Sunday Solutions – April 23, 2023
It’s not news that fear is a great driver of behavior, but it is news when fears of the unknown create situations that cause harm when there wasn’t any threat. We saw examples of that last week. And now we learn from them. For our second cup today, instead of mourning what we think primary education isn’t doing, let’s take a look at what we want it to do and make sure we aren’t working at crossed signals. After all, everyone’s got an opinion.
Fear shootings, rights & responsibilities
Last week’s news from various points was full of “fear shootings” where the property owner or dweller didn’t recognize a person there and shot on sight. These 4 incidents in 6 days ranged from a young man who rang the wrong house’s doorbell to a woman who pulled into the wrong address and another who tried to retrieve a basketball that rolled into a neighbor’s yard. What did the shooters have in common? They were afraid, had a gun and fired. At least one of the cases has already cited the Missouri Stand Your Ground law to back up the action. Georgia has a similar law that allows a person to use force without penalty if they feel they are in immediate danger. Proposed changes to that law, co-sponsored by Savannah Rep. Carl Gilliard, would require a person to weigh whether lethal force is necessary to end the situation. Defense lawyers are already on record to say it’s a bad solution, but supporters for the change say it’s would add responsibility to the right of owning weapons instead of a license to use force when feeling threatened. The state bill’s sponsor, Rep. Marvin Lim (D-Norcross), believes the new law would be a logical step following the repeal of the citizen arrest law, which happened after the tragic killing of Ahmaud Arbery in Brunswick. Lim also conceded legislative leadership may ignore the measure.
Stand your ground laws are relatively new, arriving in various states after 2005. In Georgia, none of this will get any clearer before the legislative session resumes in January. So we’ve all got time to think about the responsibilities tied to rights, deadly force and how we deal with our fears. On the legal side, here’s a look at the status and results of various self-defense laws across the country from a Harvard researcher who literally wrote the book on “stand your ground laws.”
Get out: You’ve got choices
As promised, we’re here for quick suggestions to spend your Sunday learning more about Coastal Georgia.
- 55th Blessing of the Fleet in Darien: Send fishers and shrimpers off with good wishes today — Sunday, for most of us — in McIntosh County. Venders open at noon, but the boat processional starts at 2 p.m. on the waterfront in Darien. The scenery is classic coastal and it’s a great day to learn more about an industry that spans our generations and cultures.
- Celebrate that sweet onion: It’s the final day of the Vidalia Onion Festival in… Vidalia. Toombs County is close enough to the coast so we’ll claim it for this note. You’ve got time to get there and peel off the layers of fun. Crafts vendors are open until 4 p.m., music starts later and the carnival rides until 9 p.m.
Get out. Go.
- Expanded Medicaid for hospitals but not patients: Andy Miller of Kaiser Health News reports that Georgia is one of several states that’s using federal Medicaid money to help hospitals in rural and other areas that show great need. The catch: The money goes to providers’ businesses instead of citizens who, under a fully expanded Medicaid plan, could get preventive care that might keep overall longer-term costs lower. Georgia officials estimate the state will net $1 billion in federal funds this year for the providers program.
- Corporate funders return to attorneys general group that supported insurrection: The Republican Attorneys General Association cheered Jan. 6 events and donations dried up. But, with few exceptions, business (donations) as usual has returned. ProPublica looks at donors then and now, and who still stays away from the ultra-conservative group of state officials. Of note, Georgia’s AG Chris Carr stepped down from the leadership and resigned from the group.
Horses head for court
Cumberland Island’s horses have dealt with harsh barrier island conditions for hundreds of years, and now they are headed for the U.S. court system. Advocates for the 140 to 170 feral horses are requesting management and some care for the herd. The debate over the horses’ native status to the island, precedents for care and the harm the herd may be doing to the natural landscape figures into all of it. Here’s a story from earlier this year explaining the challenges, and a breakdown of the 65-page complaint that now awaits replies from the defendants.
Your second cup: The mission of learning
It’s got to be tough to be an educator when the constant questions of the employment universe often land in their lap. Teachers at every level have to break a student’s code and get them as far as they can toward a mass of survival skills for a career, adulthood. As technology changes the world’s skills needs faster than most can adapt, what are the needs a primary educational program must fulfill? Is it learning how to learn or how to understand context to make decisions? What will we all need from them for the future? The Brookings Institute has a piece on educational transformation and how we need to figure out its purpose, so we can hit our goals. The point: We have to agree on the mission, and we’re all bringing a load of our own baggage.
And while you’re ruminating on that idea, here’s another from EdSurge looking at it from a different point of view: “What if we measured learning through skills gained, not time spent in the classroom?”
‘Stand your ground’ laws empower armed citizens to defend property with violence – a simple mistake can get you shot, or killed
Although the laws appear to apply to all law-abiding citizens, research shows that they are not equitably enforced, and that they may be emboldening property owners to shoot first and question their actions later, even when there is no real threat of harm.
Georgia Power customers in for a shock as average monthly bill could rise by $23 by June
Clean energy advocates and consumer watchdogs are worried about the financial blow to Georgia Power ratepayers who continue to spend significantly more on utilities as part of a three-year electricity rate hike, for toxic coal ash cleanup and for the Plant Vogtle nuclear plant expansion that will take decades to pay off.
Special Medicaid funds help most states but prompt oversight concerns
Directed payments plan allows state to use Medicaid money for hospitals without expanding basic care services for patients.
Horses of Cumberland file suit
The 140-170 feral horses on Cumberland Island need to be removed, a lawsuit demands.
Records show Pinova stumbles in complying with regulations
Issues with air quality regulations have resulted over $200,000 in fines for Pinova over the last 12 months.
Covid’s over but county jails still profit from virtual communication
Jails run by Coastal Georgia sheriffs collect more revenue from detainees trying to stay in touch with loved ones over phone, video or text messaging, while they still ban in-person visitation after Covid. Jails in Chatham and Glynn counties were the biggest earners on the coast.
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