It is understandable that the Newtown tragedy would cause this country to at least take another look at the issue of guns in American society. What is incomprehensible is arming teachers and principals as a rational response. Lost in the holiday news was the announcement of the departure of Lisa Jackson as the head of the Environmental Protection Agency – despoilers of the environment are already celebrating their “victory”. And finally, as this country lurches towards the fiscal cliff it is also starting to sound like a very bad movie plot.
More Guns and More Guns
The Newtown tragedy led many to believe that there might finally be a sane discussion about guns in American society. It seemed reasonable to think that after yet another unthinkable, unspeakable massacre that it was finally time to figure out a way protect us and our children from the absolute tsunami of firearms that has swept across this country.
It may be time to think again. In the state of Arizona there is a legislative proposal to arm teachers and principals in all public schools. In the state of Ohio a program has already begun to be implemented to provide firearms training to public school principals.
What could possibly go wrong with such insane initiatives?
The specter of high powered gun battles in school hallways is not hard to imagine. Blood soaked schoolyards in the aftermath of a mistake made by an armed principal who may have firearms training but not law enforcement or combat training.
If we follow the logic that the answer to the gun problem in this country is more guns we are going to be swimming in blood…..and drowning in our own tears.
Danger Signs at the EPA
This past week Lisa Jackson announced that she will resign as head of the Environmental Protection Agency. An excellent administrator and an extremely competent advocate for actually protecting the environment, Ms. Jackson has been subject to withering critical assaults from the right wing of the right wing, the Teapublicans and every industrial interest that could be more profitable with less environmental regulation.
It is understandable that after four years of daily attacks that Ms. Jackson may want to lead something like a normal life. But it should be clear that the attacks on Ms. Jackson will now be directed towards the next head of the EPA. And we should not forget that part of the Teapublican dogma included proposals to disband the EPA.
In the brave new Teaparty world there would be no need for an EPA since the American people can rely upon the tender mercies of the oil industry, the chemicals industry and, of course, the coal industry. The Koch brothers are happy that Lisa Jackson is leaving – their next target is the EPA itself.
As you are reading this the United States government is hours away from having this country careen off a fiscal cliff of its own making. The immediate impact – loss of unemployment insurance payments, elimination of tax deductions, reduction of vital public services – have all been recounted.
But we should be concerned about the long term impact of a representative government being wagged by the tail call the Tea Party as less than fifty Teapublicans in the House of Representatives seem to have the power to turn the United States into a 21st century version of a banana republic.
Unless and until Democrats and Republicans in the House and Senate take a stand against these near-maniacal zealots going over the fiscal cliff will be only the beginning of the self-inflicted calamities that this country will endure.
Have a great weekend!