Saturday, February 17, 2018

A Monstrous Proposal

It seems that, after every mass school shooting, right-wing troglodytes vie to determine which one of them will utter the most outrageous proposal to deal with the problem of gun violence in order to derail any conversation about sensible gun regulation. The post Parkland shooting news cycle has Fox' Gret Gutfeld taking the prize in this dubious endeavor- he believes that school children should be trained in hand-to-hand combat:

You have to be rational about it, which means hardening soft targets through drills and training. Learning combat. Learning hand-to-hand combat. This works, by the way, for terror, if there’s a terror attack, and it works for school shootings.

...How do you improve upon this rationally? Well, you train them. That simple.

I teach children's judo classes, I teach hand-to-hand combat to children as young as five. It would be a gross dereliction of duty and a violation of any sane code of ethics to suggest to my students that they should attack an assailant armed with a firearm. I would expect to be run out of the dojo if I told the children to emulate scenes from Walker, Texas Ranger. I've had to sit through 'Run Hide Fight' videos yearly for quite some time now, and I would tell my young students to run like hell or to find a really good hiding space.

Gutfeld isn't alone in this idiotic stance- a few years back, new WaPo hire Megan McAddled opined that children should rush an active shooter. Swarm tactics can effectively be used on active shooters, such as the Tennessee Valley Unitarian Church gunman, but the effectiveness of this approach is predicated on having the knowledge to recognize when a shooter is preoccupied, and the body mass to subdue that individual. It's really not an option for kindergartners.

The real problem with this sort of foolishness is the misuse of public airtime to distract from the real issue at hand- the ease with which an unstable individual with a history of making threats and of torturing animals can get a gas-operated killing machine. I believe in the Second Amendment, with one critical caveat- that the whole damn thing be enforced, particularly the clause regarding the 'well-regulated militia'. If you want an Armalite rifle, you should have to prove your competence, not only in the use of said firearm, but in navigating the day-to-day business of living. I would also advocate a probationary period, similar to that which beginning drivers are subjected to. Can't undergo three months of training and evaluation to take control of your shooting iron? Well, you are not mature or stable enough to have it. Teaching hand-to-hand combat to children, promotions are dependent on testing, not only of the students' knowledge and ability to apply it, but of their ethics, the way they approach the sport, the way they approach each other. Incidentally, we promoted a bunch of our beginning students to yellow belts- last week, we told them to engage in self-directed play for a half hour, observing them as they practiced the techniques they have learned and occasionally asking them questions about vocabulary or history. They weren't even aware that they were being tested. The kids are well-regulated, and someone who seeks the awesome responsibility of owning an instrument solely designed to kill humans should be subject to an even greater degree of regulation. No obfuscating bullshit about untenable 'solutions', our society needs action to curtail the low-grade civil war which is putting our children in the morgue, in the hospital, in grief-counseling.

The title of the post is cribbed from Jonathan Swift's masterpiece of Juvenalian satire, but the Gutfelds and McArdles of the world aren't being satirical, they are merely monstrous.

I'll be leaving for Manhattan soon in order to teach, and I will make sure to cherish the kids in our classes. I won't act surprised when our five year-old hand holder grabs one of my meaty paws, I will praise our serious fourteen year-old for her kindness in playing with her younger cohorts. A few weeks ago, the mother of one of our five year-olds asked me about the safety of the sport, and after rattling off statistics, I paused and asked her to look at the adults on the mats- look at the gray hairs, look at people in their forties, fifties, and above playing the sport. My sincere wish is that her daughter decides to stick with the sport, and still plays it long after I haue ſhufflel’d off this mortall coile. I sure hope that she will live in a society which isn't plagued by regular blood sacrifice.


Anonymous said...

How many schools has the US bombed and how many children has the US killed since the end of WWII? I would bet that there are millions of people on this planet, that if you asked them what happened to their children, they would tell you that the Americans killed them. When you can look away and not think or care about that, then it becomes very easy to look away and not care about the misery and murder taking place in your own country.

mikey said...

Handguns kill hundreds of people every day, and you're all worked up about $2000 rifles? This seems to be focusing on the wrong problem. In the Virginia Tech massacre, the shooter fifty people, killing 32 with two pistols, one of them a .22.

I'd happily enact draconian restrictions on handguns long before I cared about trying to figure out how to restrict rifles...

mikey said...

As to Hartmann's incoherent 2nd amendment argument, let me ask you two simple questions:

1.) Who were the 'well regulated militia'?

2.) Where were they expected to get their arms?

The answer is the militia was 'the people' and they were expected to bring their own privately owned weapons when they responded to an attack.

To argue that the phrase A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed meant anything other than what it plainly says is playing the Tea Party game of believing only those things that support one's ideological beliefs.

Now, it's true as Hartmann tries to discuss, that that is a strictly originalist interpretation, and if you consider the constitution a living document then you can overlay modern context on the 18th century language. I'm actually all for this - it's how we got abortion rights, for example.

But the courts aren't buying it, and since we invest in the Judiciary the power to interpret the constitution, to insist that it says something they refuse to accept is kind of just a pointless tantrum, y'know?