How prescient was Patricia J. Williams in her column “Shooting Students” [Feb. 26]? Or perhaps it wasn’t a matter of prescience, given the mind-numbing, soul-crushing frequency of school shootings and the legislative stasis caused by the GOP’s NRA-backed obstructionism. In the current atmosphere, it wasn’t even surprising to hear Education Secretary Betsy DeVos, after the Parkland massacre, tell conservative radio host Hugh Hewitt that states “clearly have the opportunity and the option” to allow teachers to carry guns on campus.
As Williams points out, this notion is the quintessence of lunacy. The GOP fulminates, hypocritically, about burdening the nation’s children and grandchildren with debt, yet it seems content not only to watch today’s youth be shattered physically and spiritually by gun violence, but then also to leave any solution to the very same generation. Sensible regulation of firearms must be a voting issue in November.
What never ceases to amaze me about these “solutions” is the assumption by gun activists that you can somehow separate the good guys from the bad guys. The first time a stressed and disrespected teacher pulls a gun on her students, will they be advocating for arming the kids?
I’m way behind in reading my issues of The Nation, so when I turned to this article the day after the Parkland massacre, its headline was jarring. I have two comments:
First, with regard to Williams’s observation that our nation is at war with itself, I would more pointedly observe that it is the moms and dads of students who are at war with the gun industry, the NRA, constitutional-carry types, and other backers of permissive firearm laws. Parents are losing; we must acknowledge this fact and take action.
Second, I hesitate to accept that this is the end of civilization, but I sure hear Williams’s cry of anguish. Then again, perhaps civilization ended in the United States when it entered the 17th year of the War on Terror (or choose your year). These responses to violence share an outlook that crosses the line.