The Tragedy We Know Obama’s Gun Control Moves Will Accomplish

school guardThe 18th Executive Order signed by President Obam
a is to provide incentives (and funding) for schools to have police oversee the children.  This 
ill create results.  Of all the other items concerning background checks and manufacturing specifics for future guns, there is no clear indication that there will be any tangible differences.  Gun violence will continue with the 300 million guns in America, and millions more throughout the world.  Some people who legally bought guns and have no criminal record or mental health issues will lose their mind and commit a crime.  Whether we consider this an acceptable number or not depends as much on the media frenzy as on actual statistics.

School police, known as “Resource Officers” (perhaps for easier digestion) have been key builders of the School to Prison Pipeline.  The fistfights and the joint in the bathroom do not result in detention or suspension anymore: now they are imprisonment, expulsion, and an often insurmountable mountain to climb towards any “normal” adult lifestyle.  A 2011 report by Justice Police Institute, Education Under Arrest: The Case Against Police In Our Schools,  would lead one to believe that the overall damage to a community is not justified by the vague possibility that the school is safer.  In fact, there are indications that the police actually lead to increased violence in schools.

Fortunately, NAACP Legal Defense Fund, the Advancement Project, and others are mounting a campaign to let the President know what he is doing.

President Obama would like to spend $4 billion to put 150,000 more cops on the street, further transferring public safety from the traditional role of states to the federal government.  These cops are not likely to be deployed in Newtown, Aurora, Littleton, Blacksburg, Red Lake, Killeen, San Ysidoro, or any locations similar to past massacres.  Nor will they be deployed in such white collar businesses and institutions that have been the site of these tragedies.  Instead, they will likely be patrolling the public housing areas of urban centers, looking for drugs among mostly Black and Latino boys.  Just as in NYC, where an officer’s job is justified by how many Stops, Questions, and Frisks they conduct, any new officers will be under the same pressures to “produce.”

Prison Expenditures will Rise

Children have been the fastest growing segment in the industry of prisoners.  They are a commodity justifying the building of a prison and hiring those who will guard them — even those who would try to teach them in these environments so non-conducive to learning.  Industries do not deal well with stagnation or reduction.  Thus, an ever growing number of children and young adults are needed to continue fueling an industry that has yet to be reduced in all the history of American prisons.

More cops requires more prosecutors to process the cases, along with more public defenders, judges, sheriffs, stenographers, interpreters, clerks, and everything else that happens after an arrest.  All on the taxpayer dime at a time when most “American” corporations are multinational and manage to avoid taxes around the globe.  These budgets are already bursting.

Putting police in our schools, and 150,000 police in low income communities of color, will certainly increase the front end of this industry during an era when states have been struggling to make reductions.  Spurred by the Bush Administration’s Second Chance Act, a secondary industry of “Rehabilitation” has expanded to attempt a reduction of prisoners on the back end.  One roadblock to this latter attempt is public perception, and media frenzy, (at times instigated by prison guards themselves) against “coddling criminals” or the perceived dangers of releasing someone who committed a violent crime decades ago.

The Future Economy

President Obama certainly knows that we currently have an economy of excess labor.  Several decades after outsourcing and technology eliminated our manufacturing base, people in Obama’s shoes are tasked with the dilemma of what to do with tens of millions of unnecessary people in our economy.  There is no indication that this trend will be reversed (not to say that it cannot be, but I have yet to hear any proposal that involves a massive new sector requiring human labor at Living Wages).  In the short term, the Prison Solution provides a small consolation, albeit with considerable human cost.

Once labeled as “Criminal,” there can be no moral demand for living wage jobs, education, and affordable housing- at least not in our current culture, where those making such demands represent an increasingly vocal minority.  Those who are labeled are often shut down with the phrase, “You should have thought about that before you became a criminal.”  Yet we are labeling them before they are even old enough to drive a car, vote, serve in the military, or sign a valid contract.  Furthermore, our society cannot even respond to similar demands by non-labeled people.

Non-labeled people from the lower classes can join the ranks of half-a-million prison guards, and twice that in the overall Prison industry.  As the labeled are released from prison, they are expected to have lower expectations, to be happy with a GED and a job that pays $8 per hour.  If we can create a nation where 10 million people are satisfied earning that pay, another 10 million are incarcerated, and another 10 million are watching over them… we may create some stability in our economy.  It will require a relentless Drug War and a massive tolerance for racially imbalanced outcomes.  Such a dystopia will likely require a repeal of the Civil Rights Act.

bruce reillyAs a chess player, it is important to think many moves ahead for yourself and your opponent.  Naturally, a chess player expects their opponent to think several moves ahead, perhaps five or six, at least.  Sometimes even if you think 20 moves ahead correctly, you still cannot see the victory; you may only see that all the pieces are dead except for the King… but you still must make a move.

Bruce Reilly

Friday, 18 January 2013


  1. says

    I wish Luis Rodriguez when he ran as the Vice President candidate with the Justice Party highlighted his anti Violence successes that contrasting Rocky Anderson’s call for gun control it isn’t too late to do so.

    Criticizing Obama’s proposal is not enough. Put yourself in the shoes of someone who thinks they need a gun to stop from being shot by a robber police
    officer or homeowner. Telling them they got to risk jail or their
    life goes against human nature. However a law that guns must be
    locked up even a fingerprint side pouch for a pistol would be
    complied with at least some of the time. The police could have
    fingerprint locks on their holster, making intervening in a domestic
    dispute not having to worry about one party trying to grab their gun.

    If the punishment was far less an adict would have a duffel bag with a
    gun in it pretending at least the combination was set which it would
    be some of the time and it would become a habit like someone putting
    a seat belt on when they see a policeman coming and get tired of
    constantly looking out, leaving it on.

    Also something that would stun at the school would make Adam Lanza afraid
    that we wouldn’t be able to commit suicide afterwards the same with
    the Sikh Temple attack.

    Fortunately Major Hasan who shot up Fort Hood became paralyzed not died cooling a lot of copy cats from trying to copy him.

    Please some third party run a real anti-violence which would be a real anti gun death candidate of a third party ticket,

  2. Reverend Draco says

    Actually, there is a way to create “a massive new sector requiring human labor at Living Wages.”

    Legalize Cannabis.

    With the stroke of a pen, an entirely new industry requiring much human labor would be created. It would create jobs planting, growing, irrigating, cultivating, trimming, transporting. . .

    There would be jobs in the retail sector as well – think BevMo, but with Cannabis. There can be “Cannabis Tours,” similar to Napa’s “Wine Tours,” Entrepreneurs would have a whole new field in which to invest.

    There is also another upside to legalizing Cannabis – reduced violence in general, and gun violence in particular. The Coors Cartel and the Miller Mafia aren’t shooting it out over sales territory, after all. People who use Cannabis are much less likely to commit acts of violence, too – as opposed to, say, users of Alcohol or Pharmaceuticals.

  3. Joseph Jazz Hayden says

    Bruce is a committed activist and writer that I wholeheartedly love and respect. However, he like all others that weigh in on this issue tend to miss the point that everyone from Obama to the side-walk have totally ignored. “Universal Background Checks”, who will be disproportionately impacted by these checks. The answer is incredibly simple–“poor people and people of color” whom the system has been criminalizing since slavery, and intensely since reconstruction. Since the Haitian revolution whites in America have done all within their power to keep free blacks during slavery and former slaves post slavery from ever having access to arms. This was done with legislation, the KKK, and the White Citizens Council. Blacks were even denied the right to have pet dogs for fear that they would be trained to attack their masters. Fast forward to today and you see the criminalization of youth of color being carried out the same as it was during Jim Crow, Apartheid, and now mass incarceration. The police are in our schools, buildings, transportation, and streets. Our communities are targeted. We have been so criminalized that the 2nd Amendment no longer applies to us. Our families are unworthy of the right to self defense, the right to bare arms has been stripped from us just as it was in slavery. We were 3/5th of a man then and we are 3/5th of a human being now. A significant segment of the population of communities of color have been branded criminals for life and the Universal Background Checks, called for by Obama and the NRA, reinforces that. The only guns in the black community are possessed by the police and illegal weapons that they allow in so we can kill one another.

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