spectacle and fear

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Henry Giroux discusses killing children in the age of disposability at TruthOut:

Trump's proposal to arm teachers suggests that the burden of gun violence and the crimes of the gun industries and politicians should fall on teachers' shoulders, foolishly imagining that armed teachers would be able to stop a killer with military grade weapons, and disregarding the risk of teachers shooting other students, staff or faculty in the midst of such a chaotic moment.

"In his call to arm 20 percent of all teachers," writes Giroux, "Trump is suggesting that 640,000 teachers be trained and given guns:"

The Washington Post estimates that the costs of training teachers sufficiently could reach as high as $718 million while the cost of providing teachers with firearms could amount to an additional $251 million. According to the Post, "the full-price, more expansive training and the full-price firearm ... creeps past $1 billion." Furthermore, putting 640,000 more guns in schools is not only a reckless suggestion, it also further enriches the profits of gun makers by adding millions of dollars to their bottom line. Why not invest this amount of money in providing support staff and services for students -- services that could meaningfully support those facing mental health issues, bullying, homelessness and poverty? [...]

Gun violence in the US is not simply about a growing culture of violence, it is about the emergence of a form of domestic terrorism in which fear, mistrust, lies, corruption and financial gain become more important than the values, social relations and institutions that write children into the script of democracy and give them hope for a decent future.

"A culture of cruelty, silence and indifference to the needs of children, built on the backs of the conservative media politicians and the gun industry and lobby," he continues, "has become a central and ethically disturbing feature of American society:"

This is a culture of political corruption and social abandonment that "has a remarkable tolerance for child slaughter, especially the mass murders of the children of others." This culture of violence has a long history in the United States, and has become increasingly legitimated under the Trump regime, a regime in which lawlessness and corruption combine to ignore the needs of children, the poor, elderly, sick and vulnerable. In the age of neoliberal brutality, protecting guns and profits have become more important than protecting the lives of young people. [...]

As Brad Evans and I have argued in Disposable Futures: The Seduction of Violence in the Age of the Spectacle, violence has now become the defining organizing principle for society in general. It is also worth noting that the spectacle, marketing and commodification of violence powerfully mediates how the American public both understands the relations of power that benefit from the production of violence at all levels of society and how the visceral suffering that is produced can be neutralized in a culture of immediacy and "alternative facts." [...]

The message to students is clear. They are not worth protecting if they threaten the profits of the gun industries and the purses of the politicians who have become the lackeys for them.

We should regulate weapons like we do in the military, says Joshua Lott in a Reuters piece:

I'm a Regular Army officer and have served in frontline positions in Iraq [and] My niche perspective is this: in the Army, firearms are much more heavily regulated than in civil society. How can so many enthusiastic gun owners say that they hold the military as a model, and yet not accept the strict regulations that go with the military's use of firearms? [...]

In the Army, firearms are stored under lock, key, and sometimes guard, and god help you if one goes missing--the post shuts down and a frenzied search bordering on a religious quest begins. After basic training, soldiers are required to go through a few hours of refresher training with practical drills before they are even allowed on a range for individual shooting qualification. [...]

Clearly, with several hundred million firearms in circulation, mass confiscation is not practical, politically toxic, and as a sporting man myself, I would say culturally undesirable. But simple steps such as limiting high-capacity magazines, stringent background checks (lets's not pretend they hold water now), and a licensing process are all good starts. After a certain list of tangible steps is exhausted though, the question becomes a nebulous one of cultural norms. Is there going to be a shift toward seeing firearm ownership as innately bound up in social responsibility? One can hope. [...]

Will most Americans grow up and out of the fairy tale that their right to bear arms is without nuance or burden of responsibility? Will they realize they are probably not Lone Rangers waiting for their moment to save the day in their home or school?

War correspondent Arnold Isaacs comments that:

...these guys who want teachers to pack heat are the same people who yell at us nonstop that mass shootings happen because people are crazy, nothing to do with how easy it is in this country to buy AR15s. At the same time they're positive that those otherwise crazy people will be perfectly rational in just one way and will stay away from a school if they think a teacher might have a gun.

It would be funny if it weren't so sad

Also worth noting are these comments from "a gun-fancier who lives (and shoots) in Canada:"

And I don't understand why one needs a license to drive a car or fly an aircraft, which each offer lots of opportunity for tragedy, but somehow owning and using a firearm is somehow completely unregulated. It's illogical. Ironically, in the case of the automobile and the aircraft it is illegal to use both under the influence of alcohol, but one can shoot a gun pissed to the gills and violate no state or federal statutes.

I'm afraid I think much of this firearm stuff truly is wrapped up in white-guy-anxiety-about-blacks-and-'others'. I know so many Americans with whom I sit on Boards (which in theory should mean they're reasonably bright and well-informed) who keep a handgun in their cars or pickups. It's apparently for 'self-defense' but none of them can point to a previous need for such a measure. They're just scared.

Their audience is scared, proving that the NRA's tactics have worked...

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This page contains a single entry by cognitivedissident published on March 5, 2018 10:38 AM.

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