Posted Thursday morning, February 22, 2018.
Candlelight vigil, February 15, 2018, for the victims of the mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida. AP photo via Voice of America News.
They want teachers to pack heat.
Republicans. They’re telling kids who were there, kids who were shot at, kids who watched their friends and classmates and teachers die, that the horror could have been prevented if only teachers went to class strapped. They’re telling parents whose children are dead, their kids would be alive if only their principal had been John Wick.
I’ll deal with the heartlessness, cruelty, evil, and typical Republicanism inherent in this idea in a minute. But, first, it’s a refrain among them: gun control is a waste of time because it won’t stop determined killers. They’ll just choose a different weapon. A bomb, a car, a knife, a hair brush.
They never follow their own logic.
Fine. Let’s say that’s true. The only way to stop determined killers is to make sure they have to face a determined good guy with a gun. So, we don’t ban assault rifles, we don’t institute background checks that actually check backgrounds. Ok. Now, say you’re a would-be mass murderer determined to kill people at a school. But you know teachers inside are armed and at least one of them might be as good with her guns and as impossible to hit with a bullet as Marvel’s Black Widow. What do you do?
You don’t go in the school!
You take your assault rifle and find a spot within range of the doors but out of range of the most powerful and accurate handgun where you can conceal yourself and you wait. You wait for school to let out and then you start picking off people as they walk to their buses and cars. And you shoot teachers first, in case one of them is invincible and charges your position, gun drawn, sunglasses on, and black overcoat billowing out behind, leaning backwards forty-five degrees to let your bullets fly by.
What might work to defend against this is instead of hoping life is like the movies and teachers are superheroes is placing machine gun nests at every door and building guard towers manned by ex-Navy Seals at every corner of the building. No doubt some gun nuts have suggested this and some Republican politicians are saying to themselves, “Hmmm, not a bad line.”---because that’s what whatever they say is, a line. States with idiot Republican legislatures and governors will probably try to pass laws that put guns in teacher’s pockets and briefcases and desk drawers but in fact they’re not serious about arming teachers.
They’re serious about reassuring their base and their donors that this is another problem they’re not going to do anything about that requires them to change their habits, pay extra taxes,or make even the smallest sacrifice. They’re not going to do anything that requires them to care about their fellow human beings.
Keep in mind, Republicans are always talking to their voters. And with the object of keeping them so riled up they don’t bother to think. Not one of their favorite things to do anyway. That’s how they could be so casually cruel to the students. They didn’t see them. Didn’t hear them. They were talking through them, appealing to the base.
The call to arm teachers appeals to the child-men among them whose sense of self-worth---sense of self, period---is tied up in their fantasies of someday getting to play the big hero saving the day with their trusty AR-15 Ol’ Betsy.
But the appeal is broader, to the whole Republican base. And it’s the same appeal as all Republican appeals.
It translates as: This is their problem, not ours. Let them solve it.
THEY are everybody who is NOT US.
For the most part, NOT US means everyone who is not Republican, Christian, and white. But it also includes everybody from whom God has withdrawn his favor or, in plain, honest English, anyone who experiences misfortune.
Like I’ve said, Republicans don’t want to hear they’re expected to care. And you don’t have to care if THEY’VE brought the trouble on themselves. If it’s all their own fault and if it’s up to them to solve their own problems. Like you would yourself. Because you’re tough and self-reliant. Because you wouldn’t get into similar trouble yourself, because you are smart, you are self-reliant, and you are good---one of God’s chosen and he wouldn’t let it happen to you.
Unless you deserve it.
Everything you need in life you should be able to buy for yourself. Good health care, good schools for your kids, a comfortable retirement, a roof over your head, a decent meal---you should be able to pay top dollar out of your pocket. Don’t look to the government to bail you out. That’s the mark of lazy losers. If you can’t pay for it yourself, do without. And now we learn that includes safety from mass murderers armed with military grade weapons. If you want that security, buy a gun! Now let me misquote Ben Franklin for you.
It’s no surprise Trump wants to arm the teachers. He’s a Republican, through and through. There was a lot of focus on his insane tweets over the weekend accusing the FBI of failing to stop Nikolas Cruz because the Bureau’s obsessed with him and the Russians. Our stable genius-in-chief seems to think the FBI consists of five guys like in the old TV show working out of a single office in Washington. But lost in the noise and confusion was his tweet implying the people of Parkland in general of letting it happen because they didn’t act on what they all knew.
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!
It’s another iteration of one of his favorite refrains. Everybody knew.
Everybody knew except the people who sold him his guns because they’re not allowed to know or refuse to sell to him even if they find out. Trump himself proudly signed a law rescinding President Obama’s executive order restricting gun sales to certain people who are mentally ill.
Trump signed it. Republicans passed it.
But the same heartless Republican thinking is at work. They talk up gun violence as a mental health problem, while cutting funding for treatment and research and trying to repeal Obamacare which requires insurance companies to cover treatment for mental health problems and illnesses. But what they mean is that it’s a problem for the families of the mentally ill to solve, all on their own.
Like the ongoing attempts to kill Obamacare, like Paul Ryan’s goal of eliminating Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid, like the stupid food boxes that they’d like to see replace SNAP, like the call to arm teachers, the lip service they pay to issues of mental health comes with a scolding, a smirk, and a sneer.
“It’s your fault. Your problem. You solve it. Don’t expect us to care, let alone help.
“You’re on your own.”