Wednesday: Popular American Culture and Politics

Foster the Safety of the People

Remember that time about a year ago when you were rocking out on the dance floor to the wildly popular and probably-too-catchy Foster the People song, “Pumped Up Kicks”?  Remember that moment of horror when you realized exactly what you were singing about?

I have bad news: that song is still addicting.  I have worse news: school shootings are still happening with too much frequency – which is to say, at all.  I have horrible news:  apparently, no one cares.

This is too much of a topic to get into for a blog post, so I’ve got to focus.  So I’m setting my sights on the NRA.  (See what I did there?)  Have you seen their new commercial that calls President Obama a hypocrite for trying to keep guns out of our schools even while the Secret Service protects his own children?  Look it up and have a good laugh.  Shake your head as you realize that 50% of America is going to take that commercial as God’s truth, word-for-word. 


Once again, America, if you want to talk politics, let’s talk politics, and not bandy about with lies and purposefully misleading rhetoric.  First: President Obama has no say in whether or not his children get armed guards to protect them in public.  (Haven’t you ever seen Guarding Tess?  The Secret Service doesn’t really have a choice.)  And let’s be serious – yes, his children are more at risk for abduction or attack than yours are.  Not because you own a gun, but because he’s the President of the United States.  Second: Stop calling him Mr. Obama.  Stop.  He has been elected by the majority of Americans in a democratic process of which you are part-and-parcel.  His salutation is now, and will forever be, President Obama.  Your impertinence smacks of petulance.  Grow up; disrespect is not a proper substitute for rational argument.  Third: You want to get rid of no-gun zones?  Seriously?  Great, that’s great.  Let’s chuck drug-free zones out as well, shall we?

I’m not claiming to know the perfect way to cut back gun violence, but I’m going to go out on a limb here and say that the men who passed the Second Amendment were not envisioning armed guards patrolling the Kindergarten hall.  They didn’t know about automatics or semi-automatics or even the Smith & Wesson.  As someone who once taught pre-K, I ask you: why, WHY would you want to bring guns into school?  We’re going to respond to tragic school shootings by putting more guns in schools?  Who’s going to pay for the armed guard?  Who’s going to pay for his or her training?  Who’s to say that guard will even be in the right place if this tragedy repeats itself – that he won’t be in the gym when a lunatic is in the cafeteria?  That he won’t be on the quad when the shooter is up in Financial Aid?  

I’m not saying “take all the guns away.”  In fact, I think an automatic weapon has about as much practical use as a grenade, and grenades aren’t legal commercial property.  Keep your shooting range, and your gun collection, and your hunting trips, and your concealed weapon for self-defense.  Keep your shotgun to scare your daughter’s suitors, keep your pistol in the nightstand or your midnight special in your handbag.  No one’s taking your guns.  All I’m saying is: we’re going to stop people bringing guns to schools by bringing guns to schools?  

So, I’m crossing my fingers and hoping that this NRA commercial doesn’t resonate with most people.  I’m hoping Americans will take advantage of whatever education they managed to get in their gun-free school zones and really think this one through.  And also, I admit, I’m wondering if Foster the People still plays that song on their tour. 



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