It’s Hard To Take People Serious Sometimes

On occasion, I have been known to come on here and complain about people’s grammar, etc.  I do so not because I am some sort of self-appointed “grammar police,” but because I like to point out how foolish people make themselves seem when they cannot even use proper grammar.

I especially got a kick out of a comment I read on a thread for an article about sending kids to public versus private schools (for the record, my own daughter goes to public school and is doing just fine, thank you).  The comment, which I will share below, is of what I have noticed is becoming a typical talking point by so many who espouse private education over public, and that is the supposed “liberal indoctrination” of students in the public school setting.  Anyway, here is the comment that prompted this entry today:

“If public schools were not “government schools” I’d say yes. But who wants there children being taught by LIBS!”

It was posted by a user by the name of “Sandy Anfang.”  Now, what in that comment would prompt me to write today?  If I am to make an assumption about the commenter, it is that either they went to private school, send their kid(s) to private school, or both.  It just makes the most sense when looking at the context of what they wrote.  But, if I were to follow that assumption to its likely conclusion, I would hesitate to steadfastly promote the value of a private school education, if only because it is clear that proper use of words does not seem to be emphasized at whatever school this person attended.

To answer the commenter’s question, which was, “But who wants there children being taught by LIBS!,” the answer would be that I would.  Here is why:  In the public schools I attended, and in the school my daughter attends, we learned that the commenter’s question should have been phrased as such, “But who wants their children being taught by LIBS?”  Those darn liberal teachers I had taught me the difference between “there” and “their,” with one being a place (there), and one being a modifier associated with people (their), and they also taught me to end a statement that is intended to be a question with the proper punctuation, the question mark.

It really is hard to take people seriously when they cannot even seem to use proper grammar in their comments.  I get that sometimes mistakes happen (I have made my fair share in things that I have written), but if you are going to comment on an article about education, and you are going to tout one as being better than the other, the least you could do is proofread before submitting your comment.  It was two freaking sentences, it is not that hard to proofread to make sure that it is correct; it is not like the person was having to read War and Peace to try to find a misplaced comma or period.

As President George W. Bush once said, “As yesterday’s positive report card shows, childrens do learn when standards are high and results are measured.” (source)

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Enough Already

The piece of excrement that passed for a human being who killed 20 students and 6 school employees this past Friday did what he did because he was a sorry excuse for a human being.  No other reason.  I have had it with various news outlets reporting that he had Asperger Syndrome.  Whether he did or did not is irrelevant.

As a parent of a daughter with Asperger’s, it is offensive to me to even hear it be reported that he might have had Asperger’s.  We are talking second or third-hand accounts, based off of a neighbor’s friend’s aunt’s recollection of what the shooter’s mother may have told them 4 years ago.  Very reliable.

60 Minutes wasted about 5 minutes before they made sure to air that claim (source).  I have heard it on the Today show, and read it online.  Some websites say that he “suffered from Asperger’s” as if it is a painful affliction.  The pain for most aspies is in social situations, but it is less a physical pain than anything else.

From my experience, which is a daily one, with Asperger’s, I see how loving and caring someone with Asperger’s is.  Generally speaking, aspies tend to follow rules and laws, almost down to the letter of the law.  If you have seen the movie Rain Man, there is a part where Ray, who has high functioning autism, but not specifically Asperger’s, is about to cross the road.  When the “don’t walk” sign starts to flash, he stops in his tracks.  While that may seem somewhat extreme, that is the behavior you can expect from someone with Asperger’s; following the rules to the extreme.

It is irresponsible to the media to even report that the shooter may have had Asperger’s.  Instead of reporting on factual information, they are feeding in to the overall lack of education of our society when it comes to autism spectrum disorders.  Some people will hear or read that he might have had Asperger’s, and they will stop listening or reading right there and throw a blanket on all people with Asperger’s as being violent murderers.  They are not.

Amber and I deliberately did not tell our daughter about the shooting.  We avoided the topic because her Asperger’s will render her a blubbering mess of tears and sorrow for the 1st graders, kids her age, who were killed.  Her Asperger’s will make her be afraid to go to school.  Her Asperger’s will make her feel like she is not safe anywhere.  Her Asperger’s will not make her copy what the shooter did; if anything it will make her fearful of guns to the point where she would panic every time she saw one.

Can a person with Asperger’s be capable of shooting 26 innocent people?  Yes, they certainly could be.  But enough already with trying to make that a causal factor or focal point of what happened.  If, and this is a big if, the cowardly murderer was also an aspie, that is an ancillary part of the tragedy; his Asperger’s would not have been what caused his rampage, and it might have been what led him to stop when first responders were closing in.

The media, in my opinion, is being irresponsible in reporting that he may have had Asperger’s.  In cases like this, people are looking to blame anything as a contributing factor, and there will be some who now will blame Asperger’s.  Because our society, in general, is woefully uneducated about autism spectrum disorders, some will point to it as to why the violence happened in the first place.

Come On Already

Not to be the “grammar police,” but I think that some people need to go ahead an enroll themselves in a remedial grammar class.  Maybe one taught by one of my high school teachers, Mrs. Thompson.  Simply put, she would not tolerate idiotic, repeated grammatical errors.

Ten days ago, I wrote about how so many of the commentors on news articles are poor in their use of proper grammar.  It’s like they try to use fancy words that they do not know, and clearly do not know how to use them, all in an effort to appear intelligent or articulate.

Today, I am at the point where I just want to scream.  And I want to scream over what should be something that is common knowledge, at least to anyone that has even the slightest working knowledge of our language.

I’m talking about the proper use of three similar, but very different words:  their, there, and they’re.  It’s getting to the point where, when I read a comment from somebody and they cannot even seem to use these words correctly, I am not even surprised anymore; it is more of a shocker when somebody actually uses them correctly.

It’s really not that difficult (please note, the uses I am listing are not, most likely, exactly as you would find them in the dictionary; I have tried to simplify them the best I can):

Their:  used when describing something or somewhere that is possessed by a person or persons.  For example, “we are going to their house for dinner.”  We are not going to “there” or “they’re” house.
There:  used when indicating location.  For example, “put the books on that bookcase over there.”  You would not put books over “their” or “they’re.”
They’re:  is a contraction, and is used when combining the words “they” and “are.”  For example, “they’re going to the football game Saturday night.”  “Their” or “there” are not going to the game.

I’ve written it before, but I will go ahead and put it out there again.  You basically nullify everything you are saying, and give up any advantage you have or point you were trying to make, when you cannot even use proper grammar.  Maybe these errors are meaningless to you, but their (you see what I did there, I used the proper terms twice) use and acceptance is contributing to the lower intelligence of our nation’s children (ok, so not these errors alone, but they sure contribute).

Maybe I am being trite and picky, but I really cannot stand continued grammatical errors (Mrs. Thompson would be so proud).  And don’t get me started on “to” and “too.”