A Toothless, Useless, Waste of Time

There are so damn many issues to claim our attention and concern today that it seems something important is always falling by the wayside.  There are some things, though, that we simply cannot afford to lose sight of – climate change, the threats to democracy, the ‘dumbing-down’ of education, the pandemic that is still a pandemic, and our massive gun problem.  Speaking of the gun crisis … I have looked at the ‘bi-partisan’ agreement in Congress and said, “pbthhhh … it has no teeth.”  In my book, it is even less than the very minimum I would expect or demand, were I in a position to make demands.  It is the Republican’s attempt to placate us, to shut us up, to brag that they took our concerns seriously, when they don’t at all.  Did you know that according to the latest NPR/PBS NewsHour/Marist poll, 59% favor curbing gun violence, while 35% do not. That includes 92% of Democrats in favor, along with 54% of independents. However, “70% of Republicans say it’s more important to protect gun rights.” 

Yesterday, Paul Waldman published an OpEd in The Washington Post that echoes my own sentiments on the topic …


More guns in schools, and everywhere else? Have we gone mad?

By Paul Waldman

Columnist

June 14, 2022

There’s nothing like a massacre of elementary school children to get the attention of lawmakers, who will be eager to show they’re at least willing to pretend to do something about the gun carnage we Americans endure. But while Democratic states often respond to mass shootings by passing new gun restrictions, Republican states tend to pass laws loosening regulations, driven by the psychotic idea that protecting us from gun violence requires getting more guns in more places.

While there are some glimmers of hope — senators might soon agree on a few worthwhile things on guns — we might emerge from this moment realizing that the flurry of lawmaking after the latest mass shootings took us to an even darker place.

If you want a hint of the dystopian future that might await us, look no further than a bill Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine (R) signed into law Monday.

The new law’s guiding principle seems to be that we should turn every school into an armed camp as quickly as possible. The law lowers the amount of training required for a teacher to go armed in Ohio from around 700 hours down to 24 hours. According to its text, teacher training must include “at least four hours of training in scenario-based or simulated training exercises.” Four whole hours!

Think for a moment about your schoolteachers, or your children’s teachers. Maybe a few were past their prime and not as enthusiastic as they used to be. Some were young and idealistic, devoted to the well being of children. Some were brilliant; all had a difficult and stressful job.

But I’ll bet none of them were Jason Bourne, were they?

This is the world Republicans want us to live in, where every spasm of deadly violence is met with what is essentially a military response. If we face a threat from guns, we should get more guns and put them in more people’s hands. If there’s a school shooting, it means schools are “soft targets” that we must harden. Then we’ll do the same to stores and parks and synagogues and churches and mosques — and everywhere else we gather.

It’s a tribute to the GOP’s political and communication skills that it can take any idea, no matter how deranged — we have mass shootings because schools have too many doors! — and push it right to the heart of the discussion. Yes, we could theoretically turn your neighborhood elementary school into something like a supermax prison, but what would that do to the children inside?

We already have a clue from the proliferation of active-shooter lockdown drills in recent years. Meant to tell students that “this will keep you safe,” instead it told them that “this is the nightmare you live in now.” Over and over, they were told to live in fear, that a violent death was their possible future. In some cases, officials have organized simulated attacks where murders were acted out; as one teacher said, “I felt more traumatized than trained.”

We simply don’t know what kind of effects members of this lockdown generation will carry with them. But we’re apparently going to keep subjecting more and more kids to it — better that than force anyone to suffer any minor inconvenience when purchasing their arsenal of deadly weapons.

That’s certainly how the Republicans who control the state legislature in Ohio feel. On the same day DeWine signed that bill, another one he signed took effect. This one enacts “permitless carry,” meaning almost anyone is allowed to carry a gun almost anywhere in the state — no license or training required.

If almost anyone in Ohio could be carrying a gun, shouldn’t the teachers have guns? And if the teachers have guns, shouldn’t the students have guns? Perhaps we should discuss whether a 5-year-old’s constitutional right to bear arms is being infringed if they can’t pack a Glock in their lunchbox.

What we have here is a profound disagreement about what it means for a place to feel, and to be, “safe.” You can weld shut the doors and windows, fill the school with armed personnel and make the kids think every day about their deaths, and you will have achieved a kind of “safety.” But it’s a poisonous kind, one that will terrorize every child who enters there.

Unfortunately, we’re going to see a lot of that in the near future, because “hardening” schools is one of the only ideas Republicans will agree to in response to mass shootings. Money for “school safety” will be in the bipartisan gun bill (if it passes), and states will offer the same, so Republicans can say they responded to the endless wave of mass shootings.

Heaven forbid we should say someone has to be 21 years old to buy a military-style rifle designed to kill as many human beings as possible in the shortest amount of time. But if your school wants a grant to install more metal detectors? Step right up.

And Mrs. O’Neill, the kindly librarian at the elementary school? Put a gun in her hand. That’ll make everyone safe, won’t it?

23 thoughts on “A Toothless, Useless, Waste of Time

  1. So then, let’s see if me a simple Brit has this line of thinking right.
    Everyone (white that is) gets to carry a gun.
    And one day a long time Democrat who has been simmering for years suddenly flips over, finds out when the next GOP rally is turns up, finds a hidden place, overlooking the crowd, and with their three semi-automatics….
    And since all reason and judgement have long gone keeps on firing while lots of GOP gun carries run this way and that because they can’t see the shooter, and guns go off all over the place, and there is friendly fire…..
    Thoughts and prayers time folks?

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Thank you for sharing!!.. most politicians, especially the Republicans are trying to create a image of attempting to deal with gun violence and at the same time do not wish to go against the wishes of the folks back home who do not wish to give up their guns.. they stand behind a law that was for an America 200+ years ago, times have changed, the law is outdated but there is a element who refuses change (form them it is “out of sight, out of mind).. like in the frontier days, I suspect at some point in time people are going to say “enough is enough” and take matters into their own hands… 🙂

    Until we meet again…
    May love and laughter light your days,
    and warm your heart and home.
    May good and faithful friends be yours,
    wherever you may roam.
    May peace and plenty bless your world
    with joy that long endures.
    May all life’s passing seasons
    bring the best to you and yours!
    (Irish Saying)

    Liked by 1 person

    • I dread to see that day when people take matters into their own hands … that rarely works out well! I’m sure you’re right when you say that the GOP is concerned with their constituents who love their guns, but what about their constituents who love their children more? And, I think a bigger part of their reason is they don’t wish to rock the boat with their donors in the gun industry … millions of dollars exchange hands there. Sigh.

      Thank you, my friend, for this Irish Saying … you’ve made me smile, not an easy task these days!

      Like

  3. Pingback: TOOTHLESS USELESS, WAIST OF TIME. |jilldennison.com | Ramblings of an Occupy Liberal

    • I found that shocking too, and I wondered what the Sam Hell people are thinking! Apparently, there is a growing percentage of our population who have ZERO humanity, ZERO compassion for others, even their own progeny. I want to stomp my feet and slam my fist through a wall, but what good would that do? Sigh.
      Cwtch

      Liked by 1 person

  4. I don’t know about the rest of you boomers out there, but I DO REMEMBER all the Early Missile Warning tests, or whatever they called them in your area, where sirens were turned on in our cities and communities to test our readiness for nuclear war. I remember when we heard them we had to get under our desks and try to stick our heads between our legs, and this was supposed to save us from a nuclear bomb! This certainly had an effect on my life, and I did not have to look at guns or AR-15s or AK-47s in the hands of our teachers and janitors. I had nightmares for years from hearing those sirens. What ARE our young generations going to have to deal with.
    My experiences helped turn me imnto a pacifist, wnich I do not think was the intention of our war-mongering legislators. It convinced me to “TUNE IN, TURN ON, and DROP OUT,” another unintended outcome, I’m sure. It turned me into a War Protester, someone who wanted nothing to do with the Rar Race! And you know what, I’m glad they did. I like being a tree-hugging flower-sniffing socialist peacenik.
    If the current set of politicians get their way, putting more guns in more people’s hands, I hope they have the same effect on newer generations as they did on big chunks of our generation. Our generation tried to fight the war-mongering capitalist money-hoarding assholes who were only interested in their own pocketbooks — and failed. Maybe the younger generations can succeed where we did not. Peace, people! ✌ ✌ ✌ ✌ ✌

    Liked by 2 people

    • I remember them well … air raid drills there were called here, and when the siren went off, we were to crouch under our desks … as if that flimsy piece of wood was going to protect us from a nuclear bomb! Today, the schools here in the U.S. have what is called “active shooter drills”, which I’m certain are as traumatic for our kids as the air raid drills were for us.

      As you say, perhaps the next generation will have better luck than we have had in bringing common sense, compassion, decency, and honesty into our lives, but … lately I’ve lost much of my hope. It seems a losing battle. Tonight, I am torn between staying and fighting, or running and hiding. Sigh.

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      • I think the saying goes, choosing to live today in order to fight tomorrow is the better part of valour, or some such thing. I am alive today because in certain situations I chose to run, fast as I could.

        Liked by 1 person

        • There is a time to stay and fight, and a time to run. Knowing the difference is half the battle. As that Kenny Rogers’ song “The Gambler” says, “You’ve got to know when to hold ’em, know when to fold ’em …”

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  5. Jill, what will pass, if anything, will be a watered down effort. America is at a point where it needs an Australia like reckoning where people start voting for things they have been begging for – better gun control, greater climate change action, shoring up of the ACA (including expanding Medicaid in the remaining states), shoring up Social Security and Medicare, protections of civil rights, maintaining some semblance of Roe v Wade and holding politicians and corporations accountable. Republicans have done their darnedest to mask these issues wanting people to focus on exaggerated issues like CRT, replacement theory, book restrictions, etc. Keith

    Liked by 2 people

    • Yes, it will be watered down and really, I think the only reason some Republicans are supporting the Milquetoast bill is so they can polish their nails and brag, “See, we worked across the aisle and got you some gun regulations!” What is common sense to most of us is beyond the comprehension of those who care only about their own fortunes.

      I think … if the GOP wins a majority in both chambers of Congress in November as some are predicting, any hope for the things that would help We the People, the things that MATTER to us, will be doomed for a long time. Worse yet, I think the hope for a fair election result in 2024 will be doomed. And yes, I may sound alarmist, but … I’ve lain awake many a night and I am definitely concerned. One part of me wants to keep fighting the good fight, and another part of me wants to run away and hide. I’m working on a post … you’ll know it when you see it. Sigh.

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      • Jill, keep fighting. This watered down bill’s sole intent is to lessen it as a campaign issue. Democrats must vote. The last president got to select three supreme court judges. and the nature of the court changed, one where corporations will get hall passes. If we want to go backwards on climate change, let the Republicans win by not voting. If we want to go backwards on civil rights, let the GOP win. If we want to defang and defund Medicare, the ACA and Social Security, let the GOP win. If we want to teach kids a whitewashed history, let the GOP win. If you want women’s bodies to not be there own, let the GOP win.

        This stuff matters. So, we need people to know the rules in each state and vote. There is one party who has leveraged cheating to an art form and wants to restrict voting – that would be the GOP. For those who do not know me, these comments come from an independent and former Republican (and Democrat) voter. Michael Gerson, the conservative pundit, says the “Republican party is in decay.” Yet, they have a chance to win both chambers. That is a sad state of affairs.

        Keith

        Liked by 2 people

        • I’m trying, my friend. I cannot do otherwise … yet. Yes, the nature of the Court not only changed, but changed dramatically to the point I no longer feel they are a non-partisan, fair and just branch of our federal government. And you are right that everyone … EVERYONE needs to get out and vote, but so many states are throwing obstacles up in the way of the poor, Blacks, young people, single mothers, and others who would be more likely to vote for a Democrat. I would love to see nationwide all-postal voting, which would remove most of the obstacles, but we both know that will never happen. But, I foresee so many terrible things happening, and especially if the GOP dominates both branches of Congress next year. And Gerson is right, but sadly the Republican voters cannot seem to see it, so dazzled are they by the hype and rhetoric.

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  6. Yes, it’s been noted and mentioned so many times that we’ve entered a bizarro world, a “1984” realm of logic, with Republicans. This ‘more is less’ thinking of theirs that expands from business ideas that found its footing in the last century is surreal. Their solution to gun shootings, “Make the schools fortresses! Arm teachers!” Well, what of the gun shootings and killings those other places, such as churches, temples, synagogues, malls, shopping centers, hospitals? “Arm more people,” they shout. Surprised that they didn’t give the SCOTUS justices guns in response to the threat to Special K, so out of character for the GOP.

    BTW, have you noticed the uptick in police officers now being ambushed and killed? Maybe my news filters are being too selective, but my feeds are full of such sick news. What will the GOP do if more cops are being shot and killed? They police are already armed.

    Hugs and cheers, always, M

    Liked by 2 people

    • ‘Tis something I’ve been pondering on, and if they wish to make places such as schools, grocery stores, shopping malls, post offices, libraries, restaurants, etc. secure, then … won’t we essentially be living in a military complex, surrounded by armed guards everywhere we go? Wow, the gun makers would love that — imagine how many more guns would be required to arm all those people? But wait … what if one of those armed security forces is a white supremacist …. would he shoot Black people and claim they were about to cause an uprising? This is starting to be a nightmare!

      Earlier this year, I saw an article about the number of police being killed at an ‘all-time high’ or some such, but didn’t pay much attention, and I haven’t noticed anything along those lines since. I shall research tomorrow … er, later today.

      Sigh. I’m having visions of the future that I really don’t like, my friend. I want to fight what is happening, but don’t know how, and on another plane, I want to run away. Hugs and cheers to you, dear friend.

      Liked by 1 person

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