An all too common headline filled our newsstands this week. On February 14th, 2018, Nikolas Cruz entered Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, killing 17 people and wounding 15 others. I’d like to briefly bring up one of them, Aaron Feis, an assistant football coach who was gunned down while shielding two students. (I am currently unaware if those two students survived.)
And the talking points rang out. And the arguments rang out. Buzzwords galore! And for what? A bag of votes from Johnny Lefty or Clint Trumpsporter living out in Jackhole County USA? The same song and dance that has worn on the feet of our nation, regardless of subculture or political leanings. I find myself looking at both the right and the left, and I am shaking my head. They just don’t get it… they miss the point.
It’s not about gun control. It’s not even about the 2nd Amendment. Regardless of either, if that kid wanted to kill a bunch of people in that school, he could have done so simply by buying a recipe off the internet and making a run to Home Depot (bombs aren’t hard to make). What it’s about is one simple thing: what is the foundation of the problem?
This kid was fucked up… yes? (Rhetorical.) Now, since we have established that regardless of gun access he could still have killed just as many (or more) of those kids, the question I have is this: how did a kid with so many obvious red flags slip through so many cracks that he was able to pull off one of the worst school shootings in US history? With all of our modern precautions (because this happens all too often, so we keep adding them) this kid STILL managed to do this. To end 17 precious and innocent lives.
One question that I feel is not asked enough is why did this not happen 40 or 50 years ago? Kids had just as much access to guns back then. Even if not of the round or firing capacity of the ones used recently, the simple fact is that back then kids were not walking into schools and shooting their peers. What changed?
A lot changed. And it is no one person, political ideology, or any other entities fault. Let’s take a trip back in time via a film (one of my favorites) called Cry-Baby. In this film, we see the all to familiar (and admittedly, a little stereotypical) duel sided social structure of that decade. The preppy looking group, known as the squares and the 50s-greaser looking group known as the drapes. If you were a rebel, you were a drape and if not then you were probably a square.
But the 60s came along – and with it – a drastic new social rebellion. And ever since that first great social revolution, the way people both see the world and interact with each other changed drastically. In the 50s, we had the squares and the drapes. But today, we got the hipsters, jocks, “pretty” girls, environmental kids, the rednecks, the gender fluid kids, the piercers, the inked kids and of course… the Tide Pod eaters. What was once two points of view for parents and guardians to monitor has become a bouquet of thought and social contemplation; full of “why this” and “well how come,” doggedly challenging even the most open-minded intellectual among our nations great teachers. I am honestly amazed alcoholism, and drug use (or at least pot smoking) isn’t higher (pardon the pun) among teachers.
When a job such as teaching holds so few professional benefits (and I am not arguing it should, at least in its current model) how can we expect them to catch every little glitch and determine if little Davie is throwing a temper tantrum and just saying things or if he is making real threats? I think it is high time we admit that we have spread ourselves too thin in regards to how we handle educating the next generation. As our population grows, so do our classrooms (I am assuming… I could be wrong). If we MUST have socialized education, would it not serve all involved better to localize the facility as much as possible? Would it not give the child a sense of community, seeing the same people inside and outside of school? Would it not build a sense of wellbeing in that child, someone who would be less likely to become a sullen social outcast within a larger social group and go on to massacre his classmates and friends? I would think so, and history shows that smaller classrooms and schools create a more harmonious social structure. In fact, thinking back on my own formative years in high school, I remember little more than a few fist fights at my K-12 school of 325 students (yes, that few students between 13 classes… small shit, right?) Maybe that is just me noticing coincidence… I don’t know.
Localizing schools as much as possible (don’t let statists tell you they already do that because they most certainly do not) would also allow for saving money on transportation, the amount of faculty needed and funding for sports and extracurricular activities… oh, and it would open up funding for one more thing…
A popular meme pointed out something that our friends in Israel have been doing for some time with great results… they actually do arm teachers. I would assume (and do not claim to know) that they have been trained to use, handle and discharge them properly. But it begs the question, how come they don’t have the number of shootings we do when they are surrounded by people that want to kill them?
I say, the answer to that question is the same reason why my home state of Vermont is one of the heaviest hit by the drug epidemic, yet is one of the lowest in violent crime. Because we have the most constitutional gun laws in the entire United States, and criminals here know that we shoot back.
But Bryce, Vermont has such a small population that of course, they will have a low crime rate.
So does Alaska, they are consistently in the top 5 for violent crime….usually number one in rape. (You have no idea how many times I have dealt with this argument.)
So there you have it, folks! My reaction to this week’s horrific events. And while I am sure I will draw a heavy amount of criticism for my arguments for localizing classrooms I feel I must stress some people just need to be with people like them.
As we learn more about this disturbed young man, you may find yourself agreeing with me on this one.
Until next week, live free. (PS: I’m going to be attaching a better picture of my face to the graphic for this column next week, don’t worry.)