Tuesday, January 08, 2013

Gun Control Conversation

This is somewhat late to the conversation, most gun arguments having already disappeared from the forefront of people's minds as time passes and the name Adam Lanza vanishes from the headlines. I have various loosely connected thoughts related to several aspects of the gun control conversation, and I simply haven't felt organized enough to express them and I am still not sure that's changed, but I will try. I'll tackle them in sections.

1. The arming of teachers and school administrators.  

I wonder at people who express the idea that teachers should be armed to prevent school shootings, not only because weapons seems incongruent to academic, nurturing places where our children go, but because it rests on the notion that teachers are somehow just the kind of people we want to protect our children.  That somehow they are wise, good people who would know perfectly how to protect their charges.  Except, teachers are as much a part of the unwashed masses as anybody else.  There are alcoholic teachers, mentally ill teachers, teachers with anger problems, teachers with incredibly poor judgement.  Just a few months ago, in the area where I live,  a local teacher was arrested for putting a hit out on another teacher.

Teachers are not saints. And teachers can be just as disgruntled as postal employees.  Schools have their own political dramas and scandals and having armed teachers is not a good idea. 

These "bad teachers" aren't the majority, but they exist and in larger numbers than people realize.

2. Armed policemen at every school. 

This concept blew my mind. It's like something out of a novel....a world where armed policeman are everywhere, even elementary schools.  I found the suggestion amusing for its irony.  Let's pay thousands upon thousands of policemen for a service that is almost never needed in order to protect lives.....but lets not even consider the idea of raising taxes, or paying for socialized medicine/Obamacare/Medicaid/whatever.  It's no different than wanting to cut every social program in existence, but not touch defense spending.  It's OK to pay for force, but not quality of life.

Ach....it just makes me irritable to even contemplate the irony.

And yet...the county I live in has decided to have armed deputies at each school for the remainder of the year.  I work in elementary schools every day, so I see them standing outside every since Sandy Hook happened.  They aren't particularly threatening or scary looking to the children, but I can't help but wonder what it says about us.  Adults are so fearful that they spend a lot of resources in a relatively useless exercise.

3.  La Pierre blaming violent video games for mass shootings.  

Uh, I think there is probably a large overlap between people playing shooting/violent video games and people who own guns, or are interested in buying guns at least at the younger end of the gun-owning demographic. If the gun lobby starts condemning first-person shooter video games, they will be biting some of the hands that feed them. Also, some video game makers have actually partnered with firearm manufacturers to promote their products.

4. Fear of the government.

It has become painfully clear to me that there are people I would otherwise categorize as sane, normal people who have bought into the paranoid fantasy that our government might at any moment become a dictatorship, forcefully taking away all guns and oppressing all opposition forcefully. I think there are fringe elements who create these conspiracy-fueled, fear-laden scenarios and that many simply pick up bits and pieces of it through rubbing shoulders with more of the radical elements out there. The ideas filter through, losing some of their outright craziness and clothing themselves in historic incidents as some sort of proof of their correctness.

Germany gets brought up a lot.  And yet, the 21st century in the US looks nothing like the Germany of World War II.

I don't know....those are my random thoughts for right now.