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We've got to get in to get out


It’s better to best is all I’m saying, and not that he’s wrong at all. He’s one door away. Better to best. These things take time, the greatest changes always do, and in politics more than most things.

To narrow it down to a single door, “What could be simpler?” you say. Lieutenant Governor Dan Patrick narrows the problem of school shootings down to a single door but I say he is not going far enough.

Politics!

If it were up to me, I’d take away that door. Dan Patrick’s last remaining door to the schoolhouse. And the windows. And any vents leading inside. I’d turn Texas schools into enormous, opaque cubes with no means of ingress or egress.

I’d paint them black but for the golden letters S C H O O L across their fronts. Or, maybe, E S C U E L A, just so that future generations can read it, if they can read at all, which, if you think about it, probably they won’t. The word “escuela” is more pleasing than “school” at any rate, from an aesthetic point of view, I feel. These are details which can be ironed out on the way, as Lieutenant Governor Dan Patrick gets braver.

The money to be saved here’s staggering, surely you can see that, and you’re welcome. No shooters in the schools and no teachers, no books, and no free school lunches as well. The expenses to the taxpayer just melt away.

Then, maybe in a generation, maybe the kids being born just now, right here tonight – I don’t know, I don’t mean right here, there’s no one being born in my room – but maybe the kids go and see these big black boxes dotting the Texas landscape and they start asking questions. Maybe we try education again in twenty years.

You can see the difference a door makes.

Comments

  1. I have nothing constructive or insightful to add. We passed the point of these incidents just being insane a long time ago. I'm just wondering when South Carolina will get hit with its first school shooting.

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    1. One interesting thing about these shootings is that don't seem to happen in the inner city.

      I'm not saying that makes it better (although, living in the shadow of downtown Houston, I feel somewhat better knowing that). They all seem to happen in rural or at least suburban America.

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    2. I just read an article in today's paper about the school shooting are not happening in large urban areas but in small rural areas. One reason given is the tightness/closeness of the community backfires when a teen can't get away from something bad they did or was done to them. In a city you can escape from the community. I'm not sure if I agree but it is just one reason given. Since Columbine I fairly certain all the school shooters have been white males living in a small community. Here's link to the article https://www.pressreader.com/usa/chicago-tribune/20180524/281672550608937

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    3. Escaping to the anonymity of the big city is the first act in a lot of movies... and also an element of an awful lot of biographies I've read.

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  2. It seems that, in the United States, so many, many, MANY other things are more important than your children. That's the only explanation which fits this surreal situation. Future generations will shake their heads in amazement.

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    1. It's like the old Onion headline:

      ‘No Way To Prevent This,’ Says Only Nation Where This Regularly Happens

      I don't have kids and made a really good choice 20 years ago when I decided not to be a teacher. I also don't go to church or attend big concerts. I'm probably not going to be the victim of a mass shooting. But I'd still like to figure out how they might become rarer.

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  3. The right to own a semiautomatic rifle but no right to learn in safety. The right to work three temp jobs but no right to bargain collectively with bosses without getting fired on the spot. The right to vote but no right to expect an incumbent less corrupt than the previous one. The right to liberty but no right not to get Becky'd when black. The right to be shorn of dignity and healthcare and hope. And even so, America is not alone: it's going dark everywhere.

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    1. I generally try and avoid predictions loaded with hyperbole because every generation feels like they're living in the end times where the problems are getting just too big, but... I'm concerned.

      Living in relative peace and freedom is the exception, historically speaking.

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  4. Sorry I will never understand America's attitude to gun law.

    Mind you, the UK are having issues with knife crime because criminals can't get guns.

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    1. I'm probably the only person in Texas who has never even touched a gun.

      I've never felt the need. And it's not that I live a sheltered life behind gates or anything. The bad guys just don't seem to have any interest in me.

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  5. Home schooling for every one. I fear for the human race......we are doomed to go the way of the dinosaurs. No tar pits for us though..we'll just blow each others brains out. I like the idea of your big black boxes with golden letters...monuments to the colossal stupidity of mankind.

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    1. I worry about public schools in general. Public schools were good for me: I got a great high school and undergrad education, and the private (Catholic) schools I went to for grade school and grad school really weren't all that different, actually.

      I don't want public schools to turn into baby sitting services.

      We need an educated populace.

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  6. Inner cities?
    Back when they were breaking up Felix Mitchell's gang in Oakland, some off the hook shit went down, and the Iranian chef I worked for told a story about a shooting that happened in front of a school playground where the kids were all playing at recess. He said that a van pulled up to the curb and a man jumped out and ran after another man who was walking down the sidewalk, shooting at him as they ran.
    He said the kids on the playground were a typical East Oakland mix, which at the time included a bunch of Southeast Asian refugee kids.
    As he told it, after the second shot, all of the Asian kids were flat on their faces on the playground, and after the third, all of the other kids were up against the chain link fence trying to get a better look at what was happening.

    Shouldn't someone be warning those kids in Texas about the chamber of 32 doors, so they can at least make informed decisions about whether to climb those stairs or not?

    -Doug in Oakland

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    1. Inner city shootings happen. I think that in some towns, like Chicago, you'd be hard up to find people in some areas who haven't known someone killed in gun violence.

      But the mass shootings, where someone done with life sets out to shoot as many people as possible, seem to be white, non-urban events.

      The Lt. Governor here in Texas would hate that chamber, by the way. WAY too many doors. I was having a lot of trouble with a title for this one, though, and in those circumstances, Genesis references happen.

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    2. I think my point was that even the dumb kids who ran up to the fence to see the shooting, in East Oakland, while there was a gang war, were still OK. Maybe. Or else I really wanted to tell that story one more time. But probably the first thing.

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    3. Haha. I'd be on the ground. But that's why kids are kids: They run to get a better look.

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  7. Or we could move the education efforts online and skip the building entirely. No, wait. If we do that then we need daycare.

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    1. Unfortunately, I believe the daycare aspect of education is, well, probably half of the reason we have it.

      Plus, that online stuff doesn't teach socialization. Look at me: I'm online all of the time, and I have zero social skills!

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    2. Pishaw! You have excellent (online) social skills!

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    3. Haha... Thank you. I'm getting marginally better!

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  8. Fabulously trenchant and surreal, Harry. Thank you!

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    1. Thanks, Donna. It's short and not the most well-developed thing I've ever posted. But I might go with shorter, off-the-cuff posts for a while.

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  9. I followed your link. I didn't follow the news on this that much (which is sad because these killings are becoming too common like bad traffic accidents). I did notice one thing this guy who appears either brainwashed or limited in knowledge said that I can agree on. “The problem is multifaceted. It’s not any one issue,” - it is multifaceted and within those facets of the issue is the availability of guns.

    Many more people would be alive today if the Las Vegas shooter only had knives or even one gun.

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    1. That's true, I think. I mean, i remember being an alienated teenager wanting to find someone or something to blame my perceived alienation on. I never did anything this stupid. And if I'd been Muslim and alienated, I'd like to believe I wouldn't have claimed to be part of a bad group - but I don't know.

      So far as Dan Patrick sounding a little off most of the time: In his defense, he spends most of his time focused like a laser beam on the problem of men in dresses pretending to be transgender so they can get into the bathroom with young girls. he doesn't have time to think about much else.

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  10. Oh, they will be able to read the words. Thinking about their meaning, understand their importance, well... that's a different matter. So much waste. So much callousness. It's infuriating and heartbreaking.

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    1. It happens so much, it's tough to feel much. I was walking through a store and saw a "Breaking News" alert on a television a while back, and when it turned out to be another school shooting, I didn't stick around to see the specifics.

      I wonder how kids in school feel when they see another one happening...

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  11. It's just all so sad! There is really only one solution and I can't believe it's not being done!

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    1. Hi, Stacy. Americans seem to really dislike each other lately, to the point where we can't cooperate to get much done for the better.

      Maybe soon. I am hopeful. Some of the younger people seem way better than my generation.

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  12. Doors? Doors?? Doors???

    OMG, they're going to ban doors before banning assault rifles...

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    1. That's the point! If we get rid of the doors, we wouldn't need to ban the assault rifles.

      I don't see any constitutional guarantee of the right to an education...

      Which sort of seems like a big oversight, really, but I guess we were a largely agrarian society at the time...

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  13. You forgot one thing.

    Dan Patrick (and a few others) needs to be inside that cube before you seal it up.

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    1. As long as we give Dan Patrick closed circuit TV so he can watch himself pontificating, I'm betting he might be okay with it.

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