The Parkland Students Gun Laws Manifesto: OMG & WTF?
As partisan politics would have it, Saturday’s #March4OurLives was strictly about gun control. But reporters from wsws.org were on the ground in several venues including NYC, Chicago, and Washington DeeCee, and interviewed some of the young ‘uns in high school, as well as few adults with stories to tell themselves.
What they discovered was that most weren’t there as single-issue protestors, but were flipped out about endless war and the glorification of militarism, the ever-deteriorating conditions of schools, the ever-increasing financial precarity and inequality, the spread of rationally induced mental health issues due to fears of all sorts, including police brutality. Now I won’t claim they hadn’t cherry-picked their published interviews, but I will say that the authors there have been over-the-top about the growing teachers strikes, and now…this movement built by Parkland students.
These are a few reports they’ve published since the march:
‘Hundreds of thousands of students march against mass violence in America’
‘Over 80,000 youth and students in Chicago protest against mass violence’ by the International Youth and Students for Social Equality at the University of Illinois at Chicago’
‘Students, youth speak about war, inequality at DC March for Our Lives rally’ and most recently:
‘The international significance of the March for Our Lives demonstrations’,
“The large turnout and prominent role of high school students is a powerful sign of political radicalization among a generation of youth whose lives have been overshadowed by war, state repression, and rampant social alienation and dysfunctionality produced by the extreme growth of social inequality.
The attempt by the Democratic Party and the media to present the protests as limited to calls for “gun control” is fraudulent. While the Democrats intervened as much as they could to block demonstrators from drawing broader conclusions, protesters who spoke to the World Socialist Web Site and the International Youth and Students for Social Equality readily connected violence within the US to imperialist war and the social crisis.
To the extent the Democrats’ calls for gun control won a hearing, it is because millions oppose the immense political influence of the fascistic National Rifle Association (NRA) and of the gun manufacturers who profit on the proliferation of military-grade weapons. In the United States, an 18-year-old can purchase an AR-15 assault rifle (the type used by the Parkland shooter) with fewer restrictions than required to obtain a driver’s license.
Regardless of the pandering from Democratic officials, the chasm between the demands of the demonstrators and the actions of the political establishment is stark. In the days before the demonstration took place, Democrats and Republicans agreed to pass a $1.3 trillion budget that will drastically increase funding for the military, the deportation forces and the police.”
Now in the Twitterverse I’d learned of the ‘Parkland Students Manifesto to Fix Gun Laws’ guest editorial at the Guardian (1185 comments) so I’d clicked in to read and…was immediately horrified, aghast, agape, agog…then at last: outraged. The Manifesto’s bullet points; the first five I’ve listed are at least reasonable enough, save for my not knowing why the CDC isn’t currently permitted to do so, nor what their proposals would amount to.
* Ban semi-automatic weapons that fire high-velocity rounds
* Ban accessories that simulate automatic weapons
* Close gun show and secondhand sales loopholes
* Allow the CDC to make recommendations for gun reform
* Raise the firearm purchase age to 21
* Dedicate more funds to mental health research and professionals
But these we get to these two horrors:
* Establish a database of gun sales and universal background checks
‘We believe that there should be a database recording which guns are sold in the United States, to whom, and of what caliber and capacity they are.
Just as the department of motor vehicles has a database of license plates and car owners, the Department of Defense should have a database of gun serial numbers and gun owners. This data should be paired with infractions of gun laws, past criminal offenses and the status of the gun owner’s mental health and physical capability.
Together with universal background checks, this system would help law enforcement stop a potentially dangerous person before they commit a gun crime.’
Seriously? The freaking Department of Defense should keep such a data base? The same Department of Military Madness whose duopoly-driven wars have killed millions (including other people’s children) around the globe since the first Gulf War? The same one that’s bombed dozens of nations since WW II as per William Blum? Have you forgotten about the survivors of those bombings and their mental health? Please reconsider!
* Change privacy laws to allow mental healthcare providers to communicate with law enforcement
‘As seen in the tragedy at our school, poor communication between mental healthcare providers and law enforcement may have contributed to a disturbed person with murderous tendencies and intentions entering a school and gunning down 17 people in cold blood.
We must improve this channel of communication. To do so, privacy laws should be amended. That will allow us to prevent people who are a danger to themselves or to others from purchasing firearms. That could help prevent tragedies such as the Parkland massacre.’
Jeeze, Louise; there are already laws on the books saying that shrinks need to report clients who could pose danger to themselves or others, and is part of the APA’s Code of Ethics (except for military clients, ha…ha,).
But picture this, as you’ve noted that you’ve given up your white privilege to note that ‘black classmates weren’t given a voice by the media’. Now surely you can see these things are so: i) that having the po-po in a therapist’s chair is quite an invasion of thought-crime privacy; ii) that having mental health issues doesn’t imply ‘spree killers’ or homicidal maniac; iii) that we’ve learned from the families whose loved ones who were gunned down by the po-po: “never call the police if someone in your family is having a mental health breakdown!”, and iv) blacks and other people of color of the rabble class are often judged guilty on the spot by the po-po. According to KilledbyPolice.net, Amerikan police have MSM reports of 295 people killed by police since Jan. 1, 2018; in 2017 1193 were killed.
Now the March organizer/spox at the link above, David Hogg’s father is former Fibbie, which may explain some of this last two bullet points on the DoD and the po-po/therapists ‘increased communications’, but it’s possible that he was one of the authors of the Manifesto, perhaps even the eloquent Emma González, as well.
And while I understand that this is well-meant, and better than arming teachers, but it’s smacks of potential danger to me:
* Increase funding for school security
Just for one compilation of cases and dangers, ‘Cops Rebranded as “School Resource Officers” Can Injure and Criminalize Schoolkids’; The over-reliance on law enforcement in the nation’s schools is reflective of a national attitude — one that is in dire need of adjusting’, mintpressnews, Feb. 5, 2018 One outtake after case examples:
“The Dignity in Schools Coalition, a New York-based organization, “challenges the systemic problem of ‘pushout’ in our nation’s schools and works to dismantle the school-to-prison pipeline.” The group defines “pushout” as “the numerous and systemic factors that prevent or discourage young people from remaining on track to complete their education and has severe and lasting consequences for students, parents, schools, and communities.”
Among those factors are “over-reliance on law enforcement tactics and ceding of disciplinary authority to law enforcement personnel.” As a necessary corrective to the presence of law enforcement in schools, the Coalition has created policy recommendations that encourage “Counselors Not Cops.”
According to Vox, the more nonwhite students a school has, the more likely it is to have a police presence; only the poorest students have more police in schools, and the biggest impact of police in schools is more “disorderly conduct” charges.”
One man on twitter observed:
“What this proposal will likely do is put anyone who sees a therapist or psychiatrist for any reason on a “watch list” and possibly bar them from buying a gun. Which is *exactly* why someone who is deeply troubled and contemplating murder will avoid seeing a therapist. In addition, the Parkland High teens are calling for greater school security. Turning our schools into day-visit prisons isn’t going to welcome students, especially those who are POC. I don’t want to teach in a school like that.”
I’ve read that Marjory Stoneman Douglas high school is considering using metal detectors, and has already, or is considering making clear backpacks mandatory.
(I just deleted my prescriptive wishes for schools as veritable palaces of learning, but you’ll no doubt have your own.)
(cross-posted from the rather ghostly café babylon)