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So here is one of those stories where the initial impression -- "Maybe-crazy teacher was toting around an AR-15 just like the one used in the Newtown massacre!" -- sounds like perfect Wonketfodder, and then you start looking at it more and finally you kind of throw your hands up in the air and wish you'd gone back to re-reading Scud: The Disposable Assassin, where it's clear who the bad guys are. In keeping with Wonkette Policy, we will not be making fun of possibly-mentally-ill high school teacher Steven Davis, "a beloved science and math teacher at Mount Anthony Union High School" in Bennington, Vermont. Davis surrendered a Bushmaster AR-15 semiautomatic rifle to police and was hospitalized for observation last week after neighbors spotted him carrying the weapon to his car; he also had posted several rambling, maybe-threatening videos to YouTube and his wife had taken their children from their home and gotten a protection order against him. Judges don't grant those on a whim.


So yes, scary guy, but also probably not in his right mind, at least at the time he was posting those videos (which have since been removed by YouTube). But also "beloved teacher" who was apparently well-liked and functional before whatever breakdown sent him around the bend, so Wayne LaPierre's awesome idea for a national registry of mentally ill people would have done absolutely nothing when Davis bought that gun in 2009. (One of the few brightly lit zones of moral clarity here: Wayne LaPierre sucks ass.)

Davis, who was on administrative leave from the school, posted several videos last week in which he talked about his frustrations with the school district and the teacher's union, and spoke of a plan to decertify the union and reform the schools, you know, for kids. We saw the videos before they were yanked, and while Davis looks and sounds angry and nervous, like a pissed-off guy who really, REALLY wants to make a point, and who you do not want to keep having a conversation with, he also doesn't make any explicit threats of violence. In fact, the videos are made weirder by his repeatedly saying he's motivated by his concern for the district's students and by his admiration for Martin Luther King. But then he follows a vague mention of his "business plan" for reform with this bit, which is the one snippet of video the news stories have found irresistible:

"This is all very well-planned and thought out. I've studied military tactics. And this is the way to go. It's gonna hit so hard and so fast, and shut that school system down until they get things straight."

Which seems a lot harder to write off as metaphor than saying you want to see someone's head on a stick, right?

The videos went up on YouTube the day after neighbors reported seeing Davis carrying the AR-15 to his car:

Neighbors asked police to do a welfare check on Davis after seeing him carry the rifle to his vehicle Sunday evening. Davis then voluntarily surrendered the gun, telling police he put it in the trunk of his car in order to bring it to a storage unit he recently rented...

After the welfare check Sunday evening, Davis' wife and children went to stay with a relative. She sought a restraining order the following day. In the order, his wife stated she was unaware that Davis owned a gun and said she and others have noticed a change in Davis' personality over the last month.

After viewing the videos, Bennington Police Chief Paul Doucette called Davis and asked him to come to the police station, and Davis complied; he then agreed to be voluntarily hospitalized, and he is now being held for a mental health evaluation while internet commenters call for him to never work again or for newspapers to stop making such a terrific teacher look like a psycho.

The good news here is that if Davis actually had been planning to do something with that gun other than putting it in storage, those plans were thwarted by nosy neighbors who called police, police who took the potential for violence seriously, and laws allowing someone to be involuntarily held for evaluation if they may be a danger to themselves or others. In other words, a functioning government and mental-health care system -- for a teacher who had insurance to go to the hospital in the first place! -- did a pretty good job of keeping people safe, including even the disturbed guy with the gun.

So maybe what we should take from all this is that, since most mass shootings aren't perpetrated by people with histories of mental illness, but dudes who have marital/job difficulties and then snap, violently...then maybe the lesson here is, fuck you Wayne LaPierre and your national crazy person registry.

Because obviously what we need is a national registry of people who've been fired, divorced or broken up with, or are really mad at their union and/or have VERY ANGRY thoughts about black mold.

[Bennington Banner / YouTube]

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Doktor Zoom's real name is Marty Kelley, and he lives in the wilds of Boise, Idaho. He is not a medical doctor, but does have a real PhD in Rhetoric. You should definitely donate some money to this little mommyblog where he has finally found acceptance and cat pictures. He is on maternity leave until 2033. Here is his Twitter, also. His quest to avoid prolixity is not going so great.

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Once upon a time, Immigration and Customs Enforcement officers at least claimed to focus their efforts entirely on immigrants involved in criminal activity. Those days are long gone, and now they're going after anyone, including law-abiding people who are just trying to drive their pregnant wives to the hospital to give birth.

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I'd mentioned this week that there's definitely probably a tape out there of Donald Trump referring to a black person as a "nigger," because Trump is a racist and that's sort of what they do. Sarah Huckabee Sanders won't even affirmatively deny such a tape exists, and she's from the "two plus two equals five" school of communications management. I also speculated that once the tape was released, Republican supporters of the president would flock to defend his vile words: "Hey, if you rearrange the letters in "nigger," you get "ginger" and who doesn't like redheads and the occasional Dark 'n' Stormy?"

The shameful display has already started and the supposed recording isn't even available for pre-order on iTunes. Georgia State Senator Michael Williams stated in appearance on CNN's "New Day Saturday" that if Trump -- who's the president, by the way -- did say "nigger," it would certainly concern him as an "individual" but "not necessarily as a person that is running our country." So, uh, what the hell is that? This has been a standard argument from Republicans ever since Trump crawled his way out of the sewers of birtherism and onto a major political stage: "We think Trump is a terrible human being -- seriously, we have to shower immediately after meeting with him -- but we still think he's a suitable steward of the most powerful nation on the planet."

Normally, you'd think this would work the other way. You know, your brother-in-law is a nice enough guy. Your sister certainly could've done worse. You don't mind the slightly rambling sports-ball discussions with him at family gatherings. He's good for looking after the kids (as long as your sister is present or reachable by cell), but you'd never invest your hard-earned money into whatever half-assed business venture he's trying to get off the ground nor would you back his run for any serious political office.

I've long had issues with the "brilliant asshole" archetype in TV and movies. It's almost always a white male (because women and minorities must be perfect) whose emotional immaturity and overall jerkass behavior we're told to overlook because they're so goshdarned awesome. Do you want some PC "cuck" or do you want Dr. House to figure out that the MS symptoms you're suffering are really just because you ate a stale doughnut? Sherlock Holmes doesn't have time for your feelings or social niceties -- not while he's solving mysteries and being dreamy.

Trump, however, isn't "brilliant." He's just a guy who says "nigger." They're hardly a scarcity in the market. You don't even have to venture out to a klan rally to find one. You can order online -- same day social media delivery.

Williams argues that Trump didn't use the word "nigger" when he was in the "office of the president." It was just some youthful indiscretion when he was almost 60. I don't even know where he's going with this. Does he think Trump has changed? He routinely insults and belittles black people. He also calls black NFL players who peacefully protest "sons of bitches." Was that his way of weaning off calling us "niggers"? Has he been wearing a "nigger" patch on his arm to control his cravings for the racial epithet?

"He used the word in his personal life," Williams said. (It was actually in a workplace context -- SER) "Now if he were president and were to go on TV and use the n-word, I'd have a major problem with that."

media.giphy.com

It's heartening repulsive to see that Williams draws the line at Trump holding an official "nigger" press conference. I think once we reach that point, Trump will probably also reveal that his buddies on the Supreme Court discovered a typo in the Thirteenth Amendment and black folks' work-life balance will start to really suffer.

"I will always say using the n-word is wrong, and it's bad, and should never be accepted in our society. But just because (Trump) might have done it years ago, not as our president, doesn't mean we need to continue to berate him because he used it," GOP state Sen. Michael Williams, who is white, told CNN's Victor Blackwell on "New Day Saturday."

Blackwell, who is black, had to sit there and listen to this crap from a white elected official who is just 45 years old. You know, the word "nigger" doesn't even appear in the Dred Scott decision, for example, but that's not necessary for reasonable people to understand that it was racist as hell. We all know Trump is racist, but now Republicans can't even repudiate the worst demonstrations of his racial animus. The first black president hasn't even been out of office for two full years and already "nigger" is being redefined. What would once end a campaign in its tracks when Blackwell and I were growing up is now just an "oops, my bad."

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