Friday, October 06, 2006

Foley and School Shootings

(I tried to get through Mark Foley's e-mails, but the pages were stuck together)

      Three school shootings in the United States in a week and congressman Mark Foley ( R) Florida resigns after he got himself outed for trying to write a page turner online.  How does this fit with “They hate us for our freedom?”
     Am I the only one who wonders, if we can’t keep our own children safe either in school or from their congressman, what the heck are we doing?  Was it No Child Left Behind or No Child Left Unmolested?

     I know I’m supposed to blame this on the various troubled souls who wandered into schools in Wisconsin, Colorado, and Pennsylvania over the last several days.  Fwiw, when I used to visit inner-city schools around the country, a lot of them had metal detectors and secure entrances.  All these current school shootings though took place in rural and suburban areas.  In general, the perpetrators in school shootings tend to be male and more than likely white, but for the most part the real connecting thread is that the three killers this month had easy access to guns.  

“Miller said Roberts was apparently preparing for a long siege, arming himself with a 9mm semiautomatic pistol, a 12-gauge shotgun and a rifle, along with a bag of about 600 rounds of ammunition, two cans of smokeless powder, two knives and a stun gun on his belt. He also had rolls of tape, various tools and a change of clothes.”

Ten years ago, I wrote a column about school violence that argued that people accept the idea that occasionally individuals “go postal” because the post office itself is dreary, insane, and inhumane, but no one was looking at public schools and asking whether there was something causing the kids to go “postal” or “standardized testal”.  This latest run though has little to nothing to do with what’s going inside our schools.  In one case, a milk truck driver picked a public school filled with Amish kids as an easy target.  In the Colorado case, it was a similar thing.  Only the Wisconsin case had a student or staff member actually shooting people.  Whatever criticisms I might have about schools, these had nothing to do with schools dehumanizing kids and staff alike.  

It’s simpler than that.  We’re letting crazy people get guns easily, lots of guns.  On the other end, we’re cutting mental health funding.  It’s not the kind of national security that involves terrorists blowing up buildings.  In this case, the bombs are inside people’s minds and souls and these potential terror-makers are literally everywhere in America with especially high concentrations between Virginia and Maryland.  

It’s tempting to exaggerate here, but I won’t.  I’ll just ask this question, “How committed are we really to protecting our children or anyone else’s for that matter?”


At 10/07/2006 08:04:00 AM, Blogger benny06 said...

I thought it was ironic that Foley was allegedly in charge of some committee that had to do with the protection of children.

Yesterday, there was a call-in segment on C-SPAN as to whether or not the page system should continue. I think the time has come to re-evaluate it for a couple of reasons.

1) Pages are no longer getting the type of civic learning they used to from early days when there weren't as many interns. My understanding is that the pages see more junior staffers and interns than senior staff and the pols.
2) Pages are earning $18,000 for the House and $20,000, many whom are children of well-heeled parents.
3) I don't think 16 year olds are old enough to be to do that kind of work without some family supervision.

At 10/08/2006 07:45:00 PM, Blogger inkyhack said...

A politician in Wisconson is arguing that all public school teachers should be allowed to bring guns into the classroom to protect themselves from the students.
How twisted is that?

Story can be found here:

At 10/09/2006 01:47:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Re Foley. Loose zippers sink ships.

One can only pray to Satan that this is so. Satan, by the way, couldn't do worse. I have trouble with folks drinking the blood of a God who would allow kids to be mutilated under any pretzeled logic of acceptance.

At 10/09/2006 09:14:00 AM, Blogger Chancelucky said...


1) I don't think there's anything wrong with the Page system....there's something wrong with some of the people we're electing to Congress. It would be the height of insanity for the solution to be "get rid of the pages" and "do nothing about the people who did nothing to stop the inappropriate behavior.

I do sometimes remember that the gun made industrial democracy possible. If you think about Samurai and Knights, both took a substanital amount of investment to train, maintain, etc. Once the rifle was invented, it became possible to train and equip soldiers in a very short period of time. One didn't have to be athletic, courageous on a face to face basis, etc. Pretty much anyone of any size can be taught to fire a rifle, though I think it's harder to do in combat conditions than most people realize. A surprising number of soldiers in real wars simply don't "perform" (maybe for good reasons).
Anyway, guns and democracy are tied together in a weird way. That said, I still think the idea of teachers bringing guns to school is crazy.

3) Mr. Pogblog

I'd like to see the Dems stop talking about pro-choice and start talking about being pro-child and pro-future.

At 10/09/2006 10:17:00 AM, Blogger None said...

Arming teacher? And I thought the paddles were a bad idea.

Anyway, the response to Foley from the extreme right is a thing of beauty. This group actually defends him and blames the democrats. They scream about Pelosi leaking the story (Which is what they should have done in the first place). Amazing the lengths this group will go to defend their reality. A month left in the race and the republicans have a long way to go.

At 10/10/2006 11:49:00 AM, Blogger Chancelucky said...

I don't think they defend Foley as much as say that Foley resigned and Clinton didn't.
They do seem to have a hard time comprehending the difference between consent and choice and "harrassment" though.

Kind of interesting from the broader perspective. It's one of those shadow things. The louder their rhetoric is about freedom, the more it seems to cover an authoritarian self.


Post a Comment

<< Home