Does America love its kids? After Valentine’s Day the answer when it comes to many lawmakers is a definite NO!
Even if you don’t live in Parkland, many knew those who did. Maybe you sat on the edge of your seat Wednesday, hoping against all odds that it wasn’t the parent you knew who was going through hell trying to hear a word from their child hiding in the building.
Yet you still knew in your heart that no matter whose child or staff member it was, whoever didn’t make it out, it was another senseless tragedy. Another one! Another one! Another one! How many children this time? How many teachers?
How much longer must we subject children to a society that pretends civility, while forcing us all to yield to those with money who force their power of war-like weaponry upon us? Who endanger us all and especially our children? What gives them that right?
What’s it going to take to get Americans to actually do something to end the violence in our schools and in the country, and to actually care about all our children?
This isn’t about hunters and rifles. It isn’t even about handguns. It’s about war machinery that has no logical use in a peace loving nation. No use but to kill innocent people.
What could really be done to make schools safer?
See the Praying Hypocrites for Who They Really Are
When Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) replied to the Parkland tragedy by saying it is a “terrible day you pray never comes” Twitter pounced! The New York Daily News reported that over the course of his career as an elected official Rubio has received $3,303,355 from the NRA. He got an “A+” grade during the 2015—16 campaign. He accepted $90,205 in contributions from gun rights groups.
It isn’t just Rubio, although it is Rubio. Check out here all the other God-fearing Republican lawmakers who collected millions to defend assault weapons over the safety of our people—especially, in so many cases, our school children.
Maybe you like these people now. But will you like them when you are ducking bullets the next time you attend your favorite concert? Or when you’re sitting at your church service? If they don’t change, a vote for them is a continuing vote for the next AR-15 event. You are just as guilty.
All that money and all those prayers…just who do they think God is?
Someone tweeted to Rubio: You chose money over dead kids. While you’re praying, also pray for a spine to stand up to the NRA that has bought you off so effectively with their blood-money.
Understand the Hypocrisy of President Trump’s Mental Health Speech
President Trump said in his speech about the Parkland school shooting, We are committed to working with state and local leaders to help secure our schools and tackle the difficult issue of mental health.
These words ring hollow due to the corruption surrounding the NRA and assault weapons. We all recognize that a 19-year-old, with or without mental health difficulties, had no business running around with an AR-15.
Using mental health as the sole excuse for such a tragedy is disingenuous and dangerous. It’s dangerous, in part, because it drives those angry at the NRA to despise the discussion of mental health. Sure there’s an important discussion to be had there. But it’s secondary to the issue of free-wheeling assault weapons that anyone can pick up at some lame gun show, or a store that has flimsy background checks.
The sad fact is the Trump administration has done nothing to address mental health issues either!
It only took a day for U.S. News and World Report to remind us that:
Trump’s latest budget would slash the major source of public funds for mental health treatment, the Medicaid program serving more than 70 million low-income and disabled people. The budget also calls for a 36 percent cut to an Education Department grant program that supports safer schools, reducing it by $25 million from the current level of $67.5 million.
What was Done Concerning the Mental Health of Nikolas Cruz?
Marcie Lipsitt, a parent activist for children, who has worked with the State of Michigan on special education issues, questioned Cruz’s “dysmorphic” facial features. She wondered about Fetal Alcohol Syndrome which can result in chronic school failure. The Daily Mail also wondered the same thing, calling it “brain-based.”
Cruz had longtime discipline problems. It’s not clear what programs, if any, tried to help him. He’d been expelled from school a year ago. Was he in a special education program in the community? Had he received special education when he was in school?
There’s a huge effort to deny children special education. It goes along with the privatization movement to end public education by the same people obsessed with weapons.
Perhaps Cruz slipped through the cracks, and that’s a shame. But no one will ever be able to help Cruz now. No one can go back and un-break him or the damage he did. All because he had access to an assault weapon!
President Trump’s Lack of Commitment to School Children on This Issue
President Trump has done nothing to address the issue of schools and gun violence. Before Parkland there were 17 (18 debatable) school shootings in a row just this year, yet he didn’t mention any of them once in his State of the Union Address. You think this makes America great again?
He has done little in regard to democratic public schools in this nation. And he has done nothing to keep our children safer.
A day after the shooting he tweeted: So many signs that the Florida shooter was mentally disturbed, even expelled from school for bad and erratic behavior. Neighbors and classmates knew he was a big problem. Must always report such instances to the authorities, again and again.
I found this to be a reprehensible remark to make to people hurting. Did he think he could shirk his responsibility to those families? Did he think he could shift the blame to children and families for not having policed themselves better?
Consider President Trump’s Choice of Betsy DeVos for Education Secretary.
When Sen. Chris Murphy (D-CT), who has spoken out in favor of gun control after the Sandy Hook massacre, asked DeVos at her confirmation hearing if she thought firearms had any place in or around schools, DeVos, it was obvious, had not even considered the issue.
I think that’s best left to locales and states to decide, she said.
Later, asked if she could say “definitively” guns shouldn’t be in schools, she focused on children and wildlife in Wyoming. I think probably there, I would imagine that there’s probably a gun in the school to protect from potential grizzlies, DeVos said.
That should have ended her chances for the job. Gun control activists should have been marching in the streets for her removal.
DeVos has called for a congressional hearing on the recent school shooting, but there is so much distrust surrounding her school choice motives, that it’s anyone’s guess what this will involve.
About the shootings she said, Cruz had put up lots and lots of signals and warning signs ahead of the attack. I think it’s critically important that we have a much more robust conversation around tracking and tackling mental health issues and really bringing this all together.
Note the word “tracking” not “services.”
DeVos and her ilk have all the money in the world to change the conversation from assault weapons to make it something negative about schools, teachers, and children, and that’s what they will do.
Some worry that children will now be excessively mentally profiled as to whether they have mental health problems or not. Others worry they will use this event to close schools. That’s their goal.
Teachers and Guns
Should teachers pack heat for the protection of their students? Are they supposed to sign a pledge to be a barrier to a child in case of a shooting? Should students have to police each other?
If you have known or worked with a teenager, you know just how difficult that is to do. Adolescence by its very nature is a time of great drama. Students have angst and moods that are often difficult to interpret. And pressures placed on kids can seem insurmountable.
They ordinarily will pass through these gates to adulthood unscathed, but stick an assault weapon in their hands and anything goes.
No teacher wants to put their life on the line that way. Their idea of heroism is a hug on graduation day, or getting mentioned kindly in someone’s yearbook.
CNN reported last June that guns kill 1,300 US children each year! USA Today says that’s one kid every other day. Guns are the third leading cause of child deaths after illnesses and unintentional accidents (drownings and car accidents).
I don’t know any teachers who want guns. Like someone said on social media “guns and teachers are an oxymoron.”
Public Schools Should Be Safe
All the discussion of security in schools, when money flows from the NRA to make us live in fear, is hypocritical. We can’t go to the movies or a concert without looking over our shoulders and wondering if we’ll make it out.
Don’t say Cruz would have done what he did even if he didn’t have a gun. He wouldn’t have. Not like he did.
Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School is situated in a prosperous community, with involved parents and great teachers. Students and staff had recently drilled to prepare for the unthinkable. They did everything right. Students and teachers still died.
Having to prepare children for gun violence is sick. No matter how children and teachers prepare, it’s overshadowed by one person with access to an assault weapon.
Today there are parents and families who will watch the sun rise. They will look longingly out at the ocean realizing they will never again feel complete due to the loss of the child they love. They will put one step forward because there is simply nothing else they can do. They will do it in honor of the children they’ve lost. No parent should have to go through such a thing.
As teachers, parents, and students we grieve for these parents. But that’s not enough. We must help them. We must shun those who support assault weapons. If you aren’t willing to do it for our children, do it for yourself. Because you just don’t know when or where you’ll be when the next shooting will occur. And it will occur.