Wednesday, December 19, 2012
Gun Culture = Email from a friend
I’ve been annoyed for decades with the subtlety and growing effectiveness of American media propaganda. I’m now deeply offended by the politicization and media treatment of the Newtown tragedy. The term that moved me to write something is “gun culture.” It’s a pejorative term used by politicians and anti-gun activists, little different from personal smears except that it uses a nationwide brush to smear all of us. To balance the discussion, perhaps we should include the term “public school culture.” I’m particularly interested in the innate reaction to threats, usually labeled “fight or flight.” Although “flight” sometimes is prudent, “fight” occasionally is a better option. We need to bare the truth about these facets of our nation without consideration to political correctness and without political bias.
I’ve also been concerned for decades with the massive failure of American public schools. A central reason for my concern is they’ve become overwhelmingly staffed by teachers and administrators whose first loyalty is to the government and who now lean far to the effete, perhaps overly effeminate, left wing. One consequence of this trend is a change in the “fight or flight” instinct. Public school officials have repeatedly demonstrated that their first and only instinct is “flight.” In other words, the only option considered is to run and hide, a reaction amply proven again in Newtown. I’ve concluded that public schools now overwhelmingly belong to a “flight culture” without the balancing instinct to “fight” even when the odds are in their favor. I’m suggesting that the “public school culture” is married to the “flight culture” and the consequences have been unfortunate.
It seems to me that one should make a rational decision when threatened with bodily harm. In the Sandy Hook Elementary School, confronted by a skinny, deranged kid, public school officials were so witlessly frightened, they ran and hid in the nearest closet even though they outnumbered him by fifty to one. In my outrage, I was reminded of the Singapore disaster in February 1942. Unbalanced by a too-strong “flight” instinct, General Arthur Percival surrendered 100,000 combat soldiers to 30,000 exhausted, ill-equipped Japanese who were almost out of ammunition. It’s not my intent to commingle the Newtown tragedy with war but rather to point out the mental process is the same regardless of conditions that produce the threat.
To clarify, it’s not my intention to minimize the heroics of Sandy Hook teachers, particularly the ones who shielded their children with their own bodies. Further, I recognize fully that many women are more physically capable than men in war and all other venues where firearms are present. That said, and with no disrespect intended, the vast majority of teachers, especially at the elementary level, are women. It’s pretty clear, in our society, they’ve had little experience or training with physical confrontations, let alone firearms. Notably, except for the head custodian, all six members of the Sandy Hook Office Staff are women. Based on a cursory review, 27 out of 28 teachers, from kindergarten through the 4th grade are women. All 16 members of the Specialty & Support Staff are women. Even the substitutes that day were women. In summary, 48 out of 50 employees, 96 percent, are women. Not surprisingly, every teacher killed was a woman.
It would seem sensible to balance the workforce with a few more men. Not only would they serve as role models for male students, they might balance things a bit for female students too. The large numbers of single-parent homes add credence to the claim that we need better gender balance in our schools. Few would argue that schools are not highly liberalized and promote a strong anti-firearm agenda. A few men, perhaps from the military, and perhaps even with combat training, might balance things a bit. I know most schools will be repulsed by this concept because they’ve often labeled firearm owners as paranoid. Of course that claim is specious because bad people, even competent grown-up sociopaths, exist and occasionally carry out terrible deeds. The left wing on many occasions also has labeled military men as mentally compromised. That too is a specious claim because the average education in the military exceeds the average for the nation. And mental disease, drug use and other crime rates also generally are lower than the national average. However, in spite of the carnage and absence of resistance, the media have been relentless in their descriptions of courage by Sandy Hook teachers and the numbers of lives saved. It’s from a strong sense of courtesy and respect for the victims and their families that I fully embrace those statements.
Because we’ll not disarm bad people in the foreseeable future, at home or abroad, the need to protect ourselves is absolute. The “flight-first, flight-only” people seem to be the paranoid ones because they wish to disarm the only ones who would never harm them. And they fear the only ones who have the wherewithal to protect them. I’d just like to balance all these discussions with terms like “mental health culture” and “public school culture” and perhaps put them together into what our ancestors called the “American Culture.” It’s a term worth conserving.
Posted by Sam Sewell at 12:46 AM