Pass red flag laws
As a parent and teacher, I write to argue against President Trump's assertion, implicitly supported by Governor Hutchinson, that arming teachers would improve safety in our schools. Following the tragedy in Parkland, American Federation of Teachers and the National Education Association oppose allowing nonsafety personnel to carry guns in schools. Those organizations, as well as several federal agencies, recognize that the presence of guns in schools increases the risk of shooting accidents. Further, they acknowledge that arming civilians is an ineffective way to stop a shooter. An FBI review concluded that in a 12-year period, only 1 in 160 incidents ended when a civilian shot the shooter, and that one "civilian" was a former U.S. Marine. Instead of arming teachers, states can save lives by enacting red flag laws, which address mental health issues before a shooting. Experts agree that mass shooters, like the 19-year-old in Parkland, often display warning signs before committing violent acts. Red flag laws allow family and law enforcement to seek help removing guns from dangerous situations, and in that way, address the mental health of an individual prior to violent behavior. Therefore, I write to ask my Arkansas neighbors to call their lawmakers and urge the passing of red flag laws, and vote for candidates who support similar gun safety laws. Also, as a volunteer with my local Moms Demand Action group, I call on my fellow educators to join the movement to keep our students and children safe by texting EDUCATOR to 644-33.
Blessing of liberty
This Second Amendment to the Constitution has turned out to be a real bugger. It raises as many questions as it answers. For example, does a bunch of overweight white men riding around on four-wheelers and sucking down pills and Pabst Blue Ribbon constitute a well-regulated militia provided they all wear "Duck Dynasty" T-shirts and "Make America Great Again" ball caps?
I have no intentions of tackling the Second or any other amendment. What I'd like to do instead is to ask all the conservative Americans to quit waving their constitutions for a minute and let's read them. Not the whole thing, lawdy no, just the first page. In fact, I think the first sentence tells us what we need to know. This sentence suggests that all Americans are guaranteed the right to the Blessings of Liberty, and doesn't that sound poetic. And yet, despite the poetry involved, we have managed to put 2 million of our fellow citizens under lock and key. (More than 7 million if you count parole and probation).
This seems to suggest that there are things a person can do to cause them to forfeit their constitutional rights. If a citizen can forfeit that Blessing of Liberty, mentioned in the very first sentence, then it stands to reason that they can also forfeit a right that isn't dealt with until way back in the amendments part.
The point is, we can take away the constitutional rights of people who society views as unable to handle the responsibilities that come with those rights. In the interest of the greater good we do it every day.
People who break the laws stand in jeopardy of losing their constitutional rights, but a person can lose their rights for being mentally ill as well. We have hundreds of thousands of these folks in confinement as well. There are, however, many people who are criminally minded and/or mentally ill but not incarcerated — think Ted Nugent eating mushrooms.
Every school shooter who ever was falls into that category — not the Ted Nugent one, but the criminally minded/mentally ill one. The problem facing us today is to identify these people before they show up at the schoolhouse door with their black rifles and, by all means, take away their guns.
In the wake of the Harvey Weinstein allegations and the domino effect of claims of sexual harassment, sexism seems to have left no professional industry untouched. While it is hard to imagine such brutishly atrocious behavior from men in Hollywood and even the White House, we mustn't forget that the stench of sexism is often much stronger on lower rungs of the socioeconomic ladder and reaches every corner of the world. As the Arkansas Times highlighted, sexism truly is everywhere. But in developing countries, it is on a scale that would be unthinkable here in the U.S. Many girls are denied access to education across the globe solely because of their gender. This is sexism to the extreme. Without a basic education, women struggle to find jobs, engage in civil society, become financially independent and are more at risk of poverty. The Borgen Project is a nonprofit organization working to bring global poverty reduction to the forefront of U.S. foreign policy. One such policy supported by the Borgen Project would help fight sexism everywhere in one of the most basic of ways: by providing girls' education. I urge Senators Boozman and Cotton to support the Protecting Girls' Access to Education Act (S.1580), which seeks to provide for the educational needs of women and girls for a minuscule fraction of taxpayer dollars. If the U.S. is committed to fighting sexism everywhere, we must fight it in the most basic way, by providing girls access to education globally.
From the web
In response to "Insurance Department spends thousands on guns, ammo, Tasers and other equipment to apprehend fraud suspects" from March 1:
This largesse is way off the GOP playbook. No way could this be interpreted as smaller, necessary or reduced governance. Kerr is just another hack with no regard for taxpayers. Militarization of a bureaucracy is the dumbest waste of money.
From the web in response to Max Brantley's March 1 column, "Guns: Call the roll":
"The gun lobby is wrong in thinking law enforcement failures in the Florida massacre are arguments against gun control. They illustrate why we must look harder at the devices that do the mass killing and how they get in hands of people even law officers are reluctant to confront."
How funny, Max, ignore the people that failed us, and tell us we must become more dependent on them, without doing any reform on the real instigators and causes of these killings.
Proving, still, how folks like you really don't want to stop shootings, you just want to ban things, and control people that don't need controlling, and ignoring the people that do need controlling.
In response to the March 4 Arkansas Blog post, "Vietnam. A protest threatened at UA Little Rock. Why not?":
Many of you are likely to disagree, but in my opinion, both at the time and now in the 20/20 hindsight rearview mirror, the U.S. actions in Vietnam were wrong, in so many different ways. I personally have far more respect for Muhammad Ali and those like him who refused to contribute to that massive mistake than most people seem to show. Some who refused to serve did so because they didn't want to die for any reason, but some did not want to die for the wrong reasons. Many people who avoided military service probably do not have honest answers to themselves as to why they did what they did. Those who served might have thought that they were keeping the commies from overrunning Kansas, or some such idea not so terribly well considered. Some wars in which the U.S. has engaged have been necessary, but some have not been necessary or justifiable. The same can be said for other countries and their people. Serving in such wars should be recognized for the vital and essential contributions to our way of life. However, I have my lowest opinions reserved for people who use a ticket-punch "combat tour" in one of the much needed jobs in support, like quartermaster, in order to get a bronze star only intended to support his or her subsequent claims of heroic service, such as for political campaigns.
I have an uncle who joined the Air Force so he at least had some control over going to Vietnam. He was an airplane/jet mechanic in Da Nang. That also meant cleaning the planes, washing them down, etc. Several years ago he was diagnosed with multiple myeloma, probably because of exposure to Agent Orange. An unnecessary war that's still killing.
I had a cousin who was killed in Vietnam on April 4, 1968. He was only 22 years old and had only been there three months, after serving in Germany before that. He was the only child of one of my mother's brothers, who had died when my cousin was a child. This year marks the 50th anniversary of his death. Over the years I have learned more about the war and how LBJ, Nixon and others lied to keep us in an unnecessary war. It is one of many reasons I was against the U.S. going to war in Iraq — another unnecessary war. We lost too many young Americans in Vietnam and yet did not learn our lesson. We are still in Iraq and Afghanistan after all these years. Yes, we need to honor Vietnam vets, but we should be protesting the futility of the current wars.