The other day Tennessee state legislator Tim Burchett said “We're not going to fix” the problem of school shootings. In expounding on his ridiculous and repugnant position, Burchett said something that caused me to wonder if perhaps there is an additional sinister motivation for Republicans’ acceptance of school shootings. Something in addition to their fealty to the NRA and their reliance on their cash.
Republicans hate public education. Of that there can be no doubt. They have been demonizing public schools, and public school teachers, for decades now. Their newest twist is the “Don’t Say Gay/Don’t Teach History/Don’t Read Books” legislation they've been pushing.
Even though the funding of these schools (via local property taxes) disproportionally favors the wealthy, so-called Conservatives would still like to see public education abolished, or at the very least left for the country’s poorest children to attend, while they use taxpayer funded vouchers to send their kids to private schools...such as the one that saw the most recent mass killing (most recent as of 1:53 pm on March 29, 2023) and homeschooling. When Burchett was asked if he didn’t worry that his children might die in a school shooting, he replied that he wasn’t concerned, as they’re homeschooled (never mind the fact that a gun in a home is far more likely to harm the home’s residents than an intruder.)
I have never seen a school voucher proposal that would actually provide parents with enough money to send their kids to a private school. They are specifically designed to be enough money...to make just enough of a difference...that middle class and wealthy parents can do so, or can homeschool, while the children of poorer parents are left to languish in underfunded public schools.
So while I hate to realize that I have been driven to such a level of cynicism, is it possible that Republicans’ indifference to, nay their acceptance of, school shootings is driven in part by their animus to public education entirely? Do they see these massacres as another tool by which they can drive parents to home school their kids and eventually destroy public education?