Saturday, February 24, 2018

The Children's Crusade Remake

What's more outrageous than *allowing* a vicious and well-armed punk to stroll into a school and proceed to murder, injure, and terrorize the helpless kids therein?  Why, exploiting and manipulating those dead, injured and terrorized kids in order to propagandize a political agenda, of course!

As the facts have trickled in over the past 10 days about the Parkland, Florida school shooting, a lot of nasty details have reared their heads.  Let's take them in consecutive order.

First, there was exactly *one* armed guard -- a Sheriff's deputy, assigned to protect the entire school.  He heard the shots starting, and the fire-alarm going off, hurried toward the building where the shooter was reported, and *did not go inside*.  He stayed out, talking to the sheriff's department on the radio, until the punk finished his rampage.  In his only press statement, the deputy claimed he was "following the active shooter protocol".  The Broward county sheriff later said that the guard/deputy, was being fired (keeping his pension) for his "failure to engage".  However, he wasn't the only one.  When town police from nearby Coral Springs arrived on the scene, they found the assigned guard *and three other sheriff's deputies* outside the building, hiding behind their cars with their weapons drawn -- and not going in.  It was the Coral Springs police who ran into the building to confront the shooter -- who had, by then, finished his fun and jettisoned his gun and hidden among the students evacuating the building.  

The question is, was it pre-established "protocol" or direct orders from the sheriff's department that made all four deputies "stand down", and "not engage"?  The deputy/guard's lack of response is peculiar, seeing that he was previously named "school resource officer of the year" nominated Sheriff's "deputy of the year", and had worked at the school for five years.  And what but direct orders from the sheriff's department could have restrained the other three deputies?  This would be odd enough if it were the only case, but local police were also ordered not to "interfere with the drill" at Sandy Hook, and the local police were also ordered to "stand down" -- until someone was killed -- during the Charlottesville clash-of-protesters riot.  There are too many coincidental cases of police being ordered *not to prevent the killing*.  What sort of police "protocol" would order this?

Second, during a tear-jerking "interview with a survivor" on MSNBC, a teacher told how she had heard the alarm and the shots, and hurried to do what the school's "active-shooter protocol" had told her to, which was to *turn out the classroom lights*.  While she was flicking switches, the shooter burst in through the doorway and fired several shots, killing two of the students and wounding the teacher before he scampered out and went looking for other prey.  The question nobody thought to ask, amid the teary sympathizing, was: *why wasn't the first step in the 'protocol' to LOCK THE CLASSROOM DOOR*?  For that matter, why was the classroom door unlocked in the first place?  Why weren't all the doors in the school locked as soon as the students arrived?  Wouldn't the "inconvenience" of locking and unlocking doors a half-dozen times a day be outweighed by the safety gained?  Why did nobody ask these questions?

Third, the surviving students claimed to have put together a protest organization, a march on their state capital, and a widespread media campaign with *remarkable* speed.  In less than a week, they had their organization spread to high schools across not only their state but the whole country, had their marches on the capitals set up, picket-signs printed (not hand-drawn), rides -- and rented busses -- arranged, and a national "town hall" program arranged on CNN -- all thoroughly and lovingly covered by the media (primarily CNN, secondarily MSNBC).  Now I've done my share of protest-organizing, marching in various capitals, and trying to get the attention of the media;  and believe me, it doesn't happen that fast, that easily, or that cheaply -- *not without rich and powerful patronage*.  For one thing, who paid for those thousands of printed signs and hundreds of charter-busses?  High school students don't have that kind of money lying around.  Hell, most college students don't.  Generally, neither do their parents.  And the media don't give special coverage for free.  And where did the kids learn about obtaining official "parade" and "assembly" permits?  Just who bankrolled -- and assisted -- those kids?  This whole campaign looks as if it were set up beforehand, like the usual gun-control boilerplate argument, a plot just waiting for an example to pounce on.    

Fourth, whoever did that organizing carefully picked the "protesters" it wanted, the questions they'd ask or answer, what they'd be allowed to say and what slogans they'd be allowed to chant (or carry on their picket-signs). A bunch of students in a gym, who heard the shots and alarm and guessed what was happening, quickly *locked the doors*, piled up wrestling-mats to make a bullet-proof barrier, grabbed various pieces of sports equipment to use for weapons, and waited -- ready to fight -- until the local police arrived, identified themselves by shoving their badges under the door, and told the boys they were safe;  and these quick-thinking boys had to tell their story on the Internet because the TV news media didn't want to talk to them.  A junior ROTC student, who shielded other students while they were evacuating, volunteered for the CNN Town Hall program, wanting to ask questions and give his opinion on armed guards and armed teachers -- and had his question ignored, was given scripted questions instead, and was told to "Stick to the script".  The nature of the scripted questions made him decide not to attend at all.  When he posted his complaint on the Internet, CNN hotly denied it.  CNN pundit Chris Cuomo also repeated as truth a false story about a 20-year-old with an expired ID buying an AR-15 at a gunstore -- but it was MSNBC anchors who persuaded one of the school-shooting survivors to repeat the story as if it were his own.  On the other hand, several of the surviving kids complained that it was MSNBC which ignored their statements and questions about mental health care in order to concentrate on "gun control" and to belittle Trump's response to the shooting -- but it was CNN that hyped the student protests as the new "Children's Crusade". 

I think we can guess who's been funding, organizing, and above all *advertising* the students' neatly-sculpted campaign.  

Somebody ought to tell those students what happened to the kids in those earlier Children's Crusades.  Gullibility, no matter how passionate, is not a survival characteristic.   



Wednesday, February 14, 2018

Very Tired of Florida

It's been less than two years since a Jihadist with an AR-15 walked up to the Pulse night-club in Orlando, Florida, shot the lone armed guard at the door, strolled in and began shooting up the -- unarmed -- bar patrons at the height of Gay celebration night.  The bar patrons could do nothing but try to run and try to hide.  The vicious bastard killed 50 people and wounded another 58 before he was done.  It was a fish-in-a-barrel killing;  Florida law forbade anybody with a firearm to enter any place where alcohol was served.  That's why the lone armed guard was stationed outside the bar, easily spotted, easily shot.  The Liberals/Democrats/media raised the usual boilerplate howl about how legal guns were the problem.  The NRA offered free Concealed Carry qualifying classes to Gays.  A lot of Gays across the country took them up on it.

Today, at MS Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, a 19-year-old punk who'd been kicked off the school grounds many times before sneaked back on campus with -- oh yes -- an AR-15 and shot up the school, killing 17 people and wounding 50.  This time the victims were a little better prepared;  as soon as the shooting started, somebody pulled the fire-alarm.  Kids and teachers who heard the shots phoned the police.  Two minutes later the school was evacuated.  This time the shooter was captured alive, and no doubt the psychiatric crowd will pick his brain for motivation.  Nonetheless, 17 people were killed and 50 injured.  Again, the Liberals/Democrats/media are promptly trumpeting their shop-worn push for more gun control.  The pro-gun-rights crowd have said nothing yet, but are busy digging for facts in the case.

Now what, besides the murderers' choice of tool -- the famous AR-15 (actually a light "varmint" gun, much more likely to wound than kill any animal the size of a deer, including a human) -- and choice of state, do these killings have in common?

The killers both chose gun-free/legally disarmed/fish-in-a-barrel targets -- whom the state legislature has done nothing to protect.

Now what if, after the horrific Orlando shooting, the state govt. had seen the error of its ways and allowed bar personnel -- or even designated-driver non-drinking patrons -- to carry concealed firearms inside bars, or other so-called "gun free" zones?  What if Florida schoolteachers who have CCW permits had been allowed to carry (concealed) inside schools?  In fact, what if the state of Florida had required all its schoolteachers to get firearms, train with them, obtain concealed-carry permits, and carry concealed firearms on the job at all times?  Florida law does, after all, not only allow but encourage banks to have armed -- and not always uniformed -- guards in banks, to protect the customers' money;  how much more valuable are its people, especially children?

But no.  In the nearly two years since the Orlando shooting, the Florida government has done nothing realistic, nothing effective, to prevent these fish-in-a-barrel shootings of helpless, unarmed citizens -- just the usual mouthings about "gun violence" and threats to disarm the innocent even further.  What can you say about a government that neither adequately protects its citizens nor even lets them protect themselves?

So much for Florida being a "red" state, or a "southern" state;  it's a hypocrite state with a useless government that ought to be thrown out in the next election.

--Leslie <;)))>< 

Tuesday, February 6, 2018

Another Chicago Tale

This is the story I was planning to tell before I learned that John had died.  It's a little more hopeful.

Back when I was living in Chicago, working with the union, there was a small shop just down the block from the IWW office that we liked to visit during the day.  (There was a tough bar up toward Halsted street where we went after hours, but that's another story.)  It was, so help me, a tea-shop.  It sold hot tea and homemade sandwiches which the customers could eat and drink at a handful of little folding tables and chairs, that were artfully covered with cloth throws, and it sold boxed teas of all kinds and flavors, as well as exotic incenses, incense-holders, and little brass statuettes.  It was the kind of elegant little shop that would have done well among the artsy crowd near the university campus or in an uppah-clahss neighborhood, but alas, the lady who ran it hadn't had the funds to pay several months' rent in one of those neighborhoods.  She had settled for what she could afford, a small storefront -- facing the park, at least -- in a poor-but-honest working-class neighborhood.  We loved the place, and patronized it as much as we could afford, but it never drew the crowds it needed.

There was no husband in evidence, but the lady who ran the place had a cute little boy named Charlie -- no more than seven years old -- who was clearly half-Asian.  We saw him often, because he'd come straight to the shop after school, sit in the back and do his homework until the store closed, and then go home with his mom.  On weekdays that was understandable, but when I saw him there one Saturday, looking miserable, I knew there was more going on than just schoolwork.  As a regular customer I'd become something of a friend, so I ventured to ask the lady why Charlie wasn't outside on such a nice sunny day.  She was almost desperately willing to tell me.  It seems that a bunch of the local kids had formed a small gang devoted to picking on Charlie, and they'd ambush or chase him and beat him up anywhere outside school or the shop or home.  She had no idea what to do about it, and was frantic for suggestions.

Ah, this was a situation I knew all too well from my own childhood, and I knew what to do about it.  So I finished the last of my tea, zipped up my black leather jacket, and said to the kid: "Hey Charlie, let's take a walk."

He was willing enough to get out of the shop under the protection of an adult -- and I must admit that in my leather boots and jacket, I must have looked pretty fierce to a little kid -- so out we went.  The first question I asked him once we got out the door was: "Where does this gang usually hang out?"

He pointed to the parking-lot just another storefront (closed) down the block, so I said: "Then let's go this way," and led him up the block toward Halsted Street and the drugstore on the corner.  There I bought him a chocolate ice-cream sandwich, and led him back out to the bus-stop where he could eat it in peace.

While he ate, I told him: "Charlie, you've got to settle with these bullies.  You're going to have to fight them, and fight them to a standstill, or else they'll just have fun keeping at you and making your life hell."  He looked grim, and nodded.  I went on: "You'll have to fight them, but I can set up the fight so that they have to come at you one at a time.  I can also give you some tips on how to beat them.  You willing to do that?"  He finished off his ice-cream, and nodded again.  "Okay.  You ready to do it now?"  He thought for a moment, stood up and said: "Yeah."

So we marched back down the side-street, and I told him to walk a good ten yards ahead of me so that the other kids wouldn't know we were together.  And sure enough, as Charlie walked past the edge of the parking-lot, out pounced half-a-dozen kids, aged seven to ten, one of them holding a bamboo stick taller than he was.  Charlie dropped into a defensive crouch, and the kids started to surround him just as I came marching up.

"What a fine gang of cowards!" I bellowed.  "What a great gang of chickenshits!"

That got their attention, and they all turned to look at me.  Apparently the sight impressed them.

"Six against one!" I went on, "And most of you bigger than him, and some of you have sticks.  Gee, what is he, Superman?  Or are you just a bunch of bullying cowards?"

At that they began to squirm and look sheepishly at each other.

"You want to fight him?" I continued, "Fine!  But you can at least have the guts to fight fair.  Let's go into that parking-lot and do it right."

I herded them, with Charlie tagging along, deep into the empty lot where I picked a good clear parking-space.  "You guys," I pointed, "You all stand on that side of the line, and you, kid--" pointing to Charlie, "Stand on this side."  They did, and he did, leaving the empty parking-space between them.  I marched into the empty mini-arena and asked: "All right, which of you wants to fight him first?"  Of course the leader of the pack -- also the biggest -- volunteered.  "So you stand here," I said, waving him into the parking-space.

Then I went to Charlie and whispered instructions.  "Run in fast, duck under his swing, and grab him hard around the body.  Press your face against his belly, so he can't punch it.  Use your arms to hang on tight, and pummel him with your legs, your knees and feet.  Got that?"  He nodded once, grim-faced and eyes narrowed.

"Okay," I said, stepping back to the head of the parking-space.  "Go at it!"

Charlie dashed into the arena, ducked low, and rammed hard into the bigger kid, hard enough to knock him down, but he managed to wrap his arms around the bigger kid's ribs.  Sure enough, he buried his face against the bigger kid's belly and hung on like a leech.  The bigger kid rolled over, trying to pry him off, but Charlie held on and used the opportunity to pummel with his knees.  The bigger kid rolled completely on top of Charlie, who now had clear space to kick high and hard with his feet.  The bigger kid punched futilely at Charlie's back, and rolled again.  Pretty soon they were rolling up and down the parking-space while the other kids yelled and cheered wildly, and I just stood like a statue, silently refereeing.

Finally the bigger kid pried Charlie's arms from around him -- and dashed out of the arena to the safety of his "side".  The other kids fell silent, amazed.  Charlie stood up, rumpled and panting, but triumphant.

"Okay," I said, striding to the middle of the makeshift arena, "Who's next?"

Instant silence.  The kids darted glances at each other, but nobody volunteered.  Slightly surprised, I strolled down the line of them, trying to make them meet my gaze.  "Nobody else?"  I asked, then pointed to another kid.  "You're the next biggest;  how about you?"

"Nah," the kid mumbled, shuffling backward and looking at his feet.  "I don't wanna fight him."

I sneered and moved on to the kid with the bamboo stick.  "How about you?" I challenged.  "You've got a stick."  I tossed a look back at Charlie and said to him: "You know how to fight a stick, don't you?  Same method."  Charlie thought for a second, then nodded.  But the other kid also backed away, muttering: "I don't wanna fight him."

"Nobody?" I snapped at them.  "None of you?  ...Yeah, just as I thought: a bunch of cowards, too chicken to fight one-on-one.  What punks!"  I turned my back on them and went to Charlie.  "Come on, kid," I said, "I'll walk you home.  Where do you live?" --as if I didn't know.

As we walked away, I heard the big kid muttering behind me, trying to salvage his pride: "He must know Karate," to which the other kids hastily agreed.  It was all I could do to keep from laughing out loud as I took Charlie home.

When we got back inside the store, Charlie ran to his mother and hugged her jubilantly.  "I don't think he'll have anymore trouble," I reported, "At least for awhile.  If Charlie needs somebody to walk him home from school, just let us know."  Then I went back to the union hall.

Next time I dropped into the shop, a few days later, the lady couldn't thank me enough for what I'd done for Charlie.  Apparently the bullies had chosen to keep away from the very site of their humiliation, and had vanished from the block.  Charlie had no more trouble on the way home from school or anywhere else on the street.

Alas, the tea-shop succumbed to economic realities, and closed a few months later.  I never learned where Charlie and his mother went, never saw them again, but I daresay the kid did pretty well wherever they moved to.  I just hope he found another "referee".

To this day, when I look back on all that, what amazes me most was how fast the little bully-gang gave up once their leader got thrashed.  Was it just the presence of an impressive "referee" making them stick to the rules, or was it the upset of having their pet victim beat their best?  All I know for certain is what I learned as a little kid myself: when attacked by bullies, fight back;  at worst, you'll hurt them enough to spoil their fun, and at best, you can send them running.

--Leslie <;)))><