Madison County Opinion...

MAY 26, 2004

By Frank Gillispie
The Madison County Journal
May 26, 2004

Frankly Speaking

Education is a life-long endeavor
Congratulations graduates. You have worked hard and earned your diplomas. You are ready for the real world. That means that your education is about to begin!
Here is what you will find out over the next few years: Part of what you learned in school is wrong. Another portion is irrelevant, and a vast amount of valuable information was left out.
All your teachers were able to do was prepare you to learn the lessons of life. If they succeeded, you will rapidly find the knowledge you need to accomplish your life goals. If you ignored their lessons and did just enough to get by, you may have a difficult life.
Education is a lifetime process. In the near future, you will be encountering things your teachers never anticipated. I finished “school” a few years ago. My class had no idea that such a thing as home computers would become part of our everyday lives. We had no idea that we would have to try to understand worldwide terrorism. It never entered our minds that the Democrats would ever lose control of the South, or that the Soviet Union would cease to exist. All these things happened in the past 45 years.
The rate of change is growing. You will find yourself working hard just to keep up. At the same time, you will need to seek the source of the changes in the nation’s past.
Now here is the key: The more you learn, the more you will find that you don’t know. For some of you, that is no problem. You have little interest in the world outside your narrow circle of interest. Just as in school, you only want to know enough to get by. The world may be filled with fascinating facts, but you could care less. If that is your standard, then that is fine. You probably will never read this or any other column by the world’s pundits.
You are satisfied watching mindless comedy on the TV, or pointless football games, or a bunch of cars running around in circles. All the magazines you read will have nearly naked people on the front. If anything challenges your mind, especially if it suggests that your ideas need to be reformulated, you immediately turn it off or skip over it.
For the rest of you, life will become a never-ending school. Every day you will be confronted with new facts, new theories, new technology and new philosophies. As your level of understanding expands, you will find yourself remembering your old ideas and questioning, “How could I have possibly believed that?”
You are out of school and about to enter the real world. You can have a lifetime of learning, or you can stop where you are and never develop your full potential. It is up to you.
Frank Gillispie is founder of The Madison County Journal. His e-mail address is His website can be accessed at

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By Margie Richards
The Madison County Journal
May 26, 2004

In A Moment with Margie

Tips for staying safe
Like many of you, I have a daughter whose safety I worry about a lot, especially when I know she’s going somewhere alone, or somewhere she’ not familiar with. News reports don’t make anyone feel any better — they’re filled with horror stories of terrible things that have happened to others.
A friend sent Miranda the following information in an e-mail the other day and she shared it with me, so I thought I would pass some of it along.
Tip from Tae Kwon Do - The elbow is the strongest point on the body, so if you can use it in an emergency situation - do it.
If a robber asks for a wallet or purse - don’t hand it to him, throw it away from you since he’s likely to run after it, giving you time to get away.
If you’re ever abducted and placed in the trunk of a car, kick out the back tail lights so you can wave a foot or a hand out the hole. The driver won’t see you, but others will.
We women have a tendency to get into our cars after work or shopping and just sit there doing our checkbook or making a list or something. Not a good idea, the e-mail cautioned, since a predator could be watching and waiting for an opportunity to get in the car with you. As soon as you get in the car lock all the doors and leave.
The following are some tips about getting in a car in a parking lot or parking garage.
Look around the car and in it at the passenger side the floor and the back seat before getting inside. If parked next to a big van (particularly one you can’t see inside), consider getting in on the passenger side of your vehicle since someone could be hiding inside the van and grab you as you get in your vehicle.
Observe the car parked on the driver’s side of your vehicle. If a male is sitting on the passenger side in the seat nearest your car, you may want to go back inside and get someone such as a guard or male co-worker to walk you back out. (Hey, it’s better to be safe than sorry.)
Always take the elevator instead of the stairs if you’re alone. Stairwells can leave you an easy mark for a crime.
If a predator approaches you with a gun - always run (and scream)! Never allow someone to lead you away under threat of a weapon - your chances of getting away alive are much greater if you break away before you allow someone to take you to a second location, and a moving target is harder to hit.
Women are always trying to be sympathetic. We should never allow our sympathy to allow us do stupid things. Ted Bundy was a good-looking well-educated man who often played on the sympathies of his victims by asking for their help.
Perpetrators will often try bizarre tricks to lure their victims. According to the e-mail, a woman reported to police that she heard a crying baby on her porch one night. Instead of opening the door as she instinctively wanted to do, she called the police who sent someone to investigate and told her not to open the door as it could be a trick to lure her outside.
A serial killer had reportedly been using a recording of a crying baby to get women to come out of their homes.
You can never be too careful and as I’ve told my daughter, it’s better to feel foolish and live than to be “brave” and get into a situation you can’t get out of.
Margie Richards is a reporter and office manager for the Madison County Journal. Her e-mail address is
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