Category Archives: gun control

Cranky Old Coots Complain and Don’t Care

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Yes, I am a coot.  I became a coot in 2014 when I retired. I have the hair in the ears to prove it.  I sometimes forget to wear pants.  The dog is learning to hide from me on days when my arthritis makes me cranky.

So I am a practicer of the ancient art of being a cranky old coot.  I have opinions.  I share them with others foolishly. And I am summarily told to, “Shut up, you danged old coot!”  And, of course, I don’t shut up because that would be a violation of number five in the by-laws of cootism.  Obnoxiousness is our only reason for still being alive.

Lately, my group of coots on Facebook (who call themselves a “pack” like wolves, but, in truth, a group of coots is called an “idiocy”) are talking about politics… very loudly salted with firmly held opinions, beliefs, and bad words in several languages.  I mean, it’s texting each other on memes we disagree about, but we do it LOUDLY, like that, in all caps.  We also do it in such an infuriating manner because, if no one ever bothers to tell us to “Shut the hell up!”  we will begin to suspect we have actually died and gone to purgatory where we are still being obnoxious, but nobody knows we are doing it.  That is rubbing coot fur in the wrong direction.

The radical right (otherwise known as coot paradise) have been cooting up a storm about school shootings and gun control of late.  They have more or less turned their ire on me because, knowing I was a school teacher, they have seized on the Coot in Chief’s notion of arming teachers to protect schools.  Obviously a majority of old coots agree that requiring a few “volunteer” teachers to conceal carry and learn how to handle a school shooter crisis situation with a gun instead of the way teachers are actually trained and practiced on handling such a situation, is the only economical way to defend schools from crazed lunatics with assault weapons.  Of course, it is definitely more economical than hiring full time police officers to handle security because “volunteer” teachers does not mean that they are necessarily willing to do it, but rather that they are doing it without pay.  And of course they shout at me things like, “Why don’t you just admit that you are too scared and unpatriotic to carry a gun as a teacher, and cowardly allow some female teacher with a big pistol to step in and do the job for you?”  That is a very coot thing to say, and is hard to adequately counter, because if you try to argue using logic other than coot-logic, like the notion that since a majority of teachers in this country are female, you are asking women who are fierce enough to do the job (and I have known more than a few who would take it on no matter how hopeless their prospects) to take a handgun that the principal bought at Walmart with money from the Coke machine in the hall and face down a suicidal maniac with an assault rifle, you will not even be heard over the cacophony of coot braying and chest-thumping, let alone be understood.

And, for some reason, coots love Trump.  Maybe because they feel he is truly one of them.  He is older than dirt.  He has an epicly bad comb-over to hide his bald spot.  He says bad words very loudly in front of women, children, and everybody.  He says, “Believe me,” a lot, especially when telling lies.  And he’s not afraid to fart in public and blame it on the dog.  I admit to insulting Trump in front of them only because I like to see coot faces fold up in extra wrinkles, and coot heads turn various shades of angry red and apoplectic purple.

So, yes.  I am a coot.  Not proud to be one… that I can remember, but a coot never-the-less.

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Filed under angry rant, commentary, feeling sorry for myself, foolishness, goofy thoughts, grumpiness, gun control, humor, Liberal ideas, oldies, Paffooney, teaching

And The Rain Comes Down…

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And The Rain Comes Down…

Through the wet broken window,

And a dark-colored screen,

I increasingly look down,

On a darkening scene,

On world without rainbows,

Feeling soon I will drown.

“Geez, Mickey,” you will say, “Why-ever would you write such a gloomy pessimist’s poem?”

“Because I prepare myself for the worst.  The worst in this case is that the President of the United States says the solution to school shootings is putting guns in the hands of teachers.  He wants those of us whose hands were made for using chalk on chalkboards, and hearts were made for talking to kids, learning who they are, and guiding them toward a better future, to pick up a gun and accurately take out a threat coming in with legally purchased weapons of war that can shoot more rounds faster than any weapon that the school system will be able to put in my hands.  It is a terrible idea, and he is going to make it happen just because he stupidly can.”

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One time at a middle school I taught at, a child did bring a gun to school.  It was a handgun concealed in a back pack.  He apparently meant to shoot his former girlfriend.  But, as kids will, he told friends about it.  They told a teacher.  The principal called the police and confiscated the back pack.  Not only did the target survive without being shot at, the perpetrator, after his brush with the law and time served, was able to right his boat again and sail on into adulthood, a job, a wife, and kids.  He even told me later that he was grateful to have been stopped from ruining his life, even possibly ending his life.  The problem was solved without a shooting because of teacher skills, being able to talk to kids, being approachable to talk to about problems and unsettling rumors, and knowing where to turn for the proper help at the proper time.

Of course, we were lucky on that one.  Stopping that shooter was not 100% guaranteed.  And it happened in the 90’s during the assault rifle ban.  He was immature enough and excitable enough to have killed many with a more powerful weapon.

If it were up to me to become a weapon-toting defender of the innocent, I am fully aware of how little chance I have to be successful at such a thing.  I am a lousy shot.  If I had to face down an AR-15 with the cheap school-district pistol, I would become one more obvious target that any shooter will obviously take out in seconds.  That’s the best possible outcome for the school, because my missing shot would probably hit some poor innocent bystander.

And, of course, conservative Facebook friends won’t stop insisting that teachers need to be armed.  A good guy with a gun can defeat a bad guy with a gun, you know… assuming the SWAT team doesn’t shoot the good guy, mistaking him for the bad guy.

So, even though I don’t like it, I guess I have to be prepared for schools to become battlegrounds.  Every day a shootout at the OK Corral.  I just hope Wyatt Earp is on my side.

And it really is raining outside today.  Cold, February rain… and it depresses me.

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Filed under angry rant, autobiography, Depression, gun control, humor, Liberal ideas, photo paffoonies, self pity, teaching

Translating Texican

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I came to Texas from Iowa.  I was well-versed in how to speak Iowegian.  (I was, don’t-ya-know, and spoke it fluently, you-betcha.)

Then I arrived, fresh-faced and ready to change the world as a twenty-five-year-old teacher, and began working in a mostly Hispanic middle school in deep South Texas.  Dang!  Whut language do they speak?  (Yes, I know… Spanish.  But my students straight from Mexico couldn’t understand the local lingo either. South Texas Spanish and Castilian Spanish from Mexico are not the same language.)  I couldn’t talk to the white kids either.   It is possible to communicate with Texicans, but it took me years to learn the language.  It takes more than mere usage of “ya’ll” and “howdy”.

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You can probably see what I mean when you look at these fake quotes based on the things real Texicans actually once said to me.  Of course, I can be accused of being a racist by interpreting things this way.  Texicans are concerned that you understand that they are not racists.  They merely rebel against being “politically correct”.  Apparently the political-correctness police give them all sorts of unfair harassment about speaking their minds the way they always have.  I should note, however, that I had to use a quote from Bubba rather than Dave Winchuk.  Dave is so anti-political-correctness concerned that he regularly said to me things with so much racial heat in them that they would even melt the faces off white people.  Face-melting is bad.  If you don’t believe me, re-watch the end of Raiders of the Lost Ark.

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And to speak Texican, you must actually learn a thing or two about guns.  Yes, Texas is an open-carry State.  Apparently second amendment rights are the most important rights in the constitution.  My two sons grew up in Texas, and the oldest is a Marine.  Guns are important to them.  I have those same arguments with former students, too.  I have learned to say the right things so that they will tolerate my unholy  pacifist ideas about how the world might be safer if everybody didn’t have five guns in the waistbands of their underpants.  So gun-stuff ends up as a part of the Texican language I have learned to speak.

The point of it all is, language is a fascinating thing that grows and changes and warps and regresses.  I love it.  I try to master it.  And the mistakes I make usually sound purty funny.

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Filed under angry rant, education, gun control, humor, irony, kids, Paffooney, red States, self pity, strange and wonderful ideas about life, Texas

Return to the Stone Age

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Pebbles Winchuk, South Texas dino-girl

We are swiftly returning to the Stone Age.  We are dividing into armed camps and shooting each other.  Texas is an open carry State and they are allowed to carry rifles to Black Lives Matter rallies.  Former Illinois Congressman Joe Walsh took to Twitter to declare the conservative position (at least the lunatic half plus at least one per cent).

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Well, if he is coming for Black Lives Matter punks, then he might as well come for me, too.  I believe black people have been unfairly targeted by law enforcement (even black cops who buy into police-culture prejudices).  I think police forces need to be retrained to be more race-sensitive and determined to de-escalate potentially violent situations instead of executing the suspect on the spot.  If they can do that for white suspects, even armed and potentially violent white suspects, then they can do that for everybody.  As a school teacher, I stopped and broke up at least forty fights in my career.  Two of them involved weapons and I stopped at least four high school fights while being forced to walk everywhere on campus with a cane.  You can bring violence to an end by talking to the participants.  You don’t have to shoot Jose and Deshawn to get them to stop punching each other because they both like Maria.  But the government does nothing to move the national conversation in the direction of non-violence.  The Dallas shooting was made so much more complex because there were so many potential “good-guys with a gun” on the scene that the brave policemen who charged towards the shooting had a hard time determining who the bad guy was.  And Joe Walsh is coming for us because we don’t believe we should be shot without due process.

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A picture of the Pebbles Winchuk picture taken with my brighter light.  Still not as good as sunlight.

So, we are returning to the Stone Age.  I need to start chipping away at pieces of flint to make more spear points.  I probably need to brush up on my dinosaur-training skills, or at least, watch Jurassic World another couple of times.  The Walshian tribe is coming, shouting “Ugga-bugga Thump! Thump!” and getting ready to throw more stones.

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Parking Lot Nightmares

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Sometimes life is more like a car accident than a well-planned story.  You have to scrabble for themes and meaning as you undo your seatbelt to get out of the burning car before it explodes.  It was like that last night in the high school parking lot.

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You see, the Princess had a U.I.L. academic competition last night.  In Texas we compete in nerd olympics so we can pretend that our kids actually learn things in school.  The Princess was a part of the science team, taking a test in competition with the nerds from the other district middle schools.  Well, she lost.  Personally, team-wise, and school-wise, the Long Middle School Falcons were shut out of the top three places.  Yes, that sucks, but she did get to compete, an honor already.  As much as this society pooh-poohs participation ribbons and feeling good about less-than-winning, sometimes they do represent real effort and real value.  It is the kind of gut-twist you put up with every year, with every competition.  Not everybody can win, and non-winners don’t deserve punishment.

But the excitement last night was not about that.  What was it about?  I don’t still completely know.

I went at 9:00 p.m. to pick her up from the Newman Smith High School competition site after her team was thoroughly beaten.  I hate high school parking lots.  You have to put up with other parents and their Texas driving skills.  We call it “driving friendly” in Texas.  It means pushing to the front of the line, cutting people off, bluffing your way through with the threat of violent collision.  In truth, if most of those parents in the parking lot had to take the driving test today, they not only wouldn’t have a license, they would be in jail to prevent vehicular manslaughter.  So, when I saw the multiple police cars at the high school, I merely assumed that some of the parents of UIL contestants had been “driving friendly” a little too hard.

Well, I pulled up behind the buses and got an ominous text.

“We are in lock-down.  Something happened.  Are you in the parking lot?”

“Yes.”

“My teacher says to stay in your car and keep the doors locked.  Wait until I tell you that we have been cleared.  The police are here.”

Well, that was tense.  Twenty minutes of sitting in the car not knowing what was going on… not knowing how to find out.  Finally I get another text.

“You have to pick me up back at Long.  They are taking us out to the bus at the back of the school.”

So, I drove the ten blocks to Long Middle School and waited in the parking lot there.  Far fewer parents in cars to run into, so it had its plusses.

Finally the bus arrived.  My daughter had to sign the teacher’s roll call of students before she would be released for me to take her home.  It was already 10:30.

“We’re sorry for this,” one of the teachers told me.

“The principal will probably call you tomorrow and explain what happened,” said another teacher.  Personally, I didn’t really care what happened.  She was safe, and that was what mattered.

“I don’t know what happened, Dad,” the Princess said, “but the police were looking for a man with an AK47.  At least, I think that’s what they told me.”

Ah, Texas.  The right to bear arms truly makes us rest at ease.  Except, I do not want to have the arms of a bear.

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Squint Beastwood and his Action Heroes of the 70’s Face the Here and Now

Yesterday I happened upon Squint Beastwood sitting in a park in the North Dallas area.  He had an empty lawn chair next to him, and he appeared to be deeply into a conversation with it.

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Squint (speaking as his character the Man with No Name);  You see, chair, I have a gun.  It’s a really, really big gun.  And I know how to use it.  I can shoot the eyes out of a peckerwood at 100 yards.  (I was confused about whether he actually meant to say “woodpecker”, but his gun was so big I was afraid to ask.)

chair (speaking as itself);  …

Squint (still as the Man with No Name);  I just don’t get this whole second amendment thing.  I mean, do I really have to have somebody’s permission to have a gun?  I don’t think so.  Lots of dudes have come up to me and said, “give me your gun, Josey Whales.”  And I don’t have to even shoot them to keep my gun.  I just squint my eyes real hard at them and chomp down on the toothpick in my mouth and say, “Are you sure you want to be asking me that?  I can draw my gun and shoot so fast that you can’t blink before you’d be deader than a cold stone that died from stone cancer.”  And they would just get this confused look on their faces and drop their own guns.  Of course, then I would shoot them stone cold deader than a cold stone that died from stone cancer.  You know what I mean?”

chair (still speaking as itself); …

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Squint (suddenly speaking as the rogue cop anti-hero Hurty Barry);  Now they are pestering me about the rights of the perpetrator.  They say things to me like, “Barry, you can’t just go around shooting somebody just because they were jaywalking or playing with  a toy gun while making the mistake of being black.”  But I don’t get that.  There are no crimes committed around me because I just look at the perpetrator and say, “I know you are thinking about committing a crime, criminal.  But you gotta ask yourself, can he really shoot me before I can dial 911 on a  cell phone?  You’ve been texting a lot, and have lots of practice, and probably think you can snap a picture of me and text Hurty Barry just violated my civil rights before I can shoot you in the head and make you stone cold deader than a cold stone that died of stone cancer.  So, do ya feel lucky, punk?”

And then I shoot them in the head.  The world is suddenly a safer place.  Why would anybody assume that somebody who is thinking of committing a crime has a right to a fair trial to determine if they actually committed a crime or not?  You just don’t know people the way I know people.  They are all criminals, rapists, murderers… and some, I assume are good people, but I think we should just shoot them stone cold deader than a cold stone that died of stone cancer and let God sort them out on judgement day.

chair (still speaking as itself)…

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Buck Cheston, former leader of the NPA (National Pistol Association) and star of movies like Planet of the Grapes wanders up and speaks as himself instead of one of his numerous movie characters;  Squint, old man, I see you have been talking to chairs again.  And you are afraid that Obama and his jack-booted government thugs are going to take away your guns.

Squint (still speaking as Hurty Barry); No, Buck.  Nobody takes away my guns.  I am just upset that society seems to think we should talk about our problems and find peaceful solutions, instead of solving problems with violence.

Buck (still speaking as leader of the NPA… even though he is actually dead now);  I agree with you that we can never solve this country’s problems as long as liberals and government types want to take away our guns.  Whether it is a matter of going to war with Iran, or keeping peace on the streets of Baltimore, the solution is not to take guns out of the hands of good guys with a gun.  We have to be able to shoot bad guys with a gun, and shoot to kill.  They will never get my guns until they pry them from my cold dead hands.

Squint (suddenly shifting back to being the Man With No Name); But, Buck, aren’t you dead of old age already?

Buck (speaking now as a dead man who is deader than a cold stone that died of stone cancer); Yes, I am afraid that is so.

Squint (still speaking as the Man with No Name); Well, don’t worry, Buck.  I’m still alive and I still have my gun, and if I can’t kill the bad guy, then he must be immortal.

Buck (still speaking as a dead man); You know, Squint, you haven’t been talking to anyone who is actually alive for this entire conversation.

Squint (finally speaking as himself); I will definitely have to kill somebody for that.  Somebody needs to die.

The chair began shivering uncontrollably.

 

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