“And when ye spread forth your hands, I will hide mine eyes from you: yea, when ye make many prayers, I will not hear: your hands are full of blood.” Isaiah 1:15
“If America were not afraid to know itself, we could more readily accept that gun-rights advocates are enthralled with violent sorrow. This is the America they envisaged. It is what they worked so hard for. Their thoughts and prayers have been answered.” Jessica Winter in The New Yorker
“We have fucking failed again.” –Fred Guttenberg (father of Jaime, shot to death at school in 2018)
So which is it? Have prayers been answered, or spurned with extreme prejudice? Have we failed? Or have we succeeded in bringing about an outcome somebody thinks is a good one, whether they’re willing to admit it or not?
All I know is that barring attendees from packing heat at the NRA convention, just because a single ex-president will be there, is Gun Control, and an abridgement of the natural rights of freedom-loving citizens. Seems to me like it ought to be at least as dangerous to go to an NRA convention as it is to go to 4th grade. This is, after all, the world that the NRA has been instrumental in creating, and members should live fully in it, feel the terror, catch a heart attack when a balloon pops. And if there is going to be this much resistance to anything that might help, maybe we should go the other way.
There has been lots of talk about hardening our schools and our grocery stores and our parks and our barber shops and our concert venues and our sports facilities. But we have not done all that can be done. As soon as it is practicable, we need to take the following simple steps:
ALL elementary schools should be demolished and reconstructed in bomb shelters that are located within the boundaries of a military base. (This should take priority over the important but secondary task of renaming the bases after something other than the heroes of Civil War I.) We understand that this will create a hardship for elementary schools that are located hundreds of miles from the nearest military facility. For that reason, federal funding will be available based on a thoroughgoing review and re-allocation of resources; part of that re-allocation involves the return of ALL military personnel from their stations at hundreds of bases in other countries all over the world.
In addition, each of our schoolchildren should be provided with kid-sized tactical gear and armed with a Ruger in a bulletproof lunchbox. The standard issue lunchbox will also contain a tablecloth and a vial of fake blood so that children are able to hide under a table without being seen and “bloody up” in order to more realistically play dead for up to 45 minutes if necessary.
Hardening our school buildings has been a half-measure. It’s time to harden our children. Effective immediately, the Spartan model of child-rearing known as agoge should be followed for both male and female children. Infants should be evaluated by a committee comprised of respected elders. Well-built and sturdy children can be allowed to live, while those who are deemed unhealthy or “differently abled” should be left at the foot of a mountain or by a river or in a Cracker Barrel restroom or in Lafayette Park to die. (Some might object that this defeats the purpose it sets out to address, but it is assumed that parents will be much less attached to helpless infants than they become by the time a kid is in, like, 4th grade.)
At age seven, all boys and girls should be turned over by their parents to the state, where they’ll be organized into companies that live, study and train together. But don’t worry, we won’t allow the boys and girls to sleep together, which would be immoral.
To toughen them up, all children should be compelled to go barefoot and limited to one bath monthly, so that their skin becomes dry and hard. (Not bulletproof, of course, but moving in the direction of optimal hardness.) For clothing, there can be just the one standard issue cloak to wear year-round, limiting the obsession with fashion that affects the self-esteem of many youngsters. They’ll learn to live naturally, enduring heat and cold, and to make their own beds from plants they rip out of the ground.
Children, ideally, should be fed a meager diet, keeping them slim; it’s assumed that extremes of hunger will embolden them to steal food from gardens and other places. This will make them resourceful in getting supplies, and better fighters; they’ll have that lean and hungry look, so down the line, they’ll have an edge if auditioning for the small but important role of Cassius in Julius Caesar. To make sure they learn to do their stealing in a cunning way, children who are caught should be whipped.
A boy or girl who excels in judgment and is most courageous in fighting will be made captain of the company. The rest will keep their eyes on him or her, obeying orders and submitting to punishment. A big part of the training will be focused on unquestioning obedience. That way, just in case all our other measures prove inadequate, children as young as 10 will have years of experience at following orders, will not hesitate when told to enter the building to take out the bad guy, and will stop relying on grown-ups to do it for ’em.