't provide any.

    Actually, I think I just did. Kindly remove your foot from your throat.


    No need; you didn't present the evidence until someone pointed out that you weren't doing it. My statement was still valid for the time.

    And what else is the bid to have Oklahoma schools teach creationism but an attempt at state sponsored propaganda?

    One: For crying out loud, you don't even have the state right. It's Kansas, not Oklahoma.
    Two: Seems you've been brainwashed more than you claim the students have. Nowhere in any state does any school curriculum mandate the teaching of creationism. What happened in Kansas is that evolution is no longer mandatory learning. Creation is not mandatory there either. Nothing is. In other words, except perhaps at parochial schools (which, incidentally, are not ) not a single thing is going to change.

    The people who have seized the reins there have an agenda for how they'd like people to think.

    Here, again, I must disagree, but my view is actually more extreme than yours for once. It's not that they have an agenda on how they want people to think. They simply don't want people to think for themselves at all. It's the perverted brand of pseudo-Christianity that you see in the religious right nowadays that's the problem there.

    Don't kid yourself that it's purely a love of Christianity which moves those people.

    The hell of it is, it probably is purely a love of Christianity that moves most of them. You forget, the brand of Christianity practiced by the religious right scorns individual thought. Most of the people are just plain duped. Matter of fact, once the original leaders all finally keel over, they'll all be dupes of dead men.

    They know that if everyone grows up thinking Christianity is more valid than other religions (which don't get their origin myths put in science text books) and, heck, just as valid as science...

    One: that's illegal. Try as they might, they can't do that in a state-run school (parochial schools, perhaps).
    Two: You speak of creationism being just as valid as science with a very disparaging tone. My guess is that you too have had a bit of indoctrination going on. Mainly the fact that the two answer totally different questions, and in fact both could well be valid or invalid (evolution asks how it happened, whereas creation asks why. My point is this: we're never going to know which one is truly what happened until someone can figure out how to build a time machine. The only truly fair way to do it is something like this. "How did life originate? We're not certain. These are the major theories, and the pros and cons of each. There are many other theories also." Present the students with all the theories and let them decide for themselves. After all, isn't independent thought what you wanted? Let's see you back it up.

    ...and Christianity (as practiced widely) teaches that Christians are better than unbelievers...

    If you could call that perverse twisting of the religion Christianity, yes. But that part of it's bullshit, made up by psychos out to... well, I don't claim to know what was going through their heads (probably a mixture of greed and arrogance).

    By the way, a little tip which is really fun when going up against the religious right: read the Bible. Seriously. Reading (even skimming) through it once will give you a better working knowledge of what it says than at least 90% of the religious right. This is particularly fun because you learn just how much crap has been spoon-fed to them by their own corrupt religion (example: you know that Hell place they're always saying you're headed for? The Bible never mentions it, or anything like it, ever. Not even once). You can use this to take the Bible they're trying to cram down your throat and cram it right back.

    Christianity becomes a virtuous trait in a candidate -- as has already happened (the Boston Globe had a nice article on it if you hadn't figured it out for yourself). Promulgating Christianity in schools is a good way to make sure eventually only Christians are elected to office.

    But not the only way. It should interest you to know that all of the past U.S. Presidents have practiced some form of Christianity. I believe only two (maybe three; I'm not certain) were Catholic, and the first of those came as recently as the 1960's. And all this even after evolution became mandatory.

    But, hey, this is other people. You went to (or are going through) ~12 years of schooling in the US, right?

    Correct.

    Think for yourself. Look back on your own experience and ask "Hey, did I learn a lot?

    Nope. Not till I hit college at any rate.

    How does it compare to what I learned on my own?

    Extremely little. However I'm not exactly a usual case; I was reading encyclopedias when I was three. I read Tolkien at six.

    How does it compare to what I learned from other people?"

    If you're speaking about in-school experience, I learned more from other people than I cared to.

    Ask yourself "Did I like being in school? Did it engage my intellect and introduce me to new things?

    No and no. With some exceptions. It depended more on the teacher than anything else. There are damn good teachers out there, even in the public schools.

    Or did I sit either bored or terrified in most of my classes wishing I could be somewhere else, doing somewhere else?"

    Could be somewhere else: hell yes. I really didn't like my schools, but not because of anything wrong with the schools themselves. It was the people there.
    Doing something else: not really. Maybe taking a higher-level class, but that's it.

    What they did to you was wrong. They had no right. It could have been different. It could have been better. Having to spend your childhood in a state-run or state-authorized institution being told the state's version of reality was wrong.

    Now you sound like you're the one doing the indoctrinating. While I agree that it could have been different and/or better, there's a few things I see in your argument that don't seem right. "The state's version of reality"? You're being a big harsh. Two plus two equals four, no matter where you go (Mathematics). The word "guarantee" means a promise (English). Butterflies go through four stages of life: egg, larva, pupa, and adult (Biology). E = mc^2 (Physics). Potassium reacts violently with water (Chemistry). Well over 50% of the United States' annual budget goes to Social Security (Economics). These things are all true, no matter which way you slice them. You can say 2+2=5, but that's still not right.

    What you seem to have odds with is history. And here, you certainly do have a point. I remember as a fourth grader in Maryland studying the state's history; when we got to the point of the Civil War the textbooks did acknowledge that Maryland was a slave state, but tried to gloss over it (the main argument being that since Maryland's major cash crop was wheat instead of tobacco, the slaves weren't as bad off there as in other places). It should also be noted that this book was custom-printed, and not in widespread use. Interesting, the things you remember from elementary school.

    That will destroy us more surely than the current system will.

    What evidence do you have for that? Or is that just "what everyone knows"?

    The exact opposite, actually: what people don't know. The sad fact is, to survive in this world you need a good, broad education. The public schools currently don't provide this, but the answer is to improve the schools, not destroy them. It should be noted that as recently as two generations ago we were leading the world in every aspect of education. These things you speak of are recent phenomena, and I con't think they can be attributed to the school system (at least not entirely).

    Can you think of any forces in your life which would benefit by your believing that uncritically?

    By believeing what uncritically? Or are you using "that" as a means of demonstrating that I am thinking very uncritically? Either you never got it through your head that voice inflection doesn't travel over Unix, or you needed to pay more attention in English class ^_^

    I suppose it merits pointing out that the nations which are starting to catch up to our lead and even pull ahead all run mandatory schooling programs, most even more restrictive and "fascist" than the ones you find in the U.S.

    Oh, don't worry. In three generations (~90years) they'll be in exactly the same boat as we are now.


    You're not giving any evidence again, but this time you're not even giving a reason for the evidence to support. Why will it happen there?
  • by raph (3148)
    I just wanted to send heartfelt kudos to Jon for having the meeting, and writing this story. Even if he hasn't persuaded Pinkerton to scrap the WAVE program, he has performed a valuable service by bringing it to the attention of a much wider audience than would otherwise know about it.
  • Once again, I'm strengthened in my suspicion that one of the primary problems of western society is that while we're busy ridding ourselves of belief systems we consider outdated, we're replacing them with systems that still have the same fundamental fallacy: encouraging followers not to take individual responsibility for their actions, but to hide behind the beliefs and leaders of the collective.

    In this case, Pinkerton's execs are hiding behind the great god Mammon. While we may feel moral outrage against them, they are by no means the only ones. Yes, we can promise them that they'll be the first against the wall when the revolution comes, but that doesn't result in fundamental change. The question in this case is the same as in the Columbine case: how do we turn our society into one in which people will take their responsibility by making their own moral choices?

    I don't claim to have an answer to this question. But I think I can at least recognise some wrong answers. Teaching kids to turn others in is definately one of them. Encouraging people to act on unverifiable anonymously reported accusations is another.

  • (allowing locker searches and drug tests for example)

    It always amazes me that drug searches are legal in the U.S. More or less mandatory in A LOT of companies. I can't understand that. Here, in France, I believe that only a doctor would be allowed to perform them, and would then be bound by medical secrecy rules. Would he break them, he'd be sued to death, lose his license to practise, etc ... Were a non doctor to do it, he would be charged with illegal practice of medicine -- jail and hefty fines usually ensue. Not to mention that a company doing this would immediately get all the trade unions on his back. (There are exceptions, such as pilots, for obvious reasons).

  • "Under the above-quoted policy, NONE OF THIS information would be given to the school officials who are supposed to be intervening to save the schools from our tragically disturbed youth! The only things Pinkerton would tell them about are already-committed felonies and conspiracies to commit felonies. (And this is stuff that Pinkerton should be reporting to the local police, anyway, not to the school.) Why, then, are students encouraged to rat on those who seem depressed or angry if those reports are only going to linger in Pinkerton's files??"

    You may have stumbled upon the *real* motive here (in addition to scamming a few bucks from the state).

    I'm sure Pinkerton's offers employers background checking of potential employees for a fee, and wouldn't mind being able to hint that their background checking service was superior to that of any other company because they have sources that the other companies don't.

    Many employers aren't as worried about "...be sure we don't miss a chance to hire somebody good...", as much as they are about "...make sure we don't hire somebody that's not going to work out and is going to be a lot of trouble to get rid of...".

    Although not all of those tips will lead to someone who's down in the basement loading ammo clips this very minute (who Pinkerton can take credit for turning over to the cops), the ones that don't go any farther than Pinkerton's files, and that aren't spam and disinformation, and that do refer to troubled and depressed people, could be very useful in blocking the hiring of people who will have a hard time getting along with their fellow employees, who will be chronically late for work, who will tend to be out sick more often, who will take offense at perceived (but not necessarily real)slights, and who may have gotten through high school without exploding in rage and violence, but 20 years later, with the last of their dreams in shreds, may "go postal".

    Therefore, if these files are unfair to a lot of people, the people in the files won't know, and the people using the files won't care.


    the following sig is intended as humor, the preceeding post is not

  • I e-mailed Katz after the first article to suggest that he get the views of the several gubernatorial candidates running in the upcoming primary (this issue doesn't seem to be attracting much attention from the various North Carolina media so I'm guessing none of the candidates are up to speed on it either, but I've got to hold my nose and vote for somebody), but the e-mail I received back sounded very "form letter"-ish, so I'm not sure if he's persuing this idea or not.
  • They are not the enemy per se
  • Report everyone (yourself included), without exception and favouritism.

    That's rather conspicuous. Don't you think reporting EVERYONE would look a little suspicious to Pinkerton's assorted staticians? A less obvious idea would be to report a random 10%, 5%, something like that, of your school. Kill the signal/noise ratio.

    If 90% of everything isn't crap, your standards are too high.
    We will never be able to come to a consensus on which 10% ISN'T crap.
  • The more I read about this the more it reminded me of the little kids in blue shorts, grey shirts, and red neckerchiefs ... the uniform of the spies. These little wrenches were brought up from birth to spy on everyone around them (including their parents). And to turn them over to big brother at the first instance of suspicious behavior. Which included, talking to oneself in sleep, loud emotional expressions, unconcious behavious, any biasness towards the big brother and so on. Most spies get their badges by turning in their parents before they reach the age of 10. Thoughts were outlawed, the very instance someone thought of something that was against the establisment, they were doomed and would cease to exist shortly.

    Who controls the past, controls the future: Who controls the present controls the past.
    --
  • And what about the truth?

    I'm tired of telling people there's a problem. I'm sick and tired of nobody listening to me and the shock and disbelief people are having. "Oh, it can't happen HERE". That's how the holocaust started! Take note from your own history - The Wave started because nobody believed it was possible. History will repeat itself.

    Force them into the open. Force them to be extreme. Encourage the use of profiling, let the police into our schools, let them punish, compartmentalize, tear apart, destory, label, emotionally scar and hurt the people who don't fit their Utopian world. Drive the suicide rate up. Make the school environment tense. Make the kids paranoid, make the teachers afraid of the students and the students afraid of the teachers. TURN UP THE HEAT. And then.. when the death toll rises, the media clamors for justice and asks why this happened....

    "Just Wave."

  • Send polite letters to each of your congressional representatives, and to each of your local school board members.

    That's a fair first step, but what if the system is still introduced and geeks, goths, homosexuals, chess-club members, and other different-but-harmless students start getting harassed or suspended due to the WAVE program, and the school board still wasn't listening?

    I don't know about you, but I'd be prepared to do something wrong if I believed that the alternative would be a greater wrong.

  • if you are in high school, grab a list of all the jocks and football players

    Please don't do that. It's no less biased than Pinkerton's own scheme Besides, all you'll succeed in doing is making it "cool" to be on the reporting list...

    On further reflection, that's at least as good an idea as spamming WAVE: Report enough jocks and "popular" people, and being on the list will become a status symbol instead of a scarlet letter...

  • Here are some things worth considering. First, most people are not normal. Normal is abnormal. The reason Revenge of the Nerds was such a great movie for most people is more people can relate to being outcasts than can relate to being popular. How many `popular' kids were there in your entire High School? Maybe 1% of the entire school population? The rest of us were outcasts.

    Now you're just being ridiculous. How can 99% of a social group be branded as outcasts by the other 1%? Being an outcast implies being a member of an underprivileged minority.

    Consciousness is not what it thinks it is
    Thought exists only as an abstraction

  • I forsee two ways of successfully stopping this. The first as was said is making it unprofitable. The second is once the system is in place to have the legality of it challenged. As I am not a legal expert I will focus on its profitablility. Rather than creating a contreversy through media focus on their customers, the schools. Because it is the parents the schools will listen more closely to the parents need to be well informed of the issue and motivated to ask the schools not to use this.

    From a business perspective the parents can gain a first mover advantage. By putting a bad taste about the Pinkerton Group's plans the group will be forced to address these issues if it wants customers. I would highly recommend if there are students reading this that they go through the archives and prepare themselves as JonKatz did. Then discussing this with your parents and school officials who may be supportive (when discussing the issue I recommend always keeping a level head and suggesting a break should tempers flair).

    Although it is a copout attitude the company is simply responding to their markets demands. Not an easy task but change the market place. Make this an issue that PTA and school boards face now, not when offered the system. All of these are just my personal ideas, I don't know if these will work but I hold a certain amount of optimism that schools will improve because of the attention they are getting.
  • The real issue here is waste. What is it about eating the meat per se that absolves you of the act? In my opinion, killing a deer and wasting it, is no better and no worse than, say, burning down a forest or cutting down a tree for thrills--you are needlessly wasting resources. Are the resources (e.g., plants, animals, trees, etc.) you are consuming being put to good use proportionately? If an avid hunter only selectively takes one buck a season for its hide and antlers (and does so reasonably, without excessive waste), and draws some significant satisfaction in it, I find it hard to draw a significant distinction between you (hunting and eating for enjoyment) and the hunter who wants for equal or greater enjoyment. It is not as if you need the meat per se; you enjoy that meat, therefore you hunt.

    In other words, I can respect hunters and fisherman who do so tastefully and reasonably and not necessarily for the flesh. What I can not respect are those who kill for quick sadistic thrills (e.g., getting drunk with some buddies, and putting holes in anything that moves that isn't human, then just leaving it).

  • But the fact remains that universal, state-mandated and state-funded education has brought historically unprecedented levels of literacy. Ditching the educational system is not the answer to the educational problems that we have.

    You know, Anomalous, I was about to jump in and attack your position, but on reflection, I think you're on target. Like so many other things involved with the government, though - the patent office, social security, and legal system, to name a few - public education is a good idea with a (currently) flawed implementation.

    What we have is a program that's been around for over a hundred years - it's gone past the point of being a legacy system, and morphed into a nightmare of political maneuverings. The original point of the program, education, has almost completely been lost; and because of the political implications, nobody is willing to even consider scrapping everything, going back to square one, and building something new to correct the problems inherent in the current system. They just want to patch, add a new feature here, tweak something there, and end up introducing two new problems for each one they correct...

    There's some hope, though. I just read an article about schools in Arizona, where it sounds like they're essentially trying to build a hybrid between state/private education, where the state puts up the money for education on a per-child basis and certifies schools, but schools are run privately and parents can choose which school(s) their children attend within their area. From what I've read, it looks like it's working, and may be the kind of architectural overhaul that could keep the current system viable for another hundred years (or however long it takes politics to screw that up, as well.)

  • And that is simply because Katz won't use an editor. It was practically painful to read, and there's no excuse for this story to have ballooned into a 4000-word article. I read it the same way I read all of his articles -- read about 10 or 15 paragraphs in, then give up and skim down to the end.

    Near the end, when Katz mentions that it only cost them a few hours and some sandwiches, I wonder if he (as well as most Slashdotters) understand that time equals money, especially when you're talking about (1) someone who actually has a job, and (2) that job is an executive position. If Katz recognizes this, it doesn't come through in his articles.

    Cheers,
    ZicoKnows@hotmail.com

  • Yeah, I'm a Brill's Content subscriber, and he was a regular there (I keep asking him what happened with that gig, but I haven't found out from anyone). I admit that I can't recall much about the articles now, but I know that they were much easier to follow than his articles here, because I thought about what he was saying instead of having the poor editing as an annoying distraction nagging in the background. Here, they're just out of control.

    Cheers,
    ZicoKnows@hotmail.com

  • Gee, Katz has been silent for a week now. And it's now the one year anniversary of the Columbine shooting. I guarantee you all he's got something in mind...

    --
    grappler
  • Thank you for parroting moronic platitude number 37.

    You're welcome -- thank you for assuming that you're more intelligent than I by virtue of the fact that we disagree.

    Even if you assume that the state generally implements the will of the majority (a tough assumption to defend), the idea that a majority can speak for everybody is morally indefensible

    Nobody said it speaks for everybody -- that would be logically imnpossible (it would be E Pluribus Unum, literally!). It speaks for the majority of people who bother to take part in the activities and are even moderately capable of debating policy. If you don't believe that, you've obviously never involved yourself. When they count the votes at the end of the day, that's who wins. Whether or not our particular implementation of voting and representation is ideal or efficient is of course debatable, but it seems to be more effective than other methods attempted.

    The state is not the citizens. The state is an organization with its own dynamics, set up to implement an at-best-poor approximation to the consensus desires of a (possibly large, possibly small) subset of the citizens

    The state is an organization with the dynamics of whatever citizens participate in it. If you don't participate, you're correct that it won't represent you. What do you expect, voting by telepathy? That you will make your views known to representatives and school boards by complaining on Slashdot? Minimal participation yields tremendous gains, that's exactly why the Moral Majority managed to have such influence over school boards. Participate and you will be heard. feel free to ignore me, though -- I like having multiple votes.

    In the case of schools in the US, this includes systematically inculcating consensus ideas, many of which are nonsense, and systematically suppressing independent thought

    Which is a wonderful reason for you to take your child out of school. Feel free to do it, no one is stopping you (despite what communal pressures you feel "the state" is putting on you)...
  • Heh. You learned that in public school, didn't you?

    No, I learned it by travelling the world and seeing how good we have it. People elsewhere on this planet marvel at what we can accomplish by simply writing letters to a representative, by the idea that we can share our thoughts without any serious concern for well-being. I've found that people who are cynical about the US have either never left it or never lived there (depending on their origin).

    No, the "state" (in the US) is an institution formed to represent the citizenry (we live in a republic, not a democracy). As such, it is vulnerable to being co-opted by private interests.

    Technically, it's a Constitutional Democratic Republic, but we'll just assume from here on out that the other person actually does have a clue what he's talking about, 'kay?

    Indeed, the government and agencies therin are vulnerable to undue influence (indeed, corruption) of the power we have granted them. That doesn't make them any less a function of the people, only a corrupted function of the people. As such, "we the people" have the ability to correct that corruption or eliminate the agency.

    Just because we don't spend as much time as we could making sure to eliminate every pocket of inefficiency or graft in our mutlti-trillion dollar organization doesn't invalidate our control over it.

    No, the state educating our children is a convenient and efficient way for those people who have the power to make sure the children of those people who oppose them agree with them

    "The people who have power" are us. Go to your school board and you will be able to influence trmendously, because no one else is there. So don't criticize others simply because they participate and you don't. Don't say it doesn't represent you simply because you expected a psychic event to occur for the board members to understand your desires.

    If you get outcoted, then your voice was at least heard. And you still have many options -- take your kid out of school if you really dislike the policy.

    No one forces your kid to go to THAT school, we only mandate (collectively, through the Governement as our executor) that chidren be schooled. We made the moral decision years ago that having children working the in the coal mines at age seven was probably a bad idea for the long-term efficacy of our society. If you disagree, work to change the policy or find a society that agrees with you, but don't delude yourself into thinking that your voice is silent.

    Now the two sides (and many factions) are at war over who gets to promulgate their propaganda next.

    And of course you can pull your children out of public school at any time, so long as they are schooled somewhere.

    But even more than that, having sides fighting over the resolution -- well, that's what we're all about in the US. We have the adversarial system entrenched in everything we do. Maybe it shouldn't be that way (I don't know) but it does seem to make us wind up in the middle ground most of the time. There are many places on Earth where people don't fight over ideology because it means being killed in the middle of the night. Given the choices, I suppose I'll live in a place where the admittedly slow-moving processes usually leave us with a reasonable comprimise. For short periods we may wind up with ridiculous things being done in our name, but in the long haul it always shifts back because for all our laziness, we are the most righteously indignant people on the planet...
  • If Mr. X has a gun, and he showed it to me at school, do I want him to ever be able to find out who turned him in?

    So dial 911 from school, and report it. Or call crimestoppers.

    being anonymous to report a crime (having a gun at school) is no problem.

    This is akin to calling a rape hotline and telling them you thing your neighbor is really creepy and might rape someone someday. There's a big difference between alerting the authorities to a problem that needs to be addressed and doing profiling in your spare time under the aegis of school safety.

    Everything the WAVE program purports to do would be better served by the police. Anything short of that standard shouldn't be reported anonymously, because it's just as likely to be hot air...
  • Well, Einstein did do very poorly in mathematics (possibly failing, don't recall) until his (uncle?) tutored him in Algebra and showed him the "interesting" side of solving problems with Math rather than rote memorization...
  • Why on earth would anyone even bother talking to the Pinkerton people? This is a free market economy and, as has been said before, if there is a demand, there will be a supply. This was no more productive than going after gun manufacturers or Columbian coca farmers.

    It is school boards and governments who are asking for things like Wave and that is where we must agitate. I remember once that someone put a list of addresses of government representatives up on /. so perhaps it could be posted again. Write a REAL letter....email won't even get past the filters. When someone takes the time to put pen to paper, it commands more respect than a dozen emails so write. Pen is mightier than sword, yes?
  • OK, so there's a demand for this type of program. Where is the demand coming from? [usatoday.com]
    --
  • I'll say "here here! as well.

    With a little note on the side: I come from a decent family but one that had alot of emotional problems at home.

    Here it is twenty odd years later, and now I'm a dad (two girls thank you), and you know what? I look around and what I see isn't a lack of caring parents, it's a lack of parents who have good parenting skills, you know, little things like:

    • Uncritical listening, which is where a young person can go to a parent with whatever is bothering them, and not get an angry, explosive response or an emotional withdrawing.
    • Consistent application of fair discipline, that is, a parent saying what they mean, meaning what they say, and sticking to their guns in administering discipline where the consequence is the right size for the bad action of the kid.
    • Showing willingness to learn together, rather than "preaching from on high".
    Granted, my parents were horrible examples of these kinds of things, but they tried, and I knew they were trying, which went a long way toward reconciling the mistakes. And I'm way short of perfect in these areas myself.

    I just wish this stuff was easily learned and shared, so that the young people I see around me stood a better chance of being happy in the long term, no matter who they are, how they currently express themselves, or what their situation may be.

  • But the Pinkerton people don't see morality as their concern, If it isn't there concern then who are they to decide what behaviour is indicative of a violent path? While I hold some unique views (in the eyes of most slashdotters) on morality, everyone should be able to agree that if a company isn't concerned with morality then they have no place in this profiling issue. Let's throw out the inherent wrong in the whole issue. They aren't concerned with morality yet they are making moral guidelines for moral behaviour. I can't be the only one who see's this.
  • The Pinkerton guys have a point: there is market demand for this. It's not like they are pushing this program down onto unwilling schools -- the schools ask for it. And while it's true that an ethical (translation: whose ethics are somewhat similar to mine) company would not get involved in this dirty business, it's also true that there is a whole bunch of less conscientious people who would do it without a second thought.

    Katz is somewhat misled by his anti-corporation (what he calls anti-corporatist) stance. He suggests that schools should work with troubled (from their point of view) teens instead of big corporations getting into the act. Well, and how would that be better? If the school principal is an asshole who believes that wearing black is a sign of being possessed by Satan, then Pinkerton or not, he is going to inflict major suffering on non-conformist kids in his school.

    I don't see the WAVE program as a problem -- I see it as a symptom of a much bigger problem, vis. that schools are scared of their own kids and don't understand them. I don't know if it can be fixed, but while schools fear teens and while hysterical parents demand strip searches for a 150% guarantee that nothing bad will happen to their little Johnny in school, such things as WAVE will continue to pop up with gruesome regularity.

    Kaa
  • *smirk* I come from a corporate environment. Ethical or not, if legal okays it, then it's going to happen. More than once, we got calls at my former employer's NOC that were the FBI, the State Police, the local police, the Secret Service, or the INS on the other hand, with siezed company property.

    Anonymous reporting's been around for ages. And the schools use it. Some of them responsibly, others irresponsibly. Before I dropped out, my high school introduced a 1-800 help line to report bullying, to get help if you were depressed, etcetera. I know for fact that before I dropped out, the most action they took off information from that line was suspending someone for two weeks for fighting, and sending a LOT of kids off to a special school for kids with drug problems.

    Since then, there have been *THREE* deaths at this school. One of them, this weekend, hit me very hard. It was someone I knew. He was stabbed to death at a party, trying to break up a fight. I don't doubt for a second that people will abuse these things. My school was so afraid of me, just because I was the "quiet kid" who was "smart," that they actively sought ways to get rid of me. I was threatened with expulsion repeatedly. Unjustly, I might note. ("What, you're going to expell me because some idiot who can't turn on a PC says I hacked his Macintrash? Shall we get the family lawyer on the phone?")

    A school district basically FORCED a friend of mine to drop out. They continually harassed him, suspended him, etcetera. At the ADMINISTRATIVE level. And he wasn't a behaviour problem. He was a quiet kid who wore a lot of black. And they took ESPECIAL effort to make his life hell. This shit has been going on for years. In fifth grade, mind you, I had to memorize the family lawyer's number and tell them to call him every time they sent me to the principal's office for a bullshit reason. To this day, I have kept contact with at LEAST two lawyers - a contract/patent lawyer or firm, and a general counsel who can at the least, refer me to the appropriate lawyer should the need arise.

    Yeah, the "if we don't do it somebody else will" argument is bullshit. But it's also true. It's CHEAPER to run a voicemail system that just takes messages than to provide ACTUAL HELP. Actual HELP requires ACTUAL PEOPLE. And people require MONEY. Pinkerton's profit margin will be in excess of 50%, with an error margin I'd guesstimate at in excess of 90%. Statistics be damned - offer a fifth grader a computer if he reports fifty violent students, and he'll be on that phone day in and day out till he gets that computer. No effort required - just lie about some kid you don't like.

    This is unethical in that this is just a 'tattletale' line. And Pinkerton will NOT hire people to make it a HELP line instead. Then they would LOSE money on it due to the scope of it. (I hope you Pinkerton fools are reading this.) They KNOW this. They don't have the balls to admit that they're in this EXCLUSIVELY for the money. They can yank away those prizes any damn time they want for any bullshit reason they want. So they don't have to actually give away ANYTHING! Imagine the profit margins THEN!

    It's time the whole goddamn world wakes up and realizes that playing catchup and tattletale is not only fucking STUPID, but just EXACERBATING the problem. It's like making a pinprick in a finger, then pouring sulfuric acid over it, and adding yeast. Then add some infectious diseases (WAVE) and pretty soon the only solution left is to cut off the ARM. I won't have kids, if I ever do get married, because I will not raise kids in this environment. Not by a longshot.

    Obviously Americans can't take care of their own kids, the government's got it's head so far up it's ass it can't figure out how to make reasonable and intelligent changes and desicions, and the corporations could care less so long as they can post higher earnings estimates. Makes me want to move somewhere like Sweden or Finland. Obviously, people are far more responsible over there.

    I don't know about you folks, but I've had it with this bullshit. If nobody's going to take a stand and point out who's REALLY at fault - the parents, the schools, the society, and America as a whole - then it's only going to get worse, and people know it. They're still in denial though. So nothing will be done till it's too late. Bah. I'm not disillusioned - I'm realistic. And if this is the way America will be, then every American on the face of this planet is SCREWED.

    *steps down off soap box*

    =RISCy Business email here [mailto]
  • If you're interested in making your school safer, three of the best things to have in your back pocket are resolve, respect and responsibility. When we show others respect and determine to resolve conflict peacefully, we lessen the potential for people to become violent. It is also our responsibility to
    know what often triggers violent behavior and how we can respond appropriately.

    According to extensive research, here's a number of early warning signs of violence. However, it's
    extremely important to know that this is not a "checklist" to be used to stereotype anyone. These early warning signs need to be viewed in the appropriate context. They are not to be seen as individual indicators, but when exhibited in combination, are cause for concern. They include:


    Not a checklist, but if someone exhibits more than one, be afraid, be very afraid...


    Hits or bullies others.

    Expresses uncontrolled anger.
    however, controlled anger is just fine, just try not to show too much emotion

    Has unlawful possession and use of firearms.

    Displays intense intolerance or prejudice.
    We cannot tolerate intolerance and must treat prejudice with extreme prejudice.

    Conveys violence in writings and/or drawings.
    i.e. reads comics books, sci-fi, likes action movies, Discovery channel shark specials... This is the worst for me, I used, and still do use creative expression of violent acts as an outlet for the anger caused by stupid shit like this whole WAVE thing. What can I say, I watched a lot of G.I.Joe as a kid.

    Uses drugs or alcohol on campus.
    Yes, because we all know any drug that doesn't have a trademark, patent, or advertising budget is baaad, bad!

    Makes threats.
    JESUS FUCKING CHRIST, don't even think of standing up for yourself, that's for other people to worry about. Oh, and it's not only airports where you can't joke about bombs anymore, now it goes on your permanent psych sheet.

    Is easily angered by minor things.
    Does get's frustrated by people trying to profit off the misfortune and problems of others count as a minor thing?

    Keep mail bombing these fuckers, that's my $.02.

    Remember we must treat absolutely fucking destroy any all all violent tendencies in order to be safe at school.
    --
  • My point about hunting was that it is one of the activities in which there is no denial of responsibility. The animal is dead, for better or for worse. No way to get around that. Now, there are those who leave it to rot (I'd like to leave them to rot!), but my point is that it is impossible to breathe life back into that corpse. Thus, with any luck, the hunter learns that his actions have irreversible results. And hopefully this leads him to consider his actions a little bit more carefully. Obviously, it doesn't work with everyone.

    I think that I addressed the whole thing about trapping; it's less fair and less sporting. If we used traps the beaver would be dead by now; instead we shoot and not a single beaver has died yet. Yeah, it hasn't exactly helped the final goal of restoring some balance to the lake, but OTOH it has kept us true to our ideals.

    Not that I'm against trapping; it has its place. But I personally don't wish to do it.

    When I say that good ecology is Genesis 1, what I mean is that in there it says that man has dominion over the earth; he has power over it and is able to do what he will. But with this power comes responsibility; what Christian would deny that God demands an accounting for the use of His gifts? Much is expected from those to whome much is given. It's the parable of the talents all over again.

    Which is why I oppose the misuse of the earth and why I support wise-use and conservation efforts. That and I sort of like the place:-)

    Golly it's late; 1.30 here...

  • `No challenge'? Obviously you've never been hunting. A friend of mine owns about 160 acres with three lakes on it. Two of these lakes have a nasty beaver problem: about 40 beavers, when there should be maybe eight to twelve. They have killed all the saplings and are now working on the 15 to 25 year-old trees. The native coyotes and wild dogs are not working, and the beaver are spreading disease and contagion throughout the whole area.

    We have made four hunting trips trying to get the damned nuisances. We have yet to shoot a single one. We've tried every method: dusk, dawn, spotlighting (legal for small game) &c. And we're not a bunch of hunting newbies; it's just that beaver are difficult animals. There is plenty of challenge, let me tell you.

    As another points out, you must have a correlation in order for an indicator to work. Hunters and football players tend not to be sociopaths, unless you choose to define hunter or football player as sociopath, in which case it works out just fine. Hunters--at least responsible, mature hunters--are not in the sport for the fun of killing. They are in it for the challenge, for a love of nature and a respect of wildlife (believe it or not, these do not contradict killing said wildlife; does a hiker respect the trail he is cutting through the wilderness?), because they feel that it is a more authentic method of getting food, because they appreciate organic meat, because they feel that it is more humane &c. &c &c.

    Yes, there are irresponsible hunters. But the majority of hunters look down on these. Unless you are a radical vegetarian (in which case I respect your opinion), it is a logical inconsistency to state that animals should be indutrially killed but not killed on a one-on-one basis.

    There are instances of modern hunting where the reality is removed. Certain of the private hunting establishments amount to little more than shooting fish in a barrel. But on the other hand you have the bowhunting and blackpowder movements. Try shooting a snowhare with an 8 inch flintlock pistol when it is under 32 outside; it's not as easy as you might think. Try shooting a whitetail with an arrow after you've tracked it for an hour. Hell, forget shooting it; just try tracking it for an hour.

    A lot of this is due to regional variations. In Montana I believe that it is considered unsporting to use corn or salt to attract deer, but in Texas no-one does anything but. This is due to the fact that in Texas private land is very small and hence the hunter cannot track across country, and public lands are dangerous, whereas in Montana public lands are open and safe. But the end result is that Montanans think that Texans are unethical and Texans think that Montanans are too strict. Who is right? If the Texans did not hunt as they do, then the deer population would undergo a Malthusian period of sickness and starvation.

    On-Topic Stuff Here

    To get a little bit more on-topic, those warning signs are pretty silly. Let's look at some of them:

    • frequent physical fighting--isn't this usual behaviour for children? Would you prefer emotional fighting or armed fighting?
    • increasing risk-taking behavior--isn't this what teenagers do? Ever hear of roller-coasters?
    • detailed plans to commit acts of violence--hasn't everyone had thoseat one time or another?
    • carrying a weapon--we did this all the time in my grade school. There wasn't a boy there who didn't carry a pocketknife. How times have changed...
  • Are they bothering you in some way?

    I pointed out the ways in which the high population level (remember we want to control them, not exterminate them) is a problem. They have ceased going after saplings and are now attacking older growth. These are trees which have stood in one place for 15-25 years, but are now being killed to no end; the beavers instinctually cut them down but are unable to drag them into place. They `girdle' them but make no use of them. This land is mostly wild, but what parts man has tamed or cleared have been put to use. Maybe 8 acres have been cleared: a road, a house, a donkey pen, a chicken yard and a junkyard. Every tree that was cut down was used for something. Every grass mowed was used to feed a goat. But the beaver kill for no good end; they kill out of instinct but make no use of their kill.

    In addition to this they are causing a problem with the fish and the local animal population. Their increased numbers have caused a rise in the incidence of disease amongst all animals: beaver, armadillo, deer, coyote, feral dog, cat and even some fowl. Their great numbers have had an effect upon the fish population of the lakes involved. I do not know why the population rose as it did. No doubt there is some good, although probably accidental, reason. But the end result will be starvation and death for all species unless the population is brought more in line with what it should be. And that is where we come in.

    Have you some reason to arse about with guns other than it's more fun? Are you, in fact, taking pleasure from (trying to) hurt these animals and are reluctant to finish the job quickly?

    It is more sporting to try to shoot them. Trapping would be the most effective alternative; it is how one kills beaver commercially. But it's not terribly fair to the beaver; it is not pitted in a contest against a foe it can smell and hear, but against one which is invisible and which, in fact, draws it in with bait. We choose to hunt them because it is a contest of skill: our skill to find and to shoot (which, BTW, is more difficult than any movie shows; try hitting a moving target about 3x3 in. in the water as it dives at night with a mist on the lake) versus the beavers' to detect, warn and evade. So far the beaver have won. That's more than fair.

    You are right though; there is something fun in it. But it is not fun in the suffering of an animal. It is the fun of the chase. Have you ever played tag or hide-and-seek? Those are but vague shadows of hunting. There is nothing like the thrill that runs through one at the sound of the approaching animal. First there is the rustling (or, in our case, the splashing). The noise may approach, or it may depart (always a disappointment). The tensions builds. Then--at last--the sighting! Now the rifle is raised, the hunter tracks the animal through the scope. He waits until he has a good shot at the vitals; there is no honour to shooting a beast in the leg or gut where it will slowly and painfully die. No, the hunter holds his fire until he has a good chance of hitting the head or chest. He steels himself, and fires. The shot hits, and it is over within a few seconds. That is the most horrible moment of all for me: when I see that I have just taken life. I don't enjoy that at all. But I enjoy the thrill of the chase, the wait, the anticipation, the joy of a good shot and the taste of meat I have killed and dressed myself.

    Killing is a nasty bloody business. The hunter knows that: he sees it happen before his eyes. The vain consumer never sees it; meat somes in a plastic package like all his food. But the hunter saw an animal that was alive and healthy, and he changed that in an instant. Then he took responsibility for his action: he dressed the animal and prob. butchered it. The consumer has no idea what is involved. He has no sense of responsibility.

    Oh give me a break. Thank god for these selfless individuals out in the wilderness, day and night tirelessly protecting nature from itself and the rest of us stay-at-homes from the rage of the wild beaver.

    Hunters kill not out of joy of killing, but from the joy of hunting. Killing is a part of that, it is true. But it has to be. The pursuit is much more fun than the attainment of the goal; the hunt is more fun than the kill.

    t is a logical inconsistancy to say you are killing random animals (I assume you don't actually raise them to hunt them, like some foxhunters do in the UK) because of respect for the farm animals raised for the purpose and which will be killed in their millions anyway, regardless of your actions. It is a logical inconsistancy to say that you spend so much time and effort to kill these animals without pay and without being asked by the govt or other body which could force you to do it and then to claim that you don't get pleasure out of it. You don't seem to realise that the very real pleasure of hunting is not in the kill. At least, not to a mentally stable person. It is in the contact with nature (a far bloodier master than any man, that is certain), in the outdoors, in the pursuit and the tracking, in the technical skill involved in shooting. To do all these things without shooting is to be false about it. That is why I cannot subscribe to the `shoot nothing but pictures' philosophy: it feels empty to me. Others may differ, of course. But if one is going to indulge the instinctual urge to hunt, it seems to be lying to stop just short of the ultimate goal.

    (about blackpowder pistol season for hares) Why is this any different from using a machine gun?

    It is very different. The difficulty makes it a fairer and more sporting match. Believe it or not, hunting does not consist of driving to a field, walking up to a deer and shooting it through the head with a pistol. But it can be much easier with modern weapons. When one has become an excellent hunter with modern gear, it becomes time to up the ante and make things a little more difficult. IMHO, at least.

    In re: taking pictures and not shooting.

    Have you ever shot? I shoot quite frequently, but at cans or paper targets. These are a lot of fun--shooting is a challenging sport. But shooting at a real target is more of a challenge. It takes nerves and skill. Taking a picture involves these, but it is less real because it is less serious. There is nothing I know of more serious than levelling a weapon at another living being. In that moment the other creature goes from fellow to foe. It is an introduction to that principle which underlies all of life: competition. We compete with every other organism, from bacteria to plants to animals to other men.

    This is not to say that we should wipe out any organism. We are called to be stewards of the Earth and its resources (good ecology is Genesis chapter 1). IMHO it is better stewardship to hunt than to merely by pre-killed meat. And there is fun in that shot. There is uncertainty. The animal is not dead until the round hits. At any moment a finger might shake, an arm might quiver, a branch might obstruct or the animal may bound away. That is fair. What chance does a cow have?

    Not that I oppose the cattle industry. But I feel that hunting is a fairer means of procuring meat.

    Man this is so off-topic that I will surely be moderated down...

    How can I get this back on-topic? Lemme see...

    On-topic Follows

    Perhaps what high-schoolers need nowadays is an education in authenticity. Too many of them have been raised in an environment in which decisions have no consequences. There is no responsibility in their world. From the day they are born they are sheltered from every effect of their actions. They are not punished in any significant way, but are taught to feel good about themselves in the futile hope the self-esteem leads to respect for others.

    They eat packaged meat, packaged vegetables and lead packaged lives. They watch a television in which problems never last more than an hour. They watch movies in which only the attractive side of violence is shown. The use computers in which anything can be undone (which is a nice capability, of course). But in real life there is no undo button. When you kill a man he dies; generally he dies in a graphic, painful and humiliating fashion. Too late to say `I'm sorry.' Too late to rethink things. Too late to hit undo.

    Children are doing these things because they really don't understand the finality of their actions. They have been insulated all their lives from the unpleasant realities of life. And what better way to take out their frustrations then to carry out the common fantasy of killing one's classmates? Only problem is that in real life it matters; there's no way to bring someone back to life after his brain has been shot out the back of his head.

    Children need to be disciplined. They need to be brought up to recognise some sort of right and wrong--I don't really care if it's my right and wrong. They need to realise that their actions have results. They need to see that life has no undo button. Hunting demonstrates that...

  • Maybe outcasts is the wrong word, but that depends on which dictionary you read. There are many historical examples of a small minority oppressing a majority in such a way that it's only considered worth it to be in the minority group: effectively, the majority are outcasts.

    Three examples that come right to mind are whites/blacks during Apartheid, nobles/commoners through medieval Europe, and old-timers/AOL users in the mid '90's.

  • How much crime there is in an area has more to do with how well people protect themselves than it does with how many police are roaming around.

    Police are armed historians. They do a very good job of coming in after the crime has been committed and making detailed reports of exactly what happened. Depending on the situation they may even arrest someone. But arresting someone after the fact is hardly a way to stop crime.

    Crime stops when people defend themselves and their property from criminals. There are states like Massachusetts(sp?) where if someone breaks into your home and you kill the bastard, you'll rot in prison. What does that give the criminals? A license to break into your house and rob your or do violence to you because they know you won't defend yourself.

    I'm lucky that I live in Arizona where nonsense like that gets thrown out of the state legislature with prejudice. Here you can carry a gun in public as long as it is not concealed. Getting a concealed carry permit isn't difficult either. Other than the hot weather, this is a great place to live if you believe in freedom and the right of people to defend themselves and their liberty.

    I don't usually rant like this, but the very idea that police prevent crime is ludicrous to me. They can be very effective in finding the criminal after the fact and collecting evidence to lead to his or her eventual incarceration. Criminals don't do what they do with the idea the'll get caught. They do it and plan on getting away. If you don't think you'll get caught, the cops aren't exactly a deterrant. A deterrant is a would-be victim unwilling to take any crap and with no reservations about putting holes in the criminal.

    Anti-defense nuts can just move on, nothing you say in response is going to change my mind. I've heard it all before and yes, I did listen. I think things like gun control are bad because I've been around long enough to understand human nature. Gun control is people control because as George Washington said, "Guns are the people's liberty's teeth."

    Lee
  • "If you see these immediate warning signs," WAVE America will announce, "violence is a serious possibility":
    • carrying a weapon
    You've got to be kidding me! So, the fact that I was on my High School's rifle team means that I would have been reported as a person where violence was a "serious possibility"?!?!

    • enjoying hurting animals
    And where does this end? When I was a kid, I was constantly running around the yard with a magnifying glass looking for insects. I "hunted" field mice and rabbits in my mom's garden with a BB gun. And, though I'm not proud of it, I remember conducting "experiments" to see if cats really did always land on their feet (no permanent damage to any cats - it must have become dizzy from all the spinning and finally landed on its back on the last attempt).

    But I have never even been in a fight, let alone blown up a school or execute classmates. This is just incredible. I would hate for my son to be classified like this. Home schooling is looking better and better...

  • Hmmm, perhaps I worded it wrong, or maybe I just thought I typed it. I fully realize that Pinkerton is not comprised solely of meatheads. No large corporation, not even organized crime, could survive if this was the case.

    Rather, the very things that make Pinkerton and other security firms attractive to thier lower levels (power, authority, and the ability to exercise them), becomes pervasive throughout the corp. The corporate fundamentals that are preached are often done to appeal to the rank and file and keep them in line (ie. To Serve and Protect, or whatever catchphrase is on the company posters that line the Head Offices). This will rub off on everyone company wide, precisely because it is pervasive, and you need to spout the company motto in order to keep your job.

    So it doesn't matter wherther you come in with the best intentions or not. Eventually, those who aren't comfortable with the company line will move off to another job, another environment that more closely aligns with what they believe in. Others, who don't find the company line so objectionable, will stay on. So the prevailing stereotype remains, and in fact becomes self-fulfilling.

    To paraphrase gilroy's dinosaur analogy below (apologies for not responding directly), each corp is a herd. The herd attracts like individuals to it, and those that aren't are driven out. The herd will not react to anything less than another herd, for it lacks the language to deal with anything smaller. (Ahhh frick, I;m out of practive with coming up with analogies. But I hope the gist remains.)

  • If the market demands something, someone will try to supply it. Doesn't matter if the thing is legal or not. All you can hope to accomplish by making something illegal is to take the profit out of it. This requires some price sensitivity on the part of the buyer.

    Given that what Pinkerton is selling isn't illegal, you have to figure out some other way to stop them. Because, as they point out, if you succeed in stopping Pinkerton's, someone else will try to meet the market demand. No way is Pinkerton's going to walk away from that market demand.
    -russ
    p.s. You, too, need to learn some economics. I can recommend some good books if you want.
  • Yes, you're right, it puts materials and money above humans. That is the primary effect. However, the secondary effect is that in order to get these materials and money, capitalists must give people something they want *even more* than the materials and money.

    The only way a capitalist can avoid creating more than they destroy is to use force. The only legitimate use of force in America is the government. Get my drift? If you want protection from capitalist abuse, keep them the hell away from government, and vice-versa.
    -russ

  • Well, that was Franklin, but you've got the right idea.
    -russ
  • And you read this in which history book??
    -russ
  • wrenling wrote: "And the above will only happen IF the PARENTS of that kid decide to back him/her and go to bat for them. Many parents are just as scared of the school system as the kid is -- or honestly believe what the school is telling them, because they dont understand their child's motivation either."

    Hear, hear!

    I was an RA at a summer program for "gifted children" for 5 years, and met a lot of kids' parents. I also went to an suburban American high school, which like most high schools has a multi-variable social scene.

    A lot of parents don't care about their kids, or t least not in ways the kids can appreciate. The militarist father next door in American Beauty is unfortunately not as unrealistic a character as I wish he were, though he's not the only variant on the theme of parents-who-never-grew-up. Those parents' kids tend to be surly and resentful. The biggest danger they pose is probably to themselves (because they're constantly mad and it distracts from their forward vision, metaphorically speaking) and to their own kids, who I fear they will treat the same way.

    On the other hand, some parents clearly not only love their kids in the abstract, but establish loving bonds with them that mean the kids talk to their parents, grow up decently adjusted and primed to experience the world happily.

    These things transcend "socio-economic level" (which usually means "economic" but that's another story)... rich parents are sometimes dulled by wordly concerns and general malaise, poor parents are often much wealthier in their relationship with their kids. And sometimes vice versa.

    That's not to say that parents are the only factor, or that if you want happy kids you should forswear worldly possessions. Only that nothing an anonymous tipline (prizes or no) can ever do will affect the root causes of unhappy kids. But it might make a lot of otherwise OK kids miserable.

    And you know what? All teenagers are unhappy at certain points, some more than others. You show me a teenager who is never unhappy, and I'll search his room for drugs while you lock him in the basement.

    timothy

  • The "state" IS the citizens.

    Thank you for parroting moronic platitude number 37. Your toaster will be arriving by US mail.

    Even if you assume that the state generally implements the will of the majority (a tough assumption to defend), the idea that a majority can speak for everybody is morally indefensible.

    The state is not the citizens. The state is an organization with its own dynamics, set up to implement an at-best-poor approximation to the consensus desires of a (possibly large, possibly small) subset of the citizens.

    In the case of schools in the US, this includes systematically inculcating consensus ideas, many of which are nonsense, and systematically suppressing independent thought.

    The state may be you. The state is not me.

  • It sounds like someone severely screwed up your diagnosis. Psychological evaluations should *always* include a medical examination to exclude physical causes. I wouldn't expect this from a chiropractor, but a psychologist should have insisted on an exam. (Was he a licensed clinical psychologist, or a "social worker" out of his depth?) A psychiatrist, being a MD and the person who actually writes the prescription, has no excuses at all.

    Was the tumor overlooked because it was small, or did they never bother to check for it?

    If it's the latter, you should contact a local lawyer to explore whether medical malpractice occured. I hate lawyers second-guessing doctors, but if someone prescribed prozac for a sleep disorder and muscular (neck) pain without first eliminating physical causes then they are seriously jeopardizing their patients' health. You didn't say if your tumor was malignant, but even if it's not consider the possibility (which does occur) that the tumor could have been treatable when you first saw the psychologist and psychiatrist, but terminal by the time they finally identified it.
  • Actualy that did not happen, the King did not wear the Yellow star, he did do a hell of a lot to protect the Jews of Denmark and in 1943 the entire Jewish population of denmark (Except a very few) were smuggled over to Sweeden. A few hundred were deported to one of the camps. The Danish Gov put so much pressure on the Nazi's that they had to let the Red Cross into that camp to inspect it. All but about 50 survived the war.

    When they got back to Denmark they found their houses and stores largly intact.

    I View the people of Denmark as some of the greatest heros of the 20th century.

    The Cure of the ills of Democracy is more Democracy.

  • by jd (1658) <imipak&yahoo,com> on Thursday April 13, 2000 @05:46AM (#1135794) Homepage Journal
    In my books, there's really not much difference between shooting deer with a rifle or dropping 1000lbs. of cluster-bombs on the same site. The deer has just about as much awareness, or ability to take evasive action.

    Nor, in my books, is there any difference between deer hunting, whale hunting, hare coursing, fox hunting, badger baiting or any other similar pursuits. There's no "challange", no uncertainty in the results, no respect for the life you're about to erase, no compassion for the animal or anything dependent on it.

    As for American Football, it's just Rugby with armour and some glamour girls on the sidelines. Like modern hunting, all the reality is removed and you're left with an empty shell. Desensitised and meaningless.

    Personally, if I were running something like Pinkerton's program, I'd have those two activities as the two strongest indicators of a sociopath.

  • Step one: Get a list of students in your local high schools.

    Step two: Set up a lot of web proxies on machines across the U.S.

    Step three: Use each web proxy to report at least two or three students at random from your list.

    Step four: Watch Big Brother^w^wPinkerton get sued by several thousand parents of cheerleaders and football players whose children have been labelled "dangerous".

    Step five: Repeat as needed.

    Folks, I'm not kidding. They appear dead-set against listening to rational discussion, and this calls for drastic measures. We can't stand by and let this happen to our children and friends. Remember how badly you were treated in high school? Can you really sit back and watch it get worse? This system must be shut down.

  • Unfortunately, I couldn't agree with this less. From the perspective I had in school, the worst part of the whole deal was that local residents and the state government had too much say in the way the school was run.

    When talking about local school districts, the chance of having intelligent people elected to sit on them, especially in a rural area similar to where I grew up, is slim to none. And yet these people are the ones who choose many specific policies, fund allocation, and the hiring of teachers.

    In many cases, these people are parents, but that doesn't make them able to provide education for their children. For example, in the school district I survived, the school board hired new secondary teachers from the local state university, despite the fact that the existing faculty had published a statement to the district that they would no longer accept student teachers from that school because they were not qualified to student teach, let alone be hired as teachers.

    Holding schools and teachers to higher national standards will only become more important as communications technology continues to shrink the distance between people. We have almost reached the point (in the Rust Belt, anyway) where there are too few regionally-dependent jobs (manufacturing, agribusiness) to support the claims that the national government doesn't need to be involved in steering education in a beneficial, forwarding-thinking direction.

    That's just my thoughts. I grew up in a community more concerned with the football team than promoting literacy, and my high school still graduates people who can't read well enough to fill out applications to work at the grocery store.

    --mandi

  • by NMerriam (15122) <NMerriam@artboy.org> on Thursday April 13, 2000 @06:39AM (#1135797) Homepage
    The idea that it's the state's job -- even the state's prerogative -- to advance every social good is the very pretext by which they usurp the rights of citizens.

    The "state" IS the citizens.

    "The state" educating our children is merely a convenient and efficient way for us to educate our children. It may not work as well as it would individually, but it's cheaper and less time-consuming than on an individual level. If you don't want to make that tradeoff, then homeschool your kids or send them to private school.

    The system of mandatory schooling in the US is despicably corrupt.

    Why is this? It's probably not as good as it could be, but then again few people participate in school board meetings, where the decisions are made. But that doesn't make it corrupt, just not as representative as it could (should) be.

  • by Russ Nelson (33911) <slashdot@russnelson.com> on Thursday April 13, 2000 @05:06AM (#1135798) Homepage
    No, I'm sure they didn't laugh at him. How could you laugh at such misdirected sincerity? I'm sure they just shook their heads sadly at him. But really, they would have done much better *for* Jon to say "Yer talkin' ta da wrong people, fella. Don't blame us -- we're only sellin' what people wanna buy."
    -russ
  • Difference: at some point, the government is accountable. Pinkerton is not, despite coming up with this venture, because no one gets to choose who runs it outside of an anointed few within the company. The government (yours or mine) isn't much better, but at least you can pick your poison.

    What this ad for this group has to do with a company setting up a snitch line for kids to tell on each other, I have no clue. Sounds more to me like this is an example of why most companies should stay out of education, if anything - most have no business being so involved with the lives of kids as Pinkerton intends to with WAVE America.
  • by Steve B (42864) on Thursday April 13, 2000 @06:52AM (#1135800)
    Jim said the company hoped to set up anonymous toll-free "safety" and anti-violence hotlines across the country to relieve unnerved and overburdened school districts of the responsibility of monitoring students who might be disturbed or dangerous.

    If the school system is going to claim to act in loco parentis, it cannot palm off these responsibilities, any more than parents can.

    politicians like those in North Carolina were demanding some action, and so were parents, journalists and educators

    Political logic:

    1. Something must be done.

    2. Plan X is something.
    3. Therefore, Plan X must be done.

    We know how, and if we don't do it, somebody else will.

    I will not invoke Godwin's Law.... I will not invoke Godwin's Law.... I will not invoke Godwin's Law....

    Pinkerton was unhappy with some of the media portrayal of some of WAVE America's more controversial features.

    I'll just bet they were.

    Let's see: no direct reward for turning in a classmate, but gifts and prizes encouraging kids to use a site that offers anonymous reporting. A fine line.

    I haven't seen such a fine line drawn since Clinton's quibblings over the definitions of the words "alone", "sex", and "is".
    /.

  • by goliard (46585) on Thursday April 13, 2000 @06:24AM (#1135801)
    What this ad for this group has to do with a company setting up a snitch line for kids to tell on each other, I have no clue.

    You exemplify the problem in a nutshell!

    These things are (sorry) obviously connected. Schools need security because of they way they are stuctured -- in a thousand ways. Start with policies which forbid violent students from being expelled. Or with 30+ children being "supervised" by one adult who is primarily responsible for keeping them quiet and controled. Or with policies about violence which turn the other cheek when one class of people (whites, jocks, etc.) assault another class.

    There's been shooting in workplaces, but nobody's crying out for more police among the cubicles or hotlines to report dangerous co-workers. No, schools are different, and we all know the reality of schools yet we, as a culture, persist in denying that they are the savage, oppressive, unjust, violence-breeding places they are.

    It is schools administrators and teachers who are the customers of Pinkerton, crying out for WAVE. They WANT these measures in their schools. What Pinkerton kept saying, and you all keep refusing to hear is:

    "Yeah, maybe we aren't saints. But you should see who hired us."

    It's all well and good to flame Pinkerton for implementing this abomination against rights and liberty. But who commissioned it? Who ordered and paid for it? Who embraced it?

    If you don't like it, who is going to make you/your kids -- with the force of law -- submit anyway? The schools are a government organ. The government is getting Pinkerton to do its dirty work for them.

    If you don't like what's going on in schools, well, bad news: you're up against The Law. Many states have loopholes through which you can get your kid out of mandatory schooling. But if you don't like the fact that the electorate of tomorrow is going to arrive at the age of majority acculturated to fascism and totalitarianism... What are you going to do? Schools are necessarily fascistic and totalitarian by their design. Maybe the government shouldn't be in the business of running them.

    Is Pinkerton evil for doing this? Sure.

    But really, folks, why is there no outcry against the schools/governments which use it?

    They're the one's with the lion's share of the blame.


    ----------------------------------------------
  • by goliard (46585) on Thursday April 13, 2000 @08:05AM (#1135802)
    Do you think that the societal pressures to conform would go away if the schools were abolished?

    Yes. Sorry to contradict your religion, but the (all liberal) h.s.ers I know are vastly more resistent to the pressure of others and don't seem to have any need to press others to conform. I've observed what they're talking about: it's one of the reasons a lot of liberals who pull their kids from school do so. They don't want their kids to grow up to be morally vacuous consumer-suits.

    And, yes, I believe that conformism is actively encouraged in schools by the choices and policies of the people who work there. Every time a teacher exploits humiliation to control a class or a student, they're really exploiting peer-pressure. It makes a god of conformity.

    There will always be a pressure to conformity, but it is greatly exagerated and enforced by the nature of schools and schooling.

    But the fact remains that universal, state-mandated and state-funded education has brought historically unprecedented levels of literacy.

    Wrong. Factually incorrect. Propaganda of the system. Go read some books on the history of education. Literacy was at a higher rate in the US before mandatory schooling. And I point out to you that al-Andalus under Muslim rule had a higher rate of literacy than we do in the US.

    Dude, I don't know how to say this more clearly: You've been lied to. The state has a vested interest in having you believe they're doing a wonderful job. They certainly aren't going to teach you a history which portrays them in a bad light, no matter how true.

    Books to read: Lies My Teacher Told Me by Lowen; How Children Learn by Holt; Whatdjaget by Kirschbaum et al.
    ----------------------------------------------

  • by B. Samedi (48894) on Thursday April 13, 2000 @05:22AM (#1135803)
    Well I think Katz missed a great chance to really make a difference when they offered him a chance to work on the project. He could have been a thorn in their side till they either kicked him off or sidelined him. As for meeting with Katz at all this will probably be used as a P.R. ploy. "Well we met with several people from the online community and talked with them about this program. They seemed satisfied with the direction the program is taking because they turned down a chance to work on the project with us." Maybe make a few piddly changes in the program and point out how enlightened they are to the whole matter. It seems they never really intended to change the program to a large degree or outright cancel it just because they talked to Katz.

    This whole thing is insane to say the least. Pinkerton is going to take the line that credit bureaus take. "We just give the information, what the company (school) does with it is their business." It's a cop out and a way to avoid responsibility in the matter while making money. As for keeping the information themselves I have this supsicion they won't purge this stuff. It's too valuable. They can use it when conducting background checks for employers to make them look as if they are being thorough. "Well his criminal record is clear, credit looks good but he did have several people call in about him in high school about dangerous behaviour." Pinkerton is not stupid. You don't stay a profit making corporation for long if you're stupid. This has been thought through and responses have been scripted from the beginning I imagine. For all we know this was filed under "Internet Pundits Attack Program: Counters to same."

    Taking the incentive program out only made sense. Maybe they never had full intention of implementing it. It would cost them time and money. After all if this was really anonymously reported how would they know where to send the rewards, etc? It might have been included in the original proposal as something to ax when it went to the bargaining table.

    This whole thing will either be scrapped because it's swamped with bogus calls or scorched to the ground from lawsuits. Of course it could also work out that the thing is implemented, teenagers ignore it and never use it and it slips away into the shadows as another failed program. Then again it could work just like they think it will with tremendous success, lower school violence, and make everyones lives a little better because it existed... and maybe some Arab oil sheik's checking account will be transfered to my on accident.

  • by J.Random Hacker (51634) on Thursday April 13, 2000 @06:50AM (#1135804)
    There is considerable difference between shooting a deer and dropping bombs. Bombs destroy everthing in sight, leaving little that is useful later. I hunt -- I like deer meet. I provide food for my family that way. I garden also -- more food. If you must insist on equating animals and humans, then I am a predator. Are wolves to be considered sociopathic for following their nature?

    As to the certainty of a kill -- you have clearly never hunted deer or rabbit. Finding the critters and getting a clear shot is not easy. Taking a bad shot is dangerous and a waste of ammunition. If you only wound the animal, you run the risk of being attacked by it, or having it run off to die someplace where you are unable to retrieve the meat from the carcase. I don't know what you would consider a fair fight -- but I'm not interested in a fair fight. I want to feed my family.

    I can say nothing about fox hunting or badger baiting -- they don't make good food, AFAIK. I've never hunted whale -- I don't live by the sea. So I will say nothing about those as activities.

    Perhaps you would do well to live in the wilderness for a year or so before condemning those of us who live that life. Being faced with a choice between feeding your family, and killing a deer, the choice is easy, if you are human.

    I think you need to look much deeper for the roots of what you apparently consider sadistic behaviour. I doubt that any simple measure will reveal those who enjoy hurting other people, which is (IMHO) the root problem anyway.

    As I see things, this is precisely the problem with WAVE -- they use these simple indicators.

    As to me being an improbable individual -- well I am. I hunt. I garden. I live in the country. I make furniture. I hack computers. Don't make generalizations and expect them to hold everwhere.
  • by Kintanon (65528) on Thursday April 13, 2000 @09:43AM (#1135805) Homepage Journal
    In my books, there's really not much difference between shooting deer with a rifle or dropping 1000lbs. of cluster-bombs on the same site. The deer has just about as much awareness, or ability to take evasive action.
    Nor, in my books, is there any difference between deer hunting, whale hunting, hare coursing, fox hunting, badger baiting or any other similar pursuits. There's no "challange", no uncertainty in the results, no respect for the life you're about to erase, no compassion for the animal or anything dependent on it.

    As for American Football, it's just Rugby with armour and some glamour girls on the sidelines. Like modern hunting, all the reality is removed and you're left with an empty shell. Desensitised and meaningless.

    Personally, if I were running something like Pinkerton's program, I'd have those two activities as the two strongest indicators of a sociopath.



    Do you group the slaughtering of a few thousand cows and pigs by repeated blows to the skull in with the hunting pursuits? Or would that make it harder to eat your Double Quarter pounder with cheese? How much respect and compassion did you have for that bacon you ate for breakfast? Unless you are a complete vegan you are being unbelievably hypocritical. I AM NOT a vegan, or a vegitarian, I have been hunting, I have spent 4 hours stalking a herd of deer through the woods, silently. I have carefully lined up a shot and taken down a deer. I have cleaned that deer, gutted it, tanned the hide and eaten the meat. It was NOT easy. The Deer are hard as hell to get close enough to to shoot. They blend in with the forest extremely well. Most hunters DO have respect for the animals they hunt, not all, but most. So don't bitch about hunting unless you are also going to bitch about cattle farms and things like that. And doubly, don't bitch about them unless you are Vegan.

    Kintanon
  • by Speare (84249) on Thursday April 13, 2000 @06:31AM (#1135806) Homepage Journal

    I've seen several posts here today, suggesting that the way to "turn around" Pinkerton's WAVE America plans, is to bury them with false random reports.

    Remember, that's your cheerleader daughter that you're reporting at random. That's your chess-club son who will be labeled as dangerous by false reports. That's your best friend whose life will be changed for the worse because somebody sent a false tip to the authorities. These are innocent kids out there, and you'd be making the problem worse, not turning around peoples' opinions.

    The analogy would be exactly what was depicted in the movie and book, the Wave: let's make a bunch of neonazis, to show that the Reich was a bad thing. Let's put people on death row falsely, to show the death penalty has problems in judicial review. Let's kill a bunch of people of race X, to show that genocide isn't what we're looking for.

    Spam will never be the answer . Sing along, it's a mantra. Never attack another person's computer. Never scrawl "j0o r 0wnd!" on another company's website. Never flood some email box just because you disagree with them.

    Read the Linux Advocacy HOWTO. Learn to debate ethically, instead of hiding in the shadows showing off l33t skills. Show reason in the face of unreason; in time, you will be respected.

    Send polite letters to each of your congressional representatives, and to each of your local school board members. State that you're very concerned that programs like WAVE America are moving in exactly the opposite direction from the one that YOU want YOUR school system to take.

    (Spam will never be the answer! =anagram>
    New interval-blasphemers, we.
    Embellish new WAVE partners.)
  • by Paul Neubauer (86753) on Thursday April 13, 2000 @05:43AM (#1135807)
    No, I'm not advocating it, but it is inevitable and something I didn't see addressed.

    What happens when the folks WAVE harrassed or their friends (who might be a good distance away such that school/city correlation will be utterly meaningless) strike back and hack WAVE by doing they're own 'reporting'? What have they to lose? Nothing. That's beauty (or danger) of anonymous reporting accusations. It can work both ways.

    "Hey, we've gotten a dozen reports of FirstName LastName doing BadThing1, BadThing2 and BadThing3 at ThisSchool. Maybe we better..."

    Can 'die Welle', er, WAVE filter this out? Will they be swamped with having to filter it? Or will they not filter this (WAVE's victims will know what triggers to use, so it won't be easily skimmed away the false positives they manage to lob back) and the crumbled under the weight? And thus lose credibility.. and thereby get bad publicity (from traditional press) and then have to deal with that?

    Is such a 'crack' at WAVE honest and ethical? I very much doubt it. Even WAVE being dishonest and unethical (though perhaps well intentioned.. mmm pave that road!) doesn't make it right. But they better expect it for a simple reason: people will fight as dirty as they have to survive.
  • by TheCarp (96830) <sjc@carp a n e t . net> on Thursday April 13, 2000 @08:10AM (#1135808) Homepage
    > Education is not a right of the rich, and the
    > poor are honestly incapable of affording
    > private institutions.

    I agree tottally here. However, even now in many
    ways it is. I have been to both public and
    private schools. The private schools are so much
    better than the public that it isn't even funny.

    I actually know people who have graduated from
    public High Schools without EVER taking a single
    class in simple Algerbra! Never mind that in the
    private High School that I wennt to, Algerbra was
    taught to all students as a requirement Freshman
    year.

    It has been said that "Government, while it does
    small things badly, does large things badly too".

    I propose spinning off the "Public Schools". Not
    to be run by a For-Profit, but rather by
    Non-Profit organizations. I seriously think that
    a real non-profit where school funds are no
    longer controlled by political interests, but
    rather by charitable donations and fund raisers
    would be optimal.

    Make every dollar that a person donates to schools
    completely tax dectutable to 100% with no cap.
  • by kuma (98937) on Thursday April 13, 2000 @07:47AM (#1135809)
    have to admit some of katz awareness-building language constructions get a bit tiresome, but the corporatist/geekdom stuff make sense...

    i find this particular article/activism very compelling, good job katz!

    alas, there are problems... i designed military electronic systems, and had to justify my livelihood ethically and morally to *myself*. nice and balanced how katz provides the obvious surface facts (you would expect any real journalist to provide), the wave system can lead to oppression-abuse and gosh-darn-it, the principles are nice people who just have different priorities, maybe lack some moral refinement or ethical reasoning, but not *bad*.

    the piece walks these three pinkerton employees out onto the plank to hover above the vast inky void of being culpable in "harassing innocent people" and akin to *nazi collaborators*, but accepts just *shrugs* with mightily damning conclusion the organization is *inherently amoral*.

    i wonder if katz even recognizes his own culpability?

    ####
    Shannon and Dawn (given the volume of hostile e-mail Pinkerton was getting, I've decided not to use their full names) let Jim do the policy talking.
    ####

    how stupid is this, anybody think we cannot find these people? let me be the one to risk my own reputation and plainly state facts, these fucking assholes are mere millimeters from being guilty of discrimination, manslaughter and conspiracy to commit murder.

    remember judge bork? if your video rental preferences are news, just think what political opponents could do with a transcript of the pinkerton wave report on you...

    just image how traumatic wave-inspired "intervention" could be, how many "dangerous" people will be driven to suicide out of despair, fear, or shame...

    those are potential consequences reports made in good-faith (although quite probably deluded or otherwise inappropriate), now step this way to the area of stupid adolescent pranks, cruelty, community-based cultural conflicts (a ripe area for murderous episodes since the salem witch trials)... voila, thinks me you are in the realm of collaborating in harassment which will escalate to murder. of course, such disputes escalated to mayhem before pinkerton, and if they didn't get involved in this abuse, some other opportunistic sod would.

    i do not believe this is conjecture, but actually common sense, a program like this, if "successful" (oh, for the love of marketing) *will* result in more people harmed than spared harm. i have a very strict sense of justice, and would not dream of retribution without *concrete* evidence of culpability--but what about someone related to a future victim of pinkerton?

    once the anecdotal, personal horror stories start rolling in, a few more people at pinkerton will probably have to wear bulletproof vests home at night, and when the statistics (gotta love those) pile up about pinkerton victims getting thrown in jail (having no criminal history *before* becoming a target) and winding up in the morgue, well, if you work at pinkerton, stock up on narcotics now, you might have trouble sleeping at night.

    so shannon and dawn, how do you justify yourselves? the systems i designed protect people, can you truly say the same thing?
  • From the perspective I had in school, the worst part of the whole deal was that local residents and the state government had too much say in the way the school was run.

    Nice sentiment, but it doesn't "scale" well.

    What you're saying, in essence, is that since you don't like the decisions made locally, you'd prefer to see those decisions overridden by a larger, more powerful, more remote force -- in this case, the US Federal Government.

    So not only are you willing to give up the extra local control you can (and should) exert over your local officials to a more faceless, less accountable (to you and your local community) organization...

    ...you're willing to participate in enforcing your choice (that of giving up your local control) on everyone else, not only in your local community (those with whom you disagree), but in all local communities in the USA.

    You make this decision because you don't agree with how the "dumb local folk" ran things.

    What will you do when the Feds don't run things right? Campaign for One World Government?

    When you succeed at that, what will you do when that fails you?

    The answer: at that point, there will be nothing left that you can do. You will no longer have the option of moving to a community filled with "more enlightened" people, because the OWG you promoted rules over them with the same tight-fisted self-assurance as it did over your previous community.

    So go ahead, push your "bigger is always better/smarter/faster" agenda, but keep in mind that there are many of us out here who truly understand what a delusion that is, and we're willing to do whatever it takes to preserve our freedoms, even if that happens to, on occasion, inconvenience you by also preserving yours.

  • A few weeks ago i sent the Jon Katz post out to everyone on my email list.

    I got this back from a very dear friend of mine, who is one of the quietest, smartest, most respected people i know.
    response as follows:
    I'm passing this on to some people back home Will... a lot of schools are doing this sort of thing on their own too. Example being one high school in DE which has the "Narc List"-- a written list of students who are suspected of dealing and/or using drugs solely on the basis of appearance, dress, and attitude... ie anyone who does not fit the school's image. The school has actually called parents based on this list and told them that their kids were doing drugs... without any concrete evidence. And a lot of parents believe the school over their own kids! The list itself is kept semi-secret... everyone knows about it but no one knows who's on it until they get called into the office or their parents get called. How do I know it isn't just a rumor? My sister was one of the kids whose parents were called.

    Its a really fucked up world... and sometimes Big Brother really is watching you...
    Love ya,
    :) Tess

    -- It's a rare day when i send a foreward, but.... take a look here. --
    --Geek Profiling: The Next W.A.V.E. -- -- Posted by JonKatz on Wednesday March 29, @09:13AM -- -- from the -constitution-isn't-for-kids dept. -- -- -- -- W.A.V.E., a profit-making program ramping up in the southern U.S. and soon -- to go national, will use Web sites, toll-free numbers, T-shirts and cash to -- encourage students to anonymously turn in classmates they consider -- depressed, dangerous or potentially violent. This horrifically stupid Geek -- Profiling would be blatantly unconstitutional if applied to adults.(Read

    the rest is the katz article.

    Make no mistake, this is REAL.
    ~zero



    insert clever line here
  • The worst part is that once again people are going to have to be hurt by something before they realize its bad - much like a toddler burning their hand on a stove to find out that its hot.

    Well, firstly, considering the fact that such anonymous reporting hotlines have existed for a long time, I think it's reasonable to say that we're already at the toddler-burning-his-hand-stage.

    But more importantly, there is something we can do. Let's not despair; it is clear to me that despite the myriad differences between us, most of us have this cause in common. We are numerous, intelligent, and capable. We can easily overcome this obstacle. How? Jon Katz himself told us how:

    Corporatism (which is not the same thing as capitalism or corporations) has one ideology: successful, profitable marketing.
    Corporatism doesn't like controversy, because it, potentially at least, can scare off or offend potential customers. That's why I was there. I would be reminded of this 20 times over the next few hours. Ethical arguments, like peas off an M-1 tank, failed to penetrate.

    In a sense, the Pinkertons are even more naive than we are for believing that we could change their minds about the business -- because they are naive enough to think that if they address some of our concerns, that we'll just go away. That was their goal with the meeting -- to address the concerns so that we wouldn't affect their bottom line. Our response should be obvious: Attack their bottom line.

    Controversy is our ally. Our outrage is our ally. You know how much we despise FUD when it's used against us? Well, consider the Fear Uncertainty and Doubt that WAVE brings us, and let's share our fears with the world! American media loves nothing more than bad news -- and WAVE, from our perspective, is wonderfully, awfully, fear-inspiringly, paper-and-tv-ad-sellingly BAD news!

    Here are some things worth considering. First, most people are not normal. Normal is abnormal. The reason Revenge of the Nerds was such a great movie for most people is more people can relate to being outcasts than can relate to being popular. How many `popular' kids were there in your entire High School? Maybe 1% of the entire school population? The rest of us were outcasts.

    Begin by asking the public, "What does WAVE want with our children?" Immediately, the question does several things: One, it demands attention. Everyone gets concerned when their children are involved, and especially when there is the hint of a threat. Of course, we know that it's more than just a HINT of a threat. Two, it makes WAVE the center of the issue. Three, it demands an answer.

    Some of us reading and posting here are the oddest of the odd, the most ostracized of the outcasts; however, realize that when it comes to being oddballs or outcasts MOST people relate better with this than they do with being the Prom Queen.

    This is our advantage, our controversy, and our defense.

    So, if you're lurking, it's time to talk. If you are a regular poster, get moving! Start posting on other websites you visit about this. Call a town meeting where you live. Make posters and put them up around campus and around town advertising anti-WAVE websites. Oh yeah, make an anti-WAVE website, too. If you're a student, form a political action group (you'd be amazed how easy these are to form!) and begin protest marches on campus. Talk to anyone you know personally who has a child who is in high school or about to be in high school about this! Anyone you can talk to, any message you can send, send it. Get the word out beyond the confines of the slashdot.org domain. Speak to people!

    I'm going to start by talking with my supervisor at work, who has three kids in high school. I'm going to tell him how if other kids decide they don't like his kids, they can just call up and make up whatever stories they want anonymously...and get a pat on the back for being ``good citizens'' while his kids' names get passed along to the authorities for the suspicion of crimes they didn't commit. I'm going to tell him about the atmosphere in public school administrations since Columbine, and how anonymously-given lies will be taken seriously. I'm going to point him to slashdot to read more about it. I'm going to make HIM concerned. I'm going to do this with my boss, too. I'm going to make connections to the novel of the same name to make sure he has the same connotations in mind. Then I'm going to move to the next person, and to the next. Whenever I get into conversations with people who have children, I'm going to bring up the subject..."Have you heard about this WAVE program that's starting in North Carolina, and is going national? It's a lot like this book I heard about..."

    Arm yourself with knowledge, and fight with words. The pen (and the tongue) really is mightier than the sword.

  • The poster argues that the problem is not that Pinkerton is a corporation, but that it is a corporation run by tormentors of geeks. I believe this be a serious, if understandable, error. Pinkerton is not acting out some midlife-crisis flashback to the glory days of high school for its executives. It's acting exactly like a corporation.

    Corporations are their own life forms. The individual motivations of all the people making up Pinkerton are essentially irrelevant. The corporation is its own justification and operates according to its own overwhelming drives -- to survive, to expand, to make a profit. Its competitors aren't people -- the competitors are other corporations. Slashdot matters to Pinkerton only because it fitfully mistakes us for another corporation.

    Freedom cannot matter to a corporation because freedom (as usually connotated) involves the rights of the individual, and corporations are not individuals. Individuals don't even activate their radar. Only if individuals organize into quasi-corporation-like organisms -- the Blue Ribbon Campaign, slashdot, etc. -- can a corporation notices them.

    One of the images I have had lately -- admittedly biased and comforting -- is that corporations are dinosaurs, huge and overpowering. A dinorsaur would never be able to understand if a little mammal said, "But wait. We know you want to get dinner, but don't step on us -- that would be wrong." The dinosaur would wonder what the hell it even means to step on someone -- because to the dinosaur, if you are "someone", you are automatically too big to be stepped on. But of course, to the mammal, the world looks different.

    This picture is self-indulgent and incomplete -- it's nice to think of myself as part of the evolutionarily-favored ones -- but it's got some aptness. Jon Katz' problem, as far as I could see, is that he saw people and assumed he was talking to individuals. But in fact he had been summoned by Pinkerton, not by its employees, and he failed to speak directly to it.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday April 13, 2000 @06:11AM (#1135814)
    I am still apalled at the idiocy of the "If I don't, somebody else will" argument.

    "If I don't kill these Jews, somebody else will. I have to make a living somehow, so why not this?"

    "If I don't build these chemical weapons, somebody else will. I have to make a living somehow, so why not this?"

    "If I don't help alienate these kids, somebody else will. I have to make a living somehow, so why not this?"

    Do we see a pattern?

  • by Roblimo (357) on Thursday April 13, 2000 @06:11AM (#1135815) Homepage Journal
    A few weeks ago, here in Maryland, a group of schoolgirls accused a teacher of sexual harassment. He was suspended from teaching, his name was in all the local papers, and his life was generally turned to mud.

    The only problem with the whole thing was that the girls had made the whole thing up.

    Before charges were filed, the "usual experts" evaluated them. The girls' allegations were accepted at face value (at first) by cops, the Montgomery County school system, and local prosecutors.

    Does anyone remember Tawana Brawley up in New York a decade or so back? A crackhead girl made up a tale of kidnapping and rape, with major racial implications, to cover up the fact that she had skipped school for several days to hang around with an idjit boyfriend and get stoned.

    Now we're going to have anonymous accusations, eh?

    I suppose this is going to be a great boon to companies that do background and general private investigating, companies like ... Pinkerton! But for the rest of us, the whole idea is a horror.

    - Robin "roblimo" Miller
  • by Sanity (1431) on Thursday April 13, 2000 @05:32AM (#1135816) Homepage Journal
    It is clear that nothing we say or do will change their opinion, however they have expressed a willingness to modify the site in subtle ways in response to our suggestions. I think it is better to exploit this by taking advantage of their gesture, rather than simply continuing to flame them (which won't help our case), or ignoring it completely (which definitely won't help our case). It is all very well saying "this is so evil I don't want to have anything to-do with it", but that won't change anything, zealotry rarely does. We need to think within their mentality - what changes would they be willing to make, which still fits within their world-view? It is much easier to change something by being part of it, rather than standing on the outside and shouting abuse at them.

    --

  • by Millennium (2451) on Thursday April 13, 2000 @06:10AM (#1135817) Homepage
    The so-called "education" system of the US is a State-run propaganda organ mated to a state subsidized day-care program. It has nothing to do with "thinking for yourself". Schools exist to promulgate conformity as practice and as virtue.

    And you think privatized education would be any different? Businesses would do just the same thing. Worse, actually; a democracy has to preserve at least some capacity for thought in its citizens (elections and all). Businesses don't even have to do that; it's more profitable to squash even those last vestiges of independence.

    The admission that large percentages of our population would be in severe financial crisis if the state did not pay for the daily supervision of their children is more an indictment of our economy than an argument for that system's virtue.

    Correct. Now, how do you propose to fix the economy such that this is not so?

    If it is the state which is educating your children, you have already abdicated your responsibility.

    Please explain. Far better to have a child taught by a trained professional than by someone who, in the end, may well not know much more than the student.

    The system of mandatory schooling in the US is despicably corrupt. It must end.

    Again, please explain. While I have seen more than my share of corruption in individual school administrations, I don't see where the corruption is in the system itself.

    But having a propaganda organ to indoctinate the entirety of society is the One Ring of our culture -- it it utterly addictive and utterly corrupting.

    You know, you've been using the word "corrupt" and derivations thereof quite a lot. Without giving a single shred of evidence as to where the corruption lies, no less. I do like the Tolkien reference, however.

    One last note on this: I have yet to see a kid who is truly addicted to school. The few who even approach that level tend to have problems at home (note that I'm not talking about people who simply like school; addiction is something more, a desperate need to be there).

    So-called liberals -- who would otherwise staunchly support freedom of speach and diversity of creed -- have become enamoured with the possibility of mandating their beliefs by means of this tool. They have become just as fascist as the religious right -- both sides wrestling over control of this power over the populace.

    When schools become used as a political tool, it is a Bad Thing. But I'd like to see your evidence that school has become a propaganda tool. Oh, that's right, you don't provide any. And thus, no reason for anyone to believe you.

    It is left-wing secular homeschooling which has been the fastest-growing form of homeschooling for the last decade. For a reason.

    Indeed it has. Mainly because it's a hell of a lot safer than our schools at the moment. But that's a problem with the schools, not the system.

    The state-run state-mandated system of schooling must be destroyed before it destroys us.

    State-run, perhaps. But to destroy the idea of state-mandated schooling in whatever form? That will destroy us more surely than the current system will. I suppose it merits pointing out that the nations which are starting to catch up to our lead and even pull ahead all run mandatory schooling programs, most even more restrictive and "fascist" than the ones you find in the U.S.
  • by BilldaCat (19181) on Thursday April 13, 2000 @04:51AM (#1135818) Homepage
    to convince them that there isn't a market, and make it unprofitable for them. Protest, create controversy, do whatever it takes to stir up criticism, make people question their system, get articles in newspapers about it, etc. The only thing that will make them leave this area of business and make others wary of entering it is if there is little/no profit and high risk/controversy.

  • by Cy Guy (56083) on Thursday April 13, 2000 @06:01AM (#1135819) Homepage Journal
    The Supreme Court ruling Katz referenced is here [cornell.edu].

    Katz says that this may not apply since the courts have given schools a lot of leeway as far as kids' Fourth Amendment [cornell.edu] rights are concerned (allowing locker searches and drug tests for example) however, it is not the schools that are the tippers here. If a school employee (or other agent of the school, like a crossing guard) has a suspicion, they are free (perhaps even obligated) to act on it.

    WAVE is for young citizens to report on other young citizens, and though WAVE itself maybe an agent of the school, the tipper is not. Therefore, I think the findings of Florida v J.L. [cornell.edu] would hold in determining that an anonymously reported tip of a mere suspicion that another person may be possible of commiting some undefined crime, is not sufficient to arrest/question/harrass the implicated individual.

    IANAL, but given that the system seems unconstitutional by its very nature, I think an attorney, perhaps the ACLU [aclu.org], could easily shut down the program, or force it to ignore any reports that don't indicate an actual crime has taken place (example: bringing a weapon to a public school is crime in itself, so these types of reports would be allowed; wears a black trenchcoat is not a crime, so reporting it wouldn't be allowed.)
  • by mochaone (59034) on Thursday April 13, 2000 @05:10AM (#1135820)
    I know everyone is just looking for an excuse to rip into John, but give the man credit. He is actually doing something about the causes that you people claim to believe in. Take a cue from John. This is how you engage your so-called enemies. Yelling, screaming, cursing, etc. won't get the job done. John employed some sound techniques in getting his point across:

    1) He LISTENED
    2) He came with facts, not just hyperbole and urban legends
    3) He didn't denigrate the opposite side

    Regardless of whether we believe Pinkerton, or anyone else we disagree wtih, is wrong, they are people and they have an equal right to have differing opinions. Reasonable people can get together and discuss things. This is what separates us from animals. Let's remember that.

  • by WombatControl (74685) on Thursday April 13, 2000 @04:51AM (#1135821)
    Of course nothing you say will make them change their minds. They're so concerned about maintaining "security" that the fact that it may harrass innocent people doesn't really matter to them. They think that what they're doing is morally correct and is in the best interests of all. Those sort of people are so set in their ways that very little can be done to change their mindset. It's unfortunate, but true.

    As Jefferson said, "those who would trade Freedom in order to find Security shall not have, nor do they deserve either one." Too bad no one listens to Jefferson anymore.
  • So when is it OK to be anonymous? Is it OK to snitch on corporations when they're being bad, but not on people?

    I think the difference is twofold: first, on /., AC postings are public. Everyone can read them (moderation permitting), and anyone can rebut them. Accusations made to WAVE are not necessarily passed on to anyone at all, and certainly the victim of the accusation is kept unaware.

    Secondly, by being filtered through a high-profile, "respectable" third party like Pinkertons, more credence is attached to the report. It becomes "Bob Ince is potentially violent" instead of "An anonymous coward thinks Bob Ince may be potentially violent".

    I'd be happier if schools treated WAVE America with the same level of credulity as /. users treat Anonymous Coward.

    This is a great article which deserves wider coverage outside of slashdot. My favourite quote:

    "If you see these immediate warning signs," WAVE America will announce, "violence is a serious possibility":
    • detailed plans to commit acts of violence.

    Well move over Sherlock.


    --
    This comment was brought to you by And Clover.
  • by dingbat_hp (98241) on Thursday April 13, 2000 @07:23AM (#1135823) Homepage

    if you are in high school, grab a list of all the jocks and football players

    Please don't do that. It's no less biased than Pinkerton's own scheme.

    If you're going to Spam it to death, then do it fairly and evenly. Report everyone (yourself included), without exception and favouritism. Naturally you'll need to munge the source addresses

  • by Anomalous Canard (137695) on Thursday April 13, 2000 @06:07AM (#1135824)
    The so-called "education" system of the US is a State-run propaganda organ mated to a state-subsidized day-care program. It has nothing to do with "thinking for yourself". Schools exist to promulgate conformity as practice and as virtue.

    Do you think that the societal pressures to conform would go away if the schools were abolished?

    I agree that the single most important determinant of success in education is the involvement of parents in the process. Schools are not and can not be a substitute for the involvement of parents in their children's education.

    But the fact remains that universal, state-mandated and state-funded education has brought historically unprecedented levels of literacy. Ditching the educational system is not the answer to the educational problems that we have. It is quite literally the stupidest idea I have ever heard.

    Anomalous: inconsistent with or deviating from what is usual, normal, or expected
  • by Anomalous Canard (137695) on Thursday April 13, 2000 @05:18AM (#1135825)
    Yet Another Stupid Idea.

    How could it be better to turn over a critical function of society to business or, worse yet, require parents to home school? How could it be better to put a higher financial burden on the people who can afford it the least -- single parents.

    The Radical Religious Right has got issues with schools because they don't want their children exposed to dangerous ideas like Evolution which might cause them to think for themselves. Don't ruin all of society just because a few extremists can't tell the difference between myth and scientific discovery.

    In a lifetime of witnessing stupid ideas, this has got to be the stupidest. Education is an important societal function. We can not abdicate it.


    Anomalous: inconsistent with or deviating from what is usual, normal, or expected
  • by sleeping wolf (1671) on Thursday April 13, 2000 @05:12AM (#1135826) Homepage
    Everyone remember how well the Blue Ribbon campaign went against the CDA? It was hard to ignore with the graphics everywhere and everyone turning their pages black for a day.

    What if there was some graphic that could be associated with this? Someone could set up a central website against anonymous reporting in general, that people would link the graphic to. Katz could tug on some of his contacts and get it in the media. Don't get me wrong -- I don't think that this will fix everything, or that everyone will share the same level of outrage -- but if we can keep up the campaign against any corporation that gets this "bright idea", it will be more injurious to them than it's worth.

    The most important thing in my mind is the graphic -- lots of people work against many other issues, but a central image is what seemed to bring unity to the Blue Ribbon campaign.

    How about it? I'm not artist, so I shouldn't be the one to come up with the idea for the pic, but I'd be happy to help get the ball rolling, so drop me an email.

  • by sugarman (33437) on Thursday April 13, 2000 @06:00AM (#1135827)
    ...the problem is that Pinkerton, as a corporation, is comprised of the very people that comprised the tormentors of geeks in high school.

    While there may be people within the corporation that have entered it from other channels, the security field is by and large comprised of ex-jocks and those that tried for other forms of authority (Police, Military) and either couldn't hack it, or were removed from their previous position of power.

    Quoth Bart Simpson, "I've got my first taste of power, and I like it" (I'm not sure if this was the 'Hall Monitor' episode, or the 'Ride in a Cop Car' episode (Or if those were in fact the same one...constant Simpson re-runs...all blurring together...)). Anyways, the point is the same. The people you are trying to sway are the very people who, if you were a geek, made HS a living hell for you. Why should they behave differently now? They simply have more latitude to get away with it.

    So if all the arguements in the world will fall on deaf ears(any accomodations they make being simply placatory while the actual service remains in place), then the way to combat it is to take the fight to other fronts. Protests, alerting other media sources, etc. Linking WAVE to a swastika should manage to draw enough attention to the issue, if enough people see it. So make the Tabloids work for us. They love something conrtoversial, and seeing Deborah Norville leading with the headline "Are our highschools producing the next Hitler Youth?" on Inside Edition may make the traditional media run with the story. Heaven knows they've done it before, and knowledge and exposure is the only way to combat this thing.

    Well, enough ranting here, any other suggestions?

  • You should have been talking to the customers of WAVE, to persuade them not to buy. As Pinkerton rightly pointed out, if you persuaded them not to do it, someone else would. It's the same reason why the war on drugs can't work: because jailing a drug dealer just creates a job opening.
    -russ
    p.s. too bad about wasting your time. You should study economics.
  • by Russ Nelson (33911) <slashdot@russnelson.com> on Thursday April 13, 2000 @05:03AM (#1135829) Homepage
    So abuse it, silly. The more people who abuse WAVE, the less it can be used against anyone. Report everyone. Remember the lesson of the Danish Jews? Everyone wore the Star of David, even the King of Denmark.
    -russ
  • Mixing state involvement with education will have some perverse effects. In some cases, you may think those effects are worth it, in others you may not.

    The issue is complicated, but for those interested in the argument that government-controlled, compulsory, tax-funded schooling is inherently wrong rather than only a matter of bad execution, you might be interested in the Alliance for the Separation of School and State [sepschool.org], who take their cue from the phrase "separation of church and state" and in a sense for the same reasons.

    Efforts like WAVE America expose the danger of trusting a bureaucracy to "care" for children in other than a cursory, bean-counting way. "Care" as euphemism, that is.

    [Note: I am not endorsing -- nor do I agree with, so far as I know -- any or all religious beliefs of the founders of this organization. =) ]

    timothy
  • by Kenneth (43287) on Thursday April 13, 2000 @05:41AM (#1135831) Homepage
    I hate to say it, but it's true. I really can't blame you, but you made the #1 error that Free Software advocates everywhere have been making for a long time.

    You tried to argue ethics to a businessman. Eric Raymond pointed this out at one of his talks. While he was explaining how best to advocat Open Source, the same methods apply to arguing to businesses. "You have to learn how to convince someone who doesn't give a shit about ehtics." (I can't say that's an exact quote but it's close).

    All they care about is the bottom line. ESR pointed out that the way to convince them to switch to Linux is to point out that it is better a better deal.

    The Plinkerton group responded very predictably to ethical arguments. "If we don't do it, someone else will", and "We have put our company on the line, we can't pull out now. Instead let's change it to make it more pallatable."

    The better thing would thave been to point out that there were more who fit the profile of 'dangerous' than didn't. They won't be happy. Advertisers aren't going to be very entheuastic about advertising through a company that is pissing off most of their target demographic. (ESR also pointed out that it's a good idea to throw in a couple of 'business' words:> )

    Then there are the possible lawsuits. The Plinkertons are opening themselves up for major lawsuits if they persue this and ANYONE gets screwed over injustly. Admittedly those likely to to sue will be conspicuously absent from any school diciplinary action no matter the offense.

    Arguments such as this are more likely to shake their confidence. Comparing them to Hitler isn't likely to convince them. After all they believe that facism is about hating Jews, not about controlling ideas. For that many marketing people actually study Hitler's technique, after all he was the most brilliant mass manipultor in recent history, and what is marketing besides mass manipulation.

    There was nothing unpredictable in the meeting. Most 'geeks' are quite concerned with ethics, and have a rather finely developed sense of what is right and wrong.

    What we generally fail to realize is that so do businessmen. It is just that their view of right and wrong is directly tied to how much money is made. After all, they have a "responsibility to the shareholders."

    The first step in convincing a copratist is to learn to think like him, then construct arguments that will appeal to that sense. Remember, power and money seem to make up the ethical landscape in that world, and your arguments must show that.

    If you want to point out ethics, point out that the target demographic feels this way, and will respond accordingly.

  • by wiredog (43288) on Thursday April 13, 2000 @04:58AM (#1135832) Journal

    "frequent physical fighting", member of the football team.
    "increasing risk-taking behavior", wide receiver.
    "detailed plans to commit acts of violence" given to them by the coach.
    "announcing threats or plans for hurting others" 'we're gonna kill West High at the game!'
    "enjoying hurting animals" 'I'm going after a buck this year!
    "carrying a weapon" With my 30-.06!

    So, most of my neighbors in Utah are dangerous people who should be tracked for life.

  • by goliard (46585) on Thursday April 13, 2000 @05:52AM (#1135833)

    Nonsense.

    The so-called "education" system of the US is a State-run propaganda organ mated to a state-subsidized day-care program. It has nothing to do with "thinking for yourself". Schools exist to promulgate conformity as practice and as virtue.

    The admission that large percentages of our population would be in severe financial crisis if the state did not pay for the daily supervision of their children is more an indictment of our economy than an argument for that system's virtue.

    The idea that it's the state's job -- even the state's prerogative -- to advance every social good is the very pretext by which they usurp the rights of citizens.

    If it is the state which is educating your children, you have already abdicated your responsibility.

    The system of mandatory schooling in the US is despicably corrupt. It must end.

    But having a propaganda organ to indoctinate the entirety of society is the One Ring of our culture -- it it utterly addictive and utterly corrupting.

    So-called liberals -- who would otherwise staunchly support freedom of speach and diversity of creed -- have become enamoured with the possibility of mandating their beliefs by means of this tool. They have become just as fascist as the religious right -- both sides wrestling over control of this power over the populace.

    It is left-wing secular homeschooling which has been the fastest-growing form of homeschooling for the last decade. For a reason.

    The state-run state-mandated system of schooling must be destroyed before it destroys us.


    ----------------------------------------------
  • by Noryungi (70322) on Thursday April 13, 2000 @05:15AM (#1135834) Homepage Journal
    Jon, that Pinkerton does not want to scrap a profitable and potentially expanding project is not surprising. To think that they would pay attention to geeks and nerds is naive (at best). As a group, we have been consistently ignored.

    However, the recourse seems obvious: spam! Imagine what is going to happen if a system receives thousands of provably false denunciations...

    I even encourage geeks and nerds, goths and punks to launch a (nation-wide?) pre-emptive strike: if you are in high school, grab a list of all the jocks and football players and denounce them as punks, goths, malcontent, depressed, drug-addicted and violent characters. Throw in a few white-power/aryan nations jerks as well. Rat on your teachers. Report on your class president, on the Prom Queen, on the cheerleaders!!

    Then, step back and watch in amazement as all these guys are dragged into detention by the principals.

    How much money is Pinkerton going to lose over this? Ah, the sweet giant sucking sound of cash registers being emptied as more and more schools bail out of Wave... =)

    Just my US$ 0.02, of course.
  • by WhyteRabbyt (85754) on Thursday April 13, 2000 @05:12AM (#1135835) Homepage

    It seems to me that a fundamental argument of Pinkerton's was flawed. Yes, there is an existing 'anonymous reporting culture' But the area this falls into is in the category of existing crimes or malfeasance of some kind, ie rape, abuse, et.c.

    The extension of this into attempting to pre-empt criminal behaviour is what is so dangerous, and Jon Katz would have done well to draw that distinction. There is a world of difference between an anonymous phonecall to some relevant body about suspected child abuse, and an anonymous phonecall because a young adult is behaving 'differently'.

    In fact, in this case, it would be possible to extend this particular example and say that with the likely psychological repercussions of abuse, it would be more likely victim would be reported to an organisation like Wave America than the perpetrator... So who's being protected then?

  • by spiralx (97066) on Thursday April 13, 2000 @05:21AM (#1135836)

    While I can appreciate Jon's frustration about Pinkerton's apathy toward the points he raised, I have to say I'm not even slightly suprised that this was what happened. A sad fact of modern corporate culture is that they need to be ruthless in order to prosper - if the majority of companies are ruthless then their competitors also have to be ruthless to compete. And this is what breeds the amoral attitude that corporations have. They are required to make money for their shareholders, and this requires them to go for anything which can make money legally.

    No, the real issue here is education. In recent years we have seen the culture of hysteria grow from the Weekly World News [weeklyworldnews.com] to encompass practically all mainstream media. People often aren't educated enough, or educated wrongly, and as such don't possess the necessary scepticism to see that the media is always biased towards getting a good story, whether it bears any relation to the real issues or not.

    The trouble is, once the hysteria has set in it is almost impossible to stop. Rational arguments and facts have little impact, especially in a society where most of the populace lack the education to understand or apply them. The government, or whichever body is appropriate to the hysteria, is then forced to give in to this hysteria, since if they are up for election they require public support. This is probably one of the major failings of democracy, but the only real way around it is to have a well-educated populace who can consider issues rather than being force-fed opinions from the media.

    Will this ever happen? Not for a long time in my opinion. Education is a slow process, and changes in society seem to be running ahead of people's ability to encompass and adapt to them. That's what we really need - the ability to adapt to new circumstances without holding back or fearing the future.

  • by wrenling (99679) on Thursday April 13, 2000 @04:52AM (#1135837)
    Pinkerton is a major company. They have not only devoted hundreds of thousands of dollars into developing this program, but they are also putting their company name behind it.

    They are using this to break into a new area - an area where they can police (because they are a security company) without having to employ security guards. Where they can pass on information that they receive, regardless of the source, with no liability at all to them. Whatever service agreement they make with the school system will project them from any legal backlashes.

    What it is going to end up taking is a court case - a court case where some poor kid (given the statistics) has had his or her life turned upside down and backwards by some anonymous report because he/she listens to NiN or Ministry, runs a counterstrike server at home, and realizes that black is cool cause it goes with *everything.*

    And the above will only happen IF the PARENTS of that kid decide to back him/her and go to bat for them. Many parents are just as scared of the school system as the kid is -- or honestly believe what the school is telling them, because they dont understand their child's motivation either.

    The worst part is that once again people are going to have to be hurt by something before they realize its bad - much like a toddler burning their hand on a stove to find out that its hot.

    Just my 2 cents.
  • by Dante Aliegri (119831) on Thursday April 13, 2000 @05:24AM (#1135838) Homepage Journal
    WAVE scares me because what could have happened to me.

    First off, one needs to know what my situation was.

    April of last year, I was told I had a brain tumor, specifically a Pilocytic Astrocytoma ( horrible spelling, sorry). Because of that tumor, my senior year had been hell, I couldn't get any work done, I'd sit in the bath at 3 am, wondering why my neck hurt. My junior year wasn't as bad. I had been put in the night school, because I wouldn't get out of bed before noon. I dropped out of that also.

    I had been to a psychologist, psychiatrist and a chiropractor. I was given Prozac and a few other drugs, but nothing helped.

    Everyone though I was crazy.

    What would have happened to me if WAVE was in my school in my Junior year, when I was still in school? I had many signs that would warrant someone turning me in ( hence, why my parents took me to a Psychologist..).

    I don't have an answer, but at least I know the question.

    DanteAliegri.

  • As if extremists on school boards banning the teaching of evolution wasn't enough, this WAVE thing points out how important it is to check out what's going in local school boards. The local school board is one of the most ignored public decison making entities in the entire US system of government. This is where decisons like implementing WAVE are being made and affirmed. I think we all need to locate our school board reps and write them some letters expressing our concerns. Sitting in on the open meetings is a darned good idea too. Running for school board is another really good idea. In a lot of cities and counties, board members often run unopposed due to the overall lack of interest. Great place for a concenred geek looking to get into politics to start. At the same time, this lack of interest is dangerous. Decisons to implement programs like WAVE often happen without any attention being paid. We're lucky it got noticed this time. At the same time, we have an opportunity to make a real difference here. Due to the scale involved here, your input as a citizen has a big impact, and if you should decide to run, you might get elected. It'd be good to have some technically savvy people resident in these decision making bodies. It'd be even better to have level headed, analyical people making good decisons.

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