South Carolina Superintendent of Education Molly Spearman, a Trump-supporting Republican and evangelical Christian, released a video on Wednesday in which she discussed school safety in the wake of the Parkland massacre. Spearman never says the word “gun” in the video. Instead, she offers a set of what she believes to be solutions to the national school shooting epidemic. She urges community vigilance. She highlights “the issue of mental health.” She backs mentorship programs for at-risk youth. She even calls for the unconstitutional intervention of church in state affairs:
“[We] continue to encourage members of our faith community to partner with schools. By sharing Christ’s love, you could be a positive influence that prevents a tragedy like [Parkland] from occurring.”
When it comes to stopping school shootings, Spearman falls firmly into the “not enough God, not enough guns” school of thought. It’s quite common on the right. After the December 2012 wholesale murder of 26 students and staff — most of them six- and seven-year-old children — at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut, National Rifle Association executive director Wayne LaPierre pushed for more guns in schools. After 26 parishioners were massacred at First Baptist Church in Sutherland Springs, Texas last November, Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton called for guns in churches. After Parkland, a city commissioner said he supported arming allpublic employees, even librarians.
All three of the massacres mentioned here were carried out with semiautomatic assault-style rifles, by the way. Notice how the words “assault rifle ban” never occur to Spearman as she rattles off her purported “solutions.”
Instead, she supports stationing armed police officers in every school. We see how well that went at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, where an armed sheriff’s deputy stood by last week as a troubled teen with a semiautomatic assault-style rifle massacred 17 students and staff. We see how well having cops in school goes for the students of color who are disproportionately punished, brutalizedand pushed through the school-to-prison pipeline in ever-increasing numbers.
We also see how well it goes for the corporations that manufacture guns, the corporations that build and operate private prisons and the Republican politicians like Spearman who are the beneficiaries of their largesse. There’s a saying down in Texas, “you dance with the one who brung you.” When, like so many Republicans, you’re saving the last dance for the NRA, you’re dancing on the graves of the 100 or so peoplewho will be shot dead today.
But they’re dead. They’re not the ones making campaign contributions. So go ahead, America, just keep firing off those bullets, thoughts, prayers and NRA contributions, and the next time a bunch of kids get slaughtered, President Trump and his NRA patrons will just blame video games, mental health, the Russia investigation or liberals. Like so many merchants of death before them — the tobacco corporations and the fossil fuel corporations and the
health sick care corporations, the NRA and its GOP supplicants will deny-deflect-delay their way around any meaningful action against a public health cataclysm that has claimed more American lives over the past 50 years than all of the wars in our nation’s history combined.
Spearman’s “solutions” would be laughable if this weren’t a life or death issue. While you’re reading this, somebody somewhere in this country just got shot. While real people die, Spearman and her ilk pray to an imaginary “God” who, if “He” exists, is either every bit the genocidal psychopath presented in the Old Testament or owns a shit-ton of shares in gun companies — who, time and again, prove the only real winners after a massacre.
Ignorance and stupidity were once considered liabilities. Now they’re worn openly like badges of pride. There are few things more ignorant, stupid — and dangerous — than the belief that a mythological deity figure can solve one of the greatest public health emergencies this nation has ever endured. Or any problem, for that matter. It’s just plain stupid, as stupid as allowing civilians to possess pistols, shotguns, automatic rifles, submachine guns, machineguns, flamethrowers, grenade launchers, anti-tank guns and other instruments of mass death and destruction. It’s as stupid as Spearman’s “prayer and Second Amendment” mantra. No wonder why South Carolina’s public schools are ranked dead last in the nation.
Molly Spearman, for the love of Christ, get a goddamned clue.