Educate All Students, Support Public Education

December 17, 2012

Conservative Joe Scarborough Breaks with the NRA

Filed under: Gun Violence — millerlf @ 9:40 am

By MACKENZIE WEINGER | 12/17/12 Politico

MSNBC’s Joe Scarborough launched today’s “Morning Joe” with a ten-minute address in response to the shooting in Newtown, Conn., last Friday.

“Today as a nation we grieve and today we as a people feel helpless,” he said. “Helpless to stop these random acts of violence that seem to be getting less random by the day. You know it may be the geographic proximity of Newtown to my hometown, or the fact that my children’s ages average those of the 20 young children tragically killed on Friday, or the fact that my second son has Asperger’s, or the fact that too many other facts associated with Friday’s nightmare strike so close to home — for me, just like for you, there is no escaping the horrors visited upon on those children and teachers at Sandy Hook.”

And “every American must know from this day forward nothing can ever be the same again. We’ve said this before after Columbine, after Arizona, after Aurora, after so many other numbing hours of murder and massacre. But let this be our true landmark.”

Scarborough said “Friday changed everything and it must change everything.”

“Politicians can no longer be allowed to defend the status quo,” he said. “They must instead be forced to defend our children. Parents can no longer take no for an answer from Washington when the topic turns to protecting our children.”

The MSNBC host told viewers the gun violence in this country has been spawned by “violent popular culture, a growing mental health crisis and the proliferation of combat-styled weapons.”

“I say good luck to the gun lobbyist, good luck to the Hollywood lawyer who tries to blunt the righteous anger of millions of parents by hiding behind twisted readings of our Bill of Rights,” he said.

While noting the NRA’s approval of him during his terms in Congress and saying he long saw the debate over guns “as a powerful symbolic struggle between individual rights and government control,” Scarborough said that has been shattered.

“The symbols of that ideological struggle, they’ve been shattered by the harvest sewn from violent mind-numbing video games and gruesome Hollywood movies that dangerously desensitize those that struggle from mental health challenges,” he said. “And then add in military-styled weapons and high-capacity magazines to that equation, and tragedy can never be too far behind.”

“There’s no easy ideological way forward,” Scarborough said, adding that “I come to you this morning with a heavy heart and no easy answers.”

But, he said, “it’s time for Washington to stop trying to win endless wars overseas while losing the war at home.”

“I choose life, and I choose change,” Scarborough told viewers

Bob Peterson on the Tragedy in Newton, Connecticut

Filed under: Gun Violence — millerlf @ 9:31 am

First we mourn, then we organize

By Bob Peterson, President Milwaukee Teachers Education Association

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Educators across the nation will enter school with heavy hearts on Monday. Beneath flags at half-mast and between hugs of staff and students, teachers will navigate through difficult questions and raw fears as we remember and honor the victims of the Sandy Hook School tragedy.

First, we mourn.

We mourn for the victims, for their families, for the heroic Sandy Hook staff, and for the entire community of Newtown, Connecticut.

We also mourn for this nation and for the tens of thousands of people whose lives have been affected by this country’s epidemic of mass killings and incessant gun violence.

We also grieve.

As professional educators, we will help our students process their grief and fears. Using social media, teacher unions, school districts and individual teachers have provided resources on how to guide conversations.

Six educators (all women), twelve girls and eight boys (all 1st graders) were killed in the massacre. Our grieving will never completely end.

We also honor. And the best way to do so is to organize against senseless gun violence.

There are some commentators who say, “No, you can’t take on the gun lobby, you will never win. Talk about keeping children safe, yes. But don’t talk about gun control.”

But, as Nicholas Kristof wrote in Sunday’s New York Times, “What do we make of the contrast between heroic teachers who stand up to a gunman and craven, feckless politicians who won’t stand up to the N.R.A.?”

We can hope that our political leaders will, in future weeks, take “meaningful action” against gun violence. We can also hope that this country begins to address the crisis in mental health services.

But the only way to make sure our hopes come true is to organize.

It will take nothing less than a mass movement to ensure that our political leaders fulfill their responsibilities and actually do something rather than lament the power of the pro-gun lobby.

Given the events of Sandy Hook, parents and educators have a particular role to play, including the NEA and AFT leadership. Likewise, community leaders must demand a community-wide response, and religious and business leaders must call  upon their colleagues. Together, we all must demand that our elected leaders address the epidemic of gun violence and the crisis in mental health care.

In the coming days, we will mourn the victims of the Sandy Hook tragedy.

But we must also organize to prevent future such tragedies. We have no choice.


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