Wednesday, February 21, 2018

How to end school shootings

The 1962 Supreme Court case of Engel v. Vitale reaffimed the fact that prayer in public schools was a violation of the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment to the United States Constitution. A year later, the Supreme Court, in the case of Abington School District v. Schemmp, made the corporate reading of the Bible and recitation of the Lord’s prayer unlawful in public schools.

Canada also does not allow prayers in public schools because it is disallowed under the concept of Freedom of Conscience on Rights and Fundamental Freedoms. France does not allow school prayer due to its status as a laicist (religiously neutral) country, This is the country, remember, that declared Joan of Arc a national symbol of France in 1803. Even though it is a predominately Muslim country, Turkey does not allow school prayers since is a strongly secular nation.

Since school shootings in America have become all too common in recent years, there ARE folks who believe that the school shootings would end if we simply allowed prayers in schools again.

Soon after the most recent mass murder in yet Parkland, Florida, a Christian radio host named Bryan Fischer publicly declared that "God allows school shootings like the one that claimed 17 lives at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, because there is not enough prayer in public schools." Mr Fischer believes: "I suggest we have mass school shootings because we don't have enough God on our campuses."

So ….

Here is a question for you. When did school shootings first start in America?





The answer is ….
1764, which happens to be 198 years before the Supreme Court ruling that outlawed prayers in schools.

The number of instances per decade has been fairly low, and fairly consistent, until recently. You will notice on the chart shown in the link listed below that the average number of incidents per decade started to increase in the 1970’s, and has increased significantly since 2010.

The reason for the increase?

Harlon Carter.

Until the middle 1970s, the NRA mainly focused on sportsmen, hunters and target shooters, and downplayed gun control issues. However, passage of the GCA galvanized a growing number of NRA gun rights activists, including Harlon Carter. In 1975, it began to focus more on politics and established its lobbying arm, the Institute for Legislative Action (NRA-ILA), with Carter as director. The next year, its political action committee (PAC), the Political Victory Fund, was created in time for the 1976 elections. The 1977 annual convention was a defining moment for the organization and came to be known as "The Cincinnati Revolution".Leadership planned to relocate NRA headquarters to Colorado and to build a $30 million recreational facility in New Mexico, but activists within the organization whose central concern was Second Amendment rights defeated the incumbents and elected Carter as executive director and Neal Knox as head of the NRA-ILA.

 Just as the election of Barack Obama triggered an increase in gun sales since 2008, the Gun Control Act of 1968 (which created a system to federally license gun dealers and established restrictions on certain categories and classes of firearms) started the NRA on a more radical path.

Ted Nugent has been a board member of the NRA since at least 2012. Less than a week after the Parkland shooting, he promoted the right-wing conspiracy theory that the Parkland school shooting survivors who are currently calling for gun regulation are “coached” actors.

Today, the NRA is considered the most powerful lobbying organization in the country. In 2016, the NRA had revenue of $434 million, and expenses of $476 million. As of 2012, 88% of the Republicans in Congress, and 11% of the Democrats, had received money from the NRA at some point in their career. In 2012, the NRA spent roughly $10 million to support Mitt Romney. In 2016, it spend $30 million to help elect Donald Trump.

The members of Congress who have received the most money can be found at the link below:

John McCain is the overall winner, with career contributions of $7,740,521.

All of the folks on the list have sent their “thoughts and prayers” after the various mass shootings have occurred. For some reason, all that prayin’ just has not done much good.

For more than 100 years, the NRA was a great organization.

The National Rifle Association was started in 1871 by Colonel William Church and General George Wingate in order to correct the poor shooting that they witnessed during the Civil War. Their goal was to "promote and encourage rifle shooting on a scientific basis".

The NRA's interest in promoting the shooting sports among America's youth began in 1903 when NRA Secretary Albert S. Jones urged the establishment of rifle clubs at all major colleges, universities and military academies. By 1906, NRA's youth program was in full swing with more than 200 boys competing in matches at Sea Girt that summer.

Today, youth programs are still a cornerstone of the NRA, with more than one million youth participating in NRA shooting sports events and affiliated programs with groups such as 4-H, the Boy Scouts of America, the American Legion, Royal Rangers, National High School Rodeo Association and others.

The NRA's call to help arm Britain in 1940 resulted in the collection of more than 7,000 firearms for Britain's defense against potential invasion by Germany (Britain had virtually disarmed itself with a series of gun-control laws enacted between World War I and World War II).

After the war, the NRA concentrated its efforts on another much-needed arena for education and training: the hunting community. In 1949, the NRA, in conjunction with the state of New York, established the first hunter education program.

In 1956, NRA became the only national trainer of law enforcement officers with the introduction of its NRA Police Firearms Instructor certification program, which became fully operational in 1960.

The Eddie Eagle GunSafe Program was started in 1988 in order to protect kindergarten through 4th grade students.

In 1990, the NRA Foundation was established in order to ensure that gun safety and educational programs will be fully funded in the future.

The NRA’s first step into political activism was in1934, when the organization formed the Legislative Affairs Division. Although it did no direct lobbying, it DID mail facts and analyses to members of Congress.

In 1975, the organization became more aggressive in their approach, and formed the Institute for Legislative Action.

Since its founding, the NRA has had 26 presidents, but the best known leaders were Charlton Heston and U.S. Grant. The current president is Pete Brownwell, but the most prominent spokesman for the organization has been Wayne LaPierre, who is the executive vice president, a position that he has held since 1991. His annual salary is $972,000.

To his credit, he actually DOES have a few good ideas:

·         Having armed security personnel at schools.
·         Increasing funds for a stricter and more efficient mental health system, and reform of civil commitment laws to facilitate institutionalization of the mentally ill when necessary.
·         Creating a computerized universal mental health registry of those adjudicated to be incompetent, to help limit gun sales to the mentally ill.
·         Increasing enforcement of federal laws against and incarceration of violent gang members or felons with guns.
·         Project Exile and similar programs that mandate severe sentences for all gun crimes, especially illegal possession. LaPierre stated, "By prosecuting them, they prevent the drug dealer, the gang member, and the felon from committing the next crime... Leave the good people alone and lock up the bad people and dramatically cut crime."[9]
·         Restriction on "bump fire" type rifle stocks, in the aftermath of the Vegas shooting in 2017.
·         Bans on fully automatic firearms 

Not all of his ideas, however, are good ones:

·         Universal background checks, as he believes this will lead to a universal gun registry.
·         The Assault Weapons Ban of 2013
·         Any limits on the law-abiding public's access to semi-automatic weapons.[8]
·         Some gun control laws which he views as a form of government tyranny: "What people all over the country fear today is being abandoned by their government. If a tornado hits, if a hurricane hits, if a riot occurs, that they're going to be out there alone, and the only way they will protect themselves, in the cold, in the dark, when they are vulnerable, is with a firearm." There are some laws, however, he supports, such as the ban on gun sales to, or possession by, convicted felons or those adjudicated as incompetent or mentally ill.

Ironically, the best way to bring an end to school shootings is to use EXACTLY the same methods that the NRA used to become THE most successful lobbying group in the country.

As former Clinton spokesman George Stephanopoulos said, "Let me make one small vote for the NRA. They're good citizens. They call their congressmen. They write. They vote. They contribute. And they get what they want over time.

In 2018, the GOP is on very shaky grounds with the voting public. Even though legislatures in Arizona, Florida, and other states STILL refuse to take meaningful action after the shooting in Parkland, the tsunami wave is going to hit in November, and it’s not going to be pretty for the Republican Party.

During the Vietnam War, opposition to the war on college campuses was the primary catalyst for our withdrawal from Vietnam. Today, the charge is being led by high school students, who are fed up with the fact that there have been fatal school shootings since Columbine.

Including non fatal shootings, there had been 270 shootings – and that statistic is from February of 2016.

It may still take a little longer, but America is eventually going to be saved -
by its teenagers.

No comments:

Post a Comment