school shooting — alert the koalas

There’s nothing wrong with thoughts and prayers. I mean, they’re completely fucking useless, but there’s nothing wrong with sending thoughts and prayers to victims and their families. Hell, send along some unicorns as well, and a few koala bears in party hats. It’s all about letting folks know how you feel, that’s what matters.

Ain’t none of it going to stop the next school shooting, of course. I figure that’ll happen in the next ten days or so. Probably won’t be as bloody as the one in Parkland, Florida yesterday. The butcher’s bill probably won’t be as high. Most school shootings have a lower body count. But, again, it’s all about the shooter letting folks know how he feels, that’s what matters.

You know what else matters? Doing something. And if there’s one thing about which we can be absolutely certain, it’s this: we won’t do anything. Oh, after I finish writing this I’ll call both my senators and my local congressman, but I know they won’t do anything. Some of you may do the same. Most of you won’t; most of you will voice your anger on Facebook or Twitter, maybe repost a meme, maybe sign an online petition. But most you won’t do more than that.

I’m not being judgmental here. Well, yeah, I guess I am — but really, why should you do anything more? We all know it won’t make any difference, because Congress won’t do anything. And why should they? It wasn’t their kids who were killed or wounded. It wasn’t their kids who’ll have nightmares for the foreseeable future because of the shit they saw in the hallways of their high school. And let’s be honest, the folks in Congress won’t suffer any real consequence for not doing anything.

Sure, some of them will get voted out of office in the next election, but it won’t be because of this. By the time the next election rolls around, we’ll have had another half dozen school shootings and other mass killings — and when you enter the voting booth, the odds are you won’t be thinking about any particular school shooting, let alone any particular shooting victim.

Still waiting for the unicorn. In the meantime, here’s a blue daisy and some thoughts and prayers. Sorry your kids got all killed.

We’ve reached a point in this nation where we treat mass shootings as a sort of localized natural disaster or an industrial accident. A tornado in Oklahoma kills five, an explosion in a chemical warehouse in Texas kills eight, an earthquake in Alaska kills three, a mass shooting at a McDonald’s in Tennessee kills nine, a flash flood in Arizona kills six, a train derailment in Montana kills eleven, a school shooting in Florida kills seventeen.

Wait, that’s not true. A train derailment and a chemical explosion will lead to an investigation, after which there’s a decent chance legislators will seriously consider implementing a change in the law to prevent shit like that from happening again. And tornadoes might spark a drive to improve weather forecasting. And a flood might lead communities to prevent houses from being built on a flood plain. And earthquakes have led to more stringent building codes.

Mass shootings? Sorry, nothing we can do. Except call out those thoughts and prayers, Send in the unicorns. Alert the koala bears in party hats. Sorry so many kids got killed again.

9 thoughts on “school shooting — alert the koalas

    • That would be ideal, of course. But off all those that you’ve listed, Congress is the one that has the most power in the equation. Congress acting alone could accomplish a great deal toward reducing gun violence in the U.S.

      Even if parents and schools and local governments all took a nap, Congress alone could enact massive, meaningful change. They won’t, of course.

      Liked by 1 person

  1. I’m hearing from a lot of parents who now vow to home-school their kids, or send them to private schools. DeVos gets her wish, and with more mothers dropping out of the workforce, unemployment will go down. .So why do anything? It works out fine.


  2. Sadly–tragically–you are absolutely right. The gun lobby is in control, and ain’t nothin’ Congress is willing to do about that. It’s beyond comprehension. People (read, the NRA and its supporters) act as if the 2nd Amendment is sacrosanct. It’s not. And it’s the only amendment built on a form of technology. Technology has changed. The amendment not only needs to be updated, it needs to make some sense in the modern day and age. But that won’t happen. Okay… gonna go call my representatives now. Though they’re not the ones on the hopes-and-prayers, koala-bears-and-unicorns, payoffs-by-the-NRA side of the aisle.


    • I’m a tad more optimistic than you. Well, make that a tad less pessimistic. I DO think things will change eventually. I think it’s possible for the 2nd Amendment to be updated, but it’ll take a generation for it to happen.

      I suspect the Parkland kids and their peers, who’ve all grown up in the years since the Columbine massacre, will be the generation that does something. To us, school shootings are still something of an aberration. They’ve grown up in a world where they’ve had to practice active shooter drills. They don’t see mass murders as an aberration, but as a weekly occurrence, and they know it makes no sense.


  3. What happened after 9/11? Did we ban box cutters and airplanes? No, we trained and armed Air Marshalls to fly under cover so that in the event of another terrorist hijacking, a good guy or gal with a gun might be able to save the day.

    I think the time is now for some sensible School Marshall laws. Depending on the size of the school, a select few teachers, administrators, and staff will be trained by the police academy and will be armed on campus all the time.

    Gun free zones has not worked, gun bans have not worked, more gun laws will never work. If you want to solve the problem it is time to be honest about how to solve it.


    • What happened after 9/11? Did we ban box cutters and airplanes? No

      Well, yeah, we DID ban box cutters and a lot of other objects from being taken aboard in carry-on luggage. We took some basic common sense actions.

      we trained and armed Air Marshalls

      We don’t have any recent data, but as of February 2016 we know that 250 air marshals were terminated for misconduct. 400 resigned or retired while under investigation for misconduct. That misconduct ranged from stuff like smuggling drugs on assigned flights to leaving their handguns in the aircraft’s toilet or the seat pouch, to assault on innocent passengers or flight crew.

      the time is now for some sensible School Marshall laws

      Guess what — Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School actually has an armed school resource deputy. He didn’t even see the shooter.

      A LOT of schools have armed security personnel or armed teachers and school administrators. And they have exactly the same problems as air marshals. They also lose their weapons, they also accidentally fire their weapons, some of them also become overly aggressive.

      Worse, they’re almost never effective against school shootings. Why? Because schools are big and school shootings tend to be quick, rarely lasting more than a few minutes. Armed staff rarely get there in time. Because they’re poorly trained (if they’re trained at all) and even well-trained personnel often react badly in high stress situations. Because most school shooters are student or former students and know the patterns of armed school resource deputies, and plan their attacks with that in mind.

      One more thing. Law enforcement administrators generally oppose this idea because when their officers respond to an active shooter scene, they don’t want to have to decide if the person they see with a gun is a good guy or a bad guy. The more armed civilians you have at an active shooter event, the better the odds are of another innocent person getting shot.

      Gun free zones has not worked, gun bans have not worked,

      There are no gun free zones in the U.S. There are places sometimes called ‘gun free’ but as long as firearms are so easy to acquire, the notion of a gun free zone is just an illusion. And we’ve never had a gun ban, have we.

      If you want to solve the problem it is time to be honest about how to solve it

      We can both agree on this, though we clearly disagree on what constitutes honesty about the issue.

      Liked by 2 people

  4. My hand is getting tired of sending postcards to my congress people…but I am doing it…gets some weight off my chest. Do I believe it will do any good???….maybe not….but I am willing to try. We need to march in the street and slam our legislators with their responsibilities to all of us. I am so proud of the Parkland students and will stand behind whatever efforts they make for change.


    • The Parkland kids are pretty badass, no mistake. They’re smart, they’re organized, they’re articulate…and they’re managing to be all that while they’re still recovering from the trauma of the event.

      And yes, you’re right, it’s frustrating and wearying to keep pestering our Congressional representatives to do what’s right — especially when we know our efforts aren’t likely to bear fruit. But we have to keep it up, if only because we owe it to kids like those from Parkland.


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