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Friday, March 23, 2018

Turning the country into an armed camp

by digby

I had a feeling this would be the outcome. Ever since Newtown, the "solution" for gun violence from the NRA has been to arm more people, particularly teachers, and put all public building under lockdown conditions. They want to turn the whole country into a prison.

Down in Florida, it's already happening. Matthew Rosza at Salon writes:
David Hogg, a Parkland survivor who has since become an activist for the #NeverAgain movement supporting gun control, described his high school as "like a prison," to Axios' Mike Allen on Friday. Hogg also expressed concern that, because of the "racial disparity between black and white students," the increased number of school resource officers could make life even worse for students of color. Hogg also criticized the media for "not giving black students a voice . . . My school is about 25% black, but the way we're covered doesn't reflect that."

This wasn't the first time that the Parkland student activists drew attention to the racial disparity in how gun control is covered. They made that point as well during a rally at Thurgood Marshall Academy in Southeast Washington, D.C. on Thursday, according to The Washington Post. That event occurred prior to the March for Our Lives rally that is planned for this weekend, during which hundreds of thousands of students and their families are expected to convene on Washington to press Congress for stricter gun laws.

The March for Our Lives rally is merely the latest example of a major protest in reaction to outrage from "the mass shooting generation," as Hogg put it earlier this week. A number of the Parkland shooting survivors have made media appearances and appeared at protests in the month since the shooting, drawing the anger and ridicule of conservatives and even humiliating Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., during a highly publicized town hall event last month.

Yet the fact that the Parkland school has been turned into a prison-like environment, and meaningful gun control legislation is still verboten by the Republican Party (as most recently evidenced by the failure to include anything substantial on the issue in the new budget), reinforces an important point — namely, that opponents of gun control are willing to try just about anything they can think of to avoid even modest increases of gun regulations.

Perhaps the most controversial idea to come from the "anything but guns" crowd is the notion that we should arm teachers. It's an idea that has been supported by President Donald Trump and a number of other prominent conservatives, even though it wouldn't work and is likely to lead to racial profiling. There have even been two incidents this month in which personnel on school grounds accidentally discharged guns, underscoring the absurdity of that proposal.

It would be one thing if policymakers were proposing beefing up security at our schools in addition to strengthening gun control laws; while this could still be considered excessive and unfair to the students, at least no one would question that they're trying everything possible to protect America's children. The problem, though, is that ideas like spending more money on security guards, arming teachers and improving America's mental health care system (which has merit) aren't being offered by the anti-gun control movement in good faith. They're being suggested because that movement's primary objective is to prevent any legislation from passing that regulates guns.

The goal, then, isn't to protect children, but to see if any solution to the problem of mass shootings at schools exists which won't require conservatives to give an inch to gun control proponents.

This is correct. Sadly, the perverse result of the massive new gun control movement is to make school more like jails and the teachers more like prison guards. But that's what Wayne LaPierre said had to happen. I wrote about it for Salon after one of the earlier mass murders:

We can thank one man who runs one powerful lobbying group, Wayne LaPierre of the NRA. According to the Frontline documentary "Gunned Down" it was clear that the NRA was thrown by the Newtown massacre and there was personal pressure on board members to accede to some kind of gun safety regulation to appease the national sense of horror over the event. At the very least, they thought it would be wise for the organization to keep a low profile in the aftermath. But without telling anyone LaPierre staged a press conference in Washington DC and came out swinging. He said in no uncertain terms that there would be no compromise, no negotiation. He doubled down on the vacuous, insincere NRA logic that the reason those tiny children were gunned down in their 1st grade classrooms was the fact that there weren't enough guns there. He infamously declared:
"The only way — the only way — to stop a monster from killing our kids is to be personally involved and invested in a plan of absolute protection. The only thing that stops a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun... What if, when Adam Lanza started shooting his way into Sandy Hook elementary school last Friday, he’d been confronted by qualified armed security?

"Our children— we as a society leave them every day utterly defenseless, and the monsters and the predators of the world know it and exploit it.

The best they can do is to say that if we had sharp-shooters stationed in classrooms all over the country we could maybe cut the death toll. There would still be dead kids, of course. Maybe even more would die. But it is simply inconceivable to them that we might seek ways to end this violence in the first place. They say the world is full of monsters and predators. But just as we cannot hold back the tides it is impossible to keep deadly weapons out of their hands.