Yesterday, ThinkProgress reported on the arming of schoolteachers in Missouri. They pointed out how the angst and woe over police response time, a problem Missouri is solving by turning their teachers into concealed carry ninjas, has been caused by the Grover Norquist types interested in making government small enough for them to murder.
Although I wonder if our society really wants this outcome, I'm skeptical that it will respond appropriately or in time to this threat posed by conservative politics.
ThinkProgress focused on the worries of school administrators and parents, concerned with a police response time to the Fairview School District in Missouri was nine minutes. Also worth mentioning, however, is the method used to introduce concealed weapons to the school, which the administrators laughably call "transparent."
At the first school board meeting after spring break, the board sanctioned those who had passed the training — and were then also considered Shield Solutions employees — to carry weapons at school. Most of West Plains learned the news from the front-page article in The Quill on March 21. Four days later, the district sent a letter to parents addressing concerns.It came up in some public meetings, but the school district had to send out a letter to parents about it -- after it was done, of course. Apparently, most of the parents there approve of the plan, though. Hopefully we won't be reading about their kids in the next episode of GunFail.
“I was really upset more about the way it happened, the back door,” said Eileen Wilson, 53, adding that she was considering removing her daughter, who is autistic, from Fairview. “I just don’t think something of this magnitude is something you just put out in a press release. ‘Oh, by the way, we got 10 people packing weapons now in school.’ ”
School officials would not say how many employees were armed or who they were. They maintained that the process was transparent.
The report from ThinkProgress goes on, however, where the NYT does not. There are reasons why the police response time in rural areas is slow, and getting slower.
This cuts to the heart of why the United States needs more public investment in police forces. Currently, the Republican-backed shrinking of the public sector workforce has had an enormously negative impact on the size and response time of police. That’s particularly tough for rural communities, like Fairview, Missouri, where response times are already two to three times slower than in more urban areas.Take the response time link from ThinkProgress, for example, which leads to an article about the effect of budget cuts on the police department in Orange County, CA:
But having teachers stand in for police forces is not a real solution. Not only does it provide no solution for other people in a rural community who need to call the police, it also ignores the fact that there’s a high likelihood that putting guns in the hands of teachers, even if they’ve received proper training, will end with tragedy instead of triumph. Just look at the simple evidence that any household with a gun is more likely to have someone die by gunshot. That situation, but with many more young children, could prove much more dangerous.
The department faces the loss of 23 full- and part-time personnel, Coopman said. The impact of the losses will directly affect residents and include:This was the news there in May of 2012, so I imagine this has been the state of affairs there for the past year. But that's what happens in the glossed-over, seldom considered numbers on job cuts and losses in the "public sector." Republicans eager to slash government spending have countered the effects of stimulus programs and private sector job growth by cutting hundreds of thousands of public sector jobs.
•A general increase in response times to all calls for services and a "potential for drastic delays" in lower priority calls.
•Police will no longer perform routine crime scene investigation functions.
•Only major crime scenes will be processed.
•Victims may see their cases not investigated "in a timely manner and some cases possibly expiring under the statute of limitations."
•Increased processing time and customer wait times for parking complaints, while hearings related to parking will shift to sworn personnel, resulting in delayed response to calls and increased overtime.
•Three code enforcement officers will be switched to the department and work under police supervision.
•The department's front lobby hours will be reduced during weekdays and closed on Saturdays.
•The lobby window will not be staffed and all phone calls will see an increase in "hold time."
The impact of the layoffs on the department is "significant," Coopman said after the study session.
Beyond the drag on the economy instituted by Republicans more interested in scoring political points against Democrats, though, they've made a bad situation worse for the rural folks they purport to represent. By attacking programs intended to grow the economy, by cutting budgets and slashing police forces, they've created the problem that they now propose to fix with guns. They'd rather have that kind of society -- for the rest of us, anyway, as these woes never touch the ones wealthy enough to provide their own security.
The fact that Republicans can do this and be rewarded for it by the NRA, who is in turn funded by gun manufacturers, just keeps all their bread buttered. In the context of yesterday's bombing at the Boston Marathon, however, I don't expect the people to connect these dots. They will be more interested in identifying scapegoats to blame, and finding easy, cheap solutions, like quick training programs and guns for schoolteachers.
What only becomes apparent over time is how cheaply these people value their own lives, and the lives of their children going to those schools, now made more dangerous by the guns there. Not that any of them will admit that.