Thursday, October 05, 2017

I'm sorry you can't have that.

As our nation attempts to recover from the largest and most gruesome execution of civilians in recent American history, and we make a desperate attempt to come to an understanding of how a single individual can go so far off track, it is useful to take stock. In fact, the stocks of the killer's guns had been altered turning each into a machine gun capable of wanton mindless fire.

Tools can be like that. They can either be engineered to serve as an exercise of mindfulness and concern for each other, or otherwise. They can draw us together or split us apart. Ivan Illich had written a book, "Tools of Conviviality." Guns are often not convivial.

Republicans in Congress, financed by the NRA insist that we must not talk about such things, until the nation has had sufficient time to mourn. They said the same thing following the execution of children and staff at Sandy Hook Elementary School (and every mass shooting since Columbine) and have gotten away with it. There is a sense of false manliness associated with the owning and use of firearms. Forgive me for my painful sarcasm, but it's like wanna-be cowboy Senate candidate Roy Moore, waving a pistol at one of his campaign events. Whoopie ti yi oh.

It would be OK to adopt a national policy similar to what we have in wood shop. In wood shop students must demonstrate responsible and mindful use of tools in order to be entrusted with their use. To see that tools are being used carefully, correctly, and mindfully, I am a constant reminder. When something is pickup and misused, whether a tool or a stick, I must say, "I'm sorry you can't have that." Would that not be a good thing to bring up in the discussion of guns?

Blacksmith Bob Patrick and I are scheming a class for next year at ESSA in which we will share and flip flop students mid-week, making a Viking era tool box similar to the Mästermyr chest. Students under Bob's instruction will hand forge hardware for the chest. Students under my instruction will make the chest. At mid-week, Bob and I will trade students, and at the end of the week we will gather both groups to complete. Sound like fun? I hope so. The photo above is one example of a Viking era tools chest.

Make, fix, create, and assist others in learning lifewise.

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