Monday, December 5, 2011

What If Gun Control Debates Were Applied To A 5th Grade Classroom Situation?

And now, a script.  I'm certain it will win a Tony Award.  I present to you:  
"Gum Control in Mrs. Cali's 5th Grade Class"

Mrs. Cali:  Class, for some time it has been school policy to allow students to chew gum in classrooms.  However, due to a number of recent incidents here, I have decided to forbid gum chewing in my classroom from this day forward.

Wayne:  But, Mrs. Cali, that's unfair! 

Mrs. Cali:  Wayne, yesterday Tommy threw his gum into Bradi's hair, and I had to explain to her angry parents why it had happened.  The day before that, I stepped in gum that a student had dropped to the floor.  Also, a quick look last week turned up at least a couple dozen wads of gum that had been left stuck underneath your desks.  This has gone too far, and I refuse to allow it further.

Rick (smacking on chewing gum):  But, Mrs. Cali, I haven't been irresponsible with my gum.  Why should I have to pay the consequences for other people's bad behavior?  It's not fair!

Mrs. Cali:  I'm sorry, Rick, but don't blame me.  Blame those who abused their right to chew gum. 

Wayne:  I agree with Rick.  You're treating us all like bad guys!  When Tommy threw the gum, you sent him to the Principal's office.  He got the punishment he deserved.  But now you would have us all pay for his mistake!  You should only punish the bad guys.  Besides, the bad guys will still bring in gum and chew it when you aren't looking.  When gum is outlawed only outlaws will chew gum.

Bradi:  I'm glad for the decision, Mrs. Cali!  Speaking as a victim of gum violence, I feel very uncomfortable allowing people to chew while I'm trying to learn.  Every day in this school there are at least 32 incidents of gum violence.  Kids like Tommy and Rick only care about themselves and don't think about others who could be victimized.

Rick:  Bradi, don't you dare lump me in with bad kids like Tommy, just because I chew gum!  I'm sorry you were a victim, but it shouldn't cause me to have to pay, too!

Wayne:  Besides, Mrs. Cali, it's our right to have gum in school.  Part Two of the Student Code of Conduct says so!  Ever since the founding of this school.

Mrs. Cali:  The Code says, "Students have the right to keep and bear snacks and candy."  It didn't specify gum, in particular, and students didn't have today's modern, super-sticky gum back in those days or abuse their right to chew it nearly as often.

Wayne:  Yes, but the Student Council recently ruled that Part Two applies to modern gum, and that every student has the right to have it.

Mrs. Cali:   Sure, but they also said that individual classrooms could still determine how to regulate it.  You are allowed to have gum in your personal locker and to chew it there, but when you step into my classroom, you're not allowed to chew it.

Rick:  Well, Mr. Arizo allows it in his classroom, and students can chew it openly there without him saying anything.  He's a big supporter of gum chewing.  (Rick blows a bubble and pops it, loudly).

Bradi:  Sure, but just last week, that crazy boy, Jared, threw gum in the hair of several students in Mr. Arizo's class!  His class is one of the worst for gum throwing!

Mrs. Cali:  Mr. Arizo is just going to have to clean up the mess himself.  Here, I'm not going to tolerate it.  As for the Student Council's recent ruling, let's note who else benefits:  the concession stand.  They get to sell more gum this way.  It's not really about the students and their rights.

Rick:  That's not what they said.  They said it's about Part Two of the Code.

Mrs. Cali:  What they say is different from what they think.  Just follow the money.

Rick:  You're blaming an inanimate object for the bad actions of people.  You're just a chiclephobe!  Gums don't mess people, people mess people!

Bradi:  "Chiclephobe?"  Why do you think she's afraid of gum?

Wayne:  I and the other students who love gum know full well how anti-gum you guys are.  You want to ban gum altogether and take it away from us! 

Mrs. Cali:  Don't be ridiculous.  I never said anything about gum banning, and I'm not afraid of gum!  I just want to control it and keep it from being abused.

Wayne:  You just want to keep us from exercising our rights!  It's discrimination against gum chewers, just like racism!

Rick (pointing at Mrs. Cali):  Yeah!  Gum-grabber! 

Bradi:  Stop making wild accusations and name-calling!  You're just trying to hijack the debate!  How many kids have to have gum in their hair before you admit controlling gum is necessary?  You'd think different if you were the one hit by gum violence!

Rick:  I wouldn't be the victim, cuz I'd hit them with my own gum first!  If everyone chewed gum, the gum-throwers would be too afraid to start a fight.

Bradi:  No, don't you see?  With more gum chewing there would be more gum-throwing, too, just like in Mr. Arizo's class!

Mrs. Cali:  Okay, class, settle down!  Now, I'm prepared to compromise.  If you want to chew gum, I'll give you a permission slip to do so in my room if I think you aren't the sort to abuse it.  If you mis-behave, then I'll take away your permission slip.  This is something that several other classrooms do.

Wayne:  We shouldn't have to get a piece of paper to exercise our right!  Besides, the bad guys won't bother with it and will still chew.

Rick:  And who says you're the right person to judge us?  It's too subjective!

Mrs. Cali:  Rick, no one is a better judge of your behavior than me, in my classroom.  And Wayne, this way I can keep track of who is exercising their right appropriately.

Rick:  I'd feel very uncomfortable having the faculty keep track of me this way.  They'd put me on some secret list and when they decide to ban gum they'll know to track me down, bust down the door of my locker and take all my gum away from me!  They'll have to pry my gum from my cold, dead hands!

Mrs. Cali:  Don't be so melodramatic and paranoid, Rick!

Wayne:  If you issue a permission slip, that's one more I'll have to have, and I have to keep track of them all when I go from class to class.  Plus their requirements differ widely.  How many permission slips am I going to have to deal with?  There should be only one permission slip required, and it should be as permissive as possible, like from Mr. Arizo.

Bradi:  No way!  A student like Tommy could get a slip from Mr. Arizo very easily, even though he's shown a tendency toward gum violence here in Mrs. Cali's class!

Wayne:  I'm going to go to the Student Council and appeal your decision, Mrs. Cali!  Gum chewing is a right and therefore shouldn't be regulated at all.

Bradi:  They'd be insane to listen to you!  Our school is far too lax about controlling gum.  Other schools have almost no incidents of gum violence compared to us!  Whether it's a right or not, it needs common sense regulation to reduce the rate of gum-throwing!

Mrs. Cali:  Enough!  For now my rule stands and ....

[Suddenly there is an argument outside the classroom door, then screaming as a boy throws gum into the hair of a girl.  Students rush to the door to watch.]

Bradi:  Oh!  Will the madness never end?  We have to do something!

Rick:  If only the girl had had gum of her own to protect herself!

Wayne:  It's her right to do so, you know!

Mrs. Cali:  Okay, class, go back to your desks....  And Rick, spit out your gum!

Rick: (spits gum into the trash, then mutters) Gum-grabber!

[The End]


  1. Is there a point somewhere there, Baldr?

  2. Yes. It's meant to poke humor at both sides. Although, in my opinion, it also highlights the silliness of some of the comparable pro-gun arguments (such as the insistence that any and all laws regulating guns are only a precursor gun banning, in gunnies' minds) and the "bumper sticker" slogans of the gun lobby.

  3. I think it was a GREAT post. It shows the anti-gun arguments, as well as how they view the world.

    Thanks for posting it, I really enjoyed it.

  4. Yes, I saw your comments on your blog, Weer'd. Glad you enjoyed it.

    Of course, it's intended as humor, and shows the pro-gun arguments, too, and how they view the world.

  5. it was ok until you started putting in the Student council thing. It just got kinda silly after that. But then if you see my blog...

  6. It certainly shows how you see the pro-gun arguments.

    That and how you moderate your comment section.

    Certain aspects are an "inconvenient truth" to you.

  7. And you don't moderate, Weer'd? Oh, wait, didn't you ban me from your site because I didn't comment frequently enough...? Funny how no one from my side is allowed to post there.

  8. Of course, it's intended as humor, and shows the pro-gun arguments, too, and how they view the world.

    It scratches the surface of the pro-rights arguments and very effectively demonstrates an anti-gunner's shallow mis-perception of how pro-rights advocates view the world.

    I'd thank you to, but did we really need any more evidence?

  9. such as the insistence that any and all laws regulating guns are only a precursor [to] gun banning,

    And that's incorrect how, exactly?

    It's exactly what your side has always sought. These days, you keep that sort of goal under wraps because it's political suicide, but given the opportunity, I have no doubt whatsoever that such a goal will come again to the forefront.

    You advocated for DC's law. You advocated for Chicago's law. You still insist, despite the massive amount of evidence to the contrary, that the Heller court was wrong, even though not a single justice adopted the collective right position.

    It's all a matter of opportunity.

    And it's our goal, on the gunnie side, to make sure you never again get the opportunity. Now is not the time to compromise; now is the time to press our advantage, and make a 2nd Am. that protects individual rights as accepted, and as broad, as the 1st Amendment rights that the 2nd protects.

  10. I think Mr Arizo's lack of gum control is certainly putting Mrs Cali's class at risk. Funny skit!

  11. @ GMC: Funny how the only ones who say gun control is about gun-banning-for-everyone are the pro-gun folks. And, no, I never called for a ban in D.C. or Chicago. The "iron pipeline" of guns trafficked in from other states is too much of a problem to make banning guns in one city effective.

    Insist as you wish, but you won't find anyone on the gun control side saying it is so, or even inferring it. It's just propaganda from the NRA that feeds that line.

  12. GMC70, Didn't you get the memo about Heller-McDonald, gun bans are off the table, but other gun regulations are not.

    I should also add that there is now another way to amend the constitution that bypasses the Constitutional method. Be a billionaire and get 5 justices to agree with you.

    Still happy about Heller-McDonald?

  13. Insist as you wish, but you won't find anyone on the gun control side saying it is so, or even inferring it.

    No, you won't say it. That's exactly my point.

    Because you will not say so out loud does not make it so.

  14. Well, GMC70, I didn't realize you claimed to be psychic! You should open a mind-reader shop.

    All I can say is that paranoia about people taking away your guns seems to be a meme for the pro-gun extremist crowd.

  15. Still happy about Heller-McDonald?

    Only that the cases didn't go far enough, but that's understandable. Cases are limited to the questions presented, and the questions in Heller/McDonald were limited.

    I got no idea what you're talking about, Laci, with the "billionaire" silliness; it's clear you don't either.

    It's indeed troubling that apparantly four justices were prepared to acknowledge that the 2nd Amendment protected an individual right, yet were prepared to write it out of existance anyway.

    That's why appointments to the Court matter.

    And of course if they believe they can write the 2nd amendment out of existance, they can do so with the 1st, the 4th, the 5th, etc. as well.

    Still happy with the dissenting justices?

    In short, the majority held - shockingly - that the Constitution means what it says. Hardly radical stuff unless, of course, you're an anti-rights cultist.

  16. Well, GMC70, I didn't realize you claimed to be psychic! You should open a mind-reader shop.

    I don't have to be psychic. I simply have to take the gun control crowd at its word. Do I have to post all those quotes I'm sure you've seen before?

    Of course, in this era, that crowd has been strangely silent, or has now "changed" its tune. For now. If you believe them. I don't.

  17. Bladr,

    Sorry to call you a liar but if you claim that people aren't calling for complete bans on firearms, then you are lying.

    Do a search on "ban firearms"

    Read just about any report of firearm related violence -- usually at one person is willing to say "we need to get rid of all firearms".

    Then you have people like Joan Peterson, you remember her, right?

    Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence board Member, co-president of the Northland Chapter of the Brady Campaign, member of Citizens for a Safer Minnesota, President of Minnesota Million Moms March, Spokesperson for Protect Minnesota.

    That Joan Peterson?

    When asked how low firearm related deaths would have to go before she stopped calling for ever more restrictive laws, she replied "Zero".

    Now call me silly to think it but if keep passing restrictive laws until such an impossible goal is met-- wouldn't the end result pretty much be a complete ban on firearms?

    That the only logical and practical way to try to get to such a goal.

    So excuse us if we are a little hesitant to believe the claim "we don't want to ban guns" is made, eh?

  18. Bob, regarding your other comment -- No, I'm not going to post comments that slander other people.

  19. Baldr-

    Maybe for your next post, you can show us how Ms. Cali's hypothetical Gum Free Zone policy worked out?

    I'm guessing that those intent on chewing gum in class continued to do so?

  20. Bob, you'll have to take up Joan's statement with her, but I don't agree that she is calling for a ban on handguns, despite your rather desperate extrapolation of her statement.

    As for your paranoia about the government taking your guns away, all I can say is that you need to get over it. It's not going to happen, it's impractical, and the Supreme Court ruled it unconstitutional. Bringing up your paranoia again and again.

    I'm not aware of anyone on my side calling for a total ban, but if you found someone, good for you. Calling me a "liar" for this is only slander on your part. Grow up and stop with the name calling.

  21. @ Molonlabe: Regarding your link to today's VT shooting: You do realize that the first victim was an armed cop? Evidence that arming a person doesn't guarantee safety from a shooter (indeed, one study showed that being armed actually increases your chance of being killed). However, one thing that IS guaranteed is that an increase of guns on campus will increase the potential for shootings by the students.

  22. You do realize the point i was making, that gun free zones do not prevent 'gun crime?'

    And to your 2nd point, do you have any statistics substantiating your hypothetical assumption? I'll show you mine if you show me yours!

    "Since the fall semester of 2006, state law has allowed licensed individuals to carry concealed handguns on the campuses of the nine degree-offering public colleges (20 campuses) and one public technical college (10 campuses) in Utah. Concealed carry has been allowed at Colorado State University (Fort Collins, CO) since 2003 and at Blue Ridge Community College (Weyers Cave, VA) since 1995. After allowing concealed carry on campus for a combined total of one hundred semesters, none of these twelve schools has seen a single resulting incident of gun violence (including threats and suicides), a single gun accident, or a single gun theft."

  23. Evidence that arming a person doesn't guarantee safety from a shooter

    Really? You want "guarantees?"

    There ARE no guarantees.

    There are no guarantees you'll not be hit by a meteorite tomorrow, or a bus, or a random lightning strike.

    indeed, one study showed that being armed actually increases your chance of being killed).

    Really? You do understand that correlation does not equal causation? Since a large percentage of the "victims of gun violence" are those who are themselves engaging in same, I have no doubt that's true. But it has about the same meaning as noting that there's a correlation between standing in the rain and being wet.

    No one pretends (aside from your side, of course) that a firearm is a magic talisman. It's not. As always, the usefulness of the firearm depends on the facts at issue.

    What there IS evidence of (as you well know) is that in in state after state, legal concealed carry does NOT increase gun crime. Blood does not run in the streets. The parade of horribles routinely trotted out (just as they were trotted out in response to HR822) NEVER comes to pass.

    In short, what we KNOW is that at the very least, legal CC does NOT make anyone LESS safe, and may make us more safe.

    At the very least, it increases the options to an individual in case of circumstances which might require direct defensive action. And it does so at no cost to others. It neither picks your pocket nor breaks your leg, to quote Jefferson.

    In short, whether or not I carry my firearm is none of your damn business. Butt out. I do not demand of you that you carry a weapon; you have no right to attempt to demand that I surrender mine.

    Nope. No compromise. Not one bit. We've compromised more than enough.

  24. Strictly speaking, molonlabe, there is nothing that can "prevent crime" completely, but there are ways to reduce it. For instance, there's a good reason why schools that have policies against guns on campus have a significantly lower incidence of gun-related violence than the communities that surround them.

    As for the schools you mention, I'm glad they haven't had any problems (yet). You can just as easily say that the allowance hasn't been needed, as there is no instance I can find of a shooting being stopped at those universities, either.

    A 2001 study by the U.S. Department of Education found that the overall homicide rate at postsecondary education institutions was 0.07 per 100,000 students in 1999.(citation 1) By comparison, the criminal homicide rate in the United States as a whole was 5.7 per 100,000 persons overall in 1999, and 14.1 per 100,000 for persons ages 17 to 29. Another study conducted by the Department of Justice found that 93% of violent crimes that victimize college students occur off campus. (citation 2)

    1 U.S. Department of Education, Office of Postsecondary Education, “The Incidence of Crime on the Campuses of U.S. Postsecondary Education Institutions,” p. 5,

    2 U.S. Department of Justice, Bureau of Justice Statistics, “Violent Victimization of College Students, 1995-2002,” p. 1,

  25. Baldr,

    You forget a few facts in your recitation there.

    One many colleges aren't 24/7 operations-- therefore it would be expected the homicide rate is lower.

    Second, most colleges have some form of security/law enforcement.

    Increase the ratio of protection greater than society in general and the violence would go down.

    Next you make the point for us

    Another study conducted by the Department of Justice found that 93% of violent crimes that victimize college students occur off campus.

    Given that just 16% of students are the typical 18 to 22 year old living on campus - it is vital that people be allowed to carry their firearms to and from school.

    Many campuses prohibit even storage in cars-- and those that do, the firearms are less secure than on the person.

    So should people have to leave their firearms at home -- when they are more likely to be the victim of a crime at the gas station filling up on the way home, at the restaurant after class?

  26. Bob, Speaking as a past student, students are always on university campus, even during holidays, weekends, and nights. So it's ludicrous to argue they aren't a "24/7 operation".

    If they have their own security/law enforcement, enough to drastically lower the crime rate, then there is LESS reason to carry a gun on campus.

    I don't see your point, regarding the age of students. From the same website: "Percentage of all college students age 25 and over: 37 percent. The majority of these older students (56 percent) attend school part-time." Based on this, and from my own experience as a student at three different universities, your argument is false. The majority of undergrads live in campus housing or within a few blocks, and thus have little need for carrying a gun.

    As for the minutes it takes to drive back and forth to and from college and home, and the stops along the way: if they are so afraid of being without a gun for that quick trip, then they'll have to run their errands another time.

  27. Baldr,

    Please stop trying to base reality on only your personal experience.

    It doesn't work.

    Not all colleges are universities. If we go by your standard and use my college experience - then NO ONE lives on campus.
    I attended community college and then a private universities accelerated program in a office building.

    Most colleges are NOT 24/7 operations. Some universities do have students on them 24/7 yes....but those are not the majority of colleges.

    If they have their own security/law enforcement, enough to drastically lower the crime rate, then there is LESS reason to carry a gun on campus.

    Even with the increased ratio -- crime still happens on campus.

    Guess you are okay with a woman being raped by a stranger as long as it keeps guns off campus?

    Guess you are okay with someone being robbed of their laptop as long as it keeps guns off campus?

    Cops, even campus cops, can not be every where.
    So why disarm people?

    Second, you completely ignore the aspect of people getting robbed, raped and murdered OFF campus.
    Contrary to your world view, there is more to life than a college campus.

    IF a person isn't able to carry a firearm onto campus property, then they will not have a firearm available when they stop at the ATM (fast becoming a favorite new target for thugs).

    As for the minutes it takes to drive back and forth to and from college and home, and the stops along the way: if they are so afraid of being without a gun for that quick trip, then they'll have to run their errands another time.

    What a condescending attitude!

    Guess what Baldr, ever consider that many students aren't born with a silver spoon in their mouth ?

    In 2003, some 6.1 million nontraditional college-age students (age 25 or older) were enrolled in U.S. colleges and universities, composing about 37 percent of all college students -- a proportion that has remained fairly constant since the late 1980s, according to U.S. census data. Another estimate using a slightly different definition of “nontraditional” put the number in 2005 at 12 million out of a total of almost 15 million.

    From my original link - those students and many of the "traditional" students work also.

    They aren't living "minutes" from the dorm....they live minutes from the campus and work more "minutes" from the campus.

    To appeal to the 60 percent of college students who work while attending school, more than a quarter of all institutions of high education -- and fully 40 percent of public two-year institutions -- offer weekend and evening classes.

    60% attend part time - means that the campus is only one stop in their day.

    Nice of you to tell them they have to rearrange their lives completely just to fit your prejudice.

  28. So you're comparing college settings to non-college settings, and then making the the claim that incidents of violent crime on college campuses are lower because guns aren't allowed there? This ignores numerous non-gun variables (some of which noted by Bob S. above). People sometimes call this an apples to oranges comparison.

    Nor does it explain why the pro-CCW college campuses in my example have a 'gun-violence' rate of 0.00%. You're explanation for that one is that they haven't had any 'yet.'

    Don't get me wrong, I get your point. But ultimately, what pro-gun controllers are agruing for are restrictions on a COTUS right based on hypothetical 'possibilities.'

    I'll be the first one to admit that your side does have a compelling argument for mandatory NICS checks. And to be honest with you, many gun owners like me would probabaly go along with it in the name of compromise, if your side also didn't seek numerous other restrictions and regulations based on statistically unsupported "what if's", "shoulder things that go up in the back", and "dead Starbucks baristas."

    You realize the hypocrisy in the anti-gun "NRA-types are uncompromising extremists" meme, right?

  29. I'm glad you're receptive to the idea for mandatory checks on all sales, molonlabe.

    Despite what many on the pro-gun side say about me, I'm not against conceal carry in all cases. I have a friend who is a bail bondsman and was once a sheriff's deputy. He needs it for self-protection because of his job and is well-trained. I would be much more receptive to conceal carry, nationally, if there was a much better and more uniform background check system (such as better mental health record reporting), restrictions against certain backgrounds (sex abusers, domestic abusers, assault), requirement for hands-on proficiency testing and safety training (I just don't think most people have a reasonable need to carry). When HR822 was being debated in the House, however, amendments to increase those restrictions were all shot down by the Repubs.

    I disagree that there is a constitutional right to conceal carry. The Supreme Court agrees with me, in their opinion in the Heller case, and has refused to hear related cases on the issue.

    There are plenty who on your side who are "uncompromising extremists", and pride themselves for it. They comment here all the time. But, by no means, do I lump all gun owners into that category. On the contrary, polls show with great reliability and repeatability that gun owners and NRA members are supportive of stricter gun regulation, along with the rest of the public.

  30. Would you support mandatory NICS checks on every gun sale provided there was non-FFL access to NICS? As a few other poster indicated, there are plenty of ways to implement it and protect privacy?

  31. Molon, I'm open to the idea. It's hard to imagine that privacy wouldn't be a problem. And what's to stop anyone from claiming they're running the check for a gun, even if there isn't a purchase happening, just to find out if the person they're inquiring about isn't of one of the prohibited classes? And don't FFL's have more accountability than a non-FFL?

    Knowing the free market economy, though, if background checks become mandatory for private sales, there will be a lot more FFLs signing on to fill the need.