Thursday, December 3, 2015

A Jumble of Thoughts on Lock Downs and Gun Control

"Children are the world's most valuable resource and its best hope for the future." -JFK

"We can't just study history, we've got to make history." -Robby Novak, aka Kid President

I apologize in advance for the semi-erratic compilation of ramblings.

Today I sat through a long safety training about various protocol for emergency situations. Maybe 5% of the training was spent on dangers like fires and earthquakes and introductions. The other 95%? Procedure for lockdowns...or what to do if a school shooter ends up at our school. It's bleak. It's horrible to run through a series of what ifs and really plan for what you would do. What if we're in the computer lab? What if we're out at recess? What if kids are in the bathroom? What if someone has to use the restroom? What if this actually happens? I won't go into details on the procedures, except to share that we have an emergency bucket in our classrooms called a "honey bucket" for these situations.

The worst part wasn't imagining the worst case scenario. Because most of the time, imagining worst case scenarios is simply that. Imagining. They are unrealistic situations that are horrifying but so outside the realm of possibility that the trainings feel like just another meeting. The worst part is thinking of this worst case scenario as a scenario within the realm of possibility. And the thing is, with the multitudes of mass shootings that continue to occur day after day, it is. To say teacher's aren't paid enough for this is an understatement.

Teachers, and anyone really, should have to imagine a mass shooting as a ridiculously remote possibility. It should not be on us to be so. damn. prepared. Students, of any age, who are pursuing the most noble of quests (that being furthering their education), should feel safe in their school. Fear should not be part of an equation involving education. There's a pretty easy way to take that fear of a mass shooter out of this equation. It's gun control. I have heard literally no good reason from those against gun control. All I hear are adults who sound like those kids who cry because rules are enforced, or you stopped them from sticking their hand in fire. I've commented on gun control before, and since then, I've only come up with more reasons why anti-gun controllers have no valid argument. It's hard to believe nothing has been done so far.

The 2nd Amendment is not even a good argument. Besides the fact that amendments are AMENDMENTS and can probably be amended, the 2nd amendment was written with guns like muskets in mind, and a time when we had things like state militias. So I say, fine, take a more literal interpretation of the amendment (isn't that what conservatives want? Literal interpretations of documents like the bible that are not historically relevant in all cases?). Let guns that were actually available when the 2nd amendment was written be more readily available. That's fine, that's what they had in mind anyway. But more updated guns can have some more strict restrictions and maybe even be banned, because no random Joe needs an assault rifle. Again, give me one reason why that's necessary.

Seriously though, people are dying ALL the time from guns. Not just the absurd number from mass shootings, but from accidental deaths. So many kids accidentally shoot themselves or others because people have guns in their houses that they really don't need. The whole, cars are dangerous but we didn't outlaw them thing is kind of a "shooting your own goal" argument. Cars ARE dangerous, yes. But you have to get a license, have insurance, register your car each year, and do all sorts of things so you can own one and legally drive one. So hey, same thing for guns would be nice.

People who are pro-guns tend to be conservative and pro-life. Which is ironic really. They fight so hard to give a lump of cells rights, and yet, once they are actual human beings with thoughts and feelings and real bodies, it's perfectly acceptable to shoot them. Tell me how you can be pro-life and against doing something about all these gun deaths and make any sense whatsoever.

I could go on and on and on about the ridiculous hypocrisy and lack of logic that is the anti-gun control lobby. I haven't even begun to touch upon how racism gets imbedded into the landscapes of guns in America. But I need to get to bed, because I have 22 living, breathing 4th graders to teach and attempt to mold into decent human beings who will hopefully grow up and take none of the crap that the NRA and other mostly old white male groups are throwing down tomorrow morning. Something's gotta give, and I'm putting my bets on our future citizens. I teach, not for a paycheck, and in spite of the mounting threat to our nation's children, but because I really do believe in the power of education and the promise that is our future generations. I show up every day, not because it is easy, and not because I always feel successful, but because, despite what the outside world is throwing at us, and despite what my students throw at me (sometimes literally), I believe in them, and their potential for greatness.

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