Category Archives: Radar Training

Advice to add to your Brain Radar memory bank.

America has a gun problem

The tragedy list continues: Newtown school massacre, Virginia Tech, Columbine, Gabby Giffords, Aurora movie theater; even 4 volunteer firefighters were shot, 2 fatally, while responding to a residential structure fire at 5:35 am in Webster, NY.

The public mourns, then becomes desensitized, then moves on. Politicians are afraid to confront the issue, and the National Rifle Association’s leader calls for even more guns.

Trust Your Radar readers have a unique perspective on guns: pre-Revolutionary War technology with no do-overs. We’re aware of their uses and lethal consequences. People who want them for home or self protection would be far better off with a nonlethal Taser® that gives them a chance for escape to safety. But no, America loves firearms (and owns half the world’s supply). It’s time to move beyond this awful, obsolete, and recurrently tragic technology.


Sun Protection, Fire Prevention

Sunscreen’s usually a good idea. It helps protect us against skin cancers like the sneaky and deadly melanoma. Spray-on sunscreens are quick and convenient, What’s not to like?

Well here’s a new curve ball of modern life to ponder: a spray-on sunscreen (that I’ve actually used) has been recalled due to a risk of human combustion!

It seems the waterproof sport sunscreen can burst into flames after you spray it on, if you happen to be near an ignition source before it fully dries on your skin. Oops, didn’t see that coming.

In the recent past, when I’ve sprayed this on myself, I’ve kept my eyes closed until the cloud disappeared, coughed, and grumbled about being in a “Haz-mat incident.” Luckily, no one nearby was smoking or operating a blowtorch!

Oops, Watch Your Privacy Settings

“A party invitation which went viral on Facebook ended in rioting and injury after thousands of revelers descended on a small town in the Netherlands. A girl whose 16th birthday was being celebrated had not set her Facebook event to ‘private.’ What should have been an invite to a small-scale celebration was passed on to 30,000 people.”

Teens, Young Adults, and Parents: Social media is a two-edged sword. You can share info with your friends, but its also fertile hunting ground for stalkers, predators, and problem people. Check your privacy settings regularly because the online companies sometimes change them. Watch what identifying profile data and pictures you and your friends post. Don’t give any location information. Keep your radar on!

New Ezine article – Parents: 5 Things to Tell Kids Going to College

This is a big milestone. Whether your kids are going off to college, or leaving home for a place of their own, it’s big.

Here’s some parental advice you can roll out to the young adults.

Congratulations. You are now unsupervised, full time. Multiple “brain radar jammers” are available vying for your attention: peer pressure, showing off, fooling around, looking cool, alcohol, drugs, fast food, performance enhancing drugs, sexual attraction and pressure, maybe even love.

There are also societal expectations. “This is the best time of your life! Party like a rockstar!”

Whew. It can be overwhelming and chaotic. Everyone’s affected: some seem to weather the storm, some crash and sink, most muddle along to varying degrees. What can we teach our kids to help?

1) How about a simple pearl of wisdom:

“Treat this like a job.”

Simple and clear.

Here’s how it plays out. Get up early Monday through Friday, even if you don’t have any classes scheduled, go to the library or some quiet place and do something every day for each of your subjects even if nothing is due. Go to lunch, show up for your classes, go back to the library or quiet place until late afternoon. Walk places if you can, schedule some exercise if you like. Then you can go back to your dorm, apartment, fraternity or sorority house, have dinner with friends, and hit one of your quiet places again after dinner. If you’re ahead on all your classes, super; now’s a good time to teach yourself to read for pleasure or background information, it’s a great use of your time. Since this is your job, no drinking or drugs during the week. If it’s a special occasion, maybe OK, but stick to your personal dose because you’ll be getting up tomorrow.

Of course you can have fun: save the weekends for parties, dates, sleepovers, dancing, talking all night, sleeping late, playing cards, wasting time on the Internet, video games, TV, spectator sports, political causes, exploring your city, travel, etc.

Here are a few more tips.

2) Generally, don’t make a flaming start in freshman year. It’s tempting to want to establish yourself as a well-known party animal, social celebrity, sex god or goddess, tough guy, big shot, or some other socially hot commodity. Stop, breathe, think, and resist this urge. In a short year or two, you’ll look back on freshman year as ancient primitive history. You don’t want to cringe at what you did, who you dated, what sexually transmitted disease you acquired, the D minus you got in Music Appreciation, or the embarrassing digital pictures and video that will live forever on the Internet. Of course, you can always go to your quiet place on the weekends too.

3) Remember, you do not, repeat not, have to attend every event, keg party, pot roast, social scene, sports game, or accept every invitation. You don’t. You can’t. There is no Perfect Attendance medal for parties. Put yourself in charge of your schedule.

4) Watch out for joining a fraternity or sorority in the first two years. Many people performed well in freshman year and then went off the rails when they got into one of these ingroups with huge opportunities and incentives for bad behavior. Consider delaying this decision.

5) Beware of group studying or the study date. These are oxymorons like jumbo shrimp or military intelligence. Invariably they degenerate into a gabfest or whining session about how, “I’m never going to get this,” or “I’m going to fail,” “Me too,” or “This teacher’s so unfair,” or some other time waster.

If you follow this advice, I guarantee your social life, fun quotient, college experience, or early adult adventure will not suffer. You’ll get the best of it without all the wasted time, unnecessarily slaughtered brain cells, misadventures, hangovers, looming deadlines, awful all-nighters, playing catch-up in courses, and most of the other pitfalls lurking in this tumultuous time of life. I’m not alone on this. In a survey of adults, the number 1 thing they’d change about their lives would be to take school more seriously.

C.B. Brooks, MD is author of Trust Your Radar: Honest Advice for Teens and Young Adults from a Surgeon, Firefighter, Police Officer, Scuba Divemaster, Golfer, and Amateur Comedian.

Avoid Life’s Major Sand Traps. Life Lessons Schools Don’t Teach.

Personality Disorder types are hazardous to your health

As a Trust Your Radar reader, you’ve learned about the evil Personality Disorders in Chapter 35. You’ve learned how to spot them and take evasive action. You’ve also learned that medicine doesn’t have any cures for these folks who wreck other peoples’ lives.

Bad bosses exhibit those toxic traits displayed in the always troublesome Personality Disorders. Now the scientific community has demonstrated that working for “Bad bosses” injures your health. USA Today reporter Sharon Jayson wrote an article covering the findings of the American Psychological Association

Aurora Shooting, Brain Radar Jammers

I’ve been away from the internet machine, honing my scuba skills. (Unreliable wi-fi under the ocean.)

Recently surfaced and heard big story: Aurora Colorado shootings. Tragedy in spades.

Brace yourselves – we’re in for weeks of traumatized, tearful, contradictory interviews about ‘God’s will saved me,’ ‘My prayers were answered,’ candlelight vigils, memorial services, group hugs, truly sad tales of young peoples’ life cycles abruptly ended by dumb high speed projectiles.

Multiple brain Radar Jammers will be prominently displayed: real brain disorders (my early guess is onset of schizophrenia for the shooter), seeing intention in random acts, religion, it’s too complicated to understand god’s plan, anger, grief, and others.

There’s a chapter in Trust Your Radar about personal safety and guns. As a cop, I came to see guns as an updated version of archaic “Revolutionary War technology with no do-overs.”  Therein lies the real problem that needs our attention. If the delusional shooter had a baseball bat and even his tear gas, this would have been a far less tragic event.