Enzo Titolo

Politics, Paranoispiricies, neologisms, diary, creative, ruminations

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Our Self-Hobbled Nation

How cheap can our nation be when it comes to the public good? Yet we spare no expense for our military-security state with hundreds of bases in over a hundred countries? With millions in jails. A huge jobs program for people with guns, people making arms, and caring for the maimed.

Pets die from tainted food... How many? Why?
No one knows. There is no system to report or collect the data. And the source is... wheat gluten -- in practically everything we eat. The banned Chinese company denies any knowledge of even selling wheat gluten. Or was it rat poison? NYS' laboratory found this cause first. The Feds found tainted wheat gluten with something used in plastics manufacturing and fertilizer.
If human food were tainted, the system would be only slightly better. We have less than 80 agricultural inspectors across the nation. What fraction of imports is scanned?

A student is mentally ill at Virginia Tech. In 2005 he was committed for being mentally ill, a danger to himself or others, but he is released. Was this related to his repeated stalkings on campus?

What is our nation's deal with mental health care? We went from institutional snake holes to 'community care.' That is, releasing mental patients to communities in the hope that they will get care there. Ridiculous! Homelessness is out there for all to see in cities and suburbs across the nation, much of it the mentally ill -- much of whom could greatly benefit from some regular medication, maybe some counseling, maybe activities where they could belong or contribute in some way. Sure, a few folks save on their taxes with this widespread neglect, but everyone is at risk of being killed anywhere at random due to this public shame.

This same guy, the Virginia Tech Shooter, buys a gun in mid-March because he self-certifies himself as sane. A month later, he buys another. And lots of ammo. In mid April he begins recording his suicide-martyr message.

His classmates and dorm-mates at college thought he was an exchange student because he never spoke ever, never replied, or had eye contact.

His professors were disturbed by his writings about the protagonist surviving sexual abuse and then living to extract revenge through killings. They recommended counseling.

The police recommended counseling after one of his incidents.

Cho shoots up two in a dorm, returns to his dorm, prepares his dvd for mailing, and then posts it. Two hours later, he returns to Tech and kills over two-dozen more in the lecture halls.

Virginia Tech has a legacy as being a pioneer of the wired community since the early-mid 1990s. The college, along with Bell-Atlantic, used its fiber optic network to not just wire the campus, but its neighboring community of Blacksburg, VA, nearly every resident and business!

The school couldn't have a web cam on the dorms? It couldn't send an email alert out? Change the website? Call everyone? http://www.iping.com allows mass calls from a single voicemail.

I'm sure if the VT Hokies Team had a big game, such broadcast messages would go out via multimedia.

And what is Cho doing going through college as if everything is fine? With only suggestions that he seek counseling?! No one seems to know. Those who cared feared him.

What kind of mills are our colleges? What kind of nation do we have with little to no counseling, academic, psychological, or mentoring available to students -- to students paying the highest tuitions in the world? What kind of nation do we have where these college administrations bloat, growing for decades past the rate of inflation, and college Presidents make over $500,000 a year? What kind of communities are our colleges?

Earlier this month, we heard that colleges are in cahoots with Banks, getting the colleges and employees kickbacks and other perqs for financial aid officers to offer higher rate loans from preferred lenders, at the expense of the students, paying thousands of dollars more for decades....

When I was in graduate school, I did research on grants that students could apply for from my program, since I was having a very hard time making ends meet to pay for my expensive education and live in an expensive city. The deputy of the financial aid office angrily refused to accept the information I offered to the school for their files, in case anyone wanted help in the future and might benefit from my research -- research that other graduate programs routinely provided. That year I was unable to meet with the head of financial aid at my grad school. She has since retired, but the deputy was promoted, and has her job -- head of financial aid!

At the time, her behavior struck me as strange. How hard would it be just to make a suspended folder and file and put the information in? It seemed almost diabolically lazy. She was an administrative assistant who worked her way up in the bureaucracy as an administrator, an office, so I thought she just retained the customer is always wrong, I'm in the union, attitude. But now I wonder if she was on the take... If students get free money reducing their tuition and living costs from her having information on file in her office represented reductions in student debt -- reductions in her take from the bank. And that graduate school did very much have a preferred lender.

And when it came time for the loan checks to come through, the school got paid first (in advance for the semester), and then the student got paid in October or November for living expenses for the semester beginning in early September or late August... If we weren't wealthy with assets in the bank, then we were living quite leanly or working our way through grad school.

I remember speaking with the former head of financial 'aid' when I was considering attending school. She said that there was plenty of loans available and that we'd be able to live ok on them. I wonder how she was living from those loans now.

Ten years out, I still owe $45,000, not including the future interest costs that will be added in...

Cho was a sick guy, living in a sick society, lashing out in a sick way, killing sickly. Finally the loan nut gets attention posthumously, but what does it really mean?

Why do people keep shooting up schools?

Why are guns so easy to get?

Why do record companies bust into teens bedrooms for 'napping downloaded free music, yet you can't get an order of protection enforced?

Why do we have a dozen aircraft carrier fleets and the next dozen industrialized nations might have a few combined among all of them, and their qualified students all get free college and health care? And they have to do more than just show up to get a gun?

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