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Another Tragic Sandy
This isn't the article I had planned to write today. But it's one that must be written.
The heinous act perpetrated at Newtown, Connecticut's Sandy Hook Elementary School last Friday has left our entire nation in a state of shock.
We weep with the parents who took their children to see Santa one week, and had to bury them the next. We search for answers to questions that hold none: How did something like this happen? How could it have been avoided? How do we prevent it from happening again?
The terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001 revealed the face of evil. Intel knew something big was in the works, but nobody would have foreseen commercial aircraft used as a weapon.
There were signs that the Sandy Hook shooter was unstable. But who could have imagined any human capable of such a horrific act?
Gun control advocates see this tragedy as proof of their platform. But over 10,000 Americans are killed every year by drunken drivers. Nobody has yet to suggest we ban automobiles.
Yes, you are going to get a bit of personal opinion here. Just a little bit.
Timothy McVeigh constructed a homemade truck bomb to blow up the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City in 1995. We still use fertilizer today.
The point is that someone capable of mass destruction does not care what weapon they use. They'll find something; whether it be an airplane, automobile, fertilizer or a gun.
We can blame violent video games, graphic scenes in movies and television, or even song lyrics. But according to the 2010 U.S. Census, there are over 30 million Americans between the ages of 18 - 25 exposed to the same environment.
We will never make sense of such action. People with a mental illness do not view the world in the same way as the rest of us. We can't comprehend their sense of reality anymore than they can ours.
What has to happen is that we, as a public, gain a greater understanding of mental illness and remove the stigma attached to it. Only then can those who suffer from the disease begin to seek the help they desperately need.
The human body contains 78 organs, 13 considered major. Among them include the heart, kidney, lungs, stomach, liver and brain.
Dysfunction in any of them send you scurrying to the doctor. Early detection of potential malfunction is the difference between life and death.
Except the brain. When something goes awry in this complex maze of neural circuitry, we're ashamed. We should be able to rationalize our way to mental health.
Quite impossible when it's the very organ used to do so that suffers. We can't think our way out of mental illness anymore than we can order proper blood flow to our heart or enzyme creation to a failing liver.
That such horrific events can unfold in the quiet, upscale city of Newtown is proof that it can happen anywhere at anytime. Society must acknowledge the unspoken truths about mental illness and puts resources towards eliminating this deadly disease for us to hold hope for a cure.
In the meantime, the City of Houston Mayor's Office of Public Safety offers advice on responding to an active shooter. We share it with you here:
If you find yourself in the middle of an active shooter event, your survival may depend on whether or not you have a plan. The plan doesn't have to be complicated. There are three things you can do that make a difference:
RUN, HIDE, FIGHT
If you can get out, do so
If you can't get out safely, you need to find a place to hide
As a last resort, if your life is at risk, whether alone or working together as a group, FIGHT!
Remember ... RUN, HIDE, FIGHT
What to expect from responding police officers:
Police officers responding to an active shooter are trained to proceed immediately to the area in which shots were last heard; their purpose is to stop the shooting as quickly as possible. The first responding officers will normally be in teams; they may be dressed in regular patrol uniforms, or they may be wearing external bulletproof vests, Kevlar helmets, and other tactical equipment. The officers may be armed with rifles, shotguns, or handguns, and might also be using pepper spray or tear gas to control the situation. Regardless of how they appear, remain calm, do as the officers tell you, and do not be afraid of them. Put down any bags or packages you may be carrying and keep your hands visible at all times; if you know where the shooter is, tell the officers. The first officers to arrive will not stop to aid injured people; rescue teams composed of other officers and emergency medical personnel will follow the first officers into secured areas to treat and remove injured persons. Keep in mind that even once you have escaped to a safer location, the entire area is still a crime scene; police will usually not let anyone leave until the situation is fully under control and all witnesses have been identified and questioned. Until you are released, remain at whatever assembly point authorities designate.
GCFlash 2012 Year in Review
This is the last issue of GCFlash for the year 2012. What a year it's been.
We made banking easier through two new offerings at GCF. First was Popmoney which allows you to send money to anyone, anywhere, anytime with only their email address or cell phone number. Popmoney makes sending money to your kid in college or contributing to your parent's anniversary gift a breeze.
Still not using Popmoney? You'll find the tab in GCF Online Banker's bill pay section. Try it once and you'll be hooked.
Next, mobile banking came to GCF with Touch Banking. Now you can check your balances from the palm of your hand. Confirm a payment was made or schedule a new one while you're at it. Find branch or ATM locations and hours of operation, too.
Soon Popmoney will be available through Touch Banking. That's right. You can be just like the folks in the television commercial who divvy up the restaurant tab and zap each other their share while they're still sitting around the table. All through their smartphone. We expect this to be available by the end of January. You'll get the scoop here first.
Bank online with more confidence in 2013. GCF is implementing a tool that allows us to detect fraud attempts and stop them in their tracks - before you become a victim. And the best part is that you won't have to change a thing in your current login procedures. No additional authentication measures, no new password to learn. It is all happening behind the scenes.
It's been an interesting year in GCFlash, too. The presidential elections brought political issues to the forefront. Hurricane Sandy gave us reason to share disaster, insurance and contractor tips that would not have been otherwise necessary.
As is our custom, we reviewed legislation that impacts our readers. Tax law, retirement benefits, IRAs laws and government regulations can be complex. Count on us to bring you relevant news when you need it most.
Our primary focus with this e-newsletter is your online security. The rest is just for fun. You wouldn't be anymore interested in reading nothing but articles on scams and malware than we would be in writing about only those topics.
Yet they are the most important resource we offer. And some are pretty darn intriguing. Like the government-created Stuxnet we told you about. It was the first worm designed to target a country's infrastructure.
And you learned how Flame could potentially be more destructive than Stuxnet.
We revealed how Ramnit infiltrated Facebook accounts. There's good news in that 10 individuals around the globe were recently arrested for conducting this scam among others.
We also provide you with tips and resources to avoid becoming a scam victim, and steps to take if you've already been compromised. These tools are always available in our Security Center.
GCFlash may be taking a holiday break, but we're not. We'll be as busy as Santa's elves. Watch for new, enhanced content on our website.
The staff of GCFlash wishes all our readers a Merry Christmas, Happy Holiday season and prosperous new year.
GCFlash is a weekly e-mail sent only to its listed customers and associates free of charge. GCFlash informs customers of special product offerings which may be of interest, current interest rates on both deposit and loan products, selected financial news and other financial tidbits. GCFlash is intended to supplement the more comprehensive information listed on the GCF Web site at http://www.gcfbank.com.
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