BY RICHARD L. FRICKER
There is a dynamic with such events as Friday’s massacre in Newtown, CT. We as a nation have been imprinted with the heroism of ordinary teachers willing to pay the ultimate price to protect our children.
We have also been imprinted with the cowardice of 31 pro-gun Republican senators feasting at the National Rifle Association trough while quivering in the shadows when asked to appear on national television, to speak to the American people, to explain why they support unfettered sales of weapons and ammunition.
One is left to wonder if any of these people would, as the teachers did, get between a child and bullet when they won’t step in front of a non-lethal camera.
This cowardice, while unacceptable, is understandable. These senators live lives secured by the Secret Service, Capitol Police, FBI and any number of agencies. This security provides for a lifestyle seldom interrupted by the voice of the people, ensured in part by money provided in the form of campaign donations from groups such as the NRA and its fellow Second Amendment travelers.
It is understandable, removed from risk and unencumbered by accountability, that a small child in a small town guarded by a public servant on a small salary fails in importance when harnessed to the yoke of the NRA.
Lose an endorsement? Lose an election? Or hide until the bodies are buried and the political tsunami passes?
These are not hard choices for people to whom power and privilege are more important than the people they are elected to serve.
But political expediency fails when viewed in the light of statements by the likes of Mike Huckabee, wannabe president of the United States of America, when commenting on the massacre said, “we have systematically removed God from our schools.”
He later went on Fox News in an attempt to back away from the suggestion that prayer in schools would have prevented the killings, claiming he meant that a more religious national focus could prevent such tragedies.
He was not alone in resurrecting the prayer in school issue; several rightwing ministers also touted the idea that somehow the killing of small children was God’s way of getting prayer back into the public school system. This is the same reasoning; Katrina and Sandy were God’s way of expressing displeasure with homosexuality and gay marriage.
All this retribution business does is cause pause to wonder: why doesn’t God just splice into the global communication system, tell everyone what he likes and dislikes and give these poor intermediaries a rest?
Lastly, are the diehard gun goofballs who claim greater restrictions are not the answer. The answer, according to this faction, is more guns.
This brings to mind the saying found on many a restroom wall near many a campus during the Vietnam War era: “Fighting for peace is like f—ing for chastity.”
No two public officials fit into this arena better that Sen. Ralph Shortey and Rep. Mark McCullough of the Oklahoma Legislature. Somehow a gunfight in a classroom filled with six-year-olds, or even 18-year-olds is an acceptable option to these two sons of the Sooner sod.
This pair in intrepid legislators announced plans this week to introduce a bill allowing teachers to wear guns in the classroom.
Sen. Shortey has never been considered a particularly deep thinker. In fact, it might be difficult to find evidence of any depth at all to his thinking. It is known that he really really does not like undocumented workers. But he has completely misunderstood the history of the region as it relates to Mexico.
Rep. McCullough is a similarly uninspiring piece of political protoplasm. But he and Shortey have no trouble dawning their political hot pants and high heels and elbowing each other out to the door to bask in the ruby glow of the Tea Party/NRA street lamp.
The fallacy of their argument is, unfortunately and most regrettably, as close at hand as Topeka, KS, Sunday night. While the Shorteys and McCulloughs of this country were regaling followers with their more guns solution, two Topeka officers were being slain during a routine investigation. In fact, three officers were involved and one survived.
Quite simply, these were well-armed officers operating in an environment for which they had been trained – and they still came up dead.
What makes buffoons such as these legislators think a teacher can do any better when they have an overcrowded classroom of children to protect while engaging in a firefight with a most probability better armed adversary?
It should be noted, it is the political ideology of such legislators that has helped overcrowd the teachers’ classrooms.
Also, only a couple of months ago, a young man standing in the doorway of the Tulsa City-County library was wounded by a sheriff’s deputy during a shooting incident in which he was not involved.
The deputy did nothing wrong, but exchanges of gunfire are not an exact science.
There is this American idea that mere ownership of a firearm assures accuracy.
This country can perhaps crawl out of the NRA gotta-have-my-gun vortex.
This can be done without restricting anyone’s ability to own a firearm. In many states you can now openly wear a sidearm into the local burger joint, if the owner agrees. One can only speculate as to just how good a burger has to be before you need a gun to prevent it being stolen while eating.
First, semi-automatic weapons need to come off the market. Bulk ammunition clips need to come off the market.
Handguns? Because not everyone is Dirty Harry there should be liability insurance for each and every weapon. There should be insurance in the amount it would take to not only physically repair the wound but for the rehabilitation process both physical and mental, say in the amount of $500,000.
It should be the obligation of both parties in any transfer of ownership to ensure that insurance is in force. It should be the obligation of both parties to ensure that the policy for the transfer is paid in full for one year, none of this first premium for the certificate then let it lapse business.
The seller should be required to keep a proof of insurance for each transaction for at least one year.
Failure to obtain or register insurance by the seller would leave the seller liable for any damages created by the discharge of the firearm.
Just as legislators such as Shortey and McCullough have advocated for undocumented workers without auto insurance, anyone found with an uninsured weapon would have that weapon confiscated. Possession of an uninsured weapon could be punishable by jail and heavy fines, perhaps even with the jail term mandatory.
None of this handgun insurance legislation would prevent anyone from owning a gun. Such legislation would, however, protect the bystander, abate to a large degree the uncontrolled traffic in weapons and provide a powerful incentive for dealers to make sure they keep their paperwork straight.
No doubt the insurance industry would welcome a new revenue stream and police would have a reason to take uninsured weapons off the streets and perhaps incarcerate persons who would otherwise slip through the net.
As a friend noted over coffee, the NRA and gun folks are quick to make the 12- or 70-year-old who shoots the burglar the poster face de jour.
The GOP senatorial and NRA silence screams.
– Richard L. Fricker’s wife is an elementary school teacher in Tulsa, OK. He is a regular contributor to The Oklahoma Observer whose latest book, The Last Day of the War, is available at https://www.createspace.com/3804081 or at www.richardfricker.com.
With respect, sir — you’ll note with me that the massive U.S. nuclear deterrent has never been used — except as a deterrent — which means that it has been effective for its best and highest purpose.
As haters of such technology (guys like Dwight Eisenhower and Hyman Rickover…) have publicly observed, the certainty of credible, armed deterrence has repeatedly proven superior to its seemingly inescapable alternative.
Unfortunately, unprotected school buildings full of innocents-unable-to-resist seem to be provocative to evil doers.
No matter how “poor, lost and crazy” these armed evil doers are, we don’t often find them walking up to 240 lb linebackers and punching them in the nose. We don’t generally see them showing up at SWAT team dressing rooms, firing ranges or National Guard armories in their little black suits to “go off their respective nuts.” Instead — they go to the places they deem likely to offer the least resistance, which — in this crazy culture seems to be the buildings where we concentrate our dearest treasures.
If our teachers are good enough to “take bullets” to protect their students as a last resort, wouldn’t those who chose to train and bear the decided burden of arming themselves against the complete breakdown of all other protection be both highly motivated and trustworthy to do so?
Why is “dying for your students” more noble and laudable than skilled use of a firearm to “live for them?” And which of these has the overriding, added benefit of credible deterrence?
My own considered suggestion runs more along these lines: At least one carefully qualified armed guard in each public school, each augmented by a specially-trained K-9 officer “school dog” — bringing its powerful senses, instincts and naturally protective nature to this arena every day. Accompanying the peerless protective sensibilities brought by these animals might also be a unique ability to provide daily life lessons to those under their watch. Beyond this — dogs of this kind provide a unique deterrent: They quite-rightly scare the living snot out of “poor, crazy bad guys.”
Thousands of dogs possessed of all that “fabulous equipment” are put down every year in US animal shelters. Saving their lives might just help us save and enhance others.
Great article!! I think your suggestion about insurance is a great idea, and maybe that will come to fruition in my children’s lifetime.
I remember a time earlier in my life, when violance was not hardly an issue in schools. Violance, back in the early 90’s, was a time of small minor fights where when you came home, your parents would stick either a cold bag of peas on the area you were punched or even a raw steak at that. This has been an issue even before my time and still to this day. This is a state of human nature and guns are not the solution. Now I’m not saying that I agree with taking away guns for our society, but for teachers to be forced to bear arms for the safety of our children, is ridiculous to me. I mean whose to say that this will prevent a teacher from causing a shooting in the school. We have so many instances now a days where adultery is performed almost on a daily routine between student and teacher, that if the teacher carried a weapon, it can be a disaterous threat to the unfortunate. They are so focused on the resolution to prevent school shootings is to have teachers bear arms, when really what we need to be focused on is the social life style that our children go through that causes most of the anxiety, for example, drugs enforced on children who have creativity (aderol), living with alcoholic parents, or even verbal abuse from parents who expect nothing but perfection.
I think that the shooting in Newtown Conneticut was a very sad day for everyone in America. It was a wake up call for everyone. I don’t believe that guns should be outlawed. Hand guns and hunting rifles or shotguns are good to have. It’s the assult weapons that I think should be outlawed. Why would anyone need an assult gun? As far as teachers having guns in the classroom, I do not agree with that. A student could get a hold of the gun and maybe shoot himself or someone else. Guns have no place in school, unless the police that we have in our schools for security are carrying them.