Friday, February 23, 2018

Arms Up

The standard phrase when you are being robbed, well okay hands up but this is a play on words as the new latest, well again not the latest, idea is to arm up Teachers.    I am watching CBS This Morning with a Teacher who carries in his Colorado classroom.  Colorado home of Columbine carries more weight today than any other.   If you had not read the amazing and well researched book on the subject, Columbine by Dave Cullen, I urge you to.

And what we know now is that these are children who plan well in advance, they are meticulous and insidious with their vengeance.  No, Children aren't special snowflakes well unless they are.  Just like adults, who would think that?  Beauty, like evil, is in the eye of the beholder.  Watch Chris Rock's Netflix special, Tangerine, where he does a riff on people's kids and their zealous approach to parenting that crosses over into how to establish boundaries.  He also discusses the hysteria about safe zones, bullying and how this over protection and hovering has made children utterly incapable for standing up for themselves as the world is full of assholes and what better place to learn how to handle them but in a schoolyard.   I agree and perhaps that too would enable Teachers and Parents to be more honest about the Children in their lives and classrooms.  Burying it doesn't work.  Nicholas Cruz had a massive history of problems and yet no one stood up and actually helped him. Had they it might have ended differently.

I am in utter adoration and have nothing but utmost respect for the Children of Parkland for they have shown resilience and strength in a time where I am not sure this adult could.  And they are special and not in the needs way but in the snowflake way as they are all unique, different and share one thing that they can turn to ice if the blood runs cold and it did on the day in the halls of Stoneman Douglas.  Ah when blood runs from a stone how that changes the dialogue.

Since moving to Nashville I have seen boundary issues with children that disturb me.  Did I see that in Seattle  children.  No and yes. Hugging kids was so verboten it was rare any would initiate it but they were whiner and more manipulative than kids here.   This comes from a place of privilege and frankly in the city where the average income is 75K with a highly educated population their boundaries often crossed into critiques and evaluations of adult behavior and expectations that undoubtedly came from the helicopter parents wearing their Black Lives Matter t-shirts while knowing not one single black person or having one in their home.   Seattle struggles with race and in many essays you will read how discussions on race are awkward and discomforting.  It is a "can I touch your hair" type place and they believe it is endearing.  Since I find most of that pandering patronizing bullshit and call it as such it is no wonder I was often asked "Where are you from?"  But on average I had better connections and in turn relationships with kids than I do here and it is why I stayed in the schools despite my misgivings about the schools.  But today since being in Nashville I do laugh as once again it proves how ignorant and sheltered Seattle really is.  

I compare Seattle and Nashville because here is where I am writing about living in both as they are extremes on each end of the political and social spectrum.  What I have found is the similarities are quite obvious but the differences are extreme and that is very obvious in what I call the root of the tree - the children.   In Seattle they are over parented, over idolized and duly obsessed over.  It is the ever present Mama blog or Facebook post where you gloss over and move on as it is boring.  They care deeply about others children but that means only as long as it doesn't affect their children and that pretty much parallels the two universes here and ends there.  The children here are so very different that I attribute to the factor of poverty and not race and again that is very much a distinction that stands out.

In a City that is nearly 90% white it is amusing that they are obsessed with race and it is so awkward and ham fisted it is truly off putting.  If you read any of the links I put in my last post almost all the writers comment on the same strange manner race is addressed.  It goes along with Gender identity and of course Sexuality that you are sure every kid has a truck and painted toenails to ensure that no one  is left behind or sits alone at lunch.  Hey kids are kids and no they aren't precious snowflakes, I just actually in real life call them short people or young people.  I have had more kids laugh and actually like it.  Well that is my truth.

But what is amusing is that in my exchanges here few recall that only a month ago there was a shooting in a school in Kentucky.  Ah but that is the South and Florida is also but a much more continental and less Civil War south and of course the death count higher.  This is how we are now we actually care about body count.   In fact here Nashville there is little to no discussion about the Parkland shooting let alone the one in Kentucky,  nor about gun control. This is not the way they do it here.  They pray.  How do they pray? With their arms up.  Surrender to God, I guess he packs heat.   I also pray for a day I can get the fuck out of here

This is how kids should be escaping school not with their arms raised.  

In my part of red America, no one sees guns as part of the problem
The right to bear arms is sacrosanct here.

By Teri Carter The Washington Post February  23 2018

Teri Carter is a writer living in central Kentucky.

A week after the Parkland, Fla., school shooting, the note was found scrawled on our middle school’s bathroom wall: I’m gonna shoot up the school on 2-21-18.

That was the first threat. Within 24 hours, the elementary, middle and high schools in my tiny, rural Kentucky town had all received written warnings of gun violence, and all three schools, approximately 3,700 students, were placed on “soft lockdown” (told to shelter in place) while the sheriff’s office and Kentucky State Police investigated.

I live in Anderson County, Ky. Donald Trump won here in 2016 with 72.2 percent of the vote. We have 38 Christian-based churches to serve a population of 22,000, and lots of talk about God-given Second Amendment rights. When I moved here in 2014, the first question I was often asked was, “Where do you go to church?” Neighbors joked that the elderly man who previously owned my house, a fun-loving, retired military officer, kept a cache of guns in the closets and under the couch cushions. For security.

This is both Trump country and single-issue voter country. People here vote on guns, and people vote on abortion. Every other issue, every other considerable nuance, is nothing but noise.

Guns and gun ownership are sacrosanct here, and people who do not live in rural America do not understand what are and aren’t acceptable topics of conversation. Last Saturday, for example, I’d set up for the morning at our newly renovated library to sign people up for writing classes. A friend who owns a local business stopped to vent about Parkland, but waved off quickly, in silence, noting the group of women elders behind me discussing the shooting, the scripture and the need to get prayer back into our schools.

Talk of church and prayer and getting back to “the good old days” is the norm here; talk of gun reform or gun control is not; and talking openly outside this norm, especially if you are a business owner, can hurt your livelihood.

Shortly after Trump was elected, when I first started writing about politics for the local newspaper, I started getting private emails (no public comments) of agreement that also begged for privacy. This was such a shock the first time it happened that I drove into town and found three such emailers at their places of work, simply so we could meet in person and feel less alone.

The day after the Parkland shootings, Kentucky Gov. Matt Bevin, knowing better than to use the word “gun” in these parts in the aftermath of a shooting, called for prayer and restrictions on video games and movies. Bevin knows how to hit his mark with his churchgoing, moral-authority electorate, tweeting after the Vegas shooting, “You can’t regulate evil,” and, as USA Today reported last week, stating that “he sees the spree of shootings as a cultural problem, not a firearm problem. And he sees violent entertainment as the root of that cultural problem.” His people cheer.

As all three of our Anderson County schools received threats of gun violence this week, we counted not on Bevin but on the Facebook page of our small town newspaper, as communities do now. Panicked parents left comments and got into the kind of no-filter social media arguments we’ve grown numb to:

“I was so in hopes for a peaceful day for students. Evil is rampent in our little town. We need Jesus now!”

“Schools needs alternative schools for these little bad ass kids! Maybe like army style, teach them right from wrong just in case their parents can’t.”

“No slaps on the wrist, prosecute so these little brats learn its no joke and won’t be considered one.”

“Whoever is sayin hold back the lashings needs to get a grip. If it was my kid I would have their ass. Making threats like this is serious and needs to be punished … my kids or your kids doesnt matter. Be A PARENT!

“All my kids are grown. You people crack me up. You have no idea how many time I was put in cuffs for spanking my children. SO quit blaming me as a parent. Blame liberal schools. Blame government. And shove it takes a village were the sun don’t shine.”

“Maybe if they start prosecuting these little degenerates then people will stop with all that BS!!

People wanted prayer in schools, more attentive parenting, criminal prosecution of children, a return to corporal punishment, confiscation of kids’ cellphones. I counted 104 comments and replies. There was not a single mention of guns.

In the NRA’s first public remarks on the Parkland shooting, Wayne LaPierre said Thursday morning, “Schools must be the most hardened target in this country and evil must be confronted immediately with all necessary force to protect our kids.” LaPierre is preaching to the firearms choir with talk of “evil,” and I know the men who heed the call. One is my father, who is in his 70s, retired, on a fixed income, living in a small Missouri town with virtually no crime. He tells me he cannot remember the last time he actually shot a gun. But he listens to the NRA and Rush Limbaugh and Fox News, and they tell him he has got to man up; he has to protect our kids; he has to be prepared. So what does he do? He buys more guns.

That’s what life is like here in red America, where the questioning of religion and guns are equally off-limits. Where we have fortified, as evidenced by our own governor, a barbed entwining of church morality and guns. Hence the common refrain, “my God-given Second Amendment rights.”

Trump said Thursday that “we have to harden our schools, not soften them,” in his plea to arm teachers and coaches. The president, like the NRA, looks to guns as the means for demanding respect. Well-meaning Beltway pundits such as David Brooks ask that we show gun owners some respect. But Americans do not need to respect gun owners more, because we already do. We respect them the way we respect a hell-and-damnation preacher or an abrasive, controlling father. We respect gun owners because we are afraid of their guns.

Meanwhile, this week in rural Kentucky, a 13-year-old girl was charged with terroristic threatening at the middle school and was arraigned in juvenile court and ordered held in juvenile detention. An 11-year-old girl from the elementary school was charged with one count of terroristic threatening.

The investigations are ongoing. We are looking to our governor and the president we voted for to lead. We are saying our prayers. And nobody is talking about guns.

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