of course we're still alive.

We've got two from the world of education today. One school bans tag at recess, while another one trains students to take down gunmen, if any come into their classroom.

It's so easy to get caught up in the mindset behind the Attleboro school's recess restrictions. There's the liability angle, but then there's this:

Another Willett parent, Celeste D'Elia, said her son feels safer because of the rule. "I've witnessed enough near collisions," she said.
Near collisions! With kids running around! My God, we never had that when I was a kid. Oh, wait. Maybe we did.

As adults, we have (I think) a few different responsibilities to kids. We're supposed to protect them, and we're supposed to help them learn; both aimed at the larger goal of helping them grow into healthy adults who can become whoever they are. The inclination that's taken over in recent years, I think because of the nation's growing discomfort with maturity, responsibility, and risk, is that everyone wants to protect kids a lot, and then try to help them learn. It's more complicated, but I think we're actually supposed to do those things in parallel. It's not at all a miracle that I or my brothers or my parents or grandparents all survived to adulthood. Really. The simple fact is that playgrounds made out of hard metal pipes stuck into traditional asphalt are not an enormous mortal threat to children's safety. What happened for me is that I learned early on that falling on pavement hurts, and since I don't like getting hurt, I adjusted my behavior accordingly. Some of my daredevil friends didn't adjust quite so much, but really you have to do something pretty special to get a serious knock on the head falling from 8-foot monkey bars. You might bust up your ankle, but you'll live.

Hey, look. Rick Santorum thinks American soldiers in Iraq are cannon fodder. While it's nice to think that conservatives are rational human beings who just happen to disagree with me...they keep proving me wrong.

I had a great aikido class tonight, but it made my motorcycle look awfully safe: I got tapped in the groin with a staff, tapped on the radius with a staff, and then during my randori, someone's knee collided with mine. Actually it was an area on the inside top of my lower leg bone, where it turns out there's the peroneal nerve. If you hit the peroneal nerve, in addition to hurting it also makes your entire leg go slack and feel like it won't support your weight, even though as far as I could tell it actually will.

It felt good to use my body again, in a way that no other activity does, a way that now, after four years, is familiar and comfortable. It's changed my reactions, not just to falling, but my ability to assess and respond to sudden situations in the car and on the bike. The falling is probably the most spectacular, having saved me a few broken ankles and a body full of broken glass. Even though I'm not comfortable with flying breakfalls yet, I don't fear falling (even through the air) the way I used to. I know that if I do, I'll try whatever I can to mitigate the situation, and I could well be pretty successful. I feel physically much safer, too, feeling ever more confident that I can prevent a fight, or survive one if needed (and possibly even come out less damaged than anyone else). It's transformative, partly do to the act yourself, but mainly because of the fact of doing it, showing up and exercising the discipline over and over.