♫ For What It’s Worth ♫ (Redux)

A few days ago, someone mentioned this song and it has stuck in my head ever since.  I didn’t think I had already played it, but it turns out I did … just over a year ago in March 2020.  I think this is especially relevant and timely since there is currently a bill before Parliament in the United Kingdom that would, among other things, give police the right to bar unauthorized encampments and detain protesters if gatherings are deemed a “public nuisance.” The new legislation, pending in Parliament, could also impose noise limits and set start and finish times on demonstrations.  There have been numerous protests against this bill, and last weekend at least 26 protestors were detained by police.  Seems this song never loses its relevance, eh?


meme-1

Written by Buffalo Springfield guitarist Stephen Stills, later of Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young, this song was not about anti-war gatherings, but rather youth gatherings protesting anti-loitering laws, and the closing of the West Hollywood nightclub Pandora’s Box. Stills was not there when they closed the club, but had heard about it from his bandmates.

In the book Neil Young: Long May You Run: The Illustrated History, Stephen Stills tells the story of this song’s origin:

“I had had something kicking around in my head. I wanted to write something about the kids that were on the line over in Southeast Asia that didn’t have anything to do with the device of this mission, which was unraveling before our eyes. Then we came down to Sunset from my place on Topanga with a guy – I can’t remember his name – and there’s a funeral for a bar, one of the favorite spots for high school and UCLA kids to go and dance and listen to music.

[Officials] decided to call out the official riot police because there’s three thousand kids sort of standing out in the street; there’s no looting, there’s no nothing. It’s everybody having a hang to close this bar. A whole company of black and white LAPD in full Macedonian battle array in shields and helmets and all that, and they’re lined up across the street, and I just went ‘Whoa! Why are they doing this?’ There was no reason for it. I went back to Topanga, and that other song turned into ‘For What It’s Worth,’ and it took as long to write as it took me to settle on the changes and write the lyrics down. It all came as a piece, and it took about fifteen minutes.”

Buffalo Springfield was the band’s first album, and this song was not originally included on it. After For What It’s Worth became a hit single, it replaced Baby Don’t Scold Me on re-issues of the album.

For What It’s Worth
Buffalo Springfield

There’s something happening here
But what it is ain’t exactly clear
There’s a man with a gun over there
Telling me I got to beware

I think it’s time we stop
Children, what’s that sound?
Everybody look – what’s going down?

There’s battle lines being drawn
Nobody’s right if everybody’s wrong
Young people speaking’ their minds
Getting so much resistance from behind

It’s time we stop
Hey, what’s that sound?
Everybody look – what’s going down?

What a field day for the heat
A thousand people in the street
Singing songs and carrying signs
Mostly saying, “hooray for our side”

It’s time we stop
Hey, what’s that sound?
Everybody look – what’s going down?

Paranoia strikes deep
Into your life it will creep
It starts when you’re always afraid
Step out of line, the men come and take you away

We better stop
Hey, what’s that sound?
Everybody look – what’s going down?

We better stop
Hey, what’s that sound?
Everybody look – what’s going down?

We better stop
Now, what’s that sound?
Everybody look – what’s going down?

We better stop
Children, what’s that sound?
Everybody look – what’s going down?

Writer/s: Stephen Stills
Publisher: Warner Chappell Music, Inc.
Lyrics licensed and provided by LyricFind

♫ For What It’s Worth ♫

Last week, when Jolly had gone AWOL and I had to settle for a few cartoons on the ‘Jolly Monday’ post, one of the memes I posted was this …meme-1

Well, as you might imagine, the song by Buffalo Springfield has been reverberating within the confines of my skull ever since.

We had some fun last week with songs that were … just for fun.  Tonight feels more … introspective, though … maybe time to get back to reality?  This song … listen to the lyrics and tell me it couldn’t have been written just yesterday?

Written by Buffalo Springfield guitarist Stephen Stills, later of Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young, this song was not about anti-war gatherings, but rather youth gatherings protesting anti-loitering laws, and the closing of the West Hollywood nightclub Pandora’s Box. Stills was not there when they closed the club, but had heard about it from his bandmates.

In the book Neil Young: Long May You Run: The Illustrated History, Stephen Stills tells the story of this song’s origin:

“I had had something kicking around in my head. I wanted to write something about the kids that were on the line over in Southeast Asia that didn’t have anything to do with the device of this mission, which was unraveling before our eyes. Then we came down to Sunset from my place on Topanga with a guy – I can’t remember his name – and there’s a funeral for a bar, one of the favorite spots for high school and UCLA kids to go and dance and listen to music.

[Officials] decided to call out the official riot police because there’s three thousand kids sort of standing out in the street; there’s no looting, there’s no nothing. It’s everybody having a hang to close this bar. A whole company of black and white LAPD in full Macedonian battle array in shields and helmets and all that, and they’re lined up across the street, and I just went ‘Whoa! Why are they doing this?’ There was no reason for it. I went back to Topanga, and that other song turned into ‘For What It’s Worth,’ and it took as long to write as it took me to settle on the changes and write the lyrics down. It all came as a piece, and it took about fifteen minutes.”

Buffalo Springfield was the band’s first album, and this song was not originally included on it. After For What It’s Worth became a hit single, it replaced Baby Don’t Scold Me on re-issues of the album.

For What It’s Worth
Buffalo Springfield

There’s something happening here
But what it is ain’t exactly clear
There’s a man with a gun over there
Telling me I got to beware

I think it’s time we stop
Children, what’s that sound?
Everybody look – what’s going down?

There’s battle lines being drawn
Nobody’s right if everybody’s wrong
Young people speaking’ their minds
Getting so much resistance from behind

It’s time we stop
Hey, what’s that sound?
Everybody look – what’s going down?

What a field day for the heat
A thousand people in the street
Singing songs and carrying signs
Mostly saying, “hooray for our side”

It’s time we stop
Hey, what’s that sound?
Everybody look – what’s going down?

Paranoia strikes deep
Into your life it will creep
It starts when you’re always afraid
Step out of line, the men come and take you away

We better stop
Hey, what’s that sound?
Everybody look – what’s going down?

We better stop
Hey, what’s that sound?
Everybody look – what’s going down?

We better stop
Now, what’s that sound?
Everybody look – what’s going down?

We better stop
Children, what’s that sound?
Everybody look – what’s going down?

Writer/s: Stephen Stills
Publisher: Warner Chappell Music, Inc.
Lyrics licensed and provided by LyricFind

Who’s Killing Our Children? WE ARE!

I apologize for yet another piece on guns so soon after the last one, but … folks, this is important.  I had a comment after my last piece from a teacher who said, “As a teacher, this is such a heavy and personal topic. This post actually made me chuckle because your tone and approach was so funny. Thank you for your message. I will be sharing this with teacher friends. It’s a hard time to be a teacher right now but it’s encouraging to get online and see people advocating for smart, sustainable solutions for our classrooms. Keep up with these posts! 👍 Get the word out 😌”  That comment made me think that maybe I’m doing something right.

Wednesday was exactly two weeks after the mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, that left 17 people dead, many of them students. In the wake of that tragedy, Donald Trump and others in the school of “more guns make us safer” decided that it would be a wonderful idea to arm teachers nationwide.  That’s right, in fact at one point, Trump proposed that every single teacher and coach be required to carry a firearm.  After an outcry from the nation’s teachers, he backed down a bit and said that perhaps only a core group of around 20 teachers in each school would carry weapons, and that would be a deterrent to any would-be gunman.

At the time, I said I could picture any number of nightmarish scenarios with teachers losing their tempers and shooting students, students grabbing the gun and either playfully or maliciously shooting their classmates, an altercation between students and the teacher tries to resolve it with threat of a gun that just happens to go off because the teacher is not a trained firearms expert.  So many things could go wrong, and in the nature of Murphy’s Law, they will.

I did not expect to see my prophesy fulfilled quite so quickly, but on Wednesday, at Dalton High School in Dalton, Georgia, a teacher barricaded himself in a classroom and fired a single shot.  Nobody was injured and there were no students in the classroom at the time, but still … think of what could have happened.

The social studies teacher, one Jesse Randal Davidson, had a history of problematic behaviour.

  • Just over a year ago, school employees and a police officer began searching Dalton High School after Davidson went missing. He was finally found sitting on the curb along a street a few blocks from the campus, being propped up by two school staff members.
  • In 2016, Davidson walked into the lobby of the Dalton police headquarters and told a wild story including his suspicions that someone had been murdered. Detectives couldn’t verify that any of it was true, and he was taken to the hospital since he’d expressed thoughts of hurting himself.

So, the man obviously had a history of mental health issues, yet he was able to continue teaching children and carrying a weapon?  This story might have gone unnoticed except by a few local Daltonites, had it not been that the nation is still reeling from the February 14th mass shooting in Parkland, and the aftermath … the fierce battle over gun regulation and whether arming teachers is the solution (hint: it isn’t).

Donald Trump and the NRA leadership ascribe to the “good guy with a gun” theory which says, in essence, that if everybody had guns, we would all be safer.  If you are easily offended, please don’t read my next comment.  BULLSHIT!  The only thing that is going to keep us all safer, especially our children, is fewer guns in the hands of civilians.  Period.

The majority of teachers do not want to carry a gun and be responsible to use it to stop a shooter – they would far rather protect their charges by herding them to a safer place.  An inexperienced teacher holding a gun against somebody with an assault rifle is simply adding more fuel to the fire and leaving the students even more vulnerable.  I imagine that Donald Trump has never in his life faced somebody with a gun pointed at him, and would likely soil himself if he ever did, so he only knows what he sees on television, not reality.

The fundamental problem in the US is there are so many guns already in circulation.  Here are a few eye-opening statistics:

  • Americans own 48%, nearly half, of all the civilian-owned guns in the world
  • There are, on average, 89 guns privately owned for every 100 people in the U.S. No other country in the world has such a high per capita rate – the next is Yemen with 55 per 100
  • 70% of Americans have fired a gun at some point in their life
  • 44% of U.S. adults say they personally know someone who has been shot
  • 66% of gun owners in the U.S. own multiple firearms
  • Male gun owners average age when they first fired a gun is 12 years; for females it is 17 years

Why don’t we hear about school shootings in the UK or Germany?  Is it because all their teachers are ‘packing heat’?  Nope … please allow me to bore you with some more statistics:

  • In the United Kingdom, access by the general public to firearms is tightly controlled by law. The country has one of the lowest rates of gun homicides in the world (0.06 per 100,000 people).
  • Germany’s weapons laws are among the world’s strictest and the use of guns for private self-defense is restricted. Gun homicides?  0.07 per 100,000 people.
  • The U.S. holds less than 5% of the world’s population, yet accounts for 31% of the world’s mass shooters
  • Gun homicide rates are more than 25% higher in the U.S. than in other developed nations.  Total gun homicides … 3.43 per 100,000 people.

Now think about this one for just a second.  We have more guns per capita than any other nation, and we have more gun homicides per capita than any other nation.  Hmmmm … do you think that maybe, just possibly, there might be a connection?

I could go on a tear about why guns in the hands of civilians – any civilians – is a really bad idea, but I won’t, for my main purpose today is to make a firm stand against placing guns in the hands of school teachers and expecting them to be proficient and stop a killer.  Ain’t going to happen, folks.  More children will just die, that is the only possible outcome.

Frankly, if I had a school-age child or grandchild today, I would be homeschooling them.  And if I had the wherewithal, I would no longer be living in the ‘United’ States, in part because of the proliferation of firearms.  Worried about terrorism by immigrants from Muslim countries?  Don’t be … they aren’t the ones killing our children … we are.

Lyrics

  • There’s something happening here
  • What it is ain’t exactly clear
  • There’s a man with a gun over there
  • Telling me I got to beware

 

  • I think it’s time we stop, children, what’s that sound
  • Everybody look what’s going down

 

  • There’s battle lines being drawn
  • Nobody’s right if everybody’s wrong
  • Young people speaking their minds
  • Getting so much resistance from behind

 

  • It’s time we stop, hey, what’s that sound
  • Everybody look what’s going down

 

  • What a field-day for the heat
  • A thousand people in the street
  • Singing songs and carrying signs
  • Mostly say, hooray for our side

 

  • It’s s time we stop, hey, what’s that sound
  • Everybody look what’s going down

 

  • Paranoia strikes deep
  • Into your life it will creep
  • It starts when you’re always afraid
  • You step out of line, the man come and take you away

 

  • We better stop, hey, what’s that sound
  • Everybody look what’s going down
  • Stop, hey, what’s that sound
  • Everybody look what’s going down
  • Stop, now, what’s that sound
  • Everybody look what’s going down
  • Stop, children, what’s that sound
  • Everybody look what’s going down