Monday, October 29, 2007

Tunnel vision & hot potatoes

Suggestion for Nate Poppino at the Times-News

Hello Nate,

Jim Banholzer here again. I have not heard anything back yet from Snopes.com regarding war-blogs and the story of soldiers bringing back their trauma to the States via quickly changing lanes in tunnels. I did think it was interesting though that there was a major crash in an LAX area tunnel the day after the letter regarding this ran in the Times-News. Made me wonder about all of the contributing factors.

Anyhow, in case you missed it, I wanted to point out that on Sunday the Idaho Statesman ran a front-page story on Military blogs –“Mil blogs”, as they are known. I cannot find that article online on their site, but the same story about how Iraq changed war veteran Alex Horton, originally ran in the Dallas Morning News:

http://www.dallasnews.com/sharedcontent/dws/news/world/stories/DN-armyofdude_22int.ART.State.Edition2.41f5031.html

In addition, Alex Horton’s mil-blog is here:

www.armyofdude.blogspot.com

In the Dallas News story, Davie McLemore reports that Wired magazine estimates that there are 1,200 active military blogs. I think that it would be interesting if we could find a soldier from Idaho who is actively reporting on his or her experiences over in Iraq or Afghanistan and bring some of it to your newspaper.

Meanwhile, I would like to offer another suggestion regarding “Is war too much of a hot potato for Idaho classrooms?” I made a similar suggestion to a journalism instructor at Wood River H.S. last year, but she did not want to touch it. Anyhow, I believe that the same suggestion retains its merit and so will paste a modified version of it here:

~

I would like to suggest a story regarding how war is approached and discussed in some Idaho classrooms.

Here are some questions and ideas that I think would help stimulate healthy dialogue for a reporter assigned with such a mission:

Do students think that some teachers are playing it safe and avoiding subjects too hot to handle?

Do students ever consider that they probably have more open and honest dialogues than the cabinet leaders of our Government do with our own President?

Do students thinks that history books should show that the Bush administration mislead the country in sending us to war?

The disappearance of the recent past seems to be an all too common theme in our schools and textbooks. If students are exploring this subject in their debate clubs, I believe much of the community would be interested in hearing their valuable viewpoints.

How else does the war affect students? Some must have family members and friends overseas right now. Surely, most students know a few who have recently served in our armed forces.

How does the price of gas affect young people who have jobs delivering pizza, etc.?

For those students who are considering military duty or have already signed up – what are your motivations? What do you expect to get out of serving your country? Have you discussed the likelihood of posttraumatic stress disorder with your friends and family? Do future soldiers of America believe that the enemies we fight are somehow less human than we are? Or, that our ‘enemies’ are actually people, much like us, only that they have been thrust into extraordinary different circumstances?

I think that the greater Idaho community would be interested in hearing about this from students’ perspectives. Thank you for considering these questions and comments.

Best regards Nate,

And whenever I hear anything back from Snopes.com, I’ll be sure to let you know.

Jim Banholzer

smavo@cox.net

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