Terrorism, defined … yes, words matter

It’s early here in Nevada, and I woke up later than usual, because for some reason I had trouble sleeping.  After eating what I swear feels like a million and one Girl Scout cookies, I finally fell asleep.  Of course, it was probably more like four or maybe six, possibly ten, but clearly not a million.  Does it really matter how many cookies I ate last night?  The point is, I had trouble sleeping and spent the night rummaging through the pantry until I found the hidden box of cookies, and then spent a good part of my night wide awake.

So anyway, it’s early here and I happened to notice a text come across my phone that’s all about how our president, has blamed the students for not notifying the police.  Referring to the recent school shooting, the person texting me, expressed disgust with the president, and felt that the term terrorist was a more appropriate term rather than shooter, when referring to the perpetrator of the latest tragedy that recently occurred in Florida, leaving several victims to die in a senseless tragedy.

For what it’s worth, using the term ‘terrorist’ is something that should not be taken lightly and there are certain traits that an act of terrorism have for it to be classified as a terrorist act.  For so many reasons, none that might seem important, words are important and the definition of these words, might lead to subjective interpretation but none the less, definitions do come into play when it comes to criminal acts.  Additionally, when insurance matters are resolved, whether or not a catastrophe is an act of war or terrorism can be all the difference when it comes to defending and/or paying claims.

Sadly, while many are mourning the loss of loved ones, people tend to talk about things that might seem to make them heartless.  I have not heard the president’s comments about the shooting, but I have little doubt that if he did say that children who knew about threats should have notified the police, was meant in a manner that these threats that occur should be taken seriously.  Of course, the problem can be, that there are so many idle threats and determining what threats are real, is always easier after the fact.

Thinking back to when I was a substitute teacher in Toms River, New Jersey, I recall when there was a student that I would have considered a threat to him and other students.  I came to know him when I was asked to cover a Phys Ed., class.  He was not changed for gym, and was told to walk the track.  Different than in my day, when students who did not change, got a zero for being unprepared and were allowed to sit on the sidelines, nowadays, at least in this particular intermediate school, students are told to walk the track.

So this one young man, who seemed to me to be somewhat of a loner, was walking the track and I decided to walk with him.  I brought something up about something or other, and began to make conversation.  He responded to me that he was very angry and that he began to tell me why.  At first I thought he was kidding, and I attempted to make light of the matter, until I realized he was serious.  I continued to walk with him, but my sensors of fear were detecting that this child was very angry, and I remember thinking to myself, that I was frightened for the students, and student body.

That particularly class was the last one of the day, and afterwards, I reached out to the person in charge, and told him about the conversation I had with the student.  I remember his reaction was sort of matter of fact, and he thanked me for sharing, but it was as though he knew exactly which student I was speaking about before I ever mentioned his name.  So I ask you, in this situation, what’s a person to do?  Did I do enough?  Should I have notified the police?  Or did my letting the school’s principle serve as enough?

Getting back to words . . . sometimes there are no words that can be said to make things right in the wake of a tragedy.  Sometimes people say things and mean other things and sometimes no matter what a person says, people will find a way to dissect it and make it out as though that person is so very heartless.

There are no words to make this go away.  Looking for red flags that might have been flying in the wake of a tragedy is not necessarily victim blaming, or blaming anyone for that matter, it could just be trying to find a way to mitigate and prevent tragedies like this from ever happening again.  It would be wonderful if we could all see through the various partisan views and come to realize that when we all work together, we might have a chance at coming up with effective risk management plans.  When we point fingers and blame others, we often fail.


Another day, another school shooting

It’s horrific to think that someone would take a gun to a school and shoot innocent people.  As I look at the photos that come across the Internet, of the most recent tragedy in Florida, I am reminded of when my son was in high school and one of the students in his graduating class was told he could not attend the ceremony.  The reason, he had a list of students he would shoot, in his phone and shared that list with a fellow student.  My son had called me and told me there was going to be an assembly for the student body, which would provide limited details and asked me to not get involved.

The reason he thought I would get involved, besides my being employed by a neighboring school system, was that the student who was being told he could not attend the assembly was one of my friend’s nephews, and sort of related to us.  He was his cousin’s cousin, and my sister’s nephew.

A few years prior, soon after Hurricane Sandy had hit, I was staying with my sister’s sister-in-law who just so happened to have a photo of her nephew on the fireplace mantel, and when my son noticed the photo, he said, “Mom, that kid is in my school.  He’s so mean.  Why is his photo here?”  I would later inquire who the boy was, and my sister’s sister-in-law, who was becoming my good friend at the time, told me it was her brother’s son.

I would later find out that this young man was diagnosed with Asperger’s Syndrome at a young age, and struggled socially.  I told my son, at that time, that perhaps the young boy was not so much mean, but just different and explained that he might have had a condition which caused him to behave in certain ways.

So knowing the young man’s family caused my son to think I might get involved in some way and my son told me that students were frightened and that he was accepting of his school’s choice not to allow the boy to attend the graduation ceremony.

As I read this morning’s paper, about the school shooting in Florida, I am mindful about the comments made by students who knew the apparent shooter.  Some have said that they believed that the young man was depressed and that they sort of expected that some day, if anyone were to take conduct a shooting, it would be him.  This reminded me of the threat assessment academy I attended back in 2004, hosted by Gavin de Becker, the author of The Gift of Fear.  The academy was about predicting violence and participants of which I was one, asked if we felt that human violence could be predicted.

Should students with certain conditions be monitored in some way or is this a violation of their rights? If you think about things from a utilitarian perspective, whose rights matter more?  I remember the when the boy my son went to school with was barred from graduation, his mother called me and she was so upset that her son was not permitted to graduate with his classmates.  Yet, she was more concerned that this most recent event and the barring would cause the college he had been accepted to, to change their mind about his admittance.

I don’t so much have the answers about how to do things better or whose rights matter more, but my heartbreaks for the parents who lost their child or those who lost family members.  My heart also breaks for the shooter for he had to be so lost and disturbed to commit such an act.

Good things happen all the time, but when something like this happens it can cause us to become sad and think about all that is wrong with the world.  It is my hope that light shines brighter than the darkness, and there is some sort of peace found among the horrific event, but I can only imagine how difficult it would be to get the call that your child has been shot. My prayers are with those parents tonight.


Help Wanted

I’m old enough to remember when searching for a job meant scouring the newspaper in search of a job.   Every Sunday, and Wednesday for sure, those who were looking for work, would gather all of the newspapers and have pen in hand to circle the jobs that were appealing.  These days there are very few jobs listed in the newspaper and the way to go about searching for a job has changed dramatically.  There are social media forums such as LinkedIn that allow you to list your experience and skills, and several different job boards that promise results.

Only those job boards do not always deliver on those promises and finding a job in today’s competitive environment can be a daunting challenge.  For someone like me, who took time off to raise my son and return to school, those ‘fill in the blank’ boxes can be difficult.  Not everything fits nicely, and more often than not, I find my email inbox riddled with cookie cutter responses that say, thank you for your application and promises to keep my resume on file for something that might be more suitable.  Only, the job I may have applied seemed like the perfect position, and my qualifications seemed to match, only for some reason I was not chosen to go on to the next level.

It’s difficult not to get discouraged when so many rejections fill your inbox, but of course, the only thing anyone can do is keep trying.  There are also other avenues including professional headhunters, resume writers, and networking in person.  The most important thing is to never quit.  This, of course, is not only the best advice a person can give it is also a note to myself, as I begin my day and start to look again for opportunities that might be fitting for someone with my experience, skills and passion.

Ironically, years ago, when I would scour those newspapers, I would often come across jobs that would list qualifications including education levels I had not achieved.  Lately, the message I get is, that my resume is “too strong” and how my not getting an opportunity is a “compliment to me” because a company is looking for an entry-level person without the experience and skills I have acquired.

It is tough not to get discouraged, and I find myself resisting the urge to beat myself up for going back to school and completing my degree and/or staying home and doing volunteer work while I was devoting my time to raising my son.

That being said, it’s time to pick me up and dust myself off and get back out there.  If by chance you happen to be reading this article, and know of anybody that might be looking for someone who is most willing to work, please keep me in mind.


Help Wanted


CyberSecurity (Policies and Procedures)

Something I came across in class today, just a reminder I guess – but something I wanted to share:

Policies and procedures may be drafted flawlessly, but are useless if not enforced. – HarvardX (CyberSecurity Course, ‘2018)

It’s so true, that no matter what you’ve got written in your mission statement, it means aboslutely nothing if you don’t back it up.

Women to Watch (out for) …

As I sit here in my apartment, looking at the article that just came across my timeline on Twitter, I think about all that’s happened these past six months, and wonder just how to make sense of it all.  It seems that not a day goes by without a new allegation about some sort of sexual harassment or employment practices liability issue making the headlines.

I think about the #MeToo hashtag and just like so many women, I have had my share of difficult times in the workplace, but I’ve also had my experiences with so many great men and women who have truly worked in a manner to support and encourage me during different stages of my career.

I also know that sometimes there are relationships gone bad, and just because you’ve had a relationship with someone, and maybe it did not go the way you wanted it to, that’s no excuse to sue your employer for allegations of sexual harassment.  On the flipside, someone who has had a relationship with someone, might be the brunt of horrible treatment, simply because the relationship did not work out, and that’s a totally different story.

It’s not just men, though, who mistreat their employees.  There are women out there who are just as capable of engaging in power struggles, and misuse their power in ways that one can only imagine.  It’s a shame, too, because women can be accused of being catty and in my experiences it’s rare to find a woman, who is genuinely happy to see another woman achieve great success.

“Ashley Judd, the actress and humanitarian, urged attendees of Business Insurance’s Wome to Watch …. to discuss and find solutions to sexual harassment and gender violence.”Gloria Gonzalez, Business Insurance 12/15/2017

How does one recognize the signs of one of those women who are out to discredit and allow jealousy to enter into their world?  It’s not always easy to know right from the start and sometimes we get fooled into thinking someone is our friend or wants to be supportive, until we actually begin to shine, and they do all they can to dim your light.

Sometimes it’s important to simply walk away with your held held high, knowing that you might not be clear on where you’re going but remaining where you’re at, would cause you dismay.

Some people misuse power, many of those people are men, but many of those people are women who simply cannot stand to see another woman shine.  To my fellow collegauges, who might have been among those women to watch, remember to be watchful of your own behavior, and when we talk about gender violence, keep in mind that sometimes it’s the women who are most cruel to their fellow females,  It’s not just men who are the enemy, and we need to always remember that ultimately, professionalism and kindness rules.



Tweeting About the Law is Trending

Of the forty three Las Vegas law firms I researched, twenty five of them are on Twitter, some are on Facebook, and most are on Linked In.  Many have their social media buttons in the top right corner of their website which is a good place, because quite often when folks visit a website, they do not necessarily scroll down to the bottom, so it’s good to have those buttons up top, and in plain view!

So those twenty-five who made the list will now be followed by @FirstAndVerdict and I’ll start sharing more about their firms, articles from their blogs, etc., You should follow @FirstAndVerdict on Twitter, because it’s important to know about legal issues, and because if you do, you’ll see whose on the list!

Who said that?


, ,

Quotes can be so inspirational but often what’s attributed to one person might not really be so, because who’s to say who said what?  – Judythe Ann Michelle

The other day, I happened to be in a salon and on the wall was a quote that was one of my favorites from Coco Chanel, on the salon had attributed the quote to someone other than she, and I thought it odd, but also amusing.  After all, I mean how do we really know, who said what?  One thing seems to be certain though, that many of the quotes that we often use for inspiration can remind us about what’s so important and what to discard.  Quotes can get us through the toughtest of times including breakups, loss of loved ones, and even those crazy days when everything seems to be going wrong.

If, by chance, you happen to be having one of those days, here are some of my favorite quotes to get you through the day, and hopefully remind you of what’s most important:

“Whenever you are asked if you can do a job, tell ’em, Certainly I can!”  Then get busy and find out how you can do it.” – Theodore Roosevelt

“Genius begins great works; labor alone finishes them.” – Joseph Joubert

“Lack of direction, not lack of time, is the problem . . . ” Zig Ziglar

“You, yourself, as much as anybody in the entire universe, deserve your love and affection.” -Gautama Buddha

“Life is really simple, but we insist on making it complicated.” – Confucius

“Do not dwell in the past, do not dream of the future, concentrate the mind on the present moment.” – Buddha

“Do you want to know who you are? Don’t ask. Act! Action will delineate and define you.” – Thomas Jefferson

“You cannot escape the responsibility of tomorrow by evading it today.” – Abraham Lincoln

“Then the Grinch thought of something he hadn’t before! What if Christmas, he thought, doesn’t come from a store.  What if Christmas…perhaps…means a little bit more!-Dr Seuss, How the Grinch Stole Christmas