This was originally published at the progressive education blog Curmudgucation.
Damn it. Damn it to hell.
I include the link not because I think you aren’t aware of the latest mass murder in a school, but because when I come back to this post some time in the future, the link will help me remember which mass murder I was raging about.
Like plenty of other folks, I have run out of things to say about school shootings in this country. Well, almost. There’s one more thing to add.
Things I’ve said before:
We have a new standard for coverage of school shootings in this country – it’s only news if it sets a new record of some sort. Usually that means highest body count. That’s grim news indeed – if your goal is to become famous as a school shooter, and you’re paying attention, then you have to know that you’ll only get there with a super-high body count. This may qualify as the most perverse incentive ever.
Sandy Hook stands out among all our many various mass murders in this country, all our long parade of school shootings, because Sandy Hook was the moment when it finally became clear that we are not going to do anything about this, ever. “If this is not enough to finally do something,” we thought, “then nothing ever will be.”
And it wasn’t.
“No way to prevent this,” says only Nation Where This Regularly Happens is the most bitter, repeated headline The Onion has ever published. We’re just “helpless.”
There’s always the hypocrisy to point out. Friday is supposed to be a big NRA celebration of the 2nd Amendment in Houston, headlined by Beloved Leader, plus Texas Gov. Greg Abbott, Sen. John Cornyn, Sen. Ted Cruz, Rep. Dan Crenshaw, North Carolina Lt. Governor Mark Robinson, and South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem. All of those luminaries are, of course, busily sending thoughts and prayers and “lifting up the families” on social media.
In the last decade it has become a blindingly obvious statement to say that we have done nothing since Sandy Hook or Columbine or any of the rest, but that’s not entirely true.
We have been busy blaming the targets.
We have developed entire industries that are all about hardening the targets, about making schools (and churches and a whole host of public places) harder to get into. We subject students to regular “active shooter” drills, and we make sure that staff are up on the latest approved technique for “coping” with an “active shooter situation.” Or shit like this – one poster reported that at his wife’s school, kindergartners closest to the door are taught to “throw things in the air and wave their arms” to buy time for their classmates (read the whole thread if you dare).
There’s an ugly damn implication in all of this – kids and teachers are dying because they are just too easy to kill. They have to make harder targets out of themselves. They have to learn to duck and cover and fight and flee.
But the responsibility for not getting dead is all on them. Because even though this is the only damn country in the world where this regularly happens, there just isn’t a thing legislators can do about it except thoughts and prayers and banning race stuff and naughty books and making sure that abortion is illegal in all cases because they are so damned pro-fricking-life.
They’re already out there on social media, explaining that if all the teachers were armed this would never have happened. If the schools had spotted the signs this time (or ten days – TEN DAYS – ago in Buffalo) then they could have stopped this.
We won’t pass laws, we won’t support even the most rudimentary checks on firearms, but we’ll by God send you consultants and trainers and other folks to help you make yourselves harder targets (most of whom also think that gun control not only can’t, but shouldn’t happen) because if you end up dead it’s really your own damn fault.
I am so sick and angry at all this stupid wasteful death, at the idea that my teacher wife and my soon-to-be-kindergarten children and my school and soon-to-school grandchildren are considered acceptable losses in the Noble Frickin’ Fight to preserve the 2nd Amendment right to own guns that have no purpose except to blast lumps of metal through human flesh.
We will now proceed with the routine and ritual. Thoughts and prayers. The proposal of stupid ideas: Arm teachers, custodians, administrators, bus drivers, because clearly more guns equals more safety and since we have the most guns on Earth we are clearly the safest nation and not one where shooting deaths and mass murders are ordinary (Yup – there’s the Texas AF, right on schedule, advocating arming teachers – you know, those evil indoctrinatin’ teachers who can’t be trusted with students). Statistics to prove that the situation isn’t really that bad. Whackburgers claiming this is a false flag meant to spur gun control – as if THAT has ever happened after a mass shooting before. Someone will blame it on mental health issues (spoiler: this will not lead to more government support for mental health treatment).
And then nothing, except the usual background noise right up until it happens the next time.
I don’t want the moon. I don’t imagine there’s a way to completely end gun violence and murder and awful scenes like we have today in Texas, but can’t we try to be better? Can’t we just try? And why wouldn’t we want to? And if you don’t want to at least try something other than saddling the targets with the responsibility for not dying, then by God do not come at me with any education reform to fix the schools because it’s For The Children bullshit. You tell me what policy changes you want to implement to help keep these children alive and then I’ll listen to your yammering about phonics and saying gay.
Damn it. Just damn it.