Arming teachers?

Novel idea.

Instead of arming teachers, why not make it next to impossible for people to be able to buy an assault style weapon and ones with large capacity clips?

Do people really need military grade firearms to hunt  or to protect their homes. and if so, do they need a bunch of them?

The politician speaks.

Apparently within hours of the Parkland shooting, people like  George Soros and other left wing advocates for tougher gun laws managed to gather all the students at the high school together and train them to pretend to be anti-gun, and in how to act and what to say. It was, apparently, a swift massive undertaking that was effective.

Fox News’ prime time host Tucker Carlson informed us that,

“There is a huge controversy online that I am hesitant even to wade in on, but I think that it needs to be addressed.”

There actually wasn’t such a controversy, but Carlson wanted to promote one.

He added

“And the allegation has been that [the studnts] are in some way in contact with organized anti-gun groups, and they’ve been denounced as immoral and heartless and how how dare you attack them, which I am not doing, but it raises interesting questions about how we make our laws.”

He relied on his guest, Dan Bongino, who is currently a paid contributor on NRATV,  to present an unbiased view. He said,

“if you are involved in a horrific, unimaginable tragedy, your voice should be heard. but the media is focused more on a teenager’s expertise in supply-side control measures for guns, which, Tucker, let’s be candid, they probably have not studied in complicated, layered issue.”

“[The left  wing anti-gun activists]  are using these kids in a kind of moral blackmail, where you are not allowed to disagree or you are attacking the child.”

Former Representative Jack Kingston claimed on CNN that the students were being used by “left wing gun control activists” saying,

“sorrow can very easily be hijacked by left-wing groups… Do we really think 17-year-olds on their own are going to plan a nationwide rally?”

Previously he had tweeted,

 “O really? ‘Students’ are planning a nationwide rally? Not left wing gun control activists using 17yr kids in the wake of a horrible tragedy?”

Donald Trump Jr. liked two tweets.  One linked to a story in Gateway Pundit accusing one vocal student’s father, who is a former FBI agent,  of coaching his son in peddling “anti-Trump rhetoric and anti-gun legislation,” claiming the FBI is using him as its pawn, and the other linked to a story in True Pundit describing the same student as “the kid who has been running his mouth” about President Trump and Republicans also offering, “If Hogg knew the shooter would snap — as he and other students have professed — perhaps he could have told his father about it.”

Dinesh D’Souza, mocked the Florida teenagers with

 “How interesting to hear students who can’t support themselves for one day giving us lectures about American social policy,”

He also criticized an interview with 17-year-old Delaney Tarr, a senior at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, who he noted appeared “coached and also a bit deranged,” advising that Trump “should ignore these media-manufactured theatrics.”

Bill O’Reilly wrote on his website,

 “The national press believes it is their job to destroy the Trump administration by any means necessary. So if the media has to use kids to do that, they’ll use kids.”

The National Review’s film critic, Armond White, called the students “Parkland Puppets” when he asked,

“Why their ubiquitous presence on TV news shows? Who’s their publicist?  Obviously not just being picked up off the street, no 16-year-old has quick access to network news producers. Clearly, some PR exec is handling these Alt-Left kids.”

When one of the Parkland students stated that politicians who take NRA money have blood on their hands, Rush Limbaugh stated,

“These students think they’re taking politics out of this. The minute they bash the NRA, it’s politics. … This is an event that advances a political agenda for the American left and the Democrat Party. Bash the NRA.”

Meanwhile, the senators and congress members who are asking for thoughts and prayer while claiming now is not the time to discuss stricter gun control are accepting money, big bucks, from the NRA, and being its shills is not a problem.

While it is known which members of congress got how much money from the NRA, and how they have voted on any legislation that the NRA does not like, Conservatives are claiming the students are getting money to oppose it, and this based on no facts or evidence.

They have no objection to money being used to buy congress, but they speak loudly against fictitious money.

While lamenting that kids today are spoiled and those in their late teens need to start acting like adults and do something rather than demand and expect things be given to them, when they do something, conservatives claim they are only doing it for money or attention.

 

uneven treatment

In November 2014 a person who was at a Cleveland recreation center called 911to report “a guy with a pistol”. The caller said “guy” which to most people implies an adult. It wasn’t “someone” or a “kid”. It was a guy.

The caller did, however, include that the gun was possibly a toy.

When the police responded they described the person with the gun as looking like he was in his 20s.

The officers judged that they were facing a possible active shooter in a neighborhood with a history of violence. And, so, within seconds of arriving at the scene, they shot 12 year old Tamir Rice without any attempt being made to get him to drop the weapon which turned out to be a toy, just as the caller had suggested.

 Although a Cleveland judge found probable cause for the charges of murder, involuntary manslaughter, reckless homicide, negligent homicide, and dereliction of duty, an Ohio grand jury decided not to indict the officers.

In explaining that decision, the prosecutor said,

“Given this perfect storm of human error, mistakes and communications by all involved that day (I would leave Tamir off that list), the evidence did not indicate criminal conduct by police. It is likely that Tamir, whose size made him look much older and who had been warned his pellet gun might get him into trouble that day, either intended to hand it over to the officers or show them it wasn’t a real gun. But there was no way for the officers to know that, because they saw the events rapidly unfolding in front of them from a very different perspective.”

In contrast,

When an armed and intoxicated Michigan man stood in front of a Dairy Queen waving a loaded rifle around and angrily shouting, refusing to put the rifle down when the police arrived, a 40 minute standoff  began during which the police tried to get the man to put his weapon down, and when he finally did, because he refused to take a Breathalyzer test, officers decided not to give him his gun back, but instead told him to come to the police station and claim it the next day.

He did.

A San Diego man pointed his 9mm pistol at police after getting out of his parked car, and the police spent an hour trying to talk the man into putting down his weapon. When he rushed toward the officers with his weapon pointed at them, an officer shot him once in the stomach to put him down. Although he fell to the ground, his gun remained within reach, so police called him on his cell phone and spoke with him for 15 minutes before he agreed to surrender.

While two police officers were making a routine traffic stop at an intersection, a 22-year-old New Hampshire man opened fire with a BB gun from a nearby apartment building. He was arrested and found to be already on probation for a similar incident. The judge commented that he was worried about the man’s safety following the most recent BB gun-firing episode.

Two intoxicated Idaho men walked into a Walmart and proceeded to remove BB guns from boxes, loaded one, and fired it four times while in the store. They were arrested. Neither was shot.

A man in Pennsylvania pulled a gun on State Police who approached his car after he had driven it off the road into a ditch. When police approached the vehicle, the man pulled a handgun from his coat pocket and pointed it at officers. They had to take cover, and without firing a shot, after trying to talk him down, they broke the windows of his car, got him out, and arrested him.

As people march with guns and torches spewing racial and ethnic hate speech, no one seems bothered by the number of guns they carry. There are even pictures and videos of law enforcement talking to some gun wielding white guy to get him to put his weapon down.

Remember, Tamir Rice 12 had been walking around a Cleveland park, holding a toy gun that uses nonlethal plastic pellets. Within two seconds Rice was shot and killed as is clearly seen in a video of the event, and in the process of having people accept this, he was continually referred to as an adult and a guy in order to weaken the chance of sympathy for him and imply his death was somehow acceptable.

But the quick to shoot isn’t the only contrast that bothers me.

There’s that part about consistently referring to Tamir Rice in any term other than “kid”.

In contrast, while Nikolas Cruz is facing the death penalty, which having killed 17 people warrants that in Florida, his attorneys hope to have that replaced with life without parole, a move that relying on their being abls to present Cruz as someone deserving of it.

At the first court appearance of the Parkland school shooter, his attorneys referred to Nikolas Cruz, a 19 year old guy as  a “kid”.

His attorney, Howard Finkelstein said ,

“This kid didn’t have to fall through the cracks”.

His other lawyer, Melissa McNeil, described him outside the courtroom as a “broken child”.

“When your brain is not fully developed, you don’t know how to deal with these things. That’s the child I’m sitting across from.”

Gordon Weeks, another member of the defense team, said,

“The child is deeply troubled and he has endured significant trauma that stems from the loss of his mother.”

A 19 year old man is described as a child in an effort to garner some sympathy for the killer of 17 students.

A12 year old playing with a toy is described as a “guy” who is adult looking.

Labels influence attitudes, and there was a measurable negative attitude concerning Tamir Rice.

The public defenders are hoping that using this to their client’s favor, public opinion will move in his favor.

Comparing his picture to Tamir’s, he has an advantage.

one more hurdle

By a vote of 225 to 192 on Valentine’s Day, while we were all thinking about presidents and porn stars, the House passed a bill making it harder for disabled persons to sue for discrimination.

The justification for this was to prevent opportunistic, “ambulance chasing” attorneys from taking advantage of business owners by filing frivolous lawsuits just to line their pockets.

But it could also weaken incentives for businesses to comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (ADA) mandates for equal access to public accommodations.

The ADA Education and Reform Act would require that those suing businesses for noncompliance in federal court give that business 60 days to devise a plan to fix the problem with another 120 days to implement the changes.

According to Representative Ted Poe of Texas,

“There is now a whole industry made up of people who prey on small business owners and file unnecessary and abusive lawsuits. This bill will change that by requiring that the business owners have time to fix what is allegedly broken.”

But opponents believe that without a fear of being sued, it would be easier for businesses to ignore ADA compliance rules, and that people with disabilities who have already been mistreated will now have the added responsibility of making sure businesses are compliant with the law.

In a letter to members of congress the ACLU wrote,

“Instead of expecting businesses to own the responsibility of complying with civil rights laws, it shifts the burden to the individual who is being denied access. This scheme removes the business’s incentive to proactively ensure that it is accessible to people with disabilities. Instead, businesses will simply wait until someone’s right to access is violated and notification is received before making the change they were already obligated to make.”

Why put in that wheel chair ramp until someone sues you?

In the meantime you can avoid the unsightly thing, hoping lack of access will also spare you from having to deal with people who might make you uncomfortable because they might just move on by and go elsewhere, and if someone does file a complaint you have plenty of time.

Sometimes those ramps just ruin the lines of you building.

Besides the ACLU, groups like the National Bar Association, the Paralyzed Veterans of America, and the NAACP have also objected.

The thing is states have laws against frivolous law suits already, and ethics rules bar attorneys from bringing them, so rather than going after the ambulance chasers, congress has decided to put an added burden on those who have disabilities while giving businesses the opportunity to ignore the law betting the lack of access will keep “those” people out of their place of business, while also betting that no one will take the time to complain.

 

Bad idea

Societal problem?

Use teachers to handle it.

Why address the actual problem, its underlying causes, and find ways to reduce it, when you can pass the responsibility on to someone else and then critique if they are doing it right.

Besides teaching, being surrogate parents, counselors, and disciplinarians, now we can have teachers armed and they can take on the job of armed security guards.

Practical considerations, and these were brought up where I once taught, and the responses eventually became silence:

Teachers stand in the hall when classes are changing to make sure movement is orderly and to deal with any altercations that are caused by friction in the building and even conflicts carried into the school from the streets of the neighborhoods.

Teachers can be accidentally or even purposefully jostled as they supervise.

Nothing would stop a student intent on doing so from pretending that a jostle was a harmless accident when it is really a planned move to get the teacher’s gun. There is also no way to avoid any one student or group from overpowering the teacher who is not looking at them, distracted by an activity that is spontaneous or a planned distraction.

The response to that concern was to have the gun locked in a teacher’s desk, which would prolong the response time to get to the gun if the teacher was not near the desk, and the time to unlock the desk drawer to get the gun.

Even with the gun locked in a desk drawer it is not guaranteed safety as any student motivated to do so would find a way to get the drawer opened.

It happens. Teachers have lost purses that way.

As is coming out in the Florida case, and has been seen in earlier ones, a gun attack can be carefully planned as to the most effective way to reek havoc and have an escape. Students would learn very quickly which teachers have the guns, making them the first targets.

Then, of course, the concern would be the liability of a teacher who is armed but not in a position to act, or does act, but in the confusion mistakenly shoots the wrong student.

They would also be judged how they reacted to seeing another person wielding a gun who may be the shooter or another person on the campus who is armed.

First responders would  encounter an adult in the building wielding a gun most likely not knowing it is a teacher, and if the person does not stop he or she could end up being shot. Even if not, as the responders think they have the shooter, only to find out they don’t,  the time that could have been used apprehending the perpetrator was wasted on the teacher while more students die or the shooter gets out while the responders were busy identifying the teacher.

Meanwhile, as teachers are responsible for bringing the shooter under control, they are still responsible for the students, doing what is proper for their own safety, getting students to a safe location, and assisting in the orderly evacuation. This whole process is orderly in the imagination, but chaos in reality.

Another concern follows the Leave No Child Behind model.

While ignoring the teachers in the classroom who could have told people what the real problems were and what the solutions could be, politicians claimed to know what was wrong with education and proposed solutions based on that so, rather than solve the real problems, they demanded solutions for the fictitious ones and in so doing made the system worse.

School district administrators had no idea what to do, and they turned to the experts who spontaneously sprang up claiming they knew the way.

School districts spent hundreds of thousands dollars each for experts to come in and introduce methods that would make things work, as they ignored teachers in their own districts who were successful and could have shared their methods with others.

I know of one teacher who was chosen the state teacher of the year for her method for teaching math. She spent the year after the award traveling the state teaching her method to other math teachers. The following year her school district hired a consulting firm for a few hundred thousand dollars to teach its self-designed better math methodology, and then rated that teacher as being poor as she did not have the same degree of student achievement with their method as she had had with her own.

But the consulting firms were a straw to grasp at, and school boards found ways to justify the expense.

If the idea to arm all teachers gets heavy promotion it is important to ascertain who is doing the promoting.

The plan will call for training and guns. Certainly teachers will not be required to cover the cost of training and guns, so school districts will need to spend money from their budgets on that. Long range solutions will be put aside for the quick fix, and like the consulting firms used to solve non-existent problems with verifiable failing solutions when it came to instruction, gun manufacturers and gun expert consulting firms will have found a cash cow, and will use the scare tactic of child safety to fleece school districts.

Rather than panic and spend money where it need not be spent, real national solutions need to be instituted, but that calls for work and politicians turning on their big money donors.

Let teachers teach, and have the country’s leadership find ways to solve the gun problem so they can do their job of teaching students.

The president and the transgender kid

This is the pledge made by Trump the day after the shooting at the high school in Parkland, Florida.

“No parent should ever have to fear for their sons and daughters when they kiss them goodbye in the morning…. Each one had dreams to pursue, love to give and talents to share with the world, and each one had a family to whom they meant everything in the world…. I want to speak now directly to America’s children, especially those who feel lost, alone, confused or even scared. I want you to know that you are never alone and you never will be. You have people who care about you, who love you and who will do anything at all to protect you. If you need help, turn to a teacher, a family member, a local police officer or a faith leader.”

This is how selective he has been and may very well show himself to be in the future when it comes to assuring all students that “you are never alone and you never will be. You have people who care about you, who love you and who will do anything at all to protect you. If you need help, turn to a teacher, a family member, a local police officer or a faith leader.”

A month after taking his oath of office President Trump rescinded protections for Transgender students  in schools.

His top civil rights officials from the Justice Department and the Education Department said that the Obama administration’s directive that nondiscrimination laws require schools to allow transgender students to use the bathrooms of their choice was improperly and arbitrarily devised, “without due regard for the primary role of the states and local school districts in establishing educational policy.”

Rather than keep the federal protections in place to keep students safe until local school departments dealt with the topic, they did to them what they did to the DACA kids when they removed protections before a replacement was agreed on.

Although I do not like her or her mindset, Education Secretary DeVos did resist signing off on this at first, telling Trump that she was uncomfortable because of the potential harm that removing the protections could cause transgender students, Jeff Sessions, who opposes Gay, Lesbian, and Transgender rights, went to Trump who convinced her to change her stance.

She knew rescinding the protections would put Transgender students in harm’s way and would not assure them that they “have people who care about you, who love you and who will do anything at all to protect you”, but chose throwing these kids under the bus rather than resigning or defying the president, and agreed to go along.

Ms. DeVos had released a statement in which she said she considered it a “moral obligation” for every school in America to protect all students from discrimination, bullying and harassment, and even though she claimed the Education Department’s Office for Civil Rights would investigate all claims of such treatment “against those who are most vulnerable in our schools”, she wimped out saying that bathroom access was not a federal matter.

During his campaign, Trump expressed sympathy for transgender rights issues, but now the safety of Transgender students is at the mercy of the states, and their safety and wellbeing in schools that the law says they must attend daily will depend on which state you live in.

So for them, their not being alone and would never be, and those people who care about them, who love them and who will do anything at all to protect them will depend on the state in which they live.

.DeVos wrote a letter saying.

“All schools must ensure that students, including L.G.B.T. students, are able to learn and thrive in a safe environment.”

But like with the influence of the NRA with its generous contributions to his campaign and to the campaigns of congress members and senators which keep him and them from doing anything real about school shootings beyond offering condolences, thought, and prayers, the Trump administration bowed to pressure from the evangelical crowd and abandoned the Transgender students.

So, parent and kids, that promise about your safety in school being important only counts if it does not offend the NRA, and if you are not transgender. Otherwise, you’re on your own

Yet again

The day before the latest school shooting, Speaker Paul Ryan said that mental health reform is crucial to ensuring that mass shootings are prevented in the future.

“One of the things we’ve learned from these shootings is often underneath this is a diagnosis of mental illness.” 

He also pointed out that Republicans spent years working on mental health reform, passing a bill proposed that was signed into law by President Obama.

“That’s why the House of Representatives passed landmark mental health reform just a year ago. That law is now being implemented. It’s important that as we see the dust settle and we see what was behind some of these tragedies, that mental health reform is a critical ingredient to making sure that we can try and prevent some of these things from happening in the past.”

After this week’s school shooting in Florida Ryan stated,

“This is not the time to jump to some conclusion not knowing the full facts. We’ve got a lot more information we need to know.”

“If there are gaps there, then we need to look at those gaps,”, and then explained that Congress may need to take action to make sure people with mental illnesses don’t “slip through the cracks” and get guns.

 “I don’t think that means you then roll that conversation into taking away citizens’ rights — taking away a law-abiding citizens’ rights. Obviously, this conversation typically goes there. Right now, I think we need to take a breath and collect the facts.”

And he made this point,

“So, if there’s someone who’s not supposed to get a gun who’s getting a gun, then we’ve got to figure out why that’s happening and fix that.”

It’s hard to consider that dealing with possible solutions that could help make the latest school shooting the last one is a knee-jerk reaction, and that we have to wait to get more facts when we have already had

  • 42 incidents of gun violence, which resulted in 25 fatalities and 65 injuries in the Midwest
  • 38 fatalities and 21 injuries in the Northeast, which included Sandy Hook Elementary School where 20 children were killed
  • 75incidents of gun violence, which resulted in 47 fatalities and 126 injuries in the South, and
  • 55 incidents of gun violence, which resulted in 65 fatalities and 124 injuries out West

Since 1990, and there have been 18 school shooting in his year alone.

In his response to the shooting Trump tweeted,

“So many signs that the Florida shooter was mentally disturbed, even expelled from school for bad and erratic behavior. Neighbors and classmates knew he was a big problem. Must always report such instances to authorities, again and again!”

On the morning after the shooting, during his remarks addressing it, Trump said,

“Our administration is working closely with local authorities to investigate the shooting and learn everything we can. We are committed to working with state and local leaders to help secure our schools, and tackle the difficult issue of mental health.”

So the two responses so far has been to wait again before doing anything, which, if the past is any indication, means doing nothing, and to not mention guns, but, instead address mental illness.

The problem there is that just after explaining the Texas church shooting last year as

“This is a mental health problem at the highest level. It’s a very, very sad event. These are great people, and a very, very sad event. But that’s the way I view it”,

not only did Trump’s budget cut $400 million from mental health programs, but then he eliminated the Obama administration rule that required the Social Security Administration to submit records of mentally disabled people to the National Instant Criminal Background Check System, the FBI database used to determine if someone can buy a firearm under the  Brady Bill.

Saying that mass shootings are the result of mental illness, and telling the families of those who died, and the survivors in Florida that

“Our entire nation, with one heavy heart, is praying for the victims and their families. To every parent, teacher, and child who is hurting so badly, we are here for you — whatever you need, whatever we can do, to ease your pain. We are all joined together as one American family, and your suffering is our burden also”,

seems hollow sentiments.

But Trump did tweet,

“My prayers and condolences to the families of the victims of the terrible Florida shooting. No child, teacher or anyone else should ever feel unsafe in an American school.”

Paul Ryan told the press,

“Let us all keep the victims in our hearts. A long night lies ahead for many families. Right now, the whole country is standing with the Parkland community.”

Doing something after the many shootings, one involving elementary school kids, is a knee jerk reaction, while reflexively regurgitating “thoughts and prayers” while historically solving nothing, isn’t.