Donald Trump Wants Miss McGrory, Third Grade Teacher, Packing Like Rambo
Donald Trump, armed with a slip of paper reminding him to say "I hear you," sat and listened -- maybe, a little -- to a group of students and parents who have been affected by gun violence. Several of the students were from Marjory Stoneman Douglas High in Parkland, Florida. For a White House that typically front-loads its invitees with people who can be relied on to tell the Great Man how blessed they are to be in his presence, there were a surprising number of people who didn't just tell him he has the best ideas on guns. Several called for age restrictions on who can have access to guns, for restrictions on magazine capacity, and for other measures that would never fly with Republicans. Trump may not have heard them, but at least they were there, and on national TV, to move the discussion forward. In the end, of course, Trump glommed on to yet another version of the one bad idea he always proposes regarding mass shootings: Let's add MORE guns into the mix and everything will be all right because the good guys will kill the bad guy, bang bang.
One MSD student who was there, Samuel Zeif, was simply dumbstruck at the reality that any 18-year-old -- who would need to wait until 21 to buy a handgun -- can walk into a gun shop and buy a semiautomatic rifle without a waiting period, as long as they pass an instant background check. He even suggested an Australia-style ban on most guns, which was easily the most far-reaching suggestion from anyone in the room. Zeif's comments were among the rawest during the meeting -- he was on the edge of tears through most of it, and broke down sobbing afterward while Nicole Hockley took the mic. She's been at this longer than Zeif: Her 6-year-old son Dylan was murdered at Sandy Hook Elementary five years ago.
Samuel Zeif is an 18-year-old who just one week ago was caught in the midst of a tragic school shooting that killed 17 people in Florida. Today, he's in D.C. speaking to President Trump. Here is everything he had to say about his experience and how he's been affected. pic.twitter.com/UJXj7aM20s
— Jessie (???) (@JMKTV) February 21, 2018
I turned 18 the day after. Woke up to the news that my best friend was gone. And I don't understand why I could still go in a store and buy a weapon of war [...] How is it that easy to buy this type of weapon? How did we not stop this after Columbine, after Sandy Hook? I'm sitting with a mother that lost her son, and it's still happening.
In Australia, there was a shooting at a school in 1999. And you know, after that, they took a lot of ideas, they put legislation together, and they stopped it. Can anyone here guess how many shootings there have been in the schools since then in Australia? Zero.
It's perhaps worth noting, since wingnuts have been screaming about it, that Zeif also repeated a viral but untrue story about a 20-year-old having bought an AR-15 with an expired ID. That, at least, never happened. But a 19-year-old with serious issues (and valid ID) got an AR-15 and killed 17 people at Zeif's school, so let's not get lost in the weeds. Zeif was also right, a bit later on, when he noted the Supreme Court didn't take up a challenge to Maryland's assault weapons ban and restrictions on magazine size.
Others at the meeting pressed more limited matters that maybe could solve the problem without talking about restricting guns, please. MSD student Carson Abt wanted schools to do more active shooter drills -- although Stoneman Douglas had them fairly regularly. Andrew Pollack, the father of one of the kids killed last week, said he wanted the government to focus on beefing up school security. Pollack said, "It's not about gun laws right now; that's another fight, another battle." Instead, he said,
We need to come together, as a country -- not different parties -- and figure out how we protect the schools. It's simple. It's not difficult. We protect airports. We protect concerts, stadiums, embassies, the Department of Education that I walked in today that has a security guard in the elevator. How do you think that makes me feel? In the elevator, they got a security guard.
Our hearts go out to Mr. Pollack, but it seems unwise to focus solely on putting metal detectors everywhere, without doing something about the flood of guns that can shoot outside too.
Trump, for his part, gravitated to the only idea he's ever pushed regarding guns. We just need more of them, and then heroes will take care of the bad man with the assault rifle:
It was the same hogwash as ever: If only one of the murdered coaches had had a gun, the shooter could have been stopped instantly, because that's how it works in movies:
If the coach had a firearm in his locker when he ran at this guy -- that coach was very brave. Saved a lot of lives, I suspect. But if he had a firearm, he wouldn't have had to run; he would have shot and that would have been the end of it.
If everything went perfectly, of course. If the armed teacher had a clear pistol shot at an assailant with a much more powerful rifle, and if no kids were in front of or behind the bad guy. Or if you don't mind a few stray shots hitting kids. (Trained NYPD police officers averaged an 18 percent hit rate -- that's a lot of bullets not going where they're intended to go.)
In Trump's fantasy, if just 20 percent of teachers, teachers who are really "adept" and had "special training" (paid for by whom?), had concealed weapons, then there'd be no more threat of school shootings, because bad guys would just stay away. Maybe:
You'd have a lot people that'd be armed. They'd be ready. They're professionals. They may be Marines that left the Marines, left the Army, left the Air Force. And they're very adept at doing that. You'd have a lot of them, and they'd be spread evenly throughout the school. So the other thing -- I really believe that if these cowards knew that the school was well-guarded, from the standpoint of having, pretty much, professionals with great training, I think they wouldn't go into the school to start off with. I think it could very well solve your problem.
Very adept professionals.
Let's exponentially increase the number of armed teachers, and those adept professionals would never leave their guns in the restroom or in their purses or on a shelf. Would never negligently fire an "empty" gun. Would never have their guns stolen by a student -- or shoot a student they thought was trying to steal their gun. Would never -- Crom forbid -- just plain lose their shit and become the active shooter we all fear. Not to worry, maybe another armed teacher will take that armed teacher out.
Mark Barden, whose seven-year-old son Daniel was killed at Sandy Hook, had the sanest reply to the "president" -- and the only comments that drew applause from those attending the listening session. His wife, Jackie, is a teacher:
To prevent shootings, Trump eyes more guns in schools.
Mark Barden to Trump: “Teachers have more than enough responsibilities right now than to have the awesome responsibility of lethal force to take a life. Nobody wants to see a shootout in a school." https: //t.co/DsbUnVVFyd pic.twitter.com/vfD4q2v3LB
— Khary Penebaker (@kharyp) February 22, 2018
Jackie is a career educator and she will tell you -- she has spent over a decade in the Bronx -- and she will tell you that schoolteachers have more than enough responsibilities right now than to have to have the awesome responsibility of lethal force to take a life [...] Nobody wants to see a shootout in a school and a deranged sociopath on his way to commit an act of murder in a school with the outcome -- knowing the outcome is going to be suicide, he's not going to care if there's somebody there with a gun. That's their plan anyway.
The man knows something about what a deranged sociopath with a powerful semiautomatic rifle can do before taking his own life (or even being shot by police, or even if the rare adept professional manages a one in a million shot). We need to listen to Mark Barden.
Did Donald Trump listen to him? Let's see
OK, then. President Rambo Fantasy knows what he likes, and it's more guns in schools. Gun manufacturers ought to be really happy about that.
Students, parents, and teachers who'd rather not live in armed camps, maybe not.
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