Friday, February 23, 2018

armed camps?

The National Rifle Association and president Donald Trump are insisting that by turning our schools into armed camps we would solve the problem of violence in schools and in the lives of our children.

What about the movie theaters, shopping malls, churches, concerts and other places where peaceful people congregate in joyful communion? Will we turn the whole of the planet into an armed camp, each person packing heat against each other?

Schools in particular should not be further sequestered from their communities.

Perform a simple experiment. Hold a stick in your hand and raise it above your head. Do you feel a sense of power from this simple act. Now imagine you are holding a chisel or a knife and applying its sharp edge to a piece of wood. Do you not feel the same thing? Now imagine you are holding a gun. You have the potential to point it at another person or (as ugly as this may seem), at your own head.

Thomas Carlyle had said the following about tools, a thing you will find yourself to be true:
"Man is a Tool-using Animal. Weak in himself, and of small stature, he stands on a basis, at most for the flattest-soled, of some half square foot, insecurely enough; has to straddle out his legs, lest the very wind supplant him. Feeblest of bipeds! Three quintals are a crushing load for him; the steer of the meadow tosses him aloft, like a waste rag. Nevertheless he can use Tools, can devise Tools: with these the granite mountain melts into light dust before him; seas are his smooth highway, winds and fire his unwearying steeds. Nowhere do you find him without Tools; without Tools he is nothing, with Tools he is all." –– Thomas Carlyle
Human beings are somewhat dependent on feelings of power and agency in their own lives. We become depressed and anxious when we have no control over things. Is it any wonder then that those who are anxious and depressed would be drawn to guns? Is it not reasonable to watch our guns closely so that they not be put in the hands of those who do not have legitimate use for them, and would it not also be reasonable to employ all in the use of real tools toward the creation of useful beauty?

Both the Hindu and the American Sioux recognized the close relationship between the power to create and the power to destroy. Those powers are invested in the human hand. Those powers are multiplied by the tools (even as simple as a stick) that we've created.

Should people be legally entitled to own weapons to bring down airliners? Should they carry flame throwers into their local shopping malls? Should they own bazookas and other effective arms designed only for killing folks? If you think so, perhaps you should join the NRA and fight for the unrestricted right to bear arms and insist along with them and the president that our schools become heavily armed camps.

On the other hand, if you think we need education to take place in schools that are engaged in their communities instead of sequestered from community life, put real tools in the hands of kids. Engage schools and students in community life. Enable them to discover their power to create, not destroy.

Today my high school students will help clean the wood shop at ESSA in preparation for a Stateline Woodturner's Group meeting tomorrow. Yesterday I delivered the boats to Clear Spring School. 

Make, fix and create...

1 comment:

  1. I fully agree that the idea of arming teachers is silly. I used to concealed-carry when I was younger (in part because I was in the woods working closely with bears, and in part because I'd had neighbors/coworkers who had encountered a strong need for defense at various times). I found that the gun was typically more risk than it was worth mostly by becoming embarassed by someone discovering it and assuming the worst, or having it with me when I needed to enter a post office or school. Teachers would risk this or far more in a classroom full of students.

    I also think increased access to mental healthcare sounds good on the surface, but am concerned that it typically results in the pharmaceutical approach, which I've seen to be very ineffective in family members.

    I believe that pharmaceuticals are in fact at the root of our gun problem in this country. Nearly all mass-shooters have been on SSRIs, which are shown to have common side effects of increased agitation, along with decreased empathy and sympathy for others. I suspect that a crowded world which discourages community and engenders anonymity doesn't help either.

    While gun access has actually declined in this country as we become more urbanized (a drop from 51% of households to the current 36% since 1978), there are certainly more "scary" assault rifles available. While these may enable greater casualties, it does not make people *want* to shoot others. So far as I can tell, drugs -- often those pushed by schools to get kids to behave in class -- are most often the catalyst that causes these kids to seek out the firearms.

    Considering how much pharmaceutical advertising would be at risk, there's no wonder that the mainstream media won't touch this subject.