Terror Tots III: Maryland Student Suspended For Use Of Finger Gun

220px-gesture_thumb_up_then_down_forefinger_out_like_gun1We have previously seen absurd examples of disciplinary actions taken under zero tolerance rules for drugs and guns (here andhere and here). This includes cases involving kids using finger guns (here). Now Roscoe R. Nix Elementary School in Montgomery County has joined these ranks by suspending a six-year-old boy for making a finger gun with his hand and saying “Pow.”

Assistant Principal Renee Garraway wrote to the child’s parents about this “serious incident” and said that by using he “threatened to shoot a student.” The letter also reference to a prior incident that the parents say was never conveyed to them.

It would be absurd to suspend a student for a finger gun, though this is not the first time. At most such an incident should result in a note asking the parents to speak with the student. Frankly, I fail to see the danger in kids using finger guns. I have made an intensive search and failed to find a single fatality linked to a finger gun. I am waiting for the NRA to issue bumper stickers insisting that schools will have to “pry my finger gun from my cold dead fingers.”

Source: Examiner

56 thoughts on “Terror Tots III: Maryland Student Suspended For Use Of Finger Gun

  1. I have decided that way too many school bureaucrats check their common sense at the door when they go to work. Dr. Dwight Allen of UMass/Amherst once told me that middle level bureaucrats have no real power, but people need to feel empowered in order for their work to be validated. Therefore, a bureaucrat’s only recourse is to obstruct in order to feel worthwhile.

    Dr. Laurence Peter was right as well.

  2. Heck,
    I can remember my son picking up a Heinz ketchup bottle out of the grocery cart when he was 2 or 3 and pretending to shoot everyone in the grocery store. A 6 year old should not be suspended for using a finger gun. How about if we concentrate on the adults using real guns?

  3. Gene:

    Under sharia law does assault with a finger gun result in amputation of the offending finger? What about shooting daggers at someone with my eyes?

  4. What a farce, but increasingly no longer unexpected from some schools. How about the school instead focus its attention on educating the students instead of oppressing them.

  5. Yes, but was it an assault finger or a semi-automatic finger?

    “A well-regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Fingers, shall not be infringed.”

    The middle finger is mightier than the sword.

  6. It was obviously an assault finger, but capable of semi-auto, three-burst, and full-auto. I know people that would duck and cover just by the sight of his finger weapon if he left it on a table (painful but doable).

    ” At most such an incident should result in a note asking the parents to speak with the student.” Primarily so the adults-in-charge, I’m not sure who they actually are, won’t wet their pants in fear.

    ” Frankly, I fail to see the danger in kids using finger guns. I have made an intensive search and failed to find a single fatality linked to a finger gun.” You missed the eyes, no fatalities, but a finger gun could poke your eye out. Oh, wait, a non-gun finger could do the same. We must stop fingers from harming eyes. We could call it “eyes law”. I’m sure Southern dialect police could go for that.

    I was in Weps in the USCG. Handled, cleaned, and shot .45 Colt autos, M-16s, .50 caliber machine guns (a real big hoot, nothing like it), and a 5-inch (really just loud, no real satisfaction except for a dust cloud or a big splash, cleaning I left to the Gunner’s Mates because they told me to go away). In private, I’ve shot .357 Magnum, .38, and .44 Magnum (just too damn loud, but amazing damage), as well 12 and 16 gauge shotguns (prefer the latter).

    Personally, I don’t like guns but see them as tools for appropriate uses. Like all tools, just setting on a bench represents no danger. The fools that go into paroxysms of fear when they see a gun, well, I fear them. If they touch the damn thing, I’m going to run because nothing is more dangerous than a gun in the hands of a fool. If you’ve been in the military, you know the drill when you pick up a gun, and the drill before you hand it to someone; the fools just pick the damn thing up and point it. Now if we could only teach the police that if it’s in your hand it never goes off accidentally; it’s because your finger was on the trigger, and you should keep that damn dangerous thing away from the trigger until it’s time to pull…

    Guns don’t people, fingers do, and finger guns are really dangerous because they are both.

    Really, can we get any sillier. Oh, wait, can we discuss sporks and plastic knives? I read about this one kid…

  7. It makes me shudder to think how the coming generations of children are going to turn out, when this kind of crap is what they’re having to deal with. Thank GOODNESS in MY day growing up we could shoot anyone we wanted. We even had CAP guns! I don’t know how so many of us managed to live through those horrible terrorist people that raised my generation of the 60s and 70s. It’s a miracle any of us made it. Good thing there are such brilliant and caring people to intervene with the little ones now!

    They’ll be trying him as an adult and make an example of him, I’m sure! They’ll put him in solitary probably, until the decision comes down to just go ahead and throw him in Gitmo where he belongs. Are these people even SANE????

  8. Mike A.,

    “Under sharia law does assault with a finger gun result in amputation of the offending finger?”

    Only if you’re assaulting a man. They actually go for the index finger (barrel), the middle finger (trigger) and the thumb (hammer) just to make sure you’re disarmed, er, disfingered. (You may laugh, but at one point in my life I had read a big chunk of Sharia from SA and Iran as part of comparative law studies and some of their amputation guidelines are just that specific or more so. It’s creepy.)

    “What about shooting daggers at someone with my eyes?”

    Daggers? Yeah, they’ll blind you for that, but many people are upgrading to lasers as Sharia, like many legal systems, is slow to adapt to new technology.

  9. OS,

    They have quotas to meet, promises to delete, and politicians to greet.
    It is like the cops in NYC, not meeting quota on stops will get you demoted to Far Rockaway. Allegedly.

  10. You should have seen us in the 40-50s. The first rubber bands came, and we make slingshots out of coat hanger wire. But left them at home.
    But a pocket full of rubber bands went there. Stretch one from forefinger to thumb to fire when the thumb is dropped.

    Of course we did it mostly at recess.

    Glad to see that we are in agreement on what we must do to counter gun massacres. SARCASM????

  11. See, what I don’t understand is what happened to embarrassmet? What the Hell? Why aren’t those people embarrassed about harassing the finger-bearing kid? OMG!

  12. I would be interested in Elaine’s take on this. Zero tolerance is a mainstay in our school system. What kind of experiences she had since subsequent to zero tolerance becoming the accepted policy would be edifying. I had a student of mine suspended for having tylenol in her purse. A repulsive decision in my opinion.

  13. And we wonder why education in this country has been going downhill? Wonder no longer, in some schools common sense is uncommon.

  14. old nurse “It was a teachable moment…”
    Exactly WHAT could POSSIBLY have been learned from this situation? That common sense in this country is DEAD? That’s a well known fact.

  15. I had a really good method to make rubber band ‘guns’ out of a clothes pin. I guess I would have spent my youth in juvie for that these days.

  16. I think someone “solve” the mysteries by suggesting that true to most bureaucratic jobs (not the teachers ElaineM, the Principal et al) are in essence dissatisfying in terms of feeling you are productive and an important factor. It was then said that they were given “power” over others to boost their morale. And power has to be exercised to feel it is yours.

    Thus stupid rules are created, creating a serf class, and our children are punished. What is Tylenol? Something like narcotics? You would almost believe it.

    Outlandish, who knows. Anybody remember how “Brazil” begins? Plausible that we have reached a similar point in our “development”

    Sorry, can’t recall who it was, but having it repeated will perhaps be some comfort.

  17. shano, It is a different world from our youth. We discussed the differences @ Saratoga and how owners treated their help compared to now. I’m a glass half full guy, and while there have been many changes for the better, they certainly are not all for the better. The lawyerization of our culture, which grew exponentially when they began advertising 30 or so years ago, is one negative factor.

  18. A client’s fourth-grader got an after school detention for exactly the same thing while on the playground. The principal told me it was a “low level threat of violence.” I think the teacher gave him the detention just had it out for the boy.

  19. that just illustrates a phobia some people have about guns.
    sadly some of these kind of people would be making our gun laws

  20. Court rules one finger gesture is legal these days, from Huff post:

    “WASHINGTON — A police officer can’t pull you over and arrest you just because you gave him the finger, a federal appeals court declared Thursday.

    In a 14-page opinion, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 2nd Circuit ruled that the “ancient gesture of insult is not the basis for a reasonable suspicion of a traffic violation or impending criminal activity.”

    John Swartz and his wife Judy Mayton-Swartz had sued two police officers who arrested Swartz in May 2006 after he flipped off an officer who was using a radar device at an intersection in St. Johnsville, N.Y. Swartz was later charged with a violation of New York’s disorderly conduct statute, but the charges were dismissed on speedy trial grounds.

    A federal judge in the Northern District of New York granted summary judgement to the officers in July 2011, but the Court of Appeals on Thursday erased that decision and ordered the lower court to take up the case again.

    Richard Insogna, the officer who stopped Swartz and his wife when they arrived at their destination, claimed he pulled the couple over because he believed Swartz was “trying to get my attention for some reason.” The appeals court didn’t buy that explanation, ruling that the “nearly universal recognition that this gesture is an insult deprives such an interpretation of reasonableness.”

  21. I’m glad they aren’t the cops and they don’t come to my apartment… My girlfriend’s daughter and I pretend to shoot each other with finger guns a lot. And pretend to punch each other. And fight with wrapping paper rolls like they are swords… We’d be arrested for all of our violence.

    And yet she is a well-rounded nine-year-old who doesn’t hurt people.

  22. I don’t see this as much of an offense, especially one worthy of suspension. However, if it was done in the threatening manner, it seems that the teacher or the principal should have had a chat with the student explaining why it’s inappropriate; suspension not required.

  23. Dear Fabien,

    Did anyone ever suggested to you that you might be fixated on guns.
    So even a theme, “persecute for whatever reaason the children” brings you bearing and defending your guns..

    Try getting out of that truck more often and get a life, that is the common cure for most obsessions.

    Good luck, or find a therapist.

    And stop cocking your triggers, it makes me jumpy. Not really, it is not an iCBM you have, or is it. Let Obama know in which case.

  24. when hammers are outlawed only carpenters will have nail guns:

    “According to the FBI annual crime statistics, the number of murders committed annually with hammers and clubs far outnumbers the number of murders committed with a rifle.

    This is an interesting fact, particularly amid the Democrats’ feverish push to ban many different rifles, ostensibly to keep us safe of course.

    However, it appears the zeal of Sens. like Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) and Joe Manchin (D-WV) is misdirected. For in looking at the FBI numbers from 2005 to 2011, the number of murders by hammers and clubs consistently exceeds the number of murders committed with a rifle.

    Think about it: In 2005, the number of murders committed with a rifle was 445, while the number of murders committed with hammers and clubs was 605. In 2006, the number of murders committed with a rifle was 438, while the number of murders committed with hammers and clubs was 618.

    And so the list goes, with the actual numbers changing somewhat from year to year, yet the fact that more people are killed with blunt objects each year remains constant.

    For example, in 2011, there was 323 murders committed with a rifle but 496 murders committed with hammers and clubs.

    While the FBI makes is clear that some of the “murder by rifle” numbers could be adjusted up slightly, when you take into account murders with non-categorized types of guns, it does not change the fact that their annual reports consistently show more lives are taken each year with these blunt objects than are taken with Feinstein’s dreaded rifle.

    Another interesting fact: According to the FBI, nearly twice as many people are killed by hands and fists each year than are killed by murderers who use rifles.

    The bottom line: A rifle ban is as illogical as it is unconstitutional. We face far greater danger from individuals armed with carpenters’ tools and a caveman’s stick.

    And it seems fairly obvious that if more people had a gun, less people would be inclined to try to hit them in the head with a hammer.”

    outlaw hammers now!

  25. Just saw this brilliant video on youtube, which puts 2nd amendment more in perspective (as long as he didn’t pick and choose on the years and all)

  26. Bron:

    You hit the nail on the head.

    Also, there are about 32,000 fatalities in car accidents per year in the US, about half of those involve DUI. Yet, we are not banning motor vehicles despite the fact they are roughtly 30 times more likely to cause death due to felonious operation (DUI related vehicular homicide) than rifles used feloniously.

  27. Darren:

    It makes sense because if you are a typical gun owner, the rifle is put away and the ammunition is usually not in a magazine. From my understanding of murder, it is usually a crime of passion in the heat of a moment and you use the thing closest at hand; a stick, a lamp base, your fist, a club, etc. You dont typically think about what you are doing, you lose control in the moment and arent thinking about going to the safe or locker to remove your weapon, load it and shoot the person. You could make the case that doing all of that would refocus your brain and mitigate the anger if, indeed, it was a spontaneous rage.

    Can you please comment as a LEO?

  28. Bron and Darren,

    Compliments and continued happy new year.
    You know that simple adding up totals never give the “real” picture. Hope so, since then you will realize that the occasion, motives, timing, placing , and other circumstances, tells us that hammars and clubs are premeditated murders, as opposed to crimes of passion which sends men racing after their guns. Did you even make the comparison between men and women on both types of weapons.

    And as Darren says that cars kill more, of course we must ask if they are crimes of passion, premeditated, or just DUI/carelessness which ly behind those figures. Putting breathalysers or similar cognitive capability checks before allowing car to be driven could be a better measure than bannig cars, which Darren used to give guns an out.

    Giving lessons might be a good first step for guns, as gunsi unlike cars, are NOT a necessity for life, but cars seem to be hatt.
    So offernig a course in guns, after compulsory registrtiion might be a good idea.

  29. Bron Requested:
    Can you please comment as a LEO?
    Unfortunately, I can only comment as an ex-LEO since I retired from the profession :)

    Anyway: That is a bit tricky off the top of my head to estimate the numbers regarding the time delay issue with what you are asking, I don’t know exactly, and I can see it going either way. But here are some rough dynamics:

    There is a compelling argument to say that having to go somewhere to retrieve and load a weapon with all that time involved might lead to some cooling down. Instantly available weapons might be used more often. But then again I have seen cases where people that were bent on killing would spend the extra time to obtain a firearm to kill with even when they didn’t own one previously.

    The most commonly used object to assault other persons is the hands. They are the most readily available.

    Pistols and handguns are by nature more easy to take with a person, and are used in the greatest numbers for murders involving a firearm. But then again, they are the best personal defense weapon available to someone trying to kill you with a weapon.

    I’ve seen a great variety of weapons used against people over the years, ranging from golf clubs, to clothing irons, and believe it or not even a TV cable as a whip. ( I also had one case were two dentists were fighting each other in their office) It is mostly these strange objects that are used at the spur of the moment.

    Another dynamic could be that proportionately there are more decent people than bad people who own hunting rifles where there might be a higher number of scumbags who own pistols in a proportion of good people to bad people owning handguns.

    My own experience was that Illegally possessed handguns were far, far more often used in Assaults and Murders than other firearms. Shotguns probably followed a distant second, then legal handguns and rifles.

  30. Idealist Contributed:
    Giving lessons might be a good first step for guns, as guns unlike cars, are NOT a necessity for life, but cars seem to be that.
    So offernig a course in guns, after compulsory registrtion might be a good idea.

    Here’s a couple of my views on courses and registration.

    Washington state is a state that has a “shall issue” rule with regard to Concealed Pistol Licenses. WA law mandates that all qualified persons who apply for a CPL Must be given one. The reason for this is that it takes arbitrary denials away from the hands of local officials who might have qualms about citizens having concealed pistols or will use bureacracy and dithering tactics to effectively deny citizens the CPL.

    Washington’s constitution declares the right to keep and bear arms as an individual right.

    Washington does not require a firearms class for an adult to own a firearm but does for juveniles under a certain age to obtain a hunting license.

    Because it is a civil right, the government in my view cannot argue that the indivudual right to own a firearm is commensurate with taking a firearms class that is regulated by the state. They cannot do this any more than requiring a person taking a class to vote, or publish a newspaper.

    I worry that the government can use the classes as a tool to lower gun ownership by making the class so difficult to pass or expensive to take that most people are disuaded from participating in it and therefore not being allowed to own the firearm. But I think it is incumbent upon people to be highly trained in their usage. The question becomes is the training mandated to make users better, or make less users.

    Now, also keep in mind that I and a great many people who live especially in Eastern and South West Washington regard firearms ownership as a undeniable civil right for law abiding citizens. We tend to regard mandatory registration as future confiscatory tools by government and in our culture here we regard this as an infringement of our rights that will occur in the future.

    Because of this, I am very, very skeptical of mandatory registration of firearms. The reason is that in other countries governmnets have used registration schemes as tools for eventual confiscation of firearms or arrest of owners. Moreover, there are too many politicians in our gov’t who have expressed significant interest in taking firearms ownership away from the people. Whether it be one type of weapon or all weapons I don’t trust them at all.

    Why does this registration differ from automobiles, lawnmowers, or other objects people own? It is because politicians do not go to such lengths to take away automobiles, lawnmowers etc away from the people but they regulary make statements of how they are going to take away firearms from law abiding citizens. Therefore I do not trust giving politicians that power.

  31. I haven’r read yet your response to Bron, but will considering the well-measured one you gave me. Thanks.

    Your info the situation in eastern and sw Washington was good to get.
    And I share with you the distrust of government, which they have shown so many times reasons to dstrust them. Never a day goes by…..

    But to be realistic, how serious can one be in believing that we can with our guns withstand the government.
    Rebellion will be met by overwhelming force, be it gas, famine, or simply wiping out two towns and letting it be widely carried in the media.
    It will be characterized as lawful measures against domestic terrorism, no matter the kids and women who fall victims too. So has it been in Iraq and Afghanistan. We are no exceptions here as citizens. It is keeping us tethered and in harness which counts to them. So some wiil be used as warning to others. How many drone flights do you think pointed at proven terrorist nests. etc will be needed.
    Trust the government, never.

    But I believe that beside the NRA lobbying that the decision was once made and won’t be altered. They let us keep our teddy bears for security, as they know that when push comes to shove, that they can crunch us all, and quickly.

  32. Darren more…….
    So why gun control, just as a way of eliminating guns and violence as a way to solve problems.
    Of course, solving things with violennce must be encouraged says the govrenment, It and fear creates easy acceptance of preemptive wars.

    So the loss of a few, very few citizens in school massacres,etc is only trivial collateral damage of no consequence and gun control would be an unending battle lasting a century with Constitutional backing—–although they have skit upon the constitution in the years since 9/11. But a battle on states rights basis would be a hard one to fight. There perhaps are no states rights on the other hand, for requirement of trial before incarceration for indefiite time, as in NDAA.

    Thanks for the interesting discussion, which enlightened me more as to who you are, and your basis for opinions.

  33. “Our neighbors at MSNBC’s Melissa Harris-Perry report that Chicago’s Noble Network of Charter Schools is making some cash on the side by charging “disciplinary fees” to unruly students. The parents of one teenager, writes Traci Lee, had to pay close to $2,000 in fines for infractions including “an unkempt appearance and not making eye contact.”
    Unreasonable, perhaps, but not unprofitable. Writes Lee: “According to the Chicago Tribune, Noble raked in approximately $200,000 in disciplinary fees in 2011 and almost $400,000 since the 2008-09 school year.”
    That’s small change compared to the nearly $70 million in funding the charter school network is expected to receive this year, but it’s enough to make it worth the effort. Noble Network CEO Michael Milkie defended the schools’ actions last year, telling the Tribune that the fees not only clamped down on violence, but also offset the costs for the school to administer detention.
    Indeed, disciplinary fees are a win-win for charter schools: Not only are they reasonably lucrative, but there’s also a great way to enforce social control. If a kids’ unruly behavior puts a significant financial burden on his parents, you can bet those parents will do everything they can to get their son in line. The increased classroom discipline, in turn, reflects well on the charter school, which might then expect more city funding.
    So the charter network has considerable incentive to make the fines increasingly draconian, both to discourage infractions and to squeeze more money out of the kids who still misbehave. But they also have an incentive to create more and more rules which the students might then break. The greater the risk of breaking a rule, the more likely the schools are to make a buck off their students.
    Better yet, the schools can justify the proliferation of seemingly harsh and arbitrary fines—say, fining students hundreds of dollars for “not making eye contact”—by using “Broken Windows” theory. Under James Q. Wilson’s theory (dissected here by Mike Konczal), you could argue that such rules preserve order by targeting potential troublemakers and punishing them into submission before they have the chance to do anything which would actually harm the community. It’s the perfect combination of money-making scheme and authoritarian policing program.
    Of course, such a system sounds like a nightmare for the actual students and parents: an education system governed by fear of financial ruin. It’s a fundamental flaw in the charterization of public education that such an outcome seems not only reasonable but ideal from a management perspective. Charter advocates talk a good game about freedom and school choice, but private institutions which control public goods have plenty of incentives to be authoritarian—even tyrannical.
    As the Noble Network example goes, debt is a crucial tool for enforcing such tyranny. I wrote about another example over the summer: When local governments outsource debt collection to private companies, the contractors will frequently lard on additional debts as punishment for late payments. As a result, one man “has spent a total of 24 months in jail and owes $10,000, all for traffic and license violations that began a decade ago.”
    Needless to say, the analogy between the education system and the criminal justice system is not a flattering one.”

  34. Shano,

    Excellent. Thanks.

    I was denied an education due to many weeks spent in suspension as soon aa they lawfully could do so. Until then it was being made to sit in the corner (literally) which was used to punish me. Improvement in behavior had they long given up hope on happening.
    Be that as it may, however.

    I know of the american class situation only by rumor and reputation.
    Now it would seem chaotic. Chaos does not lead to learning, nor respect for and behavior in accordance with social norms or even laws for that matter.

    So perhaps there is some value in fining the parents.
    It at least makes them aware of their parental responsibility, something which also seems to have disappeared from the culture.
    But subject to arbitrary and financially winnings sake makes a good opening promoting abuse by the users, ie charter schools and fine collectors.

    What do you take away from the man who has nothing to live on or for.
    “Freedom is the only thing left when you’ve nothing left to lose.”
    Chris ???????.

    Chomsky says that schools have functioned as a filter for allowing the adaptable to ruling advance, along with the talented.
    I wonder if he has noted that many schools have not lost that battle for improving and enforcing conformism???

  35. Using this strange logic, all five fingers must constitute having a Gatling gun, and a fist must be like a hand grenade, and throwing something with your arm must be like having a bazooka, or rocket launcher, or something equally dangerous.

    Please, protect me from myself and amputate my arms. I’m just too dangerous to have around.

  36. Idealist:

    One of the differences that would be the case between our military fighting in Iraq up against the Iraqis compared if our federal government turned against the American people is that the military would be composed of Americans poised against other Americans. I don’t think our society is fragmented sufficiently where people have extreme differences (as seen in some countries such as Rwanda or others) that the government can recruit members of one clan to fight another. I don’t think there will be enough support for a a war against the American people in the traditional sense or as we see in Syria in the near future.

    What concerns me most is that we might have a president or a congress that will create a situation where they take advantage of some situation that worries the population (or fabricate it) and then offer deliverance from this calamaty in exchange for more power and fewer liberties of the common person. They will then condition the people to relenquish their liberty, and over time the political class will become more and more powerful and average people will have less and less say.

    Next there will be the attack against individuals who speak out or demand their liberty. Slowly these people will be removed from the public forum and others will be afraid to speak out. These people in power will not likely, unless completely desperate, not risk a military action because it will blow up on them and could turn the public against them. It will happen one person at a time. And it is from this that for purposes of protection of our individual liberties, I believe that any country that murders its own citizens or treats them with such horrors that we have seen in Syria and other places the government should fear its own citizens.

    I have always maintained that a government that does the above ceases to have legitimacy. But when oppressed people do not rebel against tyranny, they consign sometimes generations of children to servitude and oppression, so in the long term it might be necessary to defend the nation of the people and that is going to involve losses.

    Which brings me back to what you were asking about if resistence is futile in the face of the government. Essentially what has happened in several other countries, such as The Czech Republic, USSR, etc, was either a bloodless or just above that where the politicians lose their backing such as the military and the federal police forces. Essentially the public takes over and opposition leaders come forward to offer transition. It is a certain fact that to some degree big shot politicians are paper tigers who hide behind their position.

    I believe that politicians with oppressive intent lurking in their minds are deterred because there are enough people in the country who will stand up against oppression and tyranny to resist, just the idea of others having firearms is a protection of the liberty of our country. On a side note, it gives what some would consider to be more “conventional” or mainstream opposition more of a voice.

    For example, think this: Would the US goverment have embraced Dr. Martin Luther King as they eventually did, if there wasn’t a Malcolm X in the background that could take his place?

    Trust me I don’t like violence, it is the worst and last step that should be used. But I don’t expect people to live like North Koreans have to either.
    The road to Pyongyang is paved with small corruptions that just become larger with each mile. They key is to not start down that path to begin with.

  37. When a suspect is in custody being interrogated, there is no law that says he has to make eye contact with his interrogator. Eye contact with authority is one of the most obvious and coercive ways to establish submissiveness. Parents who keep their kids in schools that enforce “rules” about eye contact are authorizing, and even paying for, abuse of their own children. I would say that a child has a life interest in not having to look directly into anybody’s eyes. ANYBODY. If you’re not able to speak your mind to any person, you should not be forced to look into their eyes.

    There is one exception, in my opinion. In “my world of criminal justice,” a person who was accused, tried and convicted of murder or a similar capital offense against another person (and there would be very stiff rules about how one got convicted, much more stringent than our present pretense of “due process”), that convict would have to show up for silent eye-to-eye interviews (silent on the convict’s part) at appointed times for the victim or, if the victim had died, the surviving family/friends of the victim to tell the convict what they needed to tell him or her in order to unburden their own souls. Threats would not be tolerated but whatever else the harmed parties wanted to say would be OK and the convict would have to make eye contact and would not be allowed to answer. Of course, I understand that by our common idea of personal accountability and crime and punishment, that is prevented by the Eighth Amendment. But in a maternal, rather than patriarchal society structure, it would be permissible in certain cases. But there would be no death sentences and no “common cruelty” in the prison system. In other words, a “glamour slammer” but prisoners have to face the consequences (in other people’s lives) of their crimes.

    I would have had Eichmann NOT be hanged, but have to listen to survivors and the relatives of survivors and people who had been negatively affected by his crimes, while he stayed awake and respectful and made eye contact, for an hour at a time six times a day for the rest of his natural life, and I would have given him good food, comfortable shelter and high-quality medical care (including psychiatric care) for the entire time.

  38. Darren,

    I capitulate. I going to buy my niece armament and arrange courses for her and her son.!!!!!!

    You did bring up a large arsenal of good arguments and new points to consider. The now overwhelming march to people surveillance which leads to petty corruption as well as officially condoned but not publicize corruption of the facial content of the laws. Add to that the politicall will to extend and expand previous laws due to sunset, it all adds up to a depressing picture, which you also named as the most likely method advancing suppression of free speech and dissent.

    But I fear tfhat the fight will be uphill all the way. We see some victories and some very large defeats to regaining or retaining our rights.
    But the sooner we begin the fight before the next “scare” comes the best for us all.

    A personal point and not a quibble, I believe they discerned presidential material, ie greater potential in MLK, and he had gone over for a year at least to pressing the government on Vietnam, with all its draftee casualties.
    He was effecting general interests big time. Malcolm ideas being less acceptable to the general pop. was not a problem.

    Glad for the extensive discussion. It is an issue in its totality which encompasses us all. We do have a unique position among citizens of the world. But it is being undermined, with certain few exceptions.
    Let’s hope for more exceptions and more persons joining the cause.
    But with a general view, from kindergaten to charter schools, to the SS system, we seem to be losing ground. A consequence of the Patriot Act, christened by a better mind than mine, the greatest treason ever committed against our constitution.

    Essentially this theme or whatever you call it must stand daily on our agenda.
    Without it we will never manage to progress in any fashion.
    There are, as you know, reminders from our own society daily. Read today’s NYTimes and note the article on the FDA’s NEW measures against food contamination. Don’t laugh too much. It is your belly being sacrificed on commercen’s profit line. I really did not think that you would. Monsanto, not a client I hope, sends it New Year’s Greetings to all of us.

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