The Hard Bigotry of Rock-Bottom Expectations

by John Holbo on February 23, 2018

1) Obviously this arm-the-teachers idea is going nowhere.
2) Obviously this arm-the-teachers idea is nothing but a ball of unintended, flagrantly terrible consequences waiting to happen. And it would be incredibly costly and legally and administratively challenging just to get to the point of all those bad consequences actually coming about (but see 1).

No one will be talking arming the teachers in two weeks.

Granted, the media treats conservative ideas as presumptively mildly bonkers. This does a disservice to any conservative who wants to buck their party by proposing something not-bonkers. But this also allows conservatives to propose things that are seriously bonkers, and everyone knows it – including conservatives – without being called out on the magnitude of it. Since seriously bonkers isn’t far from mildly bonkers, which is normal, it isn’t news. We argue about the degree to which Trump is an aberration or a continuation of what came before. One way in which he continues what came before is, actually, in his Tweet style. For a long time, conservatives have deployed the shiny object strategy of crazy, off-the-cuff, obviously-going-nowhere policy proposals as loopy distractions. (If a Democrat tried this, it wouldn’t work. They are expected to be serious, so they’d get called on it.)

So the soft bigotry of low expectations slips into the hard bigotry or rock-bottom expectations, which gets covered by the convention that conservative ideas can only be treated as mildly bonkers, otherwise it would be media bias.

So let’s just get it over with. How low can you go? Conservatives have two policy levers: tax cuts for the rich and the solution to too many guns is more guns. I don’t see how pulling the first one will help. So let’s keep cranking the second. Suppose we just fill all public schools, waist deep, with guns. Every school will be like those ball pits in IKEA, only instead of balls, the kids will be wallowing in thousands and thousands of guns. The guns will all have the safety on. (We aren’t crazy. Gun safety is important.) And (this is the clever part) only 1 in 10 will be loaded. So any would-be shooter has to contend with this. First, it’s hard to get anywhere, because you are wading in guns. Second, no would-be shooter would just pick up one of these guns and start firing. Because there’s only a 1-in-10 chance it’s loaded. But if a shooter is there, and you are trying to hide in the guns – hell, you might as well try shooting one. And if there are, like, 10 people trying to hide in the guns, probably one of the guns will turn out to be loaded.

I submit that this plan is no worse than the plan the President is currently touting. Because 1) it won’t happen; 2) it’s obviously a terrible idea.

Alternatively, we can allow Amazon to deliver guns via drone, to any school address, in 15 minutes of less or your gun is free.

Third idea: Uber, but for guns.

{ 107 comments }

1

dax 02.23.18 at 6:05 am

“No one will be talking arming the teachers in two weeks.”

Surely Fox News will be.

It’s come out that the (trained) armed guard at Florida stayed out of the high school rather than confront the shooter. Why an armed teacher would do better, is not clear to me.

2

nastywoman 02.23.18 at 6:16 am

everybody should arm himself and do it the good ole wild-west-way – that would be historical correct – Right?

3

Ben 02.23.18 at 6:26 am

There’s another policy lever the GOP has – incontinent bombing – which thankfully can be adapted:

The military buries one (1) MOAB under one (1) school to remote detonate in case of a school shooting

and doesn’t disclose which school (obviously)

4

faustusnotes 02.23.18 at 7:16 am

Require all gun owners to be insured, and require the NRA to provide the insurance. See how quickly they start demanding gun control when they’re on the hook for the payouts.

5

Z 02.23.18 at 7:46 am

The military buries one (1) MOAB under one (1) school to remote detonate in case of a school shooting and doesn’t disclose which school (obviously)

Wouldn’t that greatly increase the number of school shooting, though? Because ending your killing spree in a MOAB detonation is awesome?

Seriously, though, as Sandwichman said in the other thread, the way to politically engage with these people is not through debate. Vote them out and be done with it (about that, thanks to Jordan Ellenberg’s blog, I have heard of Scott Walker’s impressive achievements in textual analysis, syntax and legislative interpretation, I wonder what Harry has to say about it).

6

fgw 02.23.18 at 7:56 am

I hope you’re right but I’m afraid gun rights is the issue the Republicans want right now. This idea isn’t any stupider than the Wall, so don’t underestimate Trump’s marketing ability. They desperately need to hold the House, this is the issue that can close the “intensity gap” and get a few more Republicans to the polls. They don’t need much.

7

ph 02.23.18 at 8:08 am

I like firing weapons, I just don’t like cleaning them. Bullets are expensive and worrying about losing the weapon, or having it stolen, make darts, or billiards a better option for hand-eye exercises. I don’t like to take other toys away from others, but I can’t see myself moving my family to any place where people carry weapons for ‘protection.’

That said, if one is living in a place where folks carry weapons, and where schools require armed authority figures, it isn’t clear to me that blaming the NRA for FBI and local law-enforcement failures is going to persuade that very active gun-owning percentage of the US gun-owning population that they and the NRA are to blame for the Florida shootings.

The CNN town hall is being touted as a ‘gift in kind’ to the NRA for transforming a ‘healing process’ into an anti-second amendment guilt trip. Our moral superiors get to gloat, but trying to shame folks who had nothing to do with the shooting at all is going to accomplish what, exactly?

The whole second-amendment (nonsense) is built around the idea that the citizen, not the government, is better-equipped to solve problems. In many cases the government can. But when the Feds drop the ball, and the local cop assigned to protect the kids is too scared, or confused, to ‘run towards the guns,’ this might not be the best time to demand that gun-owing citizens just relax and just trust Trump and company.

Dems could have done what they wanted in 2008-10, but chose not. Get it? When Dems had the chance to actually, you know, do something, Dems chose to reward the banksters, make big pharma and big insurance richer, and double down on drone-strikes, endless war, violent regime-change, and the practices of the Cheney-Bush security state.

Change!

8

ph 02.23.18 at 8:51 am

Hi John, re: nobody will be talking about arming teachers in two weeks. Nobody you know, maybe. But CNN denying the ‘arm the teachers’ survivor the opportunity to make that case at the town hall has ensured that ‘arming the teachers’ is very much going to be talked about for a lot longer than two weeks. And the next time there’s a school shooting, a whole lot more districts are going to be allowing teachers to ‘carry.’ (I’m so old I can remember when schools didn’t even need metal detectors.) Trying to pretend that arming teachers is a non-starter and beyond the pale is a lot like arguing that Donal Trump can’t possible become president. More and more counties are going to vote to allow school employees to carry. The only real question is where fire-arms training and expertise will be required for a teaching certificate.
https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/morning-mix/wp/2016/04/14/across-the-country-school-districts-are-quietly-arming-teachers-for-the-next-shooting/?utm_term=.99f8eeed1b1b

9

ph 02.23.18 at 9:00 am

I checked your NYT (Trump can never be elected) link. I’m surprised you trust that gang to get anything right. The AP provides a reality-based discussion here: http://www.al.com/news/index.ssf/2018/02/alabama_not_the_only_state_con.html on arming teachers.

‘Similar discussions have taken place in Kentucky, Colorado, North Carolina and Alabama in recent days and Wisconsin’s attorney general said he’s open to the idea.

“Our students do not need to be sitting ducks. Our teachers do not need to be defending themselves with a No. 2 pencil,” Rep. Will Ainsworth said in proposing a bill days after the Valentine’s Day shooting in Florida.’

10

bad Jim 02.23.18 at 9:29 am

In a world characterized by increasing complexity and global interconnection, in which advanced skills are at a premium, and the education of the young the highest priority, it makes perfect sense to train students how best to respond to the prospect of their slaughter.

11

engels 02.23.18 at 9:40 am

I agree with this but with the following improvement: all classes should be replaced with gun-related subjects. Firing guns, gun tactics, gun history, that sort of thing. Replace all sports with shooting practice and the school band with the 21 gun salute. All classrooms to be equipped with 3D printers so which pupils can use to manufacture new guns every morning and when they return from lunch.

12

John Holbo 02.23.18 at 9:57 am

Well, ph, maybe I’m an optimist. Otherwise, here’s my prediction for 2020.

Hot! Suicide by teacher!

Not! Showing up later than 2 hours before your 1st period class, so you can clear the ESA (Educational Security Agency – the new sister to the TSA) pre-class check.

Yay freedom!

13

casmilus 02.23.18 at 10:35 am

In the utopian SF novel about future America that I am writing, the problem is solved by banning the manufacture of bullets. There are a few details that I leave out for space reasons.

14

Moz of Yarramulla 02.23.18 at 11:20 am

I’m still boggling at the idea that you can defend yourself with a gun. I thought the best you could hope for is a counter-attack that doesn’t kill too many bystanders. Maybe if it was a really big gun, like an old school mortar, you crawl inside and lock a cap in place over the end of the barrel?

Not to mention that the armed individuals at mass shootings overwhelming seem to hide or run away. Didn’t the most recently attacked school have an armed guard? I think running away is sensible of them, but it does rather suggest that having more armed people in schools isn’t necessarily going to help kill people with guns. I mean, “bad people with guns”, because the bad people are always blatantly obviously bad.

15

M Caswell 02.23.18 at 11:36 am

I heard it argued for the first time a few months back that all adult males should be required to carry a gun, upon penalty of a stiff fine. Not doing so was shirking one’s social responsibility, it was claimed.

16

RichT 02.23.18 at 11:47 am

Arming teachers, quite apart from all the other reasons why it’s an obscene idea, will just transfer the problem to some other soft target. Once all the schools are behind barbed wire and armed guards then gun enthusiasts will just go after shopping malls, or sports events, or concerts (already done that), or swimming pools, or parties. I know some Republicans seriously suggest ‘hardening’ all these too but, well, words fail me to be honest.

17

Mike Huben 02.23.18 at 12:40 pm

There is a simple second amendment solution. Make everyone who owns or holds a gun a member of the militia, which will be well-regulated by the states. Well-regulated means not only trained, but also enlisted (documented) and subject to rules, including rules for storage and handling of guns outside of militia exercises. The rules can also have severe penalties for violation, including court martial.

I’d love to hear the anti-government gun owners scream about that!

18

nastywoman 02.23.18 at 2:19 pm

– all these suggestion to solve the problem are so… so ”practical” or may we call it ”political” but driving across ”the homeland” and having reached only Oklahoma -(and there will be Fort Smith for lunch and Memphis for dinner) makes one believe that one needs some other ”tools” in order to change ”deep seated cultural believes” in ”the correcting ability of bullets” – and it isn’t ”insurance” as Goethes Faust might have suggested – as Germans -(and Japanese?) might believe in insurance – but no ”Real” American believes in something silly as ”Freedom Restricting Insurance” –

Right?
So I suggest – one needs to take the whole thing ”right over the cliff” -(the way US took this presidents-thingy over the cliff by electing an orange f-moron) – and so only ”practical thing” will to have every American to carry a weapon from birth -(if she or he doesn’t carry constantly already?) – like my mom has in the homeland her little shooter always in her purse – as you never know – right?
-(and pepper spray is so inefficient)

19

bianca steele 02.23.18 at 3:42 pm

And people who care about their kids getting shot (and have lucked into the money for tuition) will pull them out of the public schools, thus solving at least one other Republican desideratum.

I misread @31 as “suicide by student,” presumably to get out of having to teach in that environment.

20

Ian Maitland 02.23.18 at 3:51 pm

“Because … it’s obviously a terrible idea.”

Surely the greater the gravity of the crisis, the more that analysis and evidence are called for? Not just an appeal to the obvious. This is no time for kneejerk reflexes and virtue signaling. The stakes are too high.

Don’t get me wrong. In an ideal America I’d wave a wand and disappear all guns (well, with some exceptions).

But we don’t live in an ideal America, and we are running out of options. In today’s New York Times a front-page article has the headline “Shootings Led to Tougher Gun Laws, but to What End?” The authors report that “Experts are uncertain about the extent to which gun control laws have improved safety and curbed violence.”

So is the idea of arming teachers — forget its source — so terrible? I assume the teachers would be volunteers (is it necessary to point that out). They would pass background checks (for what that is worth) and undergo training. It surely isn’t beyond the wit of man to devise safes for the guns (and Kevlar vests?) that can be opened only using a PIN number and/or fingerprint. Likewise the gun might be operable only by a person with the an authorized fingerprint.

Might there be unintended consequences (?teachers going off the rails). Of course there might, but when aren’t there? and how do the risks and benefits compare?

And so on. I am no expert, but let’s give this idea its day in court rather than thinking with our viscera.

21

CJColucci 02.23.18 at 4:06 pm

Mike Huben: Sounds good to me.

22

dilbert dogbert 02.23.18 at 4:34 pm

If USan’s want to kick the NRA in the funding nads, they should treat guns the same as cars are treated. That would kill the gun market which is a significant source of funding.

23

al 02.23.18 at 4:48 pm

@17 “Make everyone who owns or holds a gun a member of the militia…”

An excellent idea although I’d fine tune it to all those who own a semi-automatic center-fire rifle (I’d probably be out of place showing up with my cap lock muzzle loader). This would function as a de facto ban on assault rifles.

@7. “Dems could have done what they wanted in 2008-10, but chose not. Get it?”

No, no and no. This is simply dishonest.

1. Al Franken wasn’t seated until July due to Republicans contesting his election.

2. Ted Kennedy was dying and then he did and was replaced a few months later with a Republican.

3. Robert Byrd was ailing.

4. 58 Dems had to caucus with two independents in order to get to 60. One of those two was Joe Lieberman.

5. The two parties aren’t equivalent. Dems were even more ideologically diverse (Ben Nelson) and regionally diverse (Lincoln, Landrieu, Baucus, Nelson) in 2008 (BTW you mean 2009 – 2011). Reps are mostly a Leninist type vanguard for movement conservatism and are way more disciplined.

In order for a Democratically controlled Senate to function as Pelosi’s House did we would need a few more states to flip blue California-like (thank you Pete Wilson!).

24

John Holbo 02.23.18 at 4:50 pm

It’s fair to ask these questions, Ian, although I literally can’t conceive that the numbers would be good.

Let me favor you with some back of the envelope.

There are currently 300 million guns in the US. There are 100,000 public schools. Let’s say 10 guns per school. That might be on the high side, but it might be on the low side. Each school might need more than 1 gun on duty at a time, and there might be multiple people working part time, each with their own guns. So: 1,000,000 guns. So: a .0033 percent increase in the gun population. Wikipedia says there were roughly 100,000 gun deaths and injuries in the US in 2013 (75% injuries, 25% deaths, roughly.) That aggregates homicide, suicide, negligent discharge and some undetermined cases. I don’t really see any reason to assume the numbers will be much better for the new guns. But I’ll leave out the homicides, leaving only the suicides and accidental discharge numbers. (This is overwhelmingly suicide. Suicide is the killer with guns.) The yearly total for the new guns should be something like: 75 deaths, maybe three times that many non-fatal injuries?

And that’s assuming none of these guns are used for homicides and that having them in regular use in schools doesn’t increase the chance that they are involved in suicide or accidents. Even assuming that we manage to deter 100% of school shooters with this project, which seems optimistic, we will still find ourselves significantly in the red, as it were.

25

John Holbo 02.23.18 at 4:55 pm

The problem is really that school shootings are especially horrifying, but the real killer is handguns as implements of suicide. To turn schools into dystopian bunkers, just for the sake of driving up the suicide rate marginally, seems non-optimal.

26

ph 02.23.18 at 4:58 pm

Just listened to the Trumpster at CPAC. If Democrats plan on demonizing gun-owners to get elected, they’d best check Ian @ 20. Nothing is guaranteed to get CPAC part of the Republican vote out like promising to change the second Amendment. The Jonah Goldbert, David Frum, Max Boot gang are done and dusted. I didn’t hear the whole speech, but not a peep about cutting the deficit, or exporting democracy at gun-point.

Trump calls for trained experienced fire-arm familiar teachers and school staff invested in the well-being of students they nurture every day to be given the freedom and responsibility to keep schools safe. Trump hit 50 percent. Too many Dems are still invested in the piss-dossier unicorn to magically render Trump impeachable. Unlikely.

At some point, maybe, folks will be able to understand that Trump is a formidable adversary. To many here, he sounds nuts. But even when he’s shoving both feet in his yap tweeting at 3:00 am he’s got better messaging skills than any of his opponents. His supporters don’t (much) care what kind of nonsense he spews, cause they trust him to come up with solutions that sound good – to them – ideas like tax cuts for corporations and others to motivate companies to repatriate cash and put 1000 ‘crumbs’ in the pockets of ordinary folks. I’ll restate my own view – I wouldn’t live in a place where ordinary folks carried weapons for protection. I expect many parents who do will take great comfort in Trump’s proposal to arm a specific subset of teachers.

Too many Dems still believe piss-dossier is going to free them from doing anything more difficult than wailing about Hitler. I wanted to connect all this to Space Aliens Hack 2018 election, but I can’t bothered to go back for the link to the Weekly World News. Good luck with all this.

27

John Holbo 02.23.18 at 5:00 pm

I realize it’s something of a fallacy to assume the suicide rate will just climb in linear fashion with the available gun supply. Obviously there has to be a limit to that. If we had a 3 billion new guns in the US I doubt that 100,000 would kill themselves, therefore. But, that said, I don’t think it’s unreasonable to think that more guns means more suicide. More opportunity. More chances for that impulse to find expression.

28

John Holbo 02.23.18 at 5:02 pm

“Trump is a formidable adversary. To many here, he sounds nuts.”

I think it’s naive of you to assume a formidable adversary can’t both sound and genuinely be nuts, ph.

29

Sebastian H 02.23.18 at 6:02 pm

Arming teachers is bad for a number of reasons. A big one is that is likely to get a bunch more innocent black students killed because they accidentally ‘scared’ a teacher. This is also why lowering the burden of proof on sexual assault in schools is likely to hit black males particularly hard—too many people code them as scary enough for extreme reactions.

30

bianca steele 02.23.18 at 6:44 pm

Can they be made to care by linking guns to suicide? Well, I was just at a kids’ movie this week and the first trailer was for a story about a real life HS volleyball player who died and inspired her teammates to greatness. Their slogan was “live like Line.” As far as I could tell, this involved riding a motorcycle without a helmet. So I’m guessing they can’t.

31

dbk 02.23.18 at 6:57 pm

Two thoughts I had independent of this post earlier this week:

1) Hire an armed guard for every classroom in the country. 1:1 teacher-guard ratio. Advantage: will double the cost of education. Btw, this will hold for public schools, charters, and private schools – nobody escapes armed guards in classrooms.
2) Merit pay is a big thing for teachers. How about a federal program “Merit pay for Marksmanship”?

I also thought of Mike Huben’s militia idea, but he got there first.

On a serious note: I’ve been looking at a few statistics too – they’re tricky and ambiguous given changing ownership, registration laws, etc., so there’s usually an explicit caveat when they’re cited. Approximately 60% of Americans own no gun at all. So about 40% of Americans own 100% of all civilian guns. 37% own one-half the civilian guns (1-2, max. 7 guns), and 3% own the other half (between 8 and 140 guns each). About 7.7 million people own approx. 150 million guns.

I wonder sometimes why 60% (or 97%) of the American population is losing this debate.

32

Sebastian H 02.23.18 at 7:32 pm

The link between gun ownership and suicide rate is pretty sketchy. As a group that thinks of ourselves as fact oriented, I wouldn’t hang too much on it. A bunch of the research focuses on gun suicides which is kind of missing the point. Also much of the research appears to code Canada as a low gun state, which is not true at all. And nearly all of the research wants to avoid talking about Japan (it is almost always specifically excluded) since it has the very highest suicide rates and the very lowest gun ownership rates in the developed world.

https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/the-new-brain/201607/fact-check-gun-control-and-suicide

Basically the current thinking on suicide/impulsivity/available means (with important caveats being that psychology is a baby-science so we should be cautious about believing its findings either way) is that for super impulsive possibilities (like jumping off a bridge where you can easily clear the guardrails) small hurdles can save lives. So putting up a net that is somewhat hard to get around, or making the guard fence a bit on the high side can help. But beyond that you end up pretty much just moving around the suicide method (especially with men who use the harder to recover from methods of attempted suicide).

Possible counter argument is the recent Swiss study suggesting that if you reduce mandatory conscription rates by half (reducing the availability of guns to the general population) you can get a small decrease in suicides (about 30 per year in Switzerland). It seems weird to me that other explanations aren’t discussed (like the concept that conscripting 200,000 fewer men might make them happier) but it is evidence in the other direction.

33

J-D 02.23.18 at 7:41 pm

kidneystones

I like firing weapons, I just don’t like cleaning them.

I like anchovies, but I don’t like pawpaw.

Are we restricted to trading miscellaneous facts about our likes and dislikes, or does the game include biographical information of all kinds?

34

Adam Roberts 02.23.18 at 7:46 pm

Your ‘rock bottom’ is the bedrock of the Conservative world-view. In this they (‘they’ from my lefty perspective) have an advantage over us. Conservatism starts from the position that the world is shitty, human nature sinful and corrupt, and strong authority etc needful to restrain our worst impulses. Socialism starts from a more optimistic view of the world, and believes that working together we can make things materially, measurably better. I like to think that I subscribe to the latter view for eyes-open, historically literate reasons, but I would say that, wouldn’t I.

However this different in bedrock gives Conservatives a considerably more teflon practical-politics than lefties. If ‘we’ try something (let’s say, Communism) and it goes wrong, that reflects poorly on our politics. If ‘they’ try something (massive tax cuts that bankrupt the state, looser and looser crazy-people-enabling gun laws) and things go wrong, Conservatives can say, in good faith: but of course, that’s because the world is a shitty place and people are sinful and corrupt.

35

Hey Skipper 02.23.18 at 8:26 pm

2) Obviously this arm-the-teachers idea is nothing but a ball of unintended, flagrantly terrible consequences waiting to happen. And it would be incredibly costly and legally and administratively challenging just to get to the point of all those bad consequences actually coming about.

Are you telling us that school personnel are incapable of something like the FFDO program?

I realize it’s something of a fallacy to assume the suicide rate will just climb in linear fashion with the available gun supply. Obviously there has to be a limit to that. If we had a 3 billion new guns in the US I doubt that 100,000 would kill themselves, therefore. But, that said, I don’t think it’s unreasonable to think that more guns means more suicide.

Except it is completely unreasonable. Essentially confiscating guns had no effect on the suicide rates in England, New Zealand and Australia. The countries with the highest suicide rates — Japan and Korea — have virtually no guns.

36

Heliopause 02.23.18 at 8:27 pm

“Obviously this arm-the-teachers idea is going nowhere.”

Actually, this is already happening in some parts of the country and in large geographical swathes where it hasn’t already people would have few objections to implementing it.

“Obviously this arm-the-teachers idea is nothing but a ball of unintended, flagrantly terrible consequences waiting to happen. “

Agreed, but I think you are seriously misreading how large portions of this country feel about these things. When I was in high school metal detectors, locked buildings during school hours, and armed guards were a crazy idea, now they’re commonplace.

As I type this comment there was just a story on the TV news in the background; 44% are in favor of armed teachers according to a new poll.

37

Mr Spoon 02.23.18 at 8:34 pm

Can any of this be explained conspiratorially as part of the ongoing quest to shift the Overton Window to the right? There’s no compromise on the right: instead, they propose even more stupid solutions that make previous ones seem reasonable by comparison. Armed guards are now in schools. After arming teachers, and the next three big massacres, will come the suggestion for compulsory gun training for students and then issuing every student with a gun. “No student left behind!” they will call it.

38

Pete 02.23.18 at 8:58 pm

Speaking of insurance: https://www.reuters.com/article/us-usa-guns-chubb-ltd-ch/insurer-chubb-says-will-stop-underwriting-nra-insurance-for-gun-owners-idUSKCN1G724A

It seems that at the moment disafiliation pressure seems to be having an affect on companies that have collaborations with the NRA.

39

Katsue 02.23.18 at 9:18 pm

@20

Yes, it is an obviously terrible idea that would, if it was somehow implemented, probably result in more school shootings.

40

Moz of Yarramulla 02.23.18 at 9:31 pm

ph@26 Trump calls for trained experienced fire-arm familiar teachers and school staff invested in the well-being of students they nurture every day to be given the freedom and responsibility to keep schools safe.

Has Trump also offered to fund the training of those teachers, or the training of experienced fire-arm users as teachers? He’s also going to need to fund schools to have gun facilities on site, and access to gun ranges and ammunition for the ongoing training that’s required.

An unfunded mandate on already under-funded schools is not going to happen. Or it will happen at the expense of teaching. Without money this is just thoughts and prayers.

41

politicalfootball 02.23.18 at 10:18 pm

I am no expert, but let’s give this idea its day in court rather than thinking with our viscera.

Sure, the Centers for Disease Control should absolutely be investigating this, but hey, turns out that they’re not allowed to. Nobody who advocates proposals like this wants them investigated, and for good reason.

Lack of good information is absolutely essential to the gun absolutists’ argument.

But just because they are willfully ignorant, that doesn’t mean they are dumb. ph gets me. Ignorance on guns is potentially good politics for Trump, and it’s absolutely essential for anyone who wants to keep an open mind on ridiculous proposals like paying 600,000 teachers to carry guns.

42

alfredlordbleep 02.23.18 at 10:19 pm

Or you could say the I-want-loyalty-figure merely picked up Sarah Palinism or Cheneyism (etc)—

Chait in NY magazine today:
Trump did not invent the bizarre right-wing lies about the shooting survivors that are currently enthralling the right. They are being circulated by long-standing conservatives and echoed by Trump. Trump did not invent the birther theory; he exploited it as a way to build his support among conservatives. And the wild accusations Trump promotes are no loopier than the kinds of claims that have been circulated for decades by such platforms as Rush Limbaugh and The Wall Street Journal editorial page (which accused Bill Clinton of murder and linked him with a cocaine ring, among other fever dreams).

. . . His descent into paranoia is linked with his growing absorption into the right-wing media echo chamber. Trump has not infected conservatism. Conservatism has infected Trump.

43

PatinIowa 02.23.18 at 10:19 pm

“Nobody will be talking about this in two weeks.”

I wish I was sure that there won’t be another school massacre in the next couple weeks. Because if there is, we’ll be talking about arming teachers.

Fun fact: 80% of rounds fired by NYPD officers miss their target. Imagine that in a crowded school.

44

John Quiggin 02.23.18 at 10:29 pm

45

John Quiggin 02.23.18 at 10:33 pm

Mike Huben @17 I was just discussing this same idea. Hard to see how even the current SC could knock back such a natural interpretation of the Second Amendment.

46

Heliopause 02.23.18 at 10:59 pm

@40
“Has Trump also offered to fund the training of those teachers, or the training of experienced fire-arm users as teachers? “

Wouldn’t be surprised if a serious proposal for federal grants to fund arming and training teachers gets made soon. There are already similar initiatives at the state and local level. Seems like a natural for Republicans, the idea is popular with their base.

47

ph 02.24.18 at 12:54 am

The OPs have been very good. The comments have been more mixed. Henry’s recent is a good example. The 2015-16 cycle is old news but remains painfully instructive. Smart people assume they ‘know’ and ‘understand’ conservative arguments. Some commenters here evidently don’t. My biggest surprise here pre-2015 was reading Dsquared describe Glenn Reynolds as a ‘pro-police’ authoritarian, when Reynolds is still much closer to a Ruby Ridge every-citizen-is-a-sovereign-state second amendment purist. And then ‘demand’ evidence when any random sampling of Reynolds’ archive can provide just that.

Bad evidence may motivate the base, but won’t persuade the rational. Many gun-owning Americans are, clearly. Generalizing across culture and time is a very dubious practice. We saw this in JQ’s OP on cars.

I can’t be the only one here who found heaven in the cramped backseat of a VW bug. Cars offer(ed) a generation (of North Americans?) autonomy, mobility, and freedom from parental supervision in much the same way as the internet used to. Yet, the social and cultural benefits of cars never entered the discussion of economies as far as I can recall.

Imagining that Trump is advocating an armed teacher in every classroom (he wasn’t at CPAC) is fun and juvenile. If that’s your approach fine, but don’t forget to factor in the cost of fitting out the teachers and students in nazi uniforms, and then getting prison labor to defer costs – notions that are unlikely and sadly too well-grounded in the existing practices of the non-Trump world.

Every time we buy a chocolate bar for our kids we’re playing our part in child slavery. That’s the current level of anti-NRA discourse. Guess what – it’s not working. There was a great article in the BSECS a few years back on anti-slavery rhetoric in Liverpool, or Bristol. Turns out a very large part of the economy of the city was somehow connected to the slave trade – iron for shackles etc. Winning that argument there involved removing the more vituperative ad homs from the abolition rhetoric.

A significant subset of parents consider it a moral duty to place both the bible and guns in classrooms across the America, one they’d be ecstatic to fund. I’m not sure that mocking the fearful is going to advance other alternatives. As far as this group is concerned, the bible and the right to bear arms are the part of America that works. That’s the argument Condi Rice makes when she describes her father sitting on the family porch while the night-riders were spreading their form of terror.

I’d let the gun-owning community alone, frankly, and even start treating them with respect. The more urgent need in my view is detoxing kids from online dependence, getting drones and 24 hour video surveillance and facial-recognition software banned, and breaking up the Standard Oils of our time.

48

John Holbo 02.24.18 at 1:20 am

“Smart people assume they ‘know’ and ‘understand’ conservative arguments. Some commenters here evidently don’t.”

This is indeed one of my ongoing frustrations with you, ph. But I keep hoping. (You seem smart. But you’ve got blinkers.)

49

John Holbo 02.24.18 at 1:32 am

Quiggin has knocked back Skipper’s pseudo-cites on Australian suicide, so that’s that. Skipper wonders whether I believe it’s possible to have armed officers on planes. I do believe it to be not only possible but actual. But 1) we shouldn’t be trying to turn schools into grand security theaters, like planes and airports. 2) more guns means more suicide and accidents.

And I’m even ignoring the basic argument that, inevitably, some teacher/school guard is going to do something horrible. Or some student is going to commit suicide by teacher. And then we will be dealing with that horror. The best argument for doing nothing effective about the school shooting problem (it is axiomatic that conservatives will do nothing effective about it, so they might as well have the best argument!) is that it is really quite small, numerically. Suicide is a way bigger problem. But the school shootings are still a special sort of horror show. It is monstrous that we have built a society that does this regularly. It is reasonable to say: we have to be able to NOT do this. But the ‘guards in schools’ approach merely adds a special NEW sort of horror show, so now it’s a double-feature about American moral failure. Teachers shooting kids, or kids getting accidental access to guns in school. Buy 1,000,000 guns, put them in school, a few are going to go off accidentally. It’s inevitable.

50

engels 02.24.18 at 1:38 am

I can’t be the only one here who found heaven in the cramped backseat of a VW bug.

T.S. Quint: You know that guy?
Gwen: I went out with him once after we dated. He tried to screw me some place very uncomfortable.
T.S. Quint: What? Like the back of a Volkswagen?

51

John Holbo 02.24.18 at 1:43 am

“I’d let the gun-owning community alone, frankly, and even start treating them with respect. “

You are aware this has been tried, ph? Extensively? We are seeing the results? We are constantly being lectured about the need for more respect for gun culture. But these demands are not symmetrical. Why not insist on some respect for non-gun culture? All the non-gun-owning community really wants, frankly, is to be left alone and treated with respect. And not be shot.

52

Kiwanda 02.24.18 at 1:47 am

Ian:

So is the idea of arming teachers — forget its source — so terrible?

Well, yes.
— As pointed out by this combat veteran and that one, it’s one thing to know how to shoot, it’s quite another to be able to kill someone. Especially a near-suicidal pyschopathic someone with an AR-15, where you have a handgun. The presence of trained, armed personnel at Parkland, at Columbine, at the Pulse nightclub, and in Las Vegas did not prevent anything. Police and soldiers train over and over for weeks to be able to face such desperate situations, and even then, many soldiers in combat don’t fire during an engagement, for a variety of reasons.
— First responders will find it hard to tell “good guys with guns” from “bad guys with guns”
— The more guns, the more accidents, such as the sixty-plus times someone was shot and killed in 2017 when a child picked up a gun, or the 317+ other accidental gun fatalities in 2017.

53

John Holbo 02.24.18 at 1:57 am

“it’s one thing to know how to shoot, it’s quite another to be able to kill someone. Especially a near-suicidal pyschopathic someone with an AR-15, where you have a handgun. The presence of trained, armed personnel at Parkland, at Columbine, at the Pulse nightclub, and in Las Vegas did not prevent anything. “

Erick Erickson is in mourning about this.

https://www.themaven.net/theresurgent/erick-erickson/the-adults-failed-us-government-failed-us-gun-laws-did-not-fail-us-5KaGTDaIuku3g-45xcC6qQ

The adults failed us, gun laws did not fail us.

All that remains, to adapt Bertold Brecht, is to abolish the people and elect a new one who can better serve existing gun laws.

54

ph 02.24.18 at 2:21 am

Hi John, the shooting resulted from failures to detect and treat mental illness. Arming a generally responsible subset of an already heavily over-armed populace seems like a reasonable proposition. Trying to disarm an already extremely highly-motivated set of voters might be a worthy ideal. But given that there people die from morbidity and lifestyle choices I’d say the priority is modelling drug-free, healthy lifestyles. Lots of communities have relatively high numbers of gun-ownership without violence.

With respect, you seem to be trying to have it both ways – guns are out of control and represent a clear and present danger, and people shouldn’t feel the need to own guns. I don’t live in a society with guns, but if I did I’d make sure it was in some place like Utah where responsible gun-ownership seems the norm.

If you want to try win 2018 by demonizing gun-owners I can’t think of a better way to motivate the GOP base. Jim Messina has some interesting observations about intensity levels and losing elections. No link, I’m afraid.

Those who refuse to listen to Trump’s CPAC speech should expect to be surprised, shocked, and disappointed when the 2018 results come in. They claim to fight an enemy they do not respect, do not observe firsthand, and fail to arm themselves against. They understand neither the rhetoric, or the tactics of their declared enemy.

So, as far as filter go, I find the easiest way to get to both sides of any issue is to, you know, do the actual work of listening to both sides of the arguments. Anyone who’s actually listened to Trump’s speech, or read the transcript probably grasps the persuasive power of his arguments. His arguments are simple, clear, and on target: ‘Democrats are coming for your guns.’ He had more, but that was all he really had to say – the crowd roared.’

But go ahead, make his day.

55

John Holbo 02.24.18 at 2:39 am

“Hi John, the shooting resulted from failures to detect and treat mental illness. Arming a generally responsible subset of an already heavily over-armed populace seems like a reasonable proposition.”

As long as you are good with more death overall as the policy direction to take.

Are you willing to accept that trade-off? In exchange for a lot of expense and security theater we secure a marginal increase in the rate of suicides and accidents? Maybe some reductions in school shootings, but probably not enough to outweigh the increase in suicides and accidents? Probably just as much sheer horror, as some accidents happen? That mix of downs and downs and maybe some ups and some downs is optimal to you, as a move off our current situation? It seems to me perverse.

You are right that the situation is very bad and there is no workable policy proposal on the table. But that isn’t a reason to make things positively worse.

Nothing will change until Americans realize that the problem is the large number of guns. And the gun culture that goes with it. Maybe that means we are one nation under Moloch for the foreseeable future. But then the first step is admitting that we are one nation under Moloch. It’s fine to say we know the vast majority of gun owners aren’t shooting up schools. But, so long as the laws that make their lifestyle possible render unto Moloch …

56

J-D 02.24.18 at 2:55 am

In ‘The Smoke Screen’, an episode of Yes, Prime Minister, a health minister proposes the following program, with the intention of massively reducing the rate of cigarette smoking: ‘complete ban on all cigarette sponsorship and advertising, even at the point of sale, £50 million to be spent on anti-smoking publicity, ban smoking in all public places, and progressive deterrent tax rises over the next five years until a packet of 20 costs about the same as a bottle of whisky’. (On the show, for reasons not pertinent here, the proposal is not implemented, but it looks less extreme now than it did at the time of composition, I bet.) How much of that program, I wonder, could be adapted to this issue?

57

John Holbo 02.24.18 at 2:56 am

Here’s another way to put it. School shootings are upsetting to those who identity with gun culture in part because they are a challenge to a cultural axiom. Call it the ‘wolves, sheep and sheepdogs’ ideal.

http://www.slate.com/blogs/browbeat/2015/01/21/american_sniper_s_wolves_sheep_and_sheepdogs_speech_has_a_surprising_history.html

People like the idea that wide-spread private gun ownership means that the US is an especially safe place, due to the preponderance of sheepdogs. The problem is that school shootings look like an increase in the wolf population. But the present point is this: the only solid advantage of the ‘arm teachers’ proposal is that it fits with this ideal vision. People like the idea of kind, safe, well-armed people in schools, guarding the flock. Nothing is more like a flock than a school of little kids. So the proposal is an ideological comfort. It makes people feel ethically ok with gun culture, despite evidence that gun culture is, overall, harmful. Are you willing to turn our schools into dystopian forts just for the sake of offering strictly false comfort to those who are attracted to a myth about their lifestyle?

58

Omega Centauri 02.24.18 at 3:20 am

I think the point ph is trying to make, is that you better be careful which hill is worth fighting abd dying for. Choose poorly, and you lose the war. So ph thinks liberals had better be pretty careful with this issue, it could backfire on us.

I’m not especially good at reading how something is going to play with the masses, particularly when one side seems totally irrational and immoral to me.

59

John Holbo 02.24.18 at 3:24 am

ph: “So, as far as filter go, I find the easiest way to get to both sides of any issue is to, you know, do the actual work of listening to both sides of the arguments.”

Probably you are getting a bit tired of me telling you you are naive, ph. But here goes. It’s not enough to do just this. You have to think about how it all fits together not just at the level of argument but at the level of psychology. People don’t always think the way they argue, to put it mildly. You also have to consider alternatives. You point out that Trump is going to fire up the NRA crowd. Well, obviously. But the question is: is there way to speak out in favor of gun control without firing up the NRA crowd? No. Then what. Arguably, just ignore the problem. Literally pretend these school shootings don’t happen. Whistle past the graveyard But is that going to work? Is that the way to fire up the progressive base? No. Would that case the NRA crowd to calm down? Maybe a bit. But gun culture is culturally imperial. The NRA needs enemies so, if there is unilateral surrender on one front, a new front will be opened. That’s just the logic of an organization that needs to preserve itself. It needs a mission so mission accomplished means mission creep. How not? You are basically just listening to conservative arguments, accepting them, and stopping. I don’t deny that you should listen to conservative arguments. But just accepting them, out of cultural politeness, if nothing else, is not sufficient for progressive politics, to put it mildly.

60

ph 02.24.18 at 3:29 am

Hi John, Thanks for the finely-crafted reply. Toilets are finished and I’m on my to other tasks. Spectacular fine day here in Tokyo, btw. Re: my lack of clarity. ‘Within an already heavily overly armed population, arming a generally responsible subset of said populace seems like a reasonable proposition.” Not one I personally advocate. Apologies for the lack of emphasis. I don’t own weapons and don’t want to own weapons, but it seems silly to ignore their intense cross-cultural and deeply-ingrained social appeal. The link on the other thread to our PM dressing up like an Indian is a case in point. Sikhs must carry the kirpan: http://reason.com/blog/2014/10/27/if-sikhs-can-bring-knives-into-schools-w

I’m generally very sympathetic to the anti-gun argument. We strongly disagree, however, in the methods of getting guns out of the hands of the fearful and of those bound up in American mythology. You do not look like idiots or nazis to me. Most Americans seem like wonderful people working to resolve difficult problems and very often doing a good job. Repatriating off-shore cash does seem like a good idea to me. So too with borders and selective, legal immigration policies.

Screaming Hitler is coming and the GOP wants sick people to die doesn’t sound like a reasonable and fair-minded assessment of voters who pull the lever for Trump. And until Democrats stop screaming and start reacting to ‘reasonable sounding propositions’ with ‘reasonable sounding propositions’ of their own (and ones that factor in social and cultural cost) instead of shrieks and bleets, Dems are going to continue to lose. Most voters would dump Trump in a heartbeat, if they were presented with a real alternative instead of dynastic succession. That’s how you look to me.

Watch the speech, btw, listening to the blowhard won’t take up all of your brain and you can key your attention level to audience response levels to replay the parts where the Trumpster pulls their heart-strings just so.

61

John Holbo 02.24.18 at 3:47 am

“And until Democrats stop screaming and start reacting to ‘reasonable sounding propositions’ with ‘reasonable sounding propositions’ of their own (and ones that factor in social and cultural cost) instead of shrieks and bleets, Dems are going to continue to lose.”

The problem, I think, ph, is that people have been taking your advice so comprehensively, for so long, that your favored form of solution is not currently available. There has long been a convention of bending over backwards to understand and respect gun culture. There has not been a symmetrical convention of bending over backwards to understand why people might like non-gun culture. As a result, there is a reality distortion field that causes any actually reasonable proposals to reduce gun violence to be processed as shrieking and bleating, whereas shrieking and bleating somehow comes out seeming reasonable – the sort of thing that commands obligatory cultural respect and chin-scratching. This is the point of my post. The proposal to turn schools into forts – or airports – is obviously counter-productive. But, the cultural climate of the debate being what it is, it seems kind of reasonable. I object to the situation in which bonkers stuff sounds reasonable. I deny that the way to deal with the problem is to jolly people along by pretending I think the bonkers stuff sounds reasonable.

Maybe the solution is to give up on this front and focus on climate change instead because it’s more important. But to unilaterally surrender before the frankly imperial designs of the NRA is dangerous. It wouldn’t be just the status quo. It would mean things are going to get steadily worse and worse. If surrender isn’t it, then I fail to see how reframing the conversation isn’t the first step. But that means precisely not just accepting the other side’s frame, out of politeness, as a condition of getting the conversation started. I really don’t want a conversation that starts by granting all the NRA’s basic claims and attitudes as axioms.

62

ph 02.24.18 at 4:36 am

John, your compelling arguments are difficult to ignore. So, I’ll close with this and you can respond as you like. I come at these issues as a cultural historian and of course through my own experiences. Slavery and its legitimacy isn’t an axiom, but can be a frame. It was also a historical norm well outside the tiny place and period so many love to fixate on. The same goes for the religious and cultural power of weapons and the warrior. It’s less a question of bending the knee to the NRA (and somehow I have great deal of difficulty imaging you doing so) than understanding the power of mythology and how to persuade and win, which you evidently see as a form of surrender. What Trump does to such great effect is co-opt language. There’s great blogggingheads up now with Robert Wright and Greg Gutfield that touches on this and on Trump as the voice of the old, in the larger sense.

Making mythology and respect for history the core of the discussion, I suggest, is a better approach. Listening to the pope lecture about the evils of promiscuity and abortion is grating. Listening to an HIV-positive person speak of the need for safe-sex practices is usually riveting. Cultural change comes from within. The gun community is one that needs to reform itself. Stigmatizing gun ownership might work, but I doubt it.

And that’s it!!!

63

Chet Murthy 02.24.18 at 6:37 am

To ph:There’s one big problem with these ammosexuals — they don’t actually believe their own bullshit. The ghosts of Tamir Rice, John Crawford, and Philando Castile, are here to tell you why. Listen carefully.

This is about racism. Yeah, I *know*, you don’t wanna believe that. You wanna believe that all these pasty-white ammosexuals are sincere. They’re not. They dream of killing The Frighteningly Large and Menacing Black Man. That’s it.

Noeed *even* *more* proof? You won’t find them advocating that civilians be able to own arsenals of grenades. Or C4 plastic explosive. Why? Because you can’t kill the Large And Frightening Black Man with that shit, dude. So how could it be a constitutional right?

You don’t argue with assholes who deal in bad faith. You find a way to vote them out of power. B/c there’s nothing to be gained by meeting them halfway. That’s the modern right-wing in America, dude.

64

Moz of Yarramulla 02.24.18 at 8:18 am

ammosexuals — they don’t actually believe their own…

Surely not? I thought there was huge push by the NRA to defend all those black men shot by police because “he looked like he might have a gun”? And to make sure the cops always, always look first to defend the right of any citizen to carry a firearm in any situation?

The idea that black men should always carry a gun so they can defend themselves against rogue cops is one of the main reasons for keeping the second amendment . Isn’t that the NRA line? Or maybe I’m thinking of Malcolm X.

You’d have to be a particularly racist cop to look at a group of 12 year old “black men” all carrying AR-15’s and decide that today was the day for a bit of KKK-style thuggery. And you’d only do it once, I reckon, because either the kids or their parents would step in and “the best solution to a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun”. Exit racist cop stage right.

65

Z 02.24.18 at 10:41 am

Maybe the solution is to give up on this front and focus on climate change instead because it’s more important.

The solution is to get each and every Democratic politician (or non-Republican politician) to publicly pledge his support for a comprehensive package of gun laws in tune with the international consensus. You write to your D candidate, or you ask during the primary. Then, once every non-R has taken this pledge, it is then end of the story.

No discussion, no debate, no argument. Every D has pledged it, next topic. “But what about the Second amendment?” Next topic. “But how are you going to enforce it?” Next topic. “But isn’t this losing us the 2018 mid-term/2020/the 2022 mid-term…” Next topic. Debate is pointless, trying to convince the other side is pointless, listening to both sides is pointless. Even granting that there is a debate on this topic is admitting defeat. This is not how politics works, almost ever, anyway. Certainly not in the US in 2018 about guns.

66

Stephen 02.24.18 at 12:00 pm

Only somewhat at a tangent: in the NI troubles, there were a fair number of people with access to serious firearms, who sometimes did atrocious things. There were, and still are, religiously segregated schools (and if you want to argue that was a major cause of the troubles, I would agree, but it’s not obvious what could be done about it). And yet, despite the other atrocities, republicans never shot at state schools, loyalists never shot at Catholic schools.

I wonder why not?

67

Layman 02.24.18 at 12:23 pm

ph: “With respect, you seem to be trying to have it both ways – guns are out of control and represent a clear and present danger, and people shouldn’t feel the need to own guns.“

The problem with your entire argument isn’t the part where you say it will be bad politics for Dems or the left to campaign on the issue of banning guns – whether some of them or all of them. The problem is your insistence that Trump’s proposal to arm teachers is a reasonable alternative proposal. It isn’t, for lots of reasons, beginning with the fact that it is incoherent.

Trump says he wants to arm 10%, or 20%, or 40% of teachers at a school rather than have to have 100 or 150 security guards. He’s ignorant of how many teachers there are at a school, or he thinks that 20 or 40 school teachers with guns will be more effective than 100 or 150 security guards.

The core of the argument is the NRA’s ‘good guy with a gun’ nonsense. There’s basically no track record at all for the proposition that people are safer if ‘good guys’ carry guns. Has there ever been a mass shooting anywhere stopped by a civilian with a gun? No. Why not? CNN reports that through the first week of February, 14 cops in the US have been shot and killed in the line of duty. Presumably they were armed, and at least as well-trained as any teacher; but they’re dead anyway, despite the ‘good guy with a gun’ theory.

How many teachers will volunteer to carry the guns? We don’t know. If none do, will some be forced to as a condition of employment? We don’t know. Will they carry them on their person, or will they be locked up somewhere? We don’t know. If they carry them on their person, won’t they be targets for someone much better armed then they are, as cops are? If they don’t carry them on their person, won’t they be irrelevant to the situation?

Who will buy the guns? Who will own them? Will teachers be shielded from liability for shooting the wrong person? Will teachers be charged with a duty to protect, so that they are liable if they fail to respond to a shooting in the proper way? I note that people on the right are lining up to crucify the cop at Parkland, despite the fact that he was almost certainly trained to call for backup in such a situation, e.g. alone and facing an unknown number of armed assailants in a sprawling, enclosed space.

Trump himself acknowledged that most mass shootings last a very short time, usually just a few minutes. If that’s the case, how will it help to arm a fraction of the teachers? We don’t know. There was an armed security guard or cop – or more than one – at many of these mass shooting incidents, and it made no difference. Why suppose an armed teacher would make a difference? We don’t know.

It is a proposal of the kind he often makes: ill-informed, ill-considered, ineffective, practically impossible to implement, and uttered solely for the purpose of inciting hatred for the other among his base.

I wonder that you can say it sounds reasonable. I don’t actually believe you think it is reasonable on the merits; it seems to be the case that you’ll simply endorse anything he says, probably because you share his goals.

68

Lee A. Arnold 02.24.18 at 2:06 pm

It’s “concern trolling”. There is NO problem of breaking the cultural norm. In the U.S., 95% of the people want universal comprehensive background checks. 80% want increased access to mental health care. 70% want a ban on semi-automatic assault weapons. The current “cultural” situation is due to the capture of politicians by the gun manufacturer’s lobby posing as a hobby club.

69

Jim Harrison 02.24.18 at 6:29 pm

The reasonable people of the U.S. will need convince the gun loving minority that they are wrong. What we need to do is to convince them that they’re beaten At least in the short run, they need to be defeated, not reasoned with

70

Chet Murthy 02.24.18 at 8:15 pm

The problem is your insistence that Trump’s proposal to arm teachers is a reasonable alternative proposal. It isn’t

Thanks to Layman, I decided I ought to address “ph”‘s position. B/c truthfully, I think ph’s a gun-nut, and is arguing in bad faith. But hey, let’s pretend that he actually believes in arming teachers. I’ll go down a different path from Layman, and, assuming that teachers WILL want to be armed, note that:

(1) it takes enormous amounts of training to get a civilized human to be able to pull the trigger and kill another human
(2) even after that, it takes MORE training to get them to be effective at it.
[studies done after WWII found that most soldiers were unwilling to shoot at their opponents — this revolutionized training for Vietnam, using operant conditioning to teach soldiers not to shoot at the -man-, but at the -target-. Just so, today soldiers today shoot at shoulders, not men.]
(3) And such training needs to be repeated consistently and frequently, or it wears off.
(4) and even with such training, in pressure situations a very high percentage of bullets miss their targets
(5) highly-trained guards did nothing, and could have done nothing in Las Vegas. They can only have an effect in close-in firefights. Sniper situations? Fugeddaboudit.
(6) All those guns in schools need to be secured, make massive targets for theft, and every teacher who isn’t on top of their game, is a walking target, waiting to be disarmed. Hey presto, the shooter has another gun! Maybe you don’t remember how flabby your teachers were. In my high school, several of the coaches approached a single characteristic dimension ….
…. and the list goes on and on and on ….
(*) When law enforcement arrives, everybody holding a gun is a possible perp. This is a recipe for a bloodbath.

71

J-D 02.24.18 at 10:06 pm

I’d let the gun-owning community alone, frankly, and even start treating them with respect.

Is it comedy month at Crooked Timber? First we had our premier user of diffuse abstractions (bruce wilder) complaining about the use of diffuse abstractions, and now we have respect advocated by the commenter whose comments are most suffused with mockery.

72

ph 02.25.18 at 12:14 am

@67 Please do not put words in my mouth. I do not support the arming of teachers. Given a choice between Trump and the current crop of Republican and Democratic partly duds, Trump still stands head and shoulders above; and the proof of that is that he continues to beat the crap out of the opposition in part because he champions reasonable sounding propositions – like standing during the national anthem.

Arming teachers (contra the OP) sounds reasonable to a significant subset of your own overly-armed populace. Do you deny that fact? – the 44 percent who already agree?

A free gun-safety class for teachers offered in Ohio filled in minutes, enrollment was expanded from 20 to 50 and then 300. I doubt with your busy retirement schedule you have the time to volunteer at any local schools, but were you that sort, surely a former military man like you would at least consider packing if that meant keeping children alive.

Or, maybe you wouldn’t.

http://thehill.com/blogs/blog-briefing-room/news/374802-hundreds-sign-up-for-concealed-weapons-class-in-ohio-county

https://edition.cnn.com/2018/02/20/us/ohio-concealed-weapons-sheriff/index.html

73

J-D 02.25.18 at 1:16 am

Please do not put words in my mouth.

No sooner do I speculate about the possibility that it’s comedy month than we are favoured with an encore.

74

Faustusnotes 02.25.18 at 2:12 am

Since pH is back, a reminder to all the good folks here not to engage with him. This thread has been thoroughly hijacked, given the mods won’t ban him I again (as I always do) recommend doing as i do: don’t read his comments and don’t reply to him.

75

Layman 02.25.18 at 12:58 pm

ph @ 72: “Please do not put words in my mouth. I do not support the arming of teachers.”

ph @ 54: “Arming a generally responsible subset of an already heavily over-armed populace seems like a reasonable proposition.”

If you can’t be clear and consistent, kidneystones, that isn’t my fault.

76

Layman 02.25.18 at 1:13 pm

ph: “I doubt with your busy retirement schedule you have the time to volunteer at any local schools, but were you that sort, surely a former military man like you would at least consider packing if that meant keeping children alive.”

It’s odd that you respect my military training and experience enough to suggest that I employ it in a way aimed at protecting school kids, but reject it – even ridicule it – when I try to do exactly that by pointing out what a bad idea arming teachers is. Apparently, like gun-loving Americans, you only approve of advice which loves guns and the using of guns.

Well-trained soldiers and cops very rarely hit what they’re aiming at when not on a gun range. No one should expect teachers – or armed security guards for that matter! – to be any more effective. Mass shooters are only successful because they’re in a target-rich environment, one where they can fire indiscriminately with a non-zero chance of hitting something, and since they’re happy to hit anything at all, it works for them. Those protecting the kids are in exactly the opposite environment. If they fire indiscriminately, they’ll kill kids. If they fire with discrimination, they’ll nearly always miss.

Also: If you’re opposed to putting gunmen in schools, why are you suggesting that I become a school gunman? Other than as an opportunity to offer an insult, I mean?

77

Layman 02.25.18 at 4:24 pm

Stephen: “I wonder why not?”

Because they had some motivation beyond ‘get famous by killing a bunch of helpless people’?

78

Chip Daniels 02.25.18 at 5:04 pm

@63
Pretty much this.
It isn’t possible to disentangle American attitudes about guns from racial fears.
This is why it seems so impervious to reason; Because it isn’t really about anything remotely reasonable.

79

Z 02.25.18 at 5:18 pm

Layman @67 Of course you make most excellent points, but debate on this topic is pointless. Anyone moderately permeable to elementary reason knows what to do. Even acknowledging the existence of a debate is admitting defeat.

80

James 02.26.18 at 12:47 am

Democratic consultants have long held that gun control is a loosing issue for Democrats. Theories vary as to why but the simplest answer, elections in the US are regional (excluding Presidency). Gun Control is popular in major cities but Democrats already win those regions by overwhelming numbers. In the swing areas the popularity is decidedly mixed. Which raises the second reason it tends to be a losing issue. Gun rights advocates are a highly motivated single issue voting block.

Below is a take on this theory from 2012.

https://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2012/12/why-america-cant-pass-gun-control/266417/

81

Nigel 02.26.18 at 9:20 am

‘A free gun-safety class for teachers offered in Ohio filled in minutes, enrollment was expanded from 20 to 50 and then 300.’

My God, they are terrified of getting shot because of gun-rights-activism. This is like telling us chemo is a popular pastime because so many people are clamouring for it.

82

John Holbo 02.26.18 at 9:52 am

“elections in the US are regional (excluding Presidency). Gun Control is popular in major cities but Democrats already win those regions by overwhelming numbers. In the swing areas the popularity is decidedly mixed. Which raises the second reason it tends to be a losing issue. Gun rights advocates are a highly motivated single issue voting block. “

The flyover elite!

83

Heliopause 02.26.18 at 3:35 pm

@81
“they are terrified of getting shot because of gun-rights-activism.”

Most ordinary people never hear a word from gun rights activists unless a news person is sticking a microphone in their faces following a high-profile event.

On the other hand, these same news outlets, mostly peopled with social liberals, cover any mass shooting, or any shooting of a police officer, with unremitting hysteria. Even “routine” shootings of one or two people invariably get some coverage on the local news.

I wonder where ordinary people get the idea that they are living in a dangerous world and need to protect themselves.

84

politicalfootball 02.26.18 at 5:50 pm

Online discussion of guns has caused me to rethink Carl Sandburg’s rule: If the politics are against you, argue the truth; if the truth is against you, argue the politics, if the politics and the truth are against you, just make up some bullshit.

85

Kiwanda 02.26.18 at 7:30 pm

Even “routine” shootings of one or two people invariably get some coverage on the local news.

Indeed, we never stopped hearing about the eighteen shootings so far this year with five or more victims, or the 141 such incidents last year, or the twenty-five times last year that a child shot and killed a child, even though all these are “routine”: either commonplace (occurring every other day or so), or with just a paltry single victim.

86

Nigel 02.26.18 at 8:41 pm

From all the dead people with bullets in them, I expect.

87

Heliopause 02.27.18 at 12:40 am

@85
You didn’t actually read what I wrote, did you.

88

Kiwanda 02.27.18 at 3:18 am

@87: I believe that you were suggesting that news outlets “cover any mass shooting with…unremitting hysteria”. Since, as I noted, mass shootings occur every other day, the hysteria must be a little more remitting than you propose.

On the other hand, when faced with the prospect of a nightmarish hellscape of thugs and looters after Katrina, as painted vividly by Wayne LaPierre, the just plain folks might get pretty frightened, even if the thugging and the looting was greatly exaggerated, and the worst violence was white-on-black killing. Using guns.

But I would welcome any specific corrections or clarifications you might have.

89

Chet Murthy 02.27.18 at 3:41 am

@87: Oh my goodness. I thought your comment #83 was satire. Little did I know, you were playing it straight. When I read it the first time, I laughed out loud, b/c good satire.

Sigh. Another proof, as if we needed it, of Poe’s Law.

90

Heliopause 02.27.18 at 4:34 pm

@88, 89
Since neither of you seem to have understood I’ll try again.

A commenter noted that teachers in Ohio were lining up by the hundreds for gun safety class. He said they were “terrified” because of “guns-rights-activism.” There is a lot to unpack there but I focused on one patently absurd angle; that masses of people are living in terror because of “guns-rights-activism.”

I’ll try to keep this short. Guns rights activists focus their attention on Congress. Ordinary people barely interact with them. On the other hand, ordinary people interact for hours every day with the news and entertainment media. I just checked Google News and the top story is STILL the fallout from the mass shooting in Florida. And have you watched any entertainment TV lately? One of the most popular genres, judging by how endlessly they are rerun, is cop/forensics shows. If you haven’t seen one I’ll save you the trouble and give you the Cliff Notes, because they’re all the goddamned same: There is an endless supply of psychopaths out there kidnapping, torturing, and murdering ordinary people, until our brave (and heavily armed) teams of police and forensic scientists finally catch up to them. Just the other day here in my household we surfed past an old episode of CSI which literally depicted a victim’s head being chopped off. This is all run on an endless loop, both in prime time and reruns during day.

Getting back to the news people, they don’t just give us breathless coverage of the mass shootings and, at the local level, most of the crime and violence that occurs in the community, they also never stop telling us that we must be afraid of TERRORISTS and THE RUSSIANS. Two more insidious plots to destroy our society that our news media never shut up about. And on and on it goes, I’m barely scratching the surface with my remarks here.

We are a deeply pathological society that absolutely wallows in violence, sadism, and fear. Remind me again of how guns rights activists run the news and entertainment industries, run all aspects of the intellectual culture, and are solely responsible for all this.

Elsewhere on CT there is a well-considered post on responsibility. Would that everybody — you, me, everybody — considered their own responsibilities for the consequences of participating in all this, rather than forming little circle jerks and pretending that somebody else is the monocause. Yes, we are a fearful society, and the guns rights activists have their share of responsibility for it, maybe an outsized one. But I tend to think not that we are violent and fearful because of guns rights activists but that guns rights activists exist because we are violent and fearful. YMMV.

Since there seems to have been some misunderstanding I hope this helps.

91

Chet Murthy 02.28.18 at 5:36 am

90: I’m sure you’re right. _Prime Suspect_, _Spooks_, _Wire in the Blood_, _The Fall_, _Luther_, _The Killing_, _The Bridge_, _Wallander_ are all American TV shows. American crime dramas are a real flop in European syndication. Yep, that’s it. And TV news in Europe and Oz never cover murders and terrorist incidents — nope, they sure don’t.

Well, it’s either that, or the European murder rate is just as high as in America. I mean, the Swedes alone must account for a massive number of serial killers and sexually deviant murder/rapists, from what we can tell from the Swedish crime noir dramas out there.

92

Collin Street 02.28.18 at 9:36 am

Since there seems to have been some misunderstanding I hope this helps.

But you have no particular evidence of “misunderstanding”. Chet just mocked you, and didn’t actually address or mention what exactly he understood you to mean; since he didn’t say how he understood you, you have no reason to believe he misunderstood you.

But you’re acting as if you were convinced that misunderstanding was the only possible explanation…

… and the only reason you could possibly have that confidence is if you’d already mentally ruled out the other possibility, that you were in error.

… but you got no reason to rule that out, either. Do you? So it’s just gross overconfidence verging on narcissism on your part.

[Even if you happen to be correct and Chet did misunderstand you, btw: because you’re a fallible human and subject to error, “I am wrong” always sits next to “they misunderstand me” as a possible explanation for disagreement, unless you’ve ruled it out for Less Than Good reasons]

93

Orange Watch 02.28.18 at 1:28 pm

Heliopause@90
Guns rights activists focus their attention on Congress. Ordinary people barely interact with them.

This is patently false. It may just that you are strictly an old-media consumer, but social media is full of molan labe noise. And even if you are strictly limited to strictly broadcast/cable media, it’s not like right-leaning MSM outlets (like, I dunno, FOX) are anything resembling quiet about “2A” propaganda.

And if your argument is that online interactions or news media is not what you’re talking about when you say “interact”… why were your previous posts entirely about passive media consumption of gun control advocacy?

I think you’re being a bit too carefully narrow when you parse “guns rights activism”, nearly to the point of creating tautological observations, and I don’t think you’re doing it in good faith.

94

Shirley0401 02.28.18 at 3:27 pm

OP @ 61
“Maybe the solution is to give up on this front and focus on climate change instead because it’s more important.”
FWIW, I 100% agree. It’s the most important issue in the world. And it’s the one future generations, assuming there will be future generations, will look back on as the great failure of 20th/21st century societies. Also pot. I know a lot of libertarians and non-voters who would gladly schedule a trip to the polls to vote for anyone, of any party, who would promise to legalize weed. “Rational self-interest” and whatnot.
Not that guns aren’t important, but I think they are the issue Democrats probably don’t need to foreground unless they want to scare off fence-sitters and fire up the Republican base. Committed Dem voters already know where their electeds stand, and just about anyone off the street can tell you which party is up your alley if you’re someone who wants gun control.

95

Shirley0401 03.01.18 at 1:40 pm

James @ 80

Democratic consultants have long held that gun control is a loosing issue for Democrats.

Democratic consultants were pretty firmly convinced HRC would win the election in 2016. I even saw a number of them claim voters’ “longstanding familiarity with her” and “desire for stability” would provide a bump and coattails that would lead to a possible Dem takeover of the House.
Not trying to stir anything up, but I often wonder if what Democratic consultants are most good for is correctly identifying what a majority of other Democratic consultants think.

96

Layman 03.01.18 at 2:22 pm

“Democratic consultants were pretty firmly convinced HRC would win the election in 2016.”

And they were right! That she isn’t President is because of a relatively unlikely fluke in the distribution of her majority. Even Trump was firmly convinced she would win.

97

DrSteveCruel 03.02.18 at 2:59 am

Might we be looking at the idea of arming teachers the wrong way? Could this actually be a blessing in disguise? Republicans, of all people, are calling to arm teachers–one of the more reliably Democratic constituencies in the country!

Imagine that the teachers who stormed the Wisconsin Statehouse in 2011 had been packing heavy, government-provided and legally mandatory weapons. Might state legislators have been more careful with their benefits? If West Virginia’s teachers were allowed–nay, encouraged–no, REQUIRED to be highly-trained killing machines, would they be having to struggle so hard to get a pay raise?

Rather than fight these developments, why don’t we try to get the Republicans to encourage arming other large unionized center-left constituencies? SMGs for the SEIU! Handguns for healthcare workers! Pistols for professors! Arm the vanguard and see what happens.

[author’s note: I don’t really want to turn our schools into miniature version’s of Baghdad’s Green Zone. But these times do encourage searching for silver linings…]

98

Collin Street 03.02.18 at 6:32 am

I don’t know if that’ll work, though. We’ve got ample evidence historically of jobs being downgraded when women started moving into them, and even a few cases of jobs increasing in status as women get moved out. You give teachers – women, largely, these days – guns and tell them to kill and I reckon gun ownership and firstresponder shit all gets cooties.

Violence is fetishised because it’s masculine. You make it girly and god knows what will happen.

… which doesn’t seem like such a bad idea, now that I think about it.

99

Ken Lovell 03.02.18 at 8:01 am

The solution is so obvious it’s amazing it hasn’t been implemented years ago. Intrusion of an active shooter in a school is an emergency, just like someone going under the water at the deep end of the pool or a fire in the cafeteria. And what does everyone instinctively do when confronted by an emergency? Look for the required safety equipment hanging conveniently nearby.

For people drowning, we throw the life preserver hanging close at hand. When the fire alarm sounds, we grab the extinguisher off the wall and rush toward the flames.

Once the school corridors are lined with signs saying “In case of mass shooter, break glass”, above a tasteful wall unit containing a loaded AR-15, expect casualties from these incidents to decline dramatically.

Naturally the children will have to be told not to break the glass as a prank. Making them sign a promise not to do it should prevent any misuse of the emergency guns.

100

ph 03.02.18 at 9:17 am

@96 Hubris is the gift that keeps on giving.

The ‘reason’ so few rational people predicted that Hillary could very well lose is that the discourse police trashed anyone and everyone with the temerity to openly suggest that ‘Let Them Eat Confetti’ couldn’t lose. Gambling that all your enthusiastic voters will turn out and that core elements of your opponents won’t isn’t a ‘fluke’ it’s a low-probability event. One that Trump campaign believed was quite likely in large part because people like you claimed that it was impossible for Hillary to lose. Nothing says ‘we’re taking victory for granted like not visiting Wisconsin and letting the African-American vote drift away.

Obama sold out African-American voters and favored the rich, enough people saw that HRC was nothing more than more of the same only worse. The election for was about sticking MAGA hat in the face of every smug, rich, entitled ‘liberal’ (such as ?) and making ‘them’ eat dirt. 304 to 227 is the only number that counts – and if you don’t believe that then you’re in worse shape than I thought. Hillary won the popular vote and she’s now selling books. That’s the significance of the popular vote. She’s not nominating Supreme Court Justices etc. because she L-O-S-T.

And lots of people predicted she would lose, you simply chose to shout them down, insult them, mock them, and generally do everything possible to ensure that folks somewhat sick of being sneered at and used as the butt of jokes made damn sure the found their way to the polls. Combine that with sucking up to the rich to the tune of 220 k per Goldman Sachs speech and the coronation starts to look a whole lot less certain.

And given the level of derision you and others continue to display towards Trump voters, I’d say his chances of re-election remain excellent.

Which you’ll no doubt call another fluke.

Can’t wait!

101

ph 03.02.18 at 9:18 am

‘could actually lose.’ Good times!

102

J-D 03.02.18 at 9:35 am

Ken Lovell
I like the way you think.

103

J-D 03.02.18 at 9:40 am

kidneystones

… smug … mock … sneered … used as the butt … derision …

Okay, first the routine, then the encore … but now aren’t you just milking it?

104

ph 03.02.18 at 11:13 am

Trump’s base couldn’t give a fig about the NRA’s holy pr campaign. They know and the NRA knows that Trump has their six, as it were. Which is an apt metaphor, because while he was drawing attention to an issue that will only fire up his own base, he was planning a raid on on all those Dem blue-collar cross-over voters.

Last month Trump offered Dems a deal on DACA which Dems turned down, arming school employees does indeed ‘sound reasonable’ to a lot of independents, and now we Trump a/announcing he’s running in 2020 – sticking a timely pin in the balloon of any Republicans contemplating a challenge b/making an open plea to the AFL-CIO membership who Dems need on board badly for 2018. If Trump can push through some modified assault rifle ban/minimum/bump stock ban and do the others, Dems may manage to flush another excellent opportunity down the toilet, again.

The question is: can they do it? Why yes, yes they can.

Unfortunately, arming teachers is not going to go away in two weeks, but JH is right, there will be another tweet-driven crisis to worry over. Waiting for piss-dossier to do remove Hitler makes as much sense as visiting Arizona instead of Wisconsin.

What happens if Trump peels of ‘segments’ of the Dem base in key areas? Again?

Never. Going. To. Happen.

You heard it here first, and always. Discuss!

105

Layman 03.02.18 at 12:06 pm

kidneystones: “The ‘reason’ so few rational people predicted that Hillary could very well lose…”

Yet as you say yourself just a few paragraphs later, lots of people said she could lose.

If you can’t be clear and consistent, kidneystones, that isn’t my fault.

106

ph 03.02.18 at 3:35 pm

105 No worries! You’re doing an excellent of being provably wrong.

Wouldn’t it be great if you could just selectively edit your candidate out of fixing the Democratic primary, joking about killing people on camera, and losing a winnable election to a rodeo clown. But, didn’t Hillary actually intend to go to Wisconsin, but had to stop and administer CPR to a gasping hedge-fund manager in order to cash that check?

I’ve already got your next excuse: ‘Space Aliens Hack 2018 Election! Putin trolls linked!’

I meant to ask, did you support the Iraq invasions? That seems so you.

Did you know that when Bill Clinton warned Hillary’s campaign people that skipping the mid-west could cost her the election, her experts laughed in his face. True. I don’t have the slightest expectation that you know the source – nationally recognized reporter on election-night coverage.

Hillary’s finest experts ridiculed Bill for suggesting that the white, working class votes mattered. Laughed. In. His. Face.

Fluke!

107

ph 03.02.18 at 10:55 pm

March 1st 2018, the View: Condi Rice serves ‘liberals’ their lunch.

https://www.theblaze.com/news/2018/03/01/condoleezza-rice-stuns-the-view-audience-with-amazing-story-about-2nd-amendment-rights

One of the lessons of 2016 should be that expecting ‘real world’ views to conform to the biases and agenda of any subset of the population is probably a mistake. Running against the ingrained mythology of a culture is a good idea ONLY if one has a mythology in place that exercises and confers greater authority and justice.

Equating Marco Rubio and even the NRA with the Parkland shooter ain’t that.

Lessons learned from 2016? equals zero

There’s your link. Have a nice day!

https://www.theblaze.com/news/2018/03/01/condoleezza-rice-stuns-the-view-audience-with-amazing-story-about-2nd-amendment-rights

Comments on this entry are closed.