We have to reach a breaking point on this. It’s simply getting too insane. Every day brings us more stories of the people who run our public schools acting like total fucking idiots:
Two masked men wearing hoodies and wielding handguns burst into the Pine Eagle Charter School in this tiny rural community on Friday. Students were at home for an in-service day, so the gunmen headed into a meeting room full of teachers and opened fire.
Someone figured out in a few seconds that the bullets were not drawing blood because they were blanks and the exercise was a drill, designed to test Pine Eagle’s preparation for an assault by “active shooters” who were, in reality, members of the school staff. But those few seconds left everybody plenty scared.
The worst part of the story? Several of the teachers involved think this was a good idea. Seriously. They praise it for raising their awareness of what to do in the event of something that has a one in 30,000 chance of happening. Think about what they might have done with that time (and stomach lining). Practicing a fire drill or the heimlich maneuver or sexual abuse awareness would have been a far more productive use of their time.
I appreciate that some children in Sandy Hook were saved because their teachers had training and responded effectively and bravely. I would, however, submit, that having two assholes run into a room and pretend to shoot a bunch of folk is not anyone’s definition of effective training.
But we’re not done, friends.
Eagle Scout Cole Withrow was just a few weeks from graduating with honors from his North Carolina high school, but now the active church member is facing a felony weapons charge and a precarious future after accidentally leaving a shotgun in his pickup truck in the school parking lot.
Most members of the Johnston County community, just southeast of Raleigh believe the 18-year-old is paying far too big a price for an honest mistake. Withrow had been skeet shooting with friends a day before, and only noticed he had left his shotgun in his truck on Monday morning as he reached to grab his book bag, said family friend Kimberly Boykin. When he realized his mistake, rather than leave school grounds, he went to the front office to call his mother for help.
The school is falling back on their usual “the law is very clear” default position. The problem with that position is that prosecutors have discretion to determine when someone has knowingly and dangerously violated the law and when someone has accidentally violated it. I have harped on this many times: that we have abandoned any concept of mens rea in this country. No one cares any more if you have evil intentions. All that matters is that you have tripped over one of the many thousands of laws that surround us.
I’m not opposed to punishing the kid. Rules is rules (although my dad’s school had a shooting club). But felony charges? What is the damned point of ruining this kid’s life? So we can make an example of him? An example of what? The only example I’m seeing here is the example of a bunch of power-crazed idiots who can’t figure out what laws are supposed to accomplish.
We’re still not done:
Kiera Wilmot got good grades and had a perfect behavior record. She wasn’t the kind of kid you’d expect to find hauled away in handcuffs and expelled from school, but that’s exactly what happened after an attempt at a science project went horribly wrong.
On 7 a.m. on Monday, the 16 year-old mixed some common household chemicals in a small 8 oz water bottle on the grounds of Bartow High School in Bartow, Florida. The reaction caused a small explosion that caused the top to pop up and produced some smoke. No one was hurt and no damage was caused.
According to WTSP, Wilmot told police that she was merely conducting a science experiment. Though her teachers knew nothing of the specific project, her principal seems to agree.
Apparently, the kid was just playing around with some chemicals to see what would happen. Again — a complete lack of mens rea. But this doesn’t matter to the needle-dicked prosecutors and school officials in Bartow. She broke the law! Time to destroy her dreams of college.
The problem in this country isn’t people who go to church. And it isn’t Eagle Scouts. It’s assholes who abuse their discretion to charge little girls with felonies for making a mistake in a science experiment. It’s legislators who draft laws that allow such atrocities. It’s media who press legislators for such laws. It’s voters who elect legislators who promise laws under which little girls can be charged with felonies for making a mistake in a science experiment.
And it’s that we, all of us, are too cowardly to see that in our hunt for little monsters, we’ve created a monster capable of destroying us all. That we’re afraid to join together, as a torch-wielding mob, and burn the monster we created to death.
This has to stop. The hysteria over school violence, the zero tolerance policies, the expelling and felony-charging of kids over pranks, mistakes and stupidity. It all has to stop. And it will not stop until we unelect every politician who supports it, boot every school board member who promotes it and hound every prosecutor who says he has no choice. And that will not happen until we quit being spineless cowed individuals who quail at any potential danger and engage in the kind of worst-first anything-for-the-children thinking that enables this. I’ve been to meetings where these policies have been discussed and the hysterics have the floor. Any opposition is seen as the moral equivalent of throwing kids in front of a firing squad.
We can’t be cowed. We can’t back down. One by one, parent by parent, schoolboard by schoolboard, politician by politician, we have to beat some fucking common sense into the country.