The biggest threat (choose one): Muslim extremists, nuclear attack — or our own guns?

It’s deja vu all over again, as Yogi Berra used to say. Howzat? We recently marked the 100th anniversary of the passage and implementation of the Immigration Act of 1917. That’s when we slammed the door on immigrants from the “Asiatic Barred Zone,” a sprawling region that included Saudi Arabia, most of China, Afghanistan, Pakistan, India, Malaysia, Thailand and Indonesia.

It’s sixteen presidents and 100 years later. History is repeating itself. What’s that they say about unlearned lessons?

This time, in 2017, it’s countries that total 98% Muslim populations. We’re securing our borders from violent extremists, who will destroy us as they subvert our way of life. “I don’t want my …  to end up wearing a burkah,” I’ve heard from those who agree with barring the door..

Where am I going with this?

It spans the distance between Older Dad and Younger Child.

Here’s how: The school where I work recently held a seminar on School Safety. During my childhood, this would’ve entailed admonishments about listening to crossing guards and not standing up on the sliding board.

Times certainly have changed.

The School Safety seminar I attended was about what to do if an outsider came into your school bent on violence.

It included a chilling video clip (reenactment) of a shooter in the school cafeteria.

We learned about locked doors, turning out lights, what to expect from emergency responders, and escaping the building if possible.

Why is this necessary?

Since the Sandy Hook slaughter of innocents in 2012, there have been 142 school shootings in the United States. These numbers are crunched by the Mass Shooting Tracker team that logged 381 shootings at primary and secondary schools over 23 years, as well as universities and colleges.

(Criteria: A firearm was discharged, even accidentally, on a school campus, involving students or school employees.)

The data trackers also determined there was, on average, one death per shooting, and two or more deaths in 6.3% of the incidents. You can’t it on gang violence — that accounted for only 6.6 percent of shootings.

During the 1960s, our biggest safety fear in schools (besides sliding boards) was nuclear attack.

There would be drills where we’d file out of our classrooms into the hallway, and crouch on all fours facing the wall with our hands over our heads. We’d huddle there quietly (“Shh!” Um, were they really going to hear us?) until the teachers determined we were sufficiently schooled in surviving nuclear destruction.

In retrospect, it was rather silly. Maybe we’d avoid being skewered by flying glass. But it was more likely we’d face vaporization or lethal radiation. I can see it now — the rows of scorched shadows of crouched 4th graders, etched on the concrete block walls of our elementary school hallways.

It’s a large leap, from the paranoid fear of Communist nuclear attack, to the very real fear — possibility — that someone is going to come into your school with a gun, determined to kill and harm defenseless students.

We keep taking our eye off the ball. Three-hundred-eighty-plus school shootings? And our government thinks a Muslim immigration ban is needed to keep us safe?

According to the New America Foundation, jihadists killed 94 people inside the United States between 2005 and 2015. During that same time period, 301,797 people in the US were shot dead, dozens of them young children in schools.

It doesn’t appear we need to look as far as our borders for solutions.

It’s a sad legacy we’re leaving for the next generation.






2 thoughts on “The biggest threat (choose one): Muslim extremists, nuclear attack — or our own guns?

  1. Hi Charlie, I certainly fear in many ways for my grand kids, but as my tough old Dutch grand mom, Kate Bord Walker, said Jimmy make sure you always look over your shoulder when walking in neighborhoods you don’t know as well as your own. That was when I was around 8 and just before World War 2. Things have changed quite a bit since then as you and I well know with folks walking around, and driving too, looking at their electronic device(s) satellites in the sky able to read the date on a dime from outer space but one thing that hasn’t changed much, that being our attitude towards our fellow man with a greater ability though to kill each other.

    I read that there is one gun in the USA per person and the number is most likely growing (I personally have nine) so, in fact, gun controls appear to be a waste of time except to quell the fears of our bleeding hearts liberals(not branding you) so I ask anyone how do we reduce the murder rate per person here which is far greater than in other developed countries by far? Quite frankly I don’t see a solution to the problem, do you? I’m not trying to pick a fight but as Sgt. Joe Friday said on Dragnet “Just the facts, ma’am”.

    1. No offense taken — it’s a great contribution. I wasn’t clear enough. We’ll never give up guns. But I failed to say that “guns don’t kill people- – people kill people.”
      As a society we have not done enough to protect our citizens from people who should NOT be permitted to purchase or own firearms. The 2nd Amendment is interpreted far too broadly and the NRA freely pours millions of DC blackmail dollars into politicians’ pockets to “protect” it. We should be sickened by even one child dies in school from gunshot.
      Seriously, thanks for the comment.

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