Thursday, February 15, 2018

"From One School Shooting Every 2 1/2 Days, to One Every 3 Days: Let's Figure This Out"

There is a problem. In 44 days, there has been 18 school shootings in the U.S. With each new shooting that has happened over the recent years, I have thought about this from many different angles. Logical, emotional, political, statistical, etc. Thousands of other people have as well. And yet, we as a nation, have not taken 1 step or course of action to prevent these horrible incidences. So, we have a problem. And I am going to look at this problem from a new angle today. Do you know who are excellent problem-solvers? Entrepreneurs.

Entrepreneurs, as a whole, are amazing. They are creative and think way outside of the box. They come up with solutions that are geniusly simple. They find ways to thrive, despite difficult, seemingly insurmountable barriers. They work around beaurocratic policies.  As a small business owner, and a freelancer for the majority of my life, I decided to put my entrepreneurial skills to work to solve this problem: What can be done to decrease school shootings in the U.S? This is a neutral post. There is no talk of politics. This is a brain-storming session to find a solution to the problem. One thing that entrepreneurs do, is look at business models that currently exist, and expand on that idea, or take a principle from that model and apply it to a completely different field or industry. I am going to share some ideas that I have had, talk about their pros and cons, and open this up for discussion. Maybe this will spur some other ideas, and something will eventually take shape, catch on, and prevent the next school shooting.

Perhaps you have seen these adds come up on your social media pages - anti-rape underwear. These are rip-proof, scissor-proof, pull-proof panties that look a lot like male briefs. They can only be taken off by the person wearing them. The reason I bring this up in a school shootings post, is this: This product does not talk about changing “rape culture.” It does not bring up policies that may prevent rape. Doesn’t talk about penalties for rape. Doesn’t suggest what a woman should wear, drink, or who she should be around. No, this product says, “Rape happens. Let’s prevent it.” Now, I don’t know the statistics, or the success rate on this particular product. I’m not even concerned with what this says about the current state of our culture. The fact is, a woman will have a very difficult time getting raped if she is wearing this product. So, this is how I am approaching school shootings in this post. It’s a problem. I want a solution that will make it damn near impossible for someone to come into a school and murder students with a weapon. 

Taking my cue from the idea of a protective garmant, the first suggestion would be bullet proof vests. In all seriousness, kevlar and Spectra material have evolved. They’re lighter and more wearable. This could be something that parents buy for their own school-age child, or something that a school mandates as part of their school uniform. This actually seems like the easiest option that most families, or schools could start implementing almost immediately. 
Pros: Although a vest may not cut down on the number of school shootings, it would likely decrease fatalities that result from them. 
Cons: A vest would protect vital organs, but not the brain, or extremities. Additionally, the cost would be high. 

The next idea gets a little more complicated. Within prisons (now bear with me here), weapons can be found, and used to kill other prisoners. However, you would be hard pressed to find that an actual gun or assault riffle had been smuggled in. No, I’m not saying let’s strip search our students and treat them like prisoners. But maybe we should think of school security more like the security of a prison. There is fencing, walls, and barbed wire around prisons, and guards who ensure 24/7 that no one is getting in or out of that fence. Before entering the school grounds, students would be searched, similar to airport security. Bags are searched, metal detectors, pat downs, body scans, etc. 
This would have a couple pros. First, it would actually create a lot of jobs. Teachers and staff couldn’t handle this alone. Local police couldn’t give this the necessary attention. They would need specialized security who makes this their one and only job. Second, if there was a dedicated, full time, school security team, school shootings would almost certainly decrease. If you look at prison models and airport security models, yes, things still happen, but those incidences are drastically cut down. 
On the con side, this would be a massive undertaking. Whether by a private security company or police, the logistics, man-power, and resources needed would take time and money to put into place. 

Next, I’ve fallen and can’t get up. Yep, life alert. We all know the commercials. Punch line or not, life alert saves lives and prevents serious injuries. If all students and teachers wore something like a life alert, help could arrive more quickly. I know that most people, even students, are attached to their cell phone. But this would be even quicker. It would literally be one movement of your finger, and help would arrive. Again, this could be a mandatory school uniform implementation. This could save valuable time. Even seconds are life and death in school shootings.
Pros: Time saved, possible lives saved
Cons: Would likely not decrease the amount of school shootings, just would cut down on response time. Also, would be expensive to ensure that all students had one, and difficult to enforce. 

Now, I know that this is not supposed to be a policy discussion; however, we still should at least look at how citizens are deterred from crimes, and penalized for committing crimes. In the event of a school shooting, should school leadership be criminally punished for not providing adequate security or a safe environment for the students? Perhaps an examination of what a school’s legal responsibility is to prevent school shootings is in order. 

Vehicles are deadly. We regulate them with traffic laws. Drivers must pass certain qualifications to drive. And there are criminal consequences for disobeying those regulations, anywhere from fines, to prison. Now, Americans feel differently about cars than we do about our right to bear arms, so it’s not an exact parallel. But, we have got to look at other examples, other countries, other ideas, and draw from them what works or doesn’t. Most importantly, we have to do something. We just have to do something. We can’t keep doing nothing. We know for a fact that doing nothing doesn’t work. So let’s try something else now.

At this point, I surrender. I would give up just about anything to stop the next school shooting. I’ll happily never own a gun, or  ever try to buy one. Please, feel free to hike up my taxes in order to pay for school security details. I will personally fund-raise so that every student in my school district can afford a bullet-proof vest, or life alert button. I will do one of those, or all of those. I don’t care. If it cuts the rate of school shootings from one shooting for every 2.5 days, to one school shooting for every 3 days. That’s a win. Well, not a win, but it’s progress.

Tuesday, December 19, 2017

Magical Moment 635, "Goodbye, 2017!"

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays!

I don't know how many of my fellow blogger friends still see or read or view my little blog, but I want you all to know that I still think of you and wish you the best! 

Our family has had a busy year, full of highs and lows. The most impactful event has been the sudden and unexpected loss of my father-in-law, less than one month ago on November 27th. Eddie and I were devastated to hear this news and we got to Texas as soon as we could to be with family. We are still coping with this loss, but are so thankful for family and faith that has helped give us hope and strength. 

Alan Keith Grimes
Feb 14, 1955-Nov 27, 2017

Eddie and his dad, circa 2001.
 Our boys did well with the traveling and have been thriving this year! Ricky is 3 and will be 4 this February. Elan turned 2 in July. They're awesome, busy, curious, and healthy. Elan loves cats, the color blue, and climbing. He's sweet, bashful, and independent. Ricky is into super heroes, disassembling gadgets (a nice way of saying 'breaking anything!'), and jumping, stomping, or any other kind of physical activity! He is analytical, social, and energetic.

Elan, 2 1/2
Ricky, 3 1/2

Eddie is still a Law Enforcement Ranger for the National Park Service and is proud of his work. We are both very happy in our Atlanta suburb and with our home that we purchased last year. Since finished my MBA, I have started my company, More Than A Song. We bring live Arts & Entertainment to Aging Communities around Atlanta. This work fills me with pride and love and I cannot wait to see what is in the company's future! I continue to play piano for ballet, as well as different events around Atlanta. I'm very lucky. If you're curious about More Than A Song, check out our website: or find us on Facebook. :)

Eddie and I also celebrated our 10-year wedding anniversary this year! Reflecting on our life in the Army, our move to NYC, starting new careers, traveling, settling in Atlanta, and having 2 boys...seems like too much to fit all into just 10 years! It will be interesting to see where life takes us the next 10!

Eddie and I on our 10th Anniversary, July 2017

Some other highs of our year included a family vacation to the Outer Banks, NC with my parents, and all 3 of my siblings and their families. We also welcomed identical twin nephews by my older sister! All in all, we really have had a wonderful year and feel so fortunate in our lives. God has truly been generous to us and we're so grateful. 

Merry Christmas my friends. Happy Holidays. I truly send warmest wishes for a happy and healthy New Year's. I will continue fulfilling the purpose and calling of my heart, and hope that it brings some good to the world. I pray that you also hear and follow your heart's calling and set out to complete it!

Sunday, January 22, 2017

Magical Moment 634, "Old Toy Trains"

Hello my blogosphere friends! I would like to wish you all a very happy New Year!
I would also like to share with you a video that I made over the Holidays so that you can catch up with my sweet Sprout and happy Jay Bird. Sprout will turn 3 in February and Jay Bird just passed 18 months! We are very happy in Atlanta and have recently settled into a new home. I'm truly wishing you all happiness, peace, and joy. This may be difficult to do at times, but it is certainly made easier surrounded by loved ones.

Peace my friends!
Love, Beth, Eddie, Sprout, and Jay Bird (Ricky and Elan)

Wednesday, July 6, 2016

Magical Moment 633, "I Witnessed a Touching Act of Kindness by my Husband"

Lately, I've been learning about compassion and kindness. I've always tried to be "nice." I use my manners and I'm polite. I can get along with pretty much anyone. But that's not enough in this world. Politeness is not enough to fight the hate and fear that is running rampant all around us. Kindness is not only a reaction or a response to someone or something, I believe it should be proactive. Pro ACTIVE. Meaning, seek out ways to show kindness that require some kind of giving of yourself.

Anyway, I've been learning this. Eddie has been a great teacher. I've never seen anyone deal with other people with such patience and eagerness to help like he does. He is a law enforcement officer, and while many of his past and present colleagues get into scuffles, arguments, and pull their weapon or taser, Eddie has an unbelievable track record or DE-escalating situations, simply by talking, trying to understand what the problem is, and putting himself in another's position. Even when he is forced to write citations, or escort people from the property, the offender often THANKS Eddie when the episode is over. I've never seen anything like it. But it has me believing much more in the effectiveness of compassion, over the effectiveness of pride and stubbornness.

Well, this is a true story. It happened yesterday. There was a knock on the door, which sent my dog, Joy, into a barking frenzy and my toddler and baby into fits of yelling and chaos. I finally got to the door to open it, carrying my 11-month old and holding my 2-year old's hand (both wearing only a diaper), while simultaneously holding Joy back with my leg. The woman at the door was an older, middle-eastern woman wearing a head scarf. I asked how I could help her. Her English was extremely broken, made even harder to understand by the fact Joy was STILL barking non-stop. However, what I picked up, was that she was looking for my husband. Then I remembered that twice before, Eddie told me that a middle-eastern woman at the grocery store had asked him for a ride home, which he gave her, and it turned out that we live in the same apartment complex. She had paid him with with a box of Life Cereal, and later, a tub of strawberries. I told her that I understood. She went on to explain something that was clearly very important, however, I could not make out a single word, until she said very clearly, "Your husband, he is very kind." There was nothing more I could do for her and I asked if she could come back later when Eddie came home. She said she would.

When she returned later, she and Eddie sat on the couch as Eddie patiently listened to her desperately explain something that was obviously worrying her. I heard "Russia," "My husband," "My son," "Afghanistan," "Senator." But Eddie understood much more. As I got the boys' supper ready in the other room, I noticed Eddie get the laptop. She called someone on her cell phone, then handed the phone to Eddie. There were a few more phone calls. She was worried, that much was clear. I began to feel nervous when I heard the word, "Taliban." That is a word that invokes terror in most people's heart. Should we really have anything to do with this woman? I caught myself thinking. 

The woman gazed at my boys with such happiness and emotion. She watched them as they ran around, played, whined, fought, and made a mess with the fish sticks. Both boys were dressed in their matching red, white, and blue "U.S.A" outfits that I put them in because it was July 5th and I was trying to make the most out of their seasonal clothing.  Eddie had given me a vase of colored roses for our 9-year anniversary. I pulled one out and gave it to my 2-year old. I whispered in his ear to go hand it to that lady. He obeyed with a smile on his face, which deepened his dimples. The woman was stunned. "Oh my gosh! Beautiful!" she whispered as she touched his cheek. When she and Eddie finished talking, she thanked us, handed us bread in a ziplock bag that she called, "Persian cooking," and walked out the door. As she turned, she wiped a tear from her cheek.

Eddie explained. She and her family are from Afghanistan. Her husband was killed by Russians in the 1970's. One of her sons made it to the U.S. and lives in Tennessee. Her other son is stuck in Afghanistan and they cannot get a response on the status of his visa. She is very worried about him because he is being threatened by the Taliban. He was one of many translators who helped the U.S. military in Afghanistan during the war, but when the U.S. left, there was no one left to protect these translators. As a result, many of them have been killed or threatened by the Taliban. Her son is one of them. She is terrified. She wanted Eddie to help her figure out how to write a letter to our Senator. She is desperate to get her son out. Eddie is not a politician, nor an immigration expert. He is a middle-class husband and father who works for the National Park Service. So why, WHY, out of all the people in Atlanta did this woman come to Eddie, basically a stranger, to help her with this very complicated, deeply personal problem?! 

Because, "he is very kind."

If there is one thing for certain, Eddie will see this through. He will research and help her write her letter to the appropriate person. She will likely re-pay him with another home-baked good, or possibly some more fresh fruit. That is not necessary. He would help anyway. Because the thought of this widowed mother in a foreign land, unable to communicate effectively, all alone in this state, fearing for the life of her son (does he have dimples too?) is too much to simply brush off and say it's not our problem, or to allow irrational fear justify inaction.

For many, kindness and compassion are learned behaviors. For others, like my husband of 9 years today, they are innate. Be kind. Or learn to be kind. Both may be another person's answered prayer.

Thursday, December 24, 2015

Magical Moment 632: Merry Christmas! And meet our little Jay Bird!

Hello Strangers and Merry Christmas!

The Grimes Family has been very busy since last we met. Busy with our sweet Baby Boy, Sprout (Ricky Ray, now 22 months), and as of July 17th, with our Baby Boy, Jay Bird (Elan Jacob -- pronounced Ee-lin). Our family of 4 lives in Atlanta where Eddie is still with the National Park Service at MLK Jr. National Historical Site, and I am playing piano for The Atlanta Ballet and for another charming Ballet school nearby in Lilburn. Both Eddie and I have gone back to school. I will earn my MBA with a concentration in Entrepreneurship this February. Eddie is earning a second Bachelor's degree in Mathematics. Enough with all that boring biz. Now for the real cuteness... I will TRY not to completely overload you with pictures. I make no promises...









(The last 6 pictures were taken by my friend, Jennifer Marion, who also makes insanely adorable headbands for babies called Haley's Headbands)

I hope to catch up with you all soon, and maybe even post every now and then in between baby nap schedules! Ha! I wish everyone a very very happy Holiday season!

Love, The Grimes


Saturday, March 29, 2014

Magical Moment 631, "Sprout"

Every child needs a "pet" name growing up. Mine was Squeak. My husband's was Skeeter. The thing about these kinds of nick names, is that you can't rush or force them. They just have to come easily, and then they'll stick. 

Occasionally, my creative and sensitive husband (who has posted on this blog several times), will contribute to my grandmother's writer's group. She sent him a list of their weekly topics, and every now and then, if he has something to write, he will. A few weeks ago, the topic was simply, "sprout," and my husband sent the group this sweet haiku:

Sprout- how fast you grew
First snow, first thaw, each brand new
Son, look; I'll show you
-Eddie Grimes

Did you ever have or give a pet name??

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Magical Moment 630, "New Best Friend"

I put Ricky on his tummy-time mat the other day and although it was fun to see his reaction to the colorful dangling objects, it was just as entertaining to watch Joy be fascinated with her new favorite creature. 

At first she kept a respectful distance, showing great restraint and discipline (which is no easy feat for this excitable Sheltie).

In her eagerness, she gradually inched closer.

Always checking with me first for approval. And I gave it to her.

And closer. Almost there...just a bit more until I can finally...

Ah yes. *Contented sigh*

I love that my little family loves each other.

"Give a boy a dog and you've furnished him a playmate."
~Berton Brale