by John Walters
Let’s preface this essay with two notes: 1) Let’s not for a moment overlook that while President Trump was speaking at CPAC, news broke that former Trump aide Rick Gates reversed field and opted to plead guilty on two counts in the Russia probe. Ultimately, that will have a far more far-reaching effect than anything Trump said at the latter-day Reichstag gathering 2) Earlier this week a tweep advised me that perhaps I’d be more effective if I didn’t tell people that I thought they were idiots when I debated points with them. He’s mostly correct, but it’s nigh impossible not to think of Trump’s disciples and the NRA extremists as morons, and they’ve done or said nothing to disabuse me of that notion. So if I speak to them as if they’re morons below, it’s only because they’ve earned the designation.
What is the calculus of tragedy? What is the arithmetic of stupidity?
There are, in the most conservative estimate I can find (and I know how much the NRA worships conservatives, and vice-versa), at least 25,000 high schools in the U.S.A. So let’s grant Donald Trump and NRA director Wayne LaPierre their wish and place a concealed weapon with an ADEPT staffer at every high school, making them a hard target. Never mind the expense of that nor the fact that public high schools are tragically under-resourced.
Let’s put a gun in every high school.
Two effects: 1) If someone really wants to do damage, he (not “or she”; it’s never a female) will simply move on to middle schools or elementary schools. Yay! Another Sandy Hook! 2) You’ve suddenly placed a lethal weapon in a community filled with people who are either underpaid or at the most emotionally volatile and fragile stage in their lives. What could possibly go right?
Maybe we figure out a way to stop letting lousy people do a shitty job raising kids before we start arming teachers?
— Person 1A (@IDtheMIKE) February 23, 2018
This is actually the solution to the problem.
Let’s tackle number two first. Never mind the stupidity in imagining that a gunman with an AR-15 would attack a school and that some staffer would A) engage him and/or take him out and B) that there’d be no collateral fatalities due to this. Let’s just assume all potential gunmen leave high schools alone. You still have 25,000 campuses with a gun. Now let’s say in a normal year 50 high school students are murdered in mass shootings. That would be awful.
However, do you realize that it would only require 1/5 of 1% (or .2%) of those guns to fall into the wrong hands and account in even a single fatality to equal that amount of carnage? In other words, if at one out of every 500 high schools in the USA one person killed another person due to a gun in that school, you’d equal the amount of deaths in mass shootings. Instead of getting a splash of blood like you did at Douglas High, you’d get trickles of blood at various high schools that would not have the same BREAKING NEWS effect, but would almost certainly lead to more gun deaths.
As to the first effect, a gunman attacking a softer target, there are more middle schools and elementary schools in the USA than high schools. At the very least, twice as many. So you want to arm them, too? Now you’re back to the problem I just addressed.
Either way, putting more guns out there amongst more people will ALWAYS lead to more deaths. Why? Because you can’t change human nature. People are still going to become angry or jealous or emotionally unhinged, and that doesn’t necessarily mean that they’re—what was the President’s word?— “sickos.”
But people get upset and are emotional wrecks. They are emotionally fragile. Teens especially so. And to assume that in a high school environment some of those 25,000 weapons are not going to go missing, or be stolen, and that after that happens that there will be no fatal consequences, well, I’d call that being tragically naive on Trump’s part if I didn’t know that like most things he says, it’s really just incredibly dishonest.
“People who treat us well, we treat them well. Ppl who treat us badly, we treat them much worse than they can ever imagine.” –Trump
— Medium Happy (@jdubs88) February 23, 2018
He actually said this. And the CPAC gang, all of whom consider themselves evangelicals or Christians or God-fearing, cheered. Which makes them hypocrites, because it’s the POLAR OPPOSITE of what Jesus taught. But they’d rather be hypocrites than let go of their AMERICA FIRST! perspective.
The variable that we cannot alter is human nature. The variable that we can modify is gun accessibility. Australia enacted stricter gun laws in 1997 after the 1996 Port Arthur massacre, which was carried out by one man with an AR-15, claimed 35 lives. The Aussies have not endured a single mass shooting (five or more fatally shot) since. Japan has strict gun laws and in a free nation of 127 million people suffers fewer than 10 gun-related fatalities per year.
Some of those dramatic statistical opposites between those nations and the U.S., which deals with 33,000 gun deaths annually, are due to cultural differences. But mostly it’s because of accessibility to guns.
Trump and the NRA know all of this, of course. But there’s certainly no money in it for the NRA to have less guns manufactured and bought, which in turn means less campaign money for the politicians such as Trump who espouse their views.
Trump wants to build a wall on the border of Mexico and the U.S.A. because ostensibly the wall will make it more difficult for Mexicans to illegally immigrate here. Though even he acknowledges it will be virtually impossible to eliminate illegal immigration. Funny. When you argue that making guns less accessible, basically building a wall between guns and mass shootings, would curtail the amount of gun-related deaths, Trump and his ilk argue that it would not eliminate them altogether. As if that’s a reason not to try it.
depends. Did she call the senator “little Marco” or “Lying Ted” or “sneaky Dianne” or “Flakey” or “Liddle’ Bob” or “Crazy Bernie” or “Cryin Chuck”? https://t.co/oQdAkVEMy5
— J.R. Lind (@jrlind) February 22, 2018
It’s so easy to call Deplorables on their bullshit hypocrisy. It’s like shooting fish in a barrel with an AR-15 that you bought without even having to show proper identification.
Donald Trump said a lot of stupid sh*t at CPAC on Friday, and the dumber his statement, the more he was cheered. The one thing he said that wasn’t stupid was, “We need more Republicans.” And he’s right. And as long as the people at CPAC continue to piss on the dispossessed and the minorities and on the teenagers who are or will soon be of voting age and are demanding a change in gun laws, they’ll need even more Republicans. They’re drawing from an empty deck, though.
Two more thoughts, unrelated to guns but stuff that came to mind today: 1) Did you notice at the start of his speech that Trump turned his back to the audience and patted down his coif, a not-so-subtle message to the blithering idiots who adore him that maybe just maybe that video of him boarding Air Force One on a blustery day two Fridays back was “Fake News?” It wasn’t. It’s just that the glue holds better indoors.
2) I thought about this this afternoon. Ask the CPAC crowd and V.P. Pence why they loathe homosexuals and their No. 1 answer is “because it’s unnatural.” Fine. So how come they don’t despise women with breast implants (and I’m not talking cancer survivors)?