A notice for those of you who’ve smelled the wood burning around here, I’ve been thinking . . . about teachers and guns . . . and carrying them on school grounds.
I taught at middle school/junior high for some forty (40) years and never felt the need to carry a weapon.
Back in the 70s we had some bomb threats and had to evacuate from the classrooms to our fire drill stations on the fields and school periphery. Some of us volunteered to check rooms and student lockers. The only things we ever found were a few road flares hung up to look like dynamite sticks.
Shot in the butt
I do remember one time when a student fired a gun just off campus, or from the sidewalk in front of the school. He wounded another student (not seriously). One of our teachers (a WWII vet) was on duty in front and went to confront the young man. The student pointed his pistol at the man’s face and told him to go away, in rather strident and impolite language.
I don’t remember exactly how it happened but a police officer was giving a self-defense demonstration with another teacher in our auditorium and the shooter was soon apprehended. No other shots were fired.
I spent a while directing traffic around the scene as the paramedics took the injured student to the hospital. — Other than that, the years have obscured my memories as this all happened thirty plus years ago.
I do, however, wonder what would have happened if our teachers had been armed.
What if . . .
If Bill had confronted the shooter with a drawn weapon, would the student have dropped his weapon or just opened fire and shot him? If he had opened fire immediately, would he have hit my friend and wounded or killed him? Would he have kept firing until he ran out of ammunition? Would he have hit anyone else?
I know my friend would have given the student a chance to put down his gun and surrender; he wouldn’t have just opened fire on the kid.
. . . the rest of us were armed?
You’ve probably seen some of the recent videos of police officers firing multitudes of bullets at suspects, some armed with nothing more than a cellphone. Imagine a firefight in front of a school at dismissal time. Hundreds of kids, armed teachers firing from different directions, possibly armed parents getting out of their cars and adding to the confusion and violence.
The military has a term for what can happen in incidents as confused as this — friendly fire. Even in police shooting incidents, sometimes the police officer who is shot is found to have been shot by a fellow officer — and these are veteran officers with years of training and experience.
Teachers with guns
Tell me truly, do you really want armed teachers on your child’s school grounds?
If volunteer teachers are to be stationed on school grounds, how much training should they undergo? A day? A week? A month? A year? What kind of training? The kind a police officer receives?
What kind of weapon shall a teacher carry? Shall it be a school district issued weapon or the teacher’s personal property? A pistol (automatic or revolver and what caliber)? A rifle? A shotgun? AR-15 semi-automatic type? Rubber bullets or real?
Shall they carry them at all times? Only when they are on duty outside of the classroom? Where do they store their weapons? In a holster with a safety strap on their hips? How about in a desk or filing cabinet, locked or unlocked? In the school safe? In thinking about this when was the last time a school near you was broken in to and robbed or vandalized? Think of these vandals now being armed.
What shall be the Rules of Engagement (ROE)? Under what circumstances may the teacher draw his or her weapon? Under what circumstances may a teacher actually fire his or her weapon? Or are you going to leave the decision to the teacher’s best judgment? What if the teacher makes the wrong decision, freezes or just plain panics? What if the teacher accidentally wounds, or kills, your child while dealing with an on campus shooter?
Remember, we live in an overly, to my mind, litigious society. Can you imagine the lawsuits coming from any mistake made by a teacher with a gun in these kinds of circumstances? Or do we legislate Good Samaritan type “hold harmless” laws to protect them?
What kind, or kinds, of teachers do you want armed on the school grounds your child attends? How about the grandmotherly type who teaches kindergarten? I still remember Mrs. Lombard from sixty plus years ago and can imagine few people less likely to pack a six-gun.
How about one of the coaches? Maybe, but probably not the one your son tells you swears at them during practice, berates them for mistakes during the game and throws his headset at the referee when he is ejected from the game.
Mentally go down the list of teachers at your child’s school. Who would you want to carry a gun on campus and, maybe, in the classroom? Is your list of the teachers you would trust the same as those of the other parents, the administrators, the teachers themselves?
And what of those of you who are, or were, teachers? Do you want to carry a gun in your classroom or the wider campus? Would you have wanted to back when you were teaching, for those of you who are no longer teaching?
I cannot answer any of the above questions, except for myself. And, the answer is NO.
No, teachers should not be armed and expected to deal with armed students, or other intruders, on school grounds.
If armed guards are needed full-time on campus, I believe we should hire retired, long service police officers who do not have records, or complaints, of resorting to violence as a first resort. They will be dealing with children, not hardened criminals; they need to know how to end touchy, potentially dangerous situations through de-escalation not by resorting to threats and violence.
Not the answer
Giving more people guns is not the answer. We need to de-escalate our entire society.
Through our government and other organizations and businesses we spend millions of dollars dealing with alcoholism and its effects. We spend millions of dollars dealing with smoking and its effects. We even put warning labels on packs of cigarettes; how about warning labels on guns?
We license and require practical, as well as written tests for those who drive our cars, trucks, buses and for those who fly airplanes. How about we require the same of those who own and use guns? (Yes, I do know the WHY/WHY NOT of the situation, but we can deal with through the ballot box and appropriate legislation.)
We will not improve the situation by repeating the same answers again and again; we will not improve the situation by yelling and screaming at each other and invoking our “God-given and Constitutional Rights” yet another time.
The answer lies in civil discourse, in wanting for others the best we have to offer of ourselves and in electing to office those best able to speak for us.
In our youth the world was simpler and better only because we had not the eyes nor experience of the adults around us.
In the 60s we had “duck and cover” drills; our grandchildren have “shelter in place” drills.
Things will not improve until we become better people.
There are five (5) propositions on the California ballot for June 5th, 2018 primary election. The California State Legislature put all of these measures on the ballot. Four (4) of them are “legislative constitutional amendments” and the fifth is a bond measure.
First, the bond measure.
Proposition #68: Authorizes bonds funding parks, natural resources protection, climate adaptation, water quality and supply, and flood protection.
These are good things; indeed, they are necessary things. But . . . they are not things which should be financed (IMHO) by borrowing the money and forcing our children and grandchildren to pay these costs. Currently, California is in debt to the tune of $400+ billion. Yes, that is equal to more than $10,000 per resident.
While all of this debt is not due to bonds, I do not believe that we should add to that debt by issuing another $4 billion in general obligation bonds to finance the above.
If you click on the above, US Debt Clock takes you the the site for the US National Debt while California takes you to the debt for the state of California. Both provide some “fascinating” numbers and food for thought.
Proposition #69: Requires that certain new transportation revenues be used for transportation purposes.
We have too many transportation needs to list here and, in general, I favor limiting the use of transportation related taxes and fees to our transportation needs. But . . . this proposition is limited to only a few of those revenue sources. We already have one of the world’s longest constitutions — 100+ pages — and I do not believe that this measure should become a part of it. I would, however, favor an amendment that included all transportation related taxes and fees (except, maybe, general sales taxes) and limiting the spending of those monies to transportation related measures.
Proposition #70: Requires legislative supermajority vote approving use of cap-and-trade reserve fund.
Supermajority — two-thirds vote of the legislature.
I have serious doubts about “supermajorities.” I believe that, in many cases, their sole purpose is to defeat democracy. That is, to enshrine in our constitution the current political climate and prevent future generations from exercising their rights.
Proposition #71: Sets effective dates for ballot measures.
If common sense ruled California, this would not be necessary. In fact, Wm. Shakespeare wrote a comedy about items such as this: Much Ado About Nothing.
For more information see pages 22-25 of the Official Voter Information Guide.
Proposition #72: Permits legislature to exclude newly constructed rain-capture systems from property-tax reassessment requirement.
If you put in a system to collect and store rainwater on your property, you won’t have to pay higher property taxes because the system increased your property’s value.
There is no argument in the Information Guide against this measure.
Pages 30 & 31 of the Information Guide provides an Overview of State Bond Debt and page 31 has a short explanation of the California “Top Two” primary system.
Candidate statements are available on pages 37-83. (“Each statement was voluntarily submitted and paid for by the candidate.”) Some are revealing, at least to me. Many include email and website information.
Monday, May 21st, 2018 is the last day to register to vote.
Remember: whether you are liberal or conservative, radical or reactionary, or consider yourself to be a rational moderate (as I consider myself to be), this election is your chance to make your voice heard — Vote!
My Voter Information Guide and Sample Ballot for the primary election arrived a couple of weeks ago and my mail-in ballot arrived this week.
Mark your ballot — follow the directions on the ballot. Well, duh!
Seal your envelope — put your ballot into the envelope. Well, duh!
Sign the envelope — again follow directions . . .
Options for returning your ballot — apply first class postage (my 3 page ballot = 71¢ or two of the stamps I have on hand) and mail in; drop off ballot at polling place on Election Day; drop off ballot at early voting center (ocvote.com/early) in Costa Mesa, Irvine, Santa Ana, Mission Viejo and Fullerton May 26 – June 4, 2018.
If you screw your ballot up, get a replacement: 1.714.567.7600 or ocvote.com/replacement.
If you mail in your ballot, it must postmarked by Election Day and be received within 3 days after the election.
Three (3) heavy sheets of paper / five (5) printed sides.
The Offices & Issues
Twenty-seven (27) candidates, many, if not most, of whom I’ve never heard. Several of them I . . . well, let us not go there.
Public Policy Advisor (professional politician? and ex-mayor of Los Angeles)
California Assemblyman/Businessman (professional politician?)
Virtual Reality Manager
California State Treasurer (professional politician?)
Transhumanist lecturer, Taxpayer advocate, Puppeteer, Artist, etc.
Eleven (11) candidates including two named Hernandez (one a Democrat and one a Republican).
Secretary of State:
Eight (8) candidates including the current officeholder.
Three (3) candidates including the current officeholder.
Five (5) candidates including three CPAs.
Four (4) candidates.
Four (4) candidates including one who identifies as a Public School Teacher (not an educator, which usually means someone who was an administrator or who taught at other than the K-12 level).
Member, State Board of Equalization:
Seven (7) candidates, including three Advocates.
United States Senator:
Thirty-two (32) candidates including the current officeholder and a Special Education Teacher (could be desirable given the current group of officeholders and appointees in Washington).
United States Representative, 48th District:
Sixteen (16) candidates including the current officeholder. One of the candidates is a Neuroscientist — see above comment.
Member of the State Assembly, 74th District:
Five (5) candidates.
And the following nonpartisan offices:
Judge of the Superior Court, Office No. 13
Superintendent of Public Instruction (not a teacher among the candidates)
County Superintendent of Schools (and guess who the only candidate is)
Member, County Board of Education, Trustee Area 2
County Supervisor, 2nd District
Assessor (candidates: the Assessor, a Deputy Assessor and an attorney)
Clerk-Recorder (candidates are the current officeholder and Steve Rocco. Steve Rocco? Yes, Steve Rocco . . . Noooooooooooooooooooooo . . .)
District Attorney-Public Administrator (candidates include the current DA and a Victims’ Rights Attorney who makes robo-calls to push his agenda — at least, he robo-called me the other day.)
Treasurer-Tax Collector (and guess who the only candidate is)
There are also five (5) State of California “Measures Submitted to the Voters.” All of these propositions have been “Put on the Ballot by the Legislature,” which, in my mind, means that the Legislature did not have the brains, or, perhaps, the “cojones” to deal with the issue.
One involves the transfer of debt, through the selling of $4 billion of bonds, to our children and grandchildren (without arguing over the merits of the issue).
I just wish the Legislature, through the individuals we elect, would do what it is supposed to do and not wash their hands of their responsibilities by putting propositions on the ballot. A “direct democracy” does not need a legislature.
At any rate, I may, or may not, comment on these at a later date.
This election is your best chance to participate in your government. Make your voice count; make your voice heard:
My new (June 2018) issue of Consumer Reports arrived in the mail today. One of the featured articles is: Protect Yourself From These 7 Scams (p.26) by Mary C. Hickey. I thought some of you might be interested in the following scam involving Facebook users.
Facebook ‘Like’ Farming
Quite often we click the “thumbs-up” button, add a comment and/or even “share” the posting. Could that hurt? Evidently, it could.
You (I) could be (become) a victim of “like-farmng.” This is a post designed to draw the kind of attention that will continue ensure that it shows up in more and more people’s news feeds.
Once a high enough number of likes/shares has been reached the creators of the page change its content. The new content could be an ad for a business that really does not exist or the usual to-good-to-be-true product that you can purchase online.
It would seem that we must be ever more careful of what we like and share on Facebook.
Other scams reported (and how to avoid falling for them):
Smishing and Spoofing
White Label Ticket Scams
Online Charity Scams
Home Repairs and Security Checks
Lotteries and Sweepstakes
There is also page on “Tracking Down the Crooks” about reporting scams, recourse and possible restitution.