May 20, 2018

Sunday School 5/20/18

Not surprisingly, they were talking guns in the classrooms this morning. Oh sure, there was other stuff too, but for the most part everyone but Meet The Press focused on this issue, in the aftermath of the shooting at Santa Fe High School in Texas. Here's how the conversations went. 

On CNN's State of the Union, Jake Tapper had a conversation with Texas Lt. Governor Dan Patrick, who mentioned that while all of Texas was hurting, they were going to be OK. He spoke of laws addressing culpability in a crime if a person's gun was used in a crime, even if not used by the owner.
But, without question, Jake, several things need to happen. One, we have to start at home. Gun ownership -- and I'm a proud gun owner - that comes with responsibility of gun control in your home. Be sure that your kids and grandkids or anyone who might have access to your home cannot get your guns.
Tapper wondered if that should be the law that a person has to lock up their guns. It seemed a simple question: should it be the law in Texas that guns had to be locked up?
In Texas, again, we hold you very responsible if you are a gun owner. For example, I'm a concealed carry, as are almost one million Texans. If I use my gun to stop a crime or to defend myself, and a stray bullet - if I fire a bullet that goes astray and strikes someone else, I can be held not only civilly, but criminally liable...
He explained that law in more detail, leading Tapper to ask again about a law requiring safe storage in Texas.
Jake, Jake, I didn't come on with you to go through the entire penal code of the federal government or the state.
Wouldn't you have thought that the Lt. Governor would know what the current laws were in his own state?  He talked about armed teachers; he did know that in the state of Texas, teachers can be armed. I got the sense he thought we needed more of them to take on this added responsibility.

Another solution? Fewer doors - keep the fire exits, but only one or two entry doors.
So, I am proposing that our new school designs are built that way, and we retrofit our schools. The average age of schools in Texas -- in America, Jake, are 44 years old. Schools weren't designed and built 40, 50 years ago to deal with today's issues.
Patrick also was a guest on ABC's This Week with George Stephanopoulos. This time, he brought in another cause of the problem.
George, should we be surprised in this nation? We have devalued life, whether it's through abortion, whether it's the breakup of families, through violent movies and particularly violent video games which now outsell movies and music. Psychologists and psychiatrists will tell you that students are desensitized to violence, may have lost empathy for their victims by watching hours and hours of violent video games. 97% of teenagers, according to psychiatrists and psychologists watch video games, 85% of those are violent games...Are we desensitized, are these children, are these teenagers?
Stephanopoulos noticed Patrick had not mentioned guns as being part of the issue, and pointed out that some believe too many guns, not too many doors on schools, is a problem.
...It's not any one issue. But we, again, we have to look at our culture of violence, just our violent society, our Facebook, our Twitter, the bullying of adults on adults and children on children. We have to look at ourselves, George - it's not about the guns, it's about us.
He showed more familiarity with Texas gun laws this time, noting that it's against the law to let a loaded gun get into the hands of a child, but focused again on the part about allowing teachers to carry. Stephanopoulos offered up a question.
GS: ...we also have violent video games in other developed countries. We have Twitter and Facebook in other developed countries, so how do you explain another stunning statistic? Americans of high school age are 82 times more likely to die of gun homicide than their peers in the rest of the developed world. That has to be connected to the availability of guns, doesn't it?
DP: No, it doesn't have to be, George, and I can't compare one country with another country because there are many variables in all these countries. Here's what I know: we live in a violent country where we've devalued life. 
Echoing his visit on CNN, Patrick talked about gun control starting at home, needing the best background checks, about being sensible.
But remember, we cannot sit back and say it's the gun. It's us as a nation, George. On this Sunday morning when we all go to church and pray or go to the synagogue or the mosque or wherever we go, let's look inward at our self as a nation.
On it went, the well regulated militia including teachers, the good guy with a gun thing, taking guns out of society will not make us safer, it will make it easier for the evil people... and then, after talking about funerals he and the governor had attended, there was resolve.
And no one, George, no one with a gun is going to walk into a school or anywhere else and bring our state to our knees. 
For counterpoint, Stephanopoulos had Fred Guttenberg, who lost his daughter at Marjory Stoneman Douglas and Nicole Hockley, founder of Sandy Hook Promise, follow the Lt. Governor. They had some good discussion, including an 'all of the above' solution. But before that, George asked Guttenberg for his comments on the interview with Lt. Governor Patrick.
I think those are the most idiotic comments I've ever heard regarding gun safety. Let me be clear, he should be removed from office for his failure to want to protect the citizens of Texas.
He also pointed out that, at the NRA convention (where he protested), the hot new item was a foldable gun that looks like a cell phone. And how that was very far removed from what the framers must have contemplated. I'm sure Guttenberg's right on that point. 

Face the Nation, on CBS, invited Houston Police Chief Art Acevedo, who echoed the comments about criminal liability for gun owners who don't keep adequate control over their weapons, at the same time as he lamented 'inaction' on the part of elected officials.
And I think the American people, gun owners, the vast majority of which are pragmatic and actually support gun sense and gun reform in terms of keeping guns in the right hands - we need to start using the ballot box and ballot initiatives to take the matters out of the hands of people that are doing nothing, that are elected, into the hands of the people, to see that the will of the people in this country is actually carried out.
I think that's a good place to end things today; I know it's a lot to chew on.

If you're interested, you can check out the unimpressive visit by new NRA president Ollie North on Fox News Sunday; Mark Kelly also dropped by.

See you around campus.

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