Sunday, February 25, 2018

School Violence: Answers Are Still Blowing in the Wind.

"How many deaths will it take till we know that too many students have died?
The answer, my friend..." 
--Bob Dylan (paraphrase)

* * * *
While snowblowing the driveway, a fierce wind blowing snow in my face, I kept thinking about the students. And my mind kept returning to the tragedy that is our current political morass.

What would happen if our legislative "leaders" actually decided to lock themselves in a room and be human toward one another and commit to open dialogue as human beings and not legislators, talking honestly and openly and sometimes even with weeping as they wrestled with this epidemic of gun violence in the schools?

Here's what I fear would happen. Is it possible that most of our legislators are no longer capable of being free agents and humans because they have constituents who have financed their campaigns and whom they (claim to) represent. Undoubtedly a candid remark might be recorded and later used against them on social media or in a newspaper editorial. Posturing and grandstanding is the way it works these days. When someone proposes a good idea, the opposition party sits on their hands because "we can't let those guys get credit for a good idea." And so it goes.

But what if... what if a bipartisan subcommittee were assigned to hash out a realistic response? What if there were citizens on that committee who work in various capacities at the schools, who had no political aspirations of their own, whose sole desire happened to be to really and truly... listen to one another. What if they remained in that room for however long it took? (Food trucks can park outside the back door.)

The reality is that we do not want our freedoms restricted, yet we want to feel safe.

Advice for that committee: A good plan today is better than a perfect plan tomorrow.

* * * *
As it turns out, today's widespread cynicism about political solutions is not isolated to our unique moment in history. Take a listen to H.L. Mencken's somewhat disturbing assessment of the political class. This is the opening paragraph of a 1940 essay titled "The Politician."

After damning politicians up hill and down dale for many years, as rogues and vagabonds, frauds and scoundrels, I sometimes suspect that, like everyone else, I often expect too much of them. Though faith and confidence are surely more or less foreign to my nature, I not infrequently find myself looking to them to be able, diligent, candid, and even honest. Plainly enough, that is too large an order, as anyone must realize who reflects upon the manner in which they reach public office. They seldom if ever get there by merit alone, at least in democratic states. Sometimes, to be sure, it happens, but only by a kind of miracle. They are chosen normally for quite different reasons, the chief of which is simply their power to impress and enchant the intellectually underprivileged.

The essay, which you can read here (which appeared in the January edition of The Sun) has a number of choice morsels to chew on. This sentence popped out from paragraph three in which Mencken describes the process politicians go through to become successful barnstormers. They learn early on that when making speeches telling it like is is makes people uncomfortable. It "disquiets and alarms" them.

The truth, to the overwhelming majority of mankind, is indistinguishable from a headache.

It is undoubtedly true that the issue of school shootings, like many other features of our time, has no easy answers. That is why politicians are averse to addressing it. For zebras, wildebeest and gazelles there is safety in the herd. Take a bold step away from the herd and you're suddenly a target for lions. There is safety in numbers.

If only... 

1 comment:

LEWagner said...

There are 2 or 3 of these "Mass Killings" reported on our TV News per week, now (the same News that bald-barefacedly told us the "official story" of 9/11, and of the WMD in Iraq).
Here ( ) is just one example (a little less than 6 minutes) of a "witness" telling her story on the Today Show, once or twice hiding a smirk, relating how she was "grazed" by MULTIPLE bullets (!) and how she deflected other bullets by holding up a "tiny" book in front of her. (!!)
This is the state America is in, when people will parrot and share ANY kind of nonsense so long as it is "official".
It seems that no one has ever heard or even considered in their own minds that their TV is capable of using actors and special effects, and of lying, to push for an agenda.
The final result will undoubtedly be "gun control". And who will control the guns? Well, I would guess it will be our loving and peaceful police force, who number around a million people (1/330 of the American population) and have already killed 183 Americans in 2018 (that's 30 more than as of the so-called "Valentine's Day Massacre" when I checked and found they had killed 153).