A big thank you to the Seattle City Council for finding a way to restore funding for shelters and hygiene services. It’s great to have some good news for a change.
This week I’ve been shunning most of the news because it’s so awful. School shootings aren’t fun to read about and neither are President Donald Trump’s tweets about them.
Over the years I have noted a number of misconceptions about how these columns get written. The main misconception is that they’re written while I’m high, toasted on psychedelics, Mary Jane or whatever the kids are calling it now. Not so. I’m right now drinking double-strength tea, half green tea, half oolong. That’s all.
Another wrong idea is that I am a news junky. I wish I could be. I just can’t. I need to escape. So what I do all week long is watch for news stories that I might comment on when the column needs to be written, but I don’t read them. I just save them aside and read them at the last minute in a one- or two-hour binge-reading session.
So this week, having spent six days thinking of ways to marry eggplant to onion and fish, I’m back at the news, binge-reading Trump’s ideas for solving the problem of school shootings, and as always the return to news is a jolt.
He wants to restrict kids’ access to first-person-shooter video games. That idea will probably get some traction from people who don’t see the irony in restricting games where you pretend to shoot guns and not restricting guns. I can’t really bring myself to care about this particular stupid idea. I could mutter the usual things: “When you outlaw first person shooter games, only outlaws will play first-person-shooter games,” etc. No point to it. It’s probably a lost cause.
Arming teachers, though, there’s a winner. I can’t wait to see the legislation that turns this fantasy into reality.
Trump’s already put some thought into how many teachers out there are potential SWAT-team material and has decided they number between 10 and 40 percent of America’s current school teachers.
He wants to give bonuses to the teachers to “reward” them for taking on the added role of guards.
Ha! He doesn’t spend much time in the real world, does he? If he did, he’d know that teachers are relatively educated people and are going to know when they’re being shafted. And they aren’t going to tolerate being required to teach and be school security guards for any less compensation than the combined compensation of a teacher and a security guard.
He probably thinks there will be no problem scheduling the SWAT team training, because teachers don’t work summers, right? Well, if you want them to do that training over the summer, that will be work, and you’ll pay them, or there will be strikes, or the training just won’t happen.
There are over 3 million public school teachers in this country. If only 10 percent of them have to be paid to double as security guards out of federal money, Congress is going to have to come up with something on the order of $10 billion a year. That’s not counting the training costs and the costs of equipment, including the guns.
Where will the guns be when not in use?
I assume the teachers will carry their federal issue guns all day during classes. That seems right to me. I want to see elementary school teachers hauling AR-15s while the kids take pop quizzes. But do the teachers take them home at night, or do they get locked up in the school somewhere? Who guards the armory?
If there’s a school shooting and, say, five teachers at the school are armed and trained to take out shooters, do we know how they coordinate their efforts and avoid creating pandemonium and collateral damage by all shooting at once in all directions? Yes! Besides distributing guns to teachers, the government will provide a dedicated communication system and training in its use. More money for Congress to dig up.
But our kids are worth it, and our arms companies who are going to sell all those guns to be used by our teachers are worth it, too, aren’t they?
Dr. Wes Browning is a one time math professor who has experienced homelessness several times. He supplied the art for the first cover of Real Change in November of 1994 and has been involved with the organization ever since. This is his weekly column, Adventures in Irony, a dry verbal romp of the absurd.
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