Sign of Our Times: The New Normal?

union_grove_sign_ketk.1368241232This is a sign from Union Grove, Texas where licensed and trained teachers and administrators now carry a firearm. Is this sign supposed to convince killers to move down the road to the less defended school?


As we recently saw, other schools are conducting unannounced practice raids by hooded police pretending to be homicidal killers.

The question is how is this new environment going to affect how our children view the world and their government. What impact do such signs have on children in accepting a greater role for authority and police presence?

Source: KNBC

86 thoughts on “Sign of Our Times: The New Normal?”

  1. raff,

    Her rights, as mine and yours, are inherent. I find the notion of stripping her of them for the random chance that her son was insane simply unacceptable from a civil rights perspective. Are there things we can do to mitigate risk? Yes, there are. But those steps must be reasonable and designed to have as minimal an impact on rights as possible. That’s the goal in formulation of laws under the social compact in a liberal democracy. Predicating someone’s rights upon the state or action of another is inherently unreasonable. Would your analysis hold if Lanza’s insanity was of the sudden onset variety? Ask OS. Some people seem just fine until they don’t. I don’t think it does. Rights rest with the individual. As you noted (and I was going to bring up if you hadn’t), there could be responsibility from a negligence standpoint but there is no evidence she was a criminally negligent gun owner. Was she unwise to teach a mentally unsound child to shoot in the first place? I think that is without question absent a survival situation, guns are tools for the competent at a minimum, however you cannot legislate wisdom. I think my previously proposed HIPPA blind mental health screenings for purchase would go a lot further in keeping guns from the insane with less damage to individual rights than mandating someone’s rights be predicated upon the health or actions of relatives or wards. And even then? It’s not a perfect solution. There is no perfect solution. My plan would not have stopped Lanza either. He was crazy. He just as well could have killed a neighbor who had no relation or duty to him other than the chance of living in the same neighborhood, taken his weapons, and killed those poor kids. Background checks, even mental health based ones, are net-like solutions. They’ll never be perfect, but I’d prefer one that doesn’t violate the inherent nature of rights. With the damages done to the 1st, 4th, 5th, 6th, 8th, 9th and 10th Amendments by the Patriot Act and the fascists in Washington, I’d say we’ve had enough damage to our inherent and protected rights under the guise of fighting a mathematically improbable noun already.

  2. Gene H. – “So my rights, inherent and Constitutionally protected, should be forfeit because of the illness of another? Wow. Simply wow. I’m having a really hard time reconciling that statement as I know you actually do understand the origins of rights, raff.”

    Numerous people have burnt down homes because the homeowner or resident a sex offender – including when the sex offender wasn’t the primary resident or home owner. There will always be knee-jerk overreactions falsely labelled as “solutions” by the overly emotional.

  3. “Protect their students”? Does that mean they’re going to shoot any military recruiters who try to enter the school, shoot them for harassing students who have told them to go away?

    I’d wager it’s 75% likely that the first shooting will be staff-on-staff or staff-on-relative (e.g. an ex-spouse), and 20% likely it’s an idiot shooting a student who posed no threat (an accident, or an idiot overreacting to a student’s words or actions).

  4. The part of my rant about the straw buyer being the mother should have been directed at porkchop, not Gene! Lo siento! 🙂

  5. Gene,
    She knew the extent of his disease better than anyone and still allowed him access to the weapons. I don’t think she was part of his evil plan, but at least was woefully negligent. Her rights do impact with his rights when she is the one responsible for him and he murders people with her guns. When are we going to hold people who have guns responsible for the damage those guns do? How many more are going to die because our society does not value victims of gun violence enough to try to at least reduce it with common sense legislation. No legislation can stop every crime. But if it can reduce it and prevent deaths and not damage civil liberties, then we have a duty as a society to try it. As I said earlier, the improvement of the care for the mentally ill is an important piece of the puzzle, but it cannot be the only piece. Plus, we can’t get Congress to pay for care for cancer victims due to the sequestration crap so how do we expect it to spend money to properly treat the mentally ill? But we have to keep trying to do that as well. Just because it is not easy to fix, does not make the problem any less vital or important to deal with.

    Defamation is in no way comparable to mass murder.

    A guardian or a parent could be responsible for the crimes of a child. I consider someone who was as mentally ill as Adam Lanza to be no more than a child. You are the one who brought up the cousin connection. I was merely relating it to the mother or someone who was responsible for or a guardian for the offender.

    It is not bizarre to consider that the mother who bought or provided him multiple weapons could be considered his straw man. The fact that it backfired on her is an additional tragic example of what happens to weapons bought for others who can’t buy them legally. Every day people are murdered with guns that were bought “legally” through the straw purchase process. This straw buyer just happened to be related to the person who received the guns and used them on the straw buyer as well as 25 others.
    Gene, I do understand the rights of gun owners, but I am not sure the NRA understands the rights of victims and society as a whole. This discussion to them is not about the 2nd amendment. It is about making more money for gun manufacturers. I have a right to be protected from the wrong people having access to guns and the wrong kinds of guns. And that protection should not have to be me having more guns than them.
    I am done with my rant. But I am not done with my desire to get reasonable gun legislation passed that will help our society’s ill fated love affair with guns. Good night and peace. I hope I didn’t blow your mind too much! 🙂

  6. One thing might be a statistical curiosity about schools.

    Let’s for the sake of exercise declare that every school in the united states has armed staff. Now lets take a look at how many school shootings there were in the past 20 years in terms of deaths.

    Now lets contrast that with the number of accidental discharges of weapons that might happen due to poor training or handling of these firearms.

    Consider this.

    Is it more likely there will be more deaths from accidental discharges if every school was armed to the teeth than have happened due to felonious shootings?

    In the US there were the following deaths caused by accidental shootings of police officers (training or otherwise) 2008 =2 / 2009 =3 / 2010 = 2 / 2011 = 5 / 2012 = 2. (source odmp.org) These are trained personnel who regularily shoot and nearly always carry firearms.

    Now for some more reality. Of all the agencies that are in the area where I worked LE, of which would include a dozen city and county agencies, at least 8 of them had bullet holes somewhere in the building from accidental discharges. Now things have improved quite a bit, but they do happen on rare occasions.

    I am not saying the possibility of an accidental discharge is enough to ban anyone from having them. It is just if we as a society want to make every school to have armed teachers and staff, it should recognize a spillover cost is going to be these accidents will happen.

  7. Raff:

    It is rather bizarre, I think, to characterize Adam Lanza’s first murder victim has his “straw person”. That would imply that she was complicit in his crimes. I have heard of no evidence to indicate that was the case.

    Mike A:

    I think the implication of Blouise’s comment was clear.

    “Next up? A teacher will accidentally shoot a student or two… or more (ap)”

    An accidental discharge that results in shooting “two or more” students? The likelihood that such a shooting would be “accidental” is vanishingly small. In order to accomplish such a thing with one round, the students would have to be lined up perfectly and the ammunition would have to be full metal jacket, rather than hollow-point. If there is more than one round involved, it is not an accident; if you are using full metal jacket ammunition, it means you intend to penetrate past your initial target. Either Blouise is woefully ignorant concerning firearms or she expects some teacher to start shooting students deliberately.

  8. “If your cousin lives with you or you are the guardian for that mentally ill person, you should be prevented from buying weapons that he/she could misuse.”

    So my rights, inherent and Constitutionally protected, should be forfeit because of the illness of another? Wow. Simply wow. I’m having a really hard time reconciling that statement as I know you actually do understand the origins of rights, raff. If you weren’t a lawyer, maybe I could reconcile that easier. Should my freedom of speech be curtailed because my cousin defames another or incites violence? The logic fails because it fails the criteria set forth by the social compact model upon which modern government is based as well as the natural law and common law traditions that underpin our legal system. My rights don’t have jack squat to do with his rights or his illness. I am not responsible for the crimes of others and my rights should not be impaired because of their actual or potential crimes – driven by insanity or not. Intellectually I know you know this is true.

    Truly, I’m a bit taken aback. You know me well enough and long enough to know that in itself is no easy feat.

  9. Gene,
    It is not a flaw in logic. If your cousin lives with you or you are the guardian for that mentally ill person, you should be prevented from buying weapons that he/she could misuse. The idea that he could have used some other weapon has no bearing on preventing him from being able to use guns.
    I disagree that no legislation could have prevented Sandy Hook, or Virginia Tech, or NIU because we have prevented bad people from buying guns using background checks. If society does not try to prevent crimes with guns, we will never sop them or prevent others from dying.
    Let’s force the mentally ill to use other weapons.

  10. raff,

    But he’s right about the flaw in your logic. I have a cousin who is, as the saying goes, crazier than a shithouse rat. Should I be denied my 2nd Amendment rights because he’s nuts? Should my dad? Or mom? Or uncle? No. I’ll remind you of another discussion we’ve had before: You can’t legislate away the danger of crazy. The best you can do is minimize risk. When you start designing laws to “protect” us from the insane, you end up with draconian solutions that remove everyone’s rights based on catering to every potential threat. That’s a pattern that doesn’t work if you want to preserve both rights and democracy. It’s not working with terrorism and it’s not going to work with planning for the aberrant behavior of the mentally ill either. Background checks or mandated training or serial stamping firing pins any other reasonable restriction on the 2nd is not going to stop a determined criminal or a determined lunatic. The kid responsible for Sandy Hook killed his mother – a legal and rightful owner – and took her weapons to commit his crime. He just as easily could have bought gasoline and a BIC or killed someone else to get their weapons or any number of things to kill as many as he possibly could. His madness drove the crime. Attacking the method of his crime will do nothing but further erode a Constitutionally protected right. I have no doubt your heart is in the right place, but no amount of legislation or regulation on guns would have prevented Sandy Hook. The crazy killed those kids. Guns were just the method of choice. Other methods could have been equally devastating or worse.

  11. Gene,
    It was a crazy son with guns.
    Porkchop,
    If a mother is the straw person supplying a mentally ill person with dangerous weapons maybe we should prevent her from being able to provide her mentally ill son with weapons.

  12. Porkchop:

    You misconstrued the comment. The fact is that good, responsible people do foolish, careless things on a daily basis. That universal truth is the basis for what is known as tort law. And we also know from experience that those same good, responsible people kill people on a daily basis through the negligent use of firearms.

  13. As I’m sure many of us know:

    “Columbine High School Had Armed Guard During Massacre In 1999”

    Posted: 12/21/2012 2:32 pm EST | Updated: 12/23/2012 11:07 pm EST

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/12/21/columbine-armed-guards_n_2347096.html

    “Deputy Neil Gardner was a 15-year veteran of the Jefferson County, Colo., Sheriff’s Office assigned as the uniformed officer at Columbine. According to an account compiled by the police department, Gardner fired on Harris but was unsuccessful in stopping him”…

  14. Teachers chimne in here. Would it not be correct to say the “staff at Union Grove ISI is armed”. The use of the word “are” does not seem right. If they said “staff members are armed” then that would seem correct.
    Am I wrong about this?

  15. The sign is not offensive. The kids will be glad that teacher has a gun and perhaps the janitor has one. If it was an old fashined catolic school the nuns would have rulers and no creep in their right mind would invade that school. Hire a nun with a ruler!

  16. I am surprised no one actually took the time to research the training programs around the country. A number of states and districts are in the process of implementing such programs. Most of the teachers involved already have concealed carry permits, and have completed a training course for CCP. Before any teacher is allowed to carry a weapon onto school property, extensive additional training will be required. That includes intensive tactical response to threat training. This of course is a strictly voluntary program. Many of the teachers who volunteer for these programs (not just in Texas) are very experienced in firearm use and safety. Some are even certified firearms instructors themselves. The course is as intense as any police firearms training, and some have tougher training requirements than LEO agencies require.

    Not all school staff who start one of these programs will finish it. Some will wash out for a number of reasons, mostly for lack of developing required proficiency. This is nothing new. That already happens in law enforcement training academies, .

    A certified program put on by an Ohio based non-profit, Buckeye Firearms, has already attracted more than a thousand applicants from fifteen states. Buckeye has been at the forefront of developing a curriculum for the Armed Teacher Training Program. Their applicants are not just from Ohio, but Arizona, California, Florida, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Michigan, Nevada, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Texas, Washington, and West Virginia.

    That is just one non-profit training and certification program. There will be more. Our local schools do not have armed staff, but all have uniformed School Resource Officers. SROs are specially trained full-time officers from either the city police department or the county Sheriff’s Department.

  17. packin or not packin A lady in California was recently mauled to death by a pack of pit bulls, If she was packin a gun and took a course on how to use it would she or would she not be alive today?

  18. Blouise:

    “Next up? A teacher will accidentally shoot a student or two… or more (ap)

    It is more likely that should a student at Union Grove die from gunshot wounds, the killer will be an armed member of the school staff. (Mike A.)

    It’s a given”

    Of course it is a given — in your world. Because touching a firearm makes otherwise good, responsible people careless, stupid, and evil.

  19. Next up? A teacher will accidentally shoot a student or two… or more (ap)

    It is more likely that should a student at Union Grove die from gunshot wounds, the killer will be an armed member of the school staff. (Mike A.)

    It’s a given

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