Friday, February 23, 2018

The numbers don't add up when it comes to arming teachers

     You don’t need trouble grasping big numbers to believe in God.
     But it helps.
     Whenever a foe of evolution explains how some natural wonder, the human eye say, is so complex it just had to be created by Divine intelligence, I know we’re dealing with someone who has can’t — or, to be kind, won’t — wrap his head around the concept of millions of years. Who has no patience for the slow evolutionary crawl from single-celled organism to giraffe that science has mapped out in its gradual glory.
     Which is fine, as far as that goes. I begrudge no man his illusions. A pretty story helps us get by.
      It’s only when they insist that their origin fable be taught along with science in public schools, as co-equals, that I raise an objection. Because one is solid fact, and the other a tissue of fantasy, and musty, millennia-old fantasy at that. There is still a difference.
     Not that religion has a monopoly on innumeracy. Gun ownership — while a fun and unobjectionable hobby for most —
has become a redemptive religion for others, for a minority who, alas, drive the conversation about guns in this country. It isn’t about hunting quail or shooting targets or collecting, not anymore.
     It’s about belief. And ignoring big numbers.
     Generally. The National Rifle Association, their papacy, has no trouble grasping big numbers such as millions of dollars, and understanding exactly what those mega-bucks can do when purchasing politicians.
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  1. I agree arming teachers is not a solution .not even a component of the solution. Even armed security personnel often can't stop this type of crime. Police can be the first victims of a mass shooting sometimes .

    So what can be done? There are estimated to be some 7 million of these types (AR 15) weapons privately owned and maybe 290 million weapons total in circulation.

    Any suggestions? Anyone?

  2. The latest "blame-Obama-for-everything" post to Facebook shows a picture of a young black man who bought and sold 27 guns and supposedly got off with probation because of a plea deal with President Obama's lax Justice Department. The truth is the judge who sentenced him, a Bush appointee by the way, recited the NRA's favorite saw, "Guns don't kill, people do." Whether the judge made a wise or a foolish ruling, I can't say, but he wasn't motivated by any bleeding heart liberal sympathy for an oppressed minority nor direction from President Obama or his Justice Department, which was the point of the post.


  3. Big numbers or small numbers don't count for much when big details and small details get chronically ignored. Evidently prior to Nikolas Cruz's rampage, Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School conducted active shooter drills. Unfortunately they failed to train the armed school resource officer Scot Peterson, what to do in this situation. Peterson just stood by while the shootings occurred. Local police and the FBI were provided clear evidence Cruz was a danger, to no avail. There is plenty of blame for the NRA, little blame for the failure of government. Here is a big number, 28 million dollars. Local politicians are talking about demolishing the school and building a new one. That money could be better spent upgrading security equipment in schools throughout Broward County. Things like modernized access control, and emergency FOB alarms issued to all school employees.

    1. They absolutely should not tear down that school. Copycat shooters will put Cruz on a pedestal, revering the fact that his actions resulted in demolishing a building. Why give Cruz that much power?

    2. Only knew one case of an armed teacher. He worked at a Far South Side high school. Got tired of being mugged and robbed. Said it was better to have his gun and never need it than to need it just once and not have it. Don't think he had a permit, either. But he was beyond caring about arrest. Just wanted to stay alive long enough to get his pension bennies.

      A decade ago, Blago wanted to waste 40 million smackers to tear down Cole Hall at NIU...massive resistance and pushback quickly derailed that ridiculous idea. And a year later, it was Blago that was history instead of Cole Hall. Time eventually healed what bulldozers probably would not have. Took almost four years, but the facilty was cleaned up, the demons were exorcized, and a memorial was built. Millions of taxpayer dollars were not spent. If we are going to tear down every building where a historic atrocities have occurred, we'd better start getting ready to demolish Ford's Theater...and then move on to the White House

    3. The first letter I ever sent to a newspaper was about what an awful idea it was to tear down Cole Hall. The Sun-Times printed it. I think I have a copy of that paper, somewhere.

    4. The Tribune posted an online editorial, with the basic theme of "Don't capitulate to tragedy." They were overwhelmed with hundreds of replies...many of which were posted. I remember that mine ended with "Rule One: People do stupid and horrible things. Rule Two: Survivors can't change Rule One." Followed by: SAVE COLE HALL--TEAR BLAGO DOWN" in all caps. They approved it and posted it anyway.

  4. But Neil, not every teacher would be armed. Only the ones who are like John Kelly. That's what Trump said. (I think. Who knows. Richard J. Daley was Demosthenes next to that guy.)

    BTW, what's with the picture? Were those girls about to go to the prom at a teachers' college or something?

  5. Here are some more big numbers: for every 100 U.S. residents, there are 101 guns; NRA mob boss, Wayne LaPierre, made over 5 million dollars in 2015.

    I've spent my entire life around teachers -- family members, friends, acquaintances, customers -- and I can't think of one who would bring a gun into a school. Teachers tend to be intelligent people, not reactionaries.

  6. The suggestion is, of course, based on the romantic notion that the "good guy with the gun" would always prevail, but testimony from people who have actually engaged in firefights suggest otherwise. Among other uncomfortable facts, a smart and prepared-in-the-moment aggressor usually has the upper hand. The best "solutions," if there are any lie among those designed to prevent these occasions from arising. To quote that soldier's soldier, the Duke of Wellington: "Next to a battle lost the greatest misery is a battle gained."


  7. Fond teaching memories from our Chicago Public Schools: One time a kid whipped a frozen orange at my head and it just missed, slamming into a chalkboard right next to me. Another time two kids started fighting right in class. Security hauled them away and I just looked at him in disbelief when one of them came back to class before the period was even over. There are moments of confusion in a school day that desperately need to be defused and adding a weapon into the mix would be absolutely stupid.

    I worked in a high school where teachers had a period in the day where they were on hallway patrol alone with a walkie-talkie. I was young and naive and did that until one of the experienced teachers asked if I was crazy and explained that no other teachers actually did that task.

  8. And in the seldom-out-of-stock catalogue of Trump tweets from the past that contradict anything he says -- on May 21, 2016, Dolt 45 boldly stated: "Crooked Hillary said that I want guns brought into the school classroom. Wrong!"

    This is far from a humorous topic, but this comment by a teacher, among the 4400 comments accompanying the N.Y. Times article about the idea, is a fine one:

    "But just think of how well it could work! Picture my class: I’m absorbed in helping a student focus her microscope when the shooter enters the lab. Before he has a chance to shoot, I dive from the microscope to my bag on the other end of the room. Wait! My gun is gone! The shooter got his gun from my bag!

    OK, let’s start over. The shooter enters. This time my gun is tucked into the back of my pants like a cop on TV. I raise my head from the microscope, pull the gun out, and aim. Wait! A student raises her head from her work and I kill her instantly.

    OK, let’s try again. The shooter enters. I pull out my gun. He kills me because he was ready and I was focusing a microscope.

    Guess I have to quit messing with biology and just stand at the door, always ready."

  9. As I've said before, one of these days there's going to be a shooting sparked by a firecracker or some such loud noise in which a half dozen concealed-carry guys/gals kill one another along with a bunch of non packing passersby.


  10. I could never feel safe if I knew a gun was in my classroom. I know my students would have a higher chance of being harmed by that weapon rather than any possible shooter getting past security. I could never fire into a crowd of hysterical students hoping I might hit the perpetrator.

    We've had incidents where weapons made it into the school, including the occasional gun or air rifle. These weapons were confiscated without harm to any by alert staff and without taking aim at possible guilty students. Is it better to shoot first and ask questions later? No, leave the weapons to trained professionals whose mission doesn't involve the education and growth of children rather than their demise.


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