Two Hundred Words . . . and then a bit more

You can easily find my opinions on guns, gun violence, gun control, and violence in general. As a rule, in every prior instance when I expressed my opinions, I was mad. No; mad is the wrong word. I was pissed. I was furious.

My readers might have noticed I’ve been silent on the issue for a long while. I’ve been silent in the aftermath of various tragedies and readers probably appreciated the respite. They might have wondered if I no longer cared or if I’ve changed my mind, or if I’m sticking to the shadows for fear of condemnation. It’s nothing of the sorts.

I’ve been reading bloviating blogs, Twitter tirades, Facebook fulminations, and callow comments and had no desire to damage my calm by embarking on yet another fruitless discussion of the same tired arguments.

However, I was challenged by a friend to offer my opinion about what we could do in the wake of the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School shooting and to do so in two hundred words or less.

In a way, the request is ludicrous. It seeks to condense an immensely complex issue into no more than a soundbite. Yet, I paused and decided I’d interpret it a different way. Here are my two hundred words.

~ ~ ~ o o o ~ ~ ~

Two hundred words aren’t enough for anything other than addressing the most pressing issue: kids being killed in school. That is the immediate concern.

You’ll hear a lot of talk about the suggestion to allow school personnel to carry weapons if they so desire. Some people will be appalled at the idea, in part because “gun nuts” (and Trump) elicit a knee-jerk reaction from people who believe the world should be different than what it is.

And yet . . . is there anyone who would’ve objected to one or more cops in the hallways of Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School during the shooting?

What’s the difference between a cop confronting the killer and an unarmed teacher who gets shot confronting the killer? A gun. That most evil of evils, an object capable of killing.

There is one other difference; the teachers acted while the cop assigned to protect the school did not.

We can sit and debate larger and more complex issues after we take credible steps to stop a killer from roaming unopposed and unchallenged as they kill at will.  Letting school personnel choose if they want to carry is one of those credible steps.

~ ~ ~ o o o ~ ~ ~

This is where I cheat . . . this is where I add to the two hundred words. I’ll do so without tackling other issues. This issue — were I a parent — is what I consider the most important issue at hand.

We can discuss the merits of the second amendment, gun control, types of weapons, and anything else you want . . . some other time.

What we should discuss now, right now, is what to do WHEN — not if — a gunman enters a school.

As a mentioned above, the officer assigned to protect Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School from an armed intruder opted to do . . . nothing.

Do you know who always acts with bravery and determination? Unarmed teachers.

Want to know something else? There are already states that allow teachers to carry concealed weapons in school. Some states don’t even require they notify the school or school board.

I was on the exercise bike at the gym and watching some pundit or other interviews two librarians(!), asking them their opinion of arming teachers. I’m paraphrasing here, but this was their response as they tsk-tsked the suggestion.

“Do we really want another person with a gun in a situation where students are already being shot?”

Sorry. I’m making them sound more idiotic than they were . . . but not by much.

Their major concern was the armed teacher getting into a gunfight with the killers and students being caught in the crossfire. They thought it would only make an already bad situation worse.

I wanted to go through the screen and ask them a simple question; the same question I asked above.

“Would they object to having an armed cop engaging the shooter?”

Because, dear readers, if they — and you — answer no, then you both suffer from ignorance and willful stupidity. Come to think of it, even if you answered “yes”, I charge you with the same deficiency in reason and common sense.

Not just because the passing score for many police department shooting qualifications is 80% (one-in-five shots missing the targets) but because the police are not going to be there. This last shooting took the whole of six minutes.

Six minutes.  Seventeen dead.

Do you know who was already at the scene? With zero response time, unarmed teachers. 

We’re already asking teachers to take a bullet for our kids . . . can we not allow them to shoot back if they are so inclined?

I watched the high school kids protesting . . . they asked tough questions, but I didn’t hear the toughest question. The one that I ask, the one that I would be screaming if I had a kid in school . . .

“Why the fuck isn’t anyone protecting the kids in school?”

Sorry . . . I got mad there, for a moment.

That’s it. This post has ended . . . except for the stuff below.

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Note: if you are not reading this blog post at DisperserTracks.com, know that it has been copied without permission, and likely is being used by someone with nefarious intention, like attracting you to a malware-infested website.  Could be they also torture small mammals.

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Please, if you are considering bestowing me recognition beyond commenting below, refrain from doing so.  I will decline blogger-to-blogger awards.   I appreciate the intent behind it, but I prefer a comment thanking me for turning you away from a life of crime, religion, or making you a better person in some other way.  That would mean something to me.

If you wish to know more, please read below.

About awards: Blogger Awards
About “likes”:   Of “Likes”, Subscriptions, and Stuff

Note: to those who may click on “like”, or rate the post; if you do not hear from me, know that I am sincerely appreciative, and I thank you for noticing what I do.

. . .  my FP ward  . . . chieken shit.

Finally, if you interpret anything on this blog as me asking or wanting pity, sympathy, or complaining about my life, or asking for help and advice, know you’re  likely missing my subtle mix of irony, sarcasm, and humor.

About disperser

Odd guy with odd views living an odd life during odd times.
This entry was posted in Guns, Musings Stuff, Personal, Politics, Stuff and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

19 Responses to Two Hundred Words . . . and then a bit more

  1. Eddy Winko says:

    I will never get my head around or truly understand you standpoint on gun control, but I have learnt to respect it. One thing that I believe that we agreed on, many posts ago, is that the US obsession with guns is a cultural one and it will take generations to change. I can only hope that this is the generation that that change begins.

    Like

    • disperser says:

      Hmm . . . interesting. This post is not about gun control. It’s about what we could do today given the situation as it stands.

      The rest of the stuff can wait for a reasoned debate (if one can have such a thing).

      As for understanding, it’s OK . . . I don’t understand people’s willingness to abdicate their own safety to the hands of someone else, but I accept it as a fact. Certainly, most Europeans seem to think it as the better system. I certainly don’t want to live in a country where self-defense is illegal, so I guess we both are where it’s best for us.

      One quick comment about this so-called obsession . . . as I’ve mentioned before, my “obsession” with guns (and other weapons) began in Italy; well before I even knew we would eventually move to the US where I would have the right to own one (or more). I never even heard of “gun culture” until I was well in my 30s and already owned guns. My first carry gun (handgun) was in response to an anonymous threat and was at the urging of the police I had consulted.

      I think the question is a different one than one usually posed by people outside the US. Why don’t other governments trust their citizens? Beats me.

      As for the generational change, I think you’ll see a change in Europe before you will see a change here. That’s just human nature. But, if indeed there is a change in the works here, I’m hoping it holds off for about thirty years or so. I’d hate to think that in my old age I might be powerless from stopping some degenerate from hurting my wife or myself.

      Like

      • Eddy Winko says:

        No, I didn’t think it was a post about gun control, I was simply passing comment based on recent events, the same events that no doubt influenced this post.
        Sorry if you think I implied that you are obsessed with guns, I have always assumed that your reasons for carrying or having a gun are for a means of self defence, which is why I respect them.
        From my understanding of your constitution the right to carry arms was something to do with having a militia available to the state in case of invasion, unfortunately it seems to have led to a situation that is beyond control. So arming teachers or having armed guards and metal detectors seems to be a sensible, immediate, solution.
        I hope, in generations to come, that the average person on the street of America does not live in fear of armed attack so much that they feel they have to carry a gun themselves.
        It seems to work in Europe, sorry if you feel that it is our system that needs to mature or indeed if I have misunderstood that part of your reply.

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      • disperser says:

        I took no offense. As you know, I love a well-regulated discussion. (See what I did there?)

        To clarify my comment about Europe, I did not intend that your system needs to mature. I meant that I foresee a rise in people wanting — be they legal or not — guns for self-protection. My thinking is that’s the good solution. The bad solution is ever more authoritarian governments (we see this in other places). The reasons for me saying this has to do with human nature and what I see as coming clashes in most European countries. I could be wrong.

        As for the constitution, there seems to be a misconception in the minds of many . . . there is a subtle but important difference between assuming the Bill of Rights makes up those rights whole cloth and out of thin air, or whether it grants legitimacy and affirms rights all humans have and are entitled to.

        The exact wording of the Second Amendment has been argued for years both by scholars and non-scholars and historians and people who want to read it one way or another. Many of the arguments for one or other interpretation are well grounded and thoughtfully researched. Many other arguments are spurious and self-serving.

        One can read extensive literature about what the Founders meant and desired. One can also make the argument they’ve been dead for over two hundred years so what relevance do they have to modern times. But, the problem with that argument — aside opening the door to changing the rule of law based on the whim of individuals — assumes that somehow humans societies have evolved to be something new and better.

        I’d argue that, fundamentally, we are still humans and modern societies and human affairs — aside from the trappings of technological advances — are and functions like they’ve always functioned: imperfectly. That I know of, the US has a unique constitution and rule of law. One could argue whether that’s for better or worse, but — and here again I fall back on the individual — I am never in favor of giving up rights I consider basic to my well-being.

        I often make the case — even as I realize it’s not a perfect analogy — that many more people die as a result of alcohol abuse (in fact, many shootings involve alcohol or other substance abuse). Because it wouldn’t affect me, I’m all in favor of abolishing booze. Just as guns are said to be only good for killing, booze is only good for getting drunk and causing misery to all affected. Since I don’t drink, I can make the case without a second thought.

        We can then go into other areas of human behavior. I have a long list of them.

        The point is compromise and — sad to say — acceptable risks. And that’s a whole other discussion, and one that is fraught with personal bias born out of personal experience.

        Like

        • Eddy Winko says:

          I sometimes wonder if pessimism is linked to age? If so I’m glad it hasn’t infected me, yet!
          My initial comment was meant to offer an optimistic slant on recent events, and I’m heartened to see that the momentum for change is growing from within the generation that can make that change in the future. Activism is alive and well, I just hope they continue using the pen and not the sword.
          Now to have a drink, to be happy, to celebrate, to relax and encourage debate within the friends who have just arrived. The only misery caused, I’m certain, will be the hangovers in the morning for those who over indulge.

          Like

        • disperser says:

          Pessimist, realist . . . who can tell, these days?

          Like

  2. Most people would act on impulse to protect a child but it is not a duty. I doubt you would find it listed in a job description!

    Like

    • disperser says:

      Actually, it kind of is:
      https://www.alicetraining.com/

      Some take that to the extreme; not all, but enough. And, that’s the point. Some have the courage and desire and we fail to properly equip them. They die.

      You can’t force teachers to carry guns, but some would. When offered the choice, some pick up the responsibility which includes training with the gun to become proficient.

      By the way, to get my carry permit, I had to take a class that included basic firearm safety, the legalities and responsibilities of carrying a gun, and time at the range to prove proficiency. Some people think carrying a gun makes you fearless . . . it’s the opposite. You avoid confrontations, arguments, and places where there might be trouble. Heck, I even stopped speeding.

      What’s annoying is that some states already allow teachers to carry.

      But, the point with the above is this: why aren’t parents asking for real protection for their kids? I certainly would be.

      We can talk about long-term solutions but we should act now to minimize the chances of mass shootings, and the one sure way — in each and every case — to stop a person with a gun from going on a killing spree is another person with a gun. This is not fantasy or wishful thinking. This is hard data.

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  3. Sorry, Disperser, but you are asking the wrong question. The problem is the availability of assault weapons in our communities. After the Las Vegas massacre our leaders told us that this was not the time to discuss gun control. After Parkland our leaders told us that this is the not the time to discuss gun control. You are asking WHEN? The question should by WHY?

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    • disperser says:

      Respectfully, “WHEN?” is not what I’m asking, and even if I were, it’s not the wrong question; it’s a different question.

      But if you want to argue the point, you’re saying that the best time to discuss stuff is when emotions and feelings are at their rawest. That’s an interesting perspective. It’s not one that I’ve seen proposed before.

      But, sure, let’s debate it now. Many say they want to ban guns. Many say no. Next, each side can yell a little louder, maybe point to bodies in support of their respective views. Let’s be sure to pick anecdotes and examples that only support one or the other position. Of course, our voices also need to escalate.

      Could we debate it now? Sure. Let’s agree on the problem, possible solutions, compromises, long and short-term approaches, you know, the works.

      But, read your comment carefully . . .

      Assault weapons: I don’t know your proficiency or familiarity with guns. I can tell you that those were assault weapons the same way a knife is an assault weapon when used in an assault. Perhaps you can define assault weapon in such a way that separates one gun from another but I can guarantee you are wrong if you are using the current vernacular popular in the media and certain uninformed circles. None of those shooters used assault weapons. Ban assault weapons? Done; 1934. Ban guns that look like assault weapons? It was done and it made not a bit of difference. Certainly, it made no difference to Derrick Bird who used a shotgun and a .22 rifle. We can either have a productive conversation or point at each other with accusations. Regardless which you choose, I see no reason to not take precautions in school that we already do in other vulnerable locations. No one gets incensed when they walk into a bank and see an armed guard.

      Interesting side note: most banks have signs that prohibit dark glasses and hats. Next time you go to a bank on a sunny day, see how many people comply with the sign. I don’t mean people who aren’t wearing dark glasses or hats. See how many people with dark glasses and/or hats actually remove them before walking into a bank.

      Gun control: did I ever say I’m against gun control or gun regulations? The majority of gun owners are not against gun control and regulations. That said — and I say this with all the kindness I can muster — rabid anti-gun screamers are as responsible for the breakdown in meaningful discussions as the rabid pro-gun screamers. I’ll go one better. I can more easily convince a gun owner to agree to some form of regulation than I can convince a non-gun owner that there are legitimate uses for guns and that regulations and control measures must take that into account. The HUGE problem with the discussion is that anti-gun proponents don’t see a middle ground. To them, any and all guns are inherently evil. Period. That is not a basis for any meaningful discussion. And neither if banning a weapon because of the way it looks.

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      • From Wikipedia: “Assault weapon is a term used in the United States to define some types of firearms. The definition varies among regulating jurisdictions, but usually includes semi-automatic firearms with a detachable magazine and a pistol grip, and sometimes other features such as a flash suppressor or barrel shroud. Some firearms are specified by name. At the time that the now-defunct Federal Assault Weapons Ban passed in 1994, the U.S. Department of Justice said, “In general, assault weapons are semiautomatic firearms with a large magazine of ammunition that were designed and configured for rapid fire and combat use.” The origin of the term has been attributed to legislators, gun control groups, the media, and the firearms industry itself. It is sometimes conflated with the term “assault rifle”, which refers to selective-fire military rifles that can fire in automatic and / or burst mode.
        After the December 2012 Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting, many news organizations ran stories about assault weapons, explaining their varying definitions and presenting varying opinions about whether or not they should be banned again on the federal level.”

        From the Definitions and Usage section of the Wikipedia article: “A key defining law was the now-defunct Federal Assault Weapons Ban of 1994. At that time, the United States Department of Justice said, “In general, assault weapons are semiautomatic firearms with a large magazine of ammunition that were designed and configured for rapid fire and combat use.”

        The article also describes the National Firearms Act of 1934, the revised Gun Control Act of 1968, the Defunct U.S. Federal Assault Weapons Ban of 1994 (expired in 2004), and the Failed Assault Weapons Ban of 2013 bill.

        You did ask WHEN in the third paragraph of your second section of your post. And, yes, other people are asking other questions. Betsy DeVos and Donald Trump are asking if teachers should be armed. The kids at Parkland are asking WHY an 18-year-old can walk into a local store and legally purchase an AR-15. And so am I.

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      • disperser says:

        I’m not sure if you are purposefully misreading my WHEN question or I am misunderstanding your original comment.

        It’s not WHEN should we do something about school shootings?
        It’s what should we do WHEN someone walks into a school with the intent to kill?

        Now, you can ask WHY that’s happening, and for that, you can do a lot of reading, and then more reading, and more reading yet, and you’ll get (maybe) to where I’m at: it’s what some humans do.

        I’ll stand by my argument that nothing being proposed will stop school shootings, especially since the Columbine shooters have fans who talk of besting the body count.

        The majority of mass shootings (the definition changes and so also does the frequency) are committed with a handgun. There’s no reason a would-be school shooter could not get a different gun (or shotgun) if the AR-15 is not available to him (or, rarely, her).

        I already said to go ahead and ban “assault weapons” which, by the way, describe many types of hunting rifles. You’ll have a heck of a time, but assume we do. It won’t stop the next shooter. Now what?

        Now, I grant you, if you quote common usage of the term, as pushed by certain groups, then yeah, the AR-15 and its many variants are “assault weapons”. Note that the Wikipedia article goes out of its way of citing “common usage” for the term.

        But understand what common usage is; when I Xerox something, I might be using any one of many different copiers but me calling it a Xerox machine doesn’t magically make one so. And, that is the problem; that common usage encompasses million of rifles and no one wants to ban (or could ban) those rifles. SOOO . . . what to do? Well, how about we write the ban in terms of how a rifle looks? Not what it does or how it shoots or even what it shoots.

        You don’t have to trust me; go look up any one of the videos where the ban is described in terms of looks and not function or intended use. Also, a number of links I provided explain how a “regular rifle” becomes an assault weapon by cosmetic changes that have zero to do with function or capability. The dreaded AR-15 is a Xerox term, at least as it’s currently used and it’s indeed a defense weapon . . . and a hunting weapon . . . and, if some nut wants to use it to assault someone, it’s an assault weapon. Yes, it has it’s roots in the M16 but almost all military weapons throughout history had variants in the civilian market.

        SOOO . . . I’ll repeat one more time . . . go ahead and push a ban like the previous ban and limit who can buy a hunting rifle. It won’t matter but go right ahead. I’ll even support you.

        But meanwhile, like now, what are we going to do WHEN the next gunman walks into a school like — for instance — the Columbine shooters who bought their weapons from friend (those people served jail time) or the Sandy Hook shooter who stole them from his mother (and killed her)?

        Here’s some useful reading about the AR-15:
        https://www.wired.com/2013/02/ar-15/ – (this also has a linked video from WIRED on how to make an AR-15-like rifle from scratch)
        https://www.vox.com/2016/6/20/11975850/ar-15-owner-orlando

        Want to see the one I owned? It never killed anyone (so far). I had to sell it before coming here in Hawaii because the idiots here make it a hassle to own guns. I hope the soldier who bought it never flips out. He did clear, after all, the background check. You know, I never checked if he was 21. He might have only been 20.

        If and when I return to the mainland, I won’t buy one like this because I frankly don’t need the headache. Instead, I’ll buy a rifle that is more powerful, has better accuracy, a longer range, and looks “safe” as a proper killing implement apparently needs to look. As for the high-capacity magazines? Again, if I had a mind to, I could make my own. It’s just folded metal and a spring. Or I can buy some. I won’t, but again, a magazine ban won’t stop anyone who won’t follow the law to begin with.

        And the discussion goes on and on.

        BUT . . . I’m still waiting what your suggestion is about what we should do now, before we can implement a gun ban, take care of people suffering from some sort of mental anguish or are plain evil, and convince 80 million adults to give up their weapons.

        Like

  4. You might care, along with many others, but I wonder how many really care, and soon forget these atrocities, after, not too long, in many cases, I’ll wager.
    What’s the chances that many express their shock, horror and indignation, and from a hundred, a thousand miles away, say “thats what you’d expect from people in such and such; it couldn’t happen here””, and then go on living their normal lives just mouthing their concern.
    The chances? Millions probably! A sad indictment indeed.

    Like

    • disperser says:

      People care because they have kids. The contention is what should be done about it.

      One snarky way to look at it is that you don’t ask regular drivers what should be done to make Formula-1 racing safer, but the equivalent is exactly what often happens in these discussions.

      Want to know what frustrates me? The stats tell me that the following post (the one with all the links) had 30 views.

      There are 18 links in that post. No one hit all of them. In fact, there were a total of 21 clicks. Not 21 times each; the total number of clicks in 30 views currently stands at 21. Not one person clicked all the links and a few of the links have a couple of clicks each. 13 of the links were clicked once and 8 of those 13 were clicked twice.

      Meaning that, at best, one person clicked on 13 out of 18 links, and one person clicked on 8 out of 18 links.

      I’m betting many readers dismissed everything I said without a second thought to whether there’s any merit, reason, or thought behind my opinions.

      But, you know; we should do something. Anything. It doesn’t matter what.

      Like

  5. As a Mom, Grandma, and teacher, thank you so much for sharing your thoughts and opinions on this vital subject!
    (((HUGS)))

    Like

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