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Am I wrong about this? Read what happened and tell me if you agree or disagree with me:
On Thursday, I went to the National Institutes of Health (NIH) with colleagues to work on a project for the show. Since NIH is a government installation, there is security and heavy security. As you enter, your car is inspected, everyone (driver and passengers) must surrender government-issued identification to be run through computers and, if you get cleared, you get an authorizing pass which you must wear. After 9/11, especially here in Washington, D.C., you understand the importance of security.
But here is what troubled my colleagues and me as we went through the multiple checkpoints at NIH: We could not understand at least four of the security people who we had to talk to (the total number we spoke to is probably 7-9.) To be polite, I kept saying "what?", so I could have the security people repeat the directions they were giving me so that I could understand and then comply. My goal was to comply and get through quickly (though "quickly" turned out not be the result.) Repeating helped us figure out what the person was saying.
To more than one security person, I repeated "what" several times. The language barrier was not insignificant. At one point, one security person asked one of my colleagues for her name, she gave it to him and then he handed her a driver's license… of a man. The name she gave him was a woman's name and the picture on the license was clearly a man and did not look remotely like my blonde colleague.
At one point in the process, when I asked a question of a security person since we had become a bit confused, the person could not understand me so a colleague of his stepped in and spoke to him in a foreign language. My assumption was that the colleague translated what I said so that he could then answer me. The two of them spoke to each other in a language that I don't understand. The experience was a bit surreal: Here I was trying to enter U.S. government property and I had to pass through a person who did not speak my language well enough to clear me without language hurdles.
The security at this government property was contract security and not government employees.
I do enjoy meeting people from all walks of life and backgrounds. When I meet people from other countries holding jobs here in the USA, I ask questions about their nations, etc., so that I can learn. I really like to learn. I admire people who can speak other languages since I am regrettably not bilingual. I admire the cultures of other countries and have traveled abroad so that I could see and learn. I feel enriched when I meet people from other countries.
But here is the issue: When it comes to security here in the USA, I draw the line. I truly want someone who I am convinced is on our team. Having a command of our language is the first sign to me that the person is on the same team that I am. Communication is basic. I feel uneasy when security is communicating back and forth to each other in a language I don't understand, while I just stand there in a United States facility.
There are zillions of jobs in the USA where a command of the English language is not necessary. But security? That is where I draw the line.
One other thing: Everyone was nice to us — that wasn't the issue. And I do want people to have jobs. But maybe this just isn't the best job for someone who doesn't have a strong command of English.
Am I wrong? Send your views to firstname.lastname@example.org
Now for some e-mails:
E-mail No. 1 [This next e-mail responds to an e-mail posted in yesterday's blog]
Are you kidding me, Beth? Aren't "mental retardation" and/or "mentally retarded" valid medical terms? How can they possibly be offensive? Enough already with the politically incorrect BS!
E-mail No. 2
Please ask if the IP address follows the computer or is assigned to the State. If Benoit had a lap top computer with a CT IP address could he have edited the Wikipedia site himself? Thanks,
ANSWER: This is a great question… I so wish I had read this before I said good-bye to the guest.
E-mail No. 3
I've had hemorrhoids before, but never did I contemplate hurting anyone. I just don't get it...
Del Mar, CA
E-mail No. 4
I am a mother of two sons, being big fans of WWF/WWE, we went to many of those live events. Because of graphic nature, it all came to halt, and we stopped watching. I lost respect for Vince McMahon because of the young crowd tuning in watching vulgar and obscenities.
However, after watching your show tonight, I have to come to Vince's defense. Without knowing the specifics of nature involved with Chris and his wife and son, he did a 3 hour tribute, Chris was almost if not a family member of the organization., coworkers loved him as well as the fans. He deserved the tribute for working hard to come so far in his career for many years.
Once Vince heard of the horrific details, he made a decision to announce not to further mention Chris Benoit on any events from now point forward. He did his best, and handled it the best way he knew how., as well as professionally. As far as steroid media frenzy, of course he's going to jump the gun and say, "Hey, don't start pointing fingers just yet, it sounds too far fetched to be from steroid use." The media is just dying to blame someone else for Benoit's actions.
Talk about facts first, wait for the test results to come in, find a shrink and just ask the question, "Could Benoit have gone over the edge from an ongoing mental condition nobody knew nothing about"?
E-mail No. 5
My son Ryan has Fragile x Syndrome and he is not severe he is nonverbal and he is tall this diease affects children differently. I know of two young gentlemen with this diease and they both gratuated from high school with straight As.
E-mail No. 6
Any mother who has witnessed a child's adverse reaction to a steroid treatment (for croup, etc.) will never doubt the existence of "Roid Rage."
After a build-up of Prednizone in my 2 year old's system, prescribed for croup, I called my husband to come home from work (I was already home from work since my son was sick) and we almost called an ambulance. Intead, we called his doctor described my child's reaction to the treatment — something I never want to witness again. The steroid was eliminated and I had my son back.
"Roid Rage" is real and we will never allow steroids to be prescribed to our child again for any reason.
E-mail No. 7
I'd like to thank you for your great handling of the Chris Benoit story. Being a huge WWE fan, this has just absolutely rocked my world. This was just something we never expected... except from someone like Chris Benoit. You have done the right thing in investigated the possible steroid connection but also that he had other stuff going on in his life. I wish other media outlets would wait till the toxicology reports before they totallypin this on 'roid rage.
E-mail No. 8
Anybody in this country who has ever done steroids knows one thing for sure, YOU-DO-NOT-GET-OR-STAY-THAT-BIG-AND-SOLID-WITHOUT-STEROIDS — PERIOD! And for Chyna to say that she never used them has got to be a joke. As big as she was, the masculinization of her voice, c'mon... Steroids, HGH, insulin when you're not even diabetic (believe it or not) — they're all part of the equation.
E-mail No. 9
My sons both wrestled from junior high school through college. One of our sons was a NCAA All America wrestler. It is a great sport. There is no comparison in any shape, form or fashion to the joke called professional wrestling. I just want to say to any families or youths interested in the sport that it is a wonderful yet tough athletic competition that taught our sons many terrific life lessons. Both are doctors!
S. F. Wilson
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