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Nate Holley is being hailed a hero for his bravery during a school shooting. Is this really what we've come to, America?

Nate Holley is being hailed a hero for his bravery during a school shooting. Is this really what we've come to, America?

Nate Holley walked out of his suburban Colorado school on May 7, 2019, physically unharmed. Two students had opened fire on their STEM School classmates that day, killing one and wounding seven others. It was the 35th U.S. school shooting this school year.

Nate is 12 years old and in the sixth grade. Nate told CNN that when he heard the gunshots he froze. He said a kid in his class cracked a joke before his teacher told them to shut up and hide behind her desk.


Nate said half the kids in his class burst into tears. As the shooters got closer, they were ushered into a closet.

Nate was scared. He put his hand a metal baseball bat in the closet.

Nate said, "I was going to go down fighting, if I was going to go down."

Nate was scared, but brave. Nate was also lucky.

Watch this interview, America. Look at what we've done to our children.

"I was going to go down fighting, if I was going to go down." - 6th grader Nate Holley survived the Colorado school shooting

"I was hiding in the corner, and they were right outside the door. I had my hands on a metal baseball bat, just in case, because I was going to go down fighting, if I was going to go down."6th grader Nate Holley survived the shooting at his school in Colorado.https://cnn.it/2VWkVJa

Posted by CNN on Wednesday, May 8, 2019

Officially, there is no war on American soil. Unofficially, we are training child soldiers in our schools.

When U.S. schools started doing regular active shooter drills, I felt conflicted. I was teaching at a high school when Columbine happened. At that point, school shootings were shocking and such drills were unheard of. Twenty years later, few of us are shocked by anything, and drills are old hat.

Being prepared seems wise, but schools in other developed nations don't regularly train for gunmen to walk into the building and start shooting children. It feels strange for us to be preparing kids to be shot at in a classroom. It feels wrong.

I've written a lot on this topic, but Nate Holley's interview shook me in a whole new way. Not just because of his innocence while describing a terrifying scenario. Not just because his sweet, freckled face shouldn't have to be telling this familiar story.

What shook me was his determination to "go down fighting." His instinct to grab a weapon and face down an attacker. The matter-of-fact way he talked about how he might "go down."

The newest approach to active shooter preparation in schools is telling staff, teachers, and schoolchildren to fight back, if the situation allows for it, with objects—staplers, paper weights, baseball bats.

In classrooms and cafeterias.

Against people with guns.

That only sounds wise and reasonable if we accept the premise that schools are potential war zones, and accept that our children will be soldiers in the fight. We are resigned to training children to fight an unofficial war.

America. Look at us. Look at what we are allowing to happen.

No child should have to play the hero against a shooter in their classroom because adults refuse to act.

When you live in this bizarre reality, it starts to feel normal. Even for those who despise it and are terrified by it, there's a normalcy to the regularity of school shootings. It's no longer if, but when, the next one will occur. When we train kids for it regularly, we've obviously accepted it as a natural possibility, like an earthquake or a tornado or a fire.

But it's not normal. This is not normal.Kids rehearsing school shootings is not normal anywhere in the developed world but here. We don't live in a war-torn nation, yet I'm afraid we are one degree away from training our children to respond to gunfire with gunfire. Is that not the next logical step? What else will we do when it becomes clear that staplers and baseball bats are no match for a semi-automatic arsenal?

Why do we prepare for the inevitability of mass shootings instead of doing everything in our power to prevent them? Naturally, prevention is more complex than simply strengthening gun legislation, but it's a huge piece of the puzzle that so many people want to pretend doesn't exist.

Evidence points to legislation, no matter how many people say that criminals don't follow laws.

We can talk about individual shootings all day long, but policy should be based on data. And the data shows that stronger gun laws correlate to lower gun deaths—not just in other developed countries, but even here in the United States.

Look the CDC's list of gun death rates in each U.S. state, then compare it with the gun laws in each state. Almost without exception, stronger gun laws equal lower gun death rates—and not by a little bit. The states with the highest gun death rates (Alaska, Alabama, Montana, Louisiana, Missouri—all lax gun laws) have more than five times the gun death rates of the states with the lowest (Hawaii, Massachusetts, New York, Rhode Island, and Connecticut—all strict gun laws). Follow the links above. Compare for yourself.

We need to stop pretending that our position as an outlier among our peer nations has nothing to do with our guns and gun laws. We need to stop acting like this is a partisan issue. We need to start putting our kids first, as any civilized nation would do.

We need to stop treating our children like would-be soldiers and give them the real childhood they deserve.

Photo courtesy of Girls at Work

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14 things that will remain fun no matter how old you get

Your inner child will thank you for doing at least one of these.

Photo by Annie Spratt on Unsplash

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You might be wanting to instill a little more childlike wonder into your own life, and not sure where to start. Never fear, the internet is here. Reddit user SetsunaSaigami asked people, “What always remains fun no matter how old you get?” People’s (surprisingly profound) answers were great reminders that no matter how complex our lives become, simple joy will always be important.

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All images provided by Adewole Adamson

It begins with more inclusive conversations at a patient level

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Adewole Adamson, MD, of the University of Texas, Austin, aims to create more equity in health care by gathering data from more diverse populations by using artificial intelligence (AI), a type of machine learning. Dr. Adamson’s work is funded by the American Cancer Society (ACS), an organization committed to advancing health equity through research priorities, programs and services for groups who have been marginalized.

Melanoma became a particular focus for Dr. Adamson after meeting Avery Smith, who lost his wife—a Black woman—to the deadly disease.

melanoma,  melanoma for dark skin Avery Smith (left) and Adamson (sidenote)

This personal encounter, coupled with multiple conversations with Black dermatology patients, drove Dr. Adamson to a concerning discovery: as advanced as AI is at detecting possible skin cancers, it is heavily biased.

To understand this bias, it helps to first know how AI works in the early detection of skin cancer, which Dr. Adamson explains in his paper for the New England Journal of Medicine (paywall). The process uses computers that rely on sets of accumulated data to learn what healthy or unhealthy skin looks like and then create an algorithm to predict diagnoses based on those data sets.

This process, known as supervised learning, could lead to huge benefits in preventive care.

After all, early detection is key to better outcomes. The problem is that the data sets don’t include enough information about darker skin tones. As Adamson put it, “everything is viewed through a ‘white lens.’”

“If you don’t teach the algorithm with a diverse set of images, then that algorithm won’t work out in the public that is diverse,” writes Adamson in a study he co-wrote with Smith (according to a story in The Atlantic). “So there’s risk, then, for people with skin of color to fall through the cracks.”

Tragically, Smith’s wife was diagnosed with melanoma too late and paid the ultimate price for it. And she was not an anomaly—though the disease is more common for White patients, Black cancer patients are far more likely to be diagnosed at later stages, causing a notable disparity in survival rates between non-Hispanics whites (90%) and non-Hispanic blacks (66%).

As a computer scientist, Smith suspected this racial bias and reached out to Adamson, hoping a Black dermatologist would have more diverse data sets. Though Adamson didn’t have what Smith was initially looking for, this realization ignited a personal mission to investigate and reduce disparities.

Now, Adamson uses the knowledge gained through his years of research to help advance the fight for health equity. To him, that means not only gaining a wider array of data sets, but also having more conversations with patients to understand how socioeconomic status impacts the level and efficiency of care.

“At the end of the day, what matters most is how we help patients at the patient level,” Adamson told Upworthy. “And how can you do that without knowing exactly what barriers they face?”

american cancer society, skin cacner treatment"What matters most is how we help patients at the patient level."https://www.kellydavidsonstudio.com/

The American Cancer Society believes everyone deserves a fair and just opportunity to prevent, find, treat, and survive cancer—regardless of how much money they make, the color of their skin, their sexual orientation, gender identity, their disability status, or where they live. Inclusive tools and resources on the Health Equity section of their website can be found here. For more information about skin cancer, visit cancer.org/skincancer.

via Pixabay

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According to a report in The Metro, on Thursday, September 15, Stead woke up in an Airbnb with her bridemaids, having no idea that her fiance, Kallum Norton, 24, had run off early that morning. The word got to Stead’s bridesmaids at around 7 a.m. the day of the wedding.

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via Lewis Speaks Sr. / Facebook

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